Friday, July 13, 2012

what to eat when summer swelters

High temperatures + high humidity beg for foods which naturally cool our bodies. I made the following two recipes the other week when we were in the middle of a heat wave. With another one on the way, I think I'll be making them again...

Berry Watermelon Salad
This was a fun salad to do and one all the kids enjoyed and it's easy to adapt to the tastes of your family if the watermelon-strawberry-kiwi recipe doesn't appeal. I served it over crisp greens and prepared a simple strawberry "dressing" (technically, it was just a thinner smoothie).

salad greens

strawberry dressing
options for more adventurous palettes (my 4 chickadees aren't there yet :) ): red or sweet onion slices, fresh chopped basil

How to put it together:
For a fun, dish-free alternative, use half of a watermelon for your bowl. Using a melon baller (I used a metal coffee scoop!), scoop out watermelon flesh. Wash strawberries and cut into halves. Peel and slice kiwi into rounds. Mix the melon and berries together and place in bowl. Surround with kiwi slices. Serve over salad greens.

I've been experimenting with fruit-based salad dressings to encourage my children to enjoy eating salad. Since they've rejected a great number of tasty (to me) dressings, I've settled on creating smoothie-like dressings. Not very sophisticated, but so simple and sometimes you just need to run with what works for your family.

For the berry watermelon salad, I placed about 1 cup of defrosted* strawberries in a food processor with a teeny bit of maple syrup to up the sweetness just a little. Gave it a whirl and done! For added sophistication, add some balsamic vinegar and cracked black pepper to taste.

Other fruit smoothie salad dressing ideas: raspberries, mango/pineapple juice/orange juice, gingered peach

*I've found defrosted fruit to work well since it blends smoothly without needing to add water or another liquid.

Simple Raw Pizza Slices
Perfect for garden fresh tomatoes. Serve as an appetizer or as a side dish.

fresh tomato slices
oil-free, tahini-free hummus
chopped fresh basil
pine nuts

How to put it together:
Slice tomatoes and spread with a generous layer of hummus. Top with pine nuts and chopped basil. Arrange on a plate and you're finished. So simple and so good. Have fun experimenting with you other favorite plant-based pizza toppings: eggplant, fresh oregano, olives, green/red peppers, diced onions

Keeping it in perspective:
And though I enjoy the refreshing foods God provides on this earth, may I rejoice over this, His eternal promise: "I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint." Jeremiah 31:25 NIV 1984

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