Happy Summer! Now that the temps are warming up and all the fresh foods are coming to the market, it’s easy to get excited about cooking. In a past post, I mentioned that my husband and I use a meal service, Foodsmith, to deliver our meals. This service is such a life saver during the school year, but I do actually know how to cook. Thanks to a long line of women in my family, I even have a bit of skill. That being said, when life is busy, cooking is not how I want to spend my time during the week or on a Sunday. But like all the rules, there are always exceptions. For me, when the freshest fruits and vegetables are most plentiful, I want to eat them all… so I cook. This month, I’m going to share some of my go to favorites that can serve your family, and also those that can serve you before or after a workout.
To soak up all the summer nights, my husband and I often have a salad for dinner. This way, we can take advantage of the grill and also have very little clean-up. With all the fresh berries in season, these are often an addition to our salads… especially since when I see them at the market I get a little out of control and buy more than a house with only two people and the world’s greatest dog could possibly eat. As a result, I’m only allowed to take $40 to the farmer’s market now. Of course, it’s pretty easy to put a salad together on one’s own, but I’m a sucker for beautiful pictures on Instagram or Pinterest. Years ago, I stumbled onto the blog Iowa Girl Eats. Being a Midwest girl myself, the name plus the beautiful pictures instantly hooked me. The blogger, Kristin, dabbles in running and discovered that she had Celiac Disease so she also avoids gluten. Now… please don’t let the gluten free part scare you away. Kristin has really healthy, family friendly recipes that use real ingredients and can be mastered by even the most unskilled chef. Promise. One of the salads on our rotation is the Triple-Berry Salad with a few tweaks due to my husband’s nut allergy. This salad features the freshest berries AND avocado. What’s not to love???
You can find the recipe here, but I’ll also share our tweaks just in case. There’s a bumper sticker on our bulletin board that says, “If we’re not supposed to eat animals, why are they made out of meat?” In my family, I’m considered a “recovering vegetarian,” and my husband is a fan of all the chicken, pork, beef and even little lambs. Tweak #1 – I add free range organic grilled chicken to this salad (cause recovering vegetarians only eat happy chickens). Tweak #2 – The toasted almonds get subbed by toasted pumpkin seeds. Tweak #3 – I’m obsessed with Sonomic Red Almost Vinegar so the dressing on the IGE page is switched as well. Tweak #4 – I’ll use spinach as recommended or spring mix depending on what I have in the fridge. Otherwise, all other ingredients are unchanged.
Just today, I ran across this delicious Watermelon, Feta, Basil and Pistachio Salad on the IGE page and it will find its way to our table this week. I plan to keep the pistachio in my salad and give Adam the pumpkin seeds. Oh, and the Sonomic is so darn delicious, I’ll be using it again. This salad looks amazing!
I’ve mentioned the Sonomic twice already, so let me just say… IT IS SO DARN DELICIOUS you really must try it. Petaluma is one of my favorite little towns, and this is where Sonomic is produced. Portworks, the vineyard, describes Sonomic as “Sweet, tart, rich, refreshing, simple, and elegant all at once. Made with Muscat and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, it’s like nothing you’ve tasted before. We keep our exclusive recipe under wraps.” Don’t sweat if you can’t make it to Petaluma because Amazon always has your back. It’s a little pricey, but a little goes a very long way. If you’re searching for an easy recipe for a balsamic vinaigrette, this one from Elizabeth Rider is a good option (if using Sonomic, use a bit less than the recipe calls for).
The other day, Melissa posted a little runner questionnaire on Instagram and to finish the sentence, “I keep going because…” my response was PEANUT BUTTER. True story… when I ran my first marathon, I actually gained 7 pounds because I ate peanut butter (with and without chocolate chips) in great abundance. It got so bad that I seriously had to start buying peanut butter in those little condiment sized packages. Because I was too lazy to open more than a couple of the packages, my addiction was reduced. #truestory #noshame I’m a believer that no food should be off limits or labeled good or bad, but when 2 tablespoons is just not going to cut it, I’m grateful for the powdered alternatives. Have you ever used powdered nut butters before? If not, you are missing out. I first discovered PB2 when it was one of the first powdered products on the market. Since then, there are several others. Because Amazon Prime is one of my best friends, PBfit and PB&Me Almond Butter get the win. Since this was a post about food, I’ll not only leave you with these gems, but also, this recipe for a delicious smoothie for pre- or post- run consumption…
Peanut Butter, Banana, Spinach Smoothie
1 frozen banana
1 serving vanilla protein powder (or use plain and add a smidge of vanilla extract)
1 serving PBfit
1 big handful of fresh spinach
1 cup almond milk (or your milk of choice)
**I also add in Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides.
Throw it all in a blender and enjoy!
Sometimes, when a smoothie just won’t work into the schedule I find myself reaching for another favorite pre- or post- meal treat. With a cyclist and a runner in the house, we stockpile the Vanilla Honey Stinger Waffles (both the GF and regular waffles will do). Of course, these are good on their own, but… here I go again with the nut butters… Nuttzo Paleo Organic Power Fuel is out of this world! Think Nutella, but healthy. This little jar of goodness is filled with cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, paleo chocolate, and Celtic sea salt. Not only does it make a hearty snack, but it tastes great alone, on a banana, or with a side of strawberries. Your taste buds will thank you, and so will the orphaned and neglected children in Nepal, India and Peru because each jar purchased supports Projectleftbehind.org Need me to seal the deal for you on this purchase? Nuttzo is a female founded business.
I really, really hope you are reading this close to a meal or snack time because just writing this has made my stomach rumble. Food is fuel and food is fun. May these recipes help spice up your summer and be a hit before or after a great workout.
Before I leave, I wanted to give you a little Summer Bucket List update.
- Trail Running – Happening
- Weekends Away – Some are in the making, and we just got out of the comfort zone and went to the city on a Wednesday night.
- Beach Days – We have a few under our belt already.
- Lightning Bugs – This wasn’t on my original list, but I do love these little buggers and was happy to see them when home visiting my family.
Still to come… Fireworks, beach cruiser rides, rollercoasters, and eating at the Silver Spur. I’d say I’m making a pretty good dent in the list given that school got out in early June and then I hopped on a train to Illinois for 10-days of small town living.
Do you have any food favorites? Please share!