Savoring the Flavors of the Summer Sunshine

Published on: 09/09/2022
Summer rainbow of fruits and vegetables
Summer should get a speeding ticket (Town and Country)…ALWAYS too fast!! We could sit around and be sad it is over, or we could look at this moment as our time to reset ourselves and our healthy habits…or lack thereof ☺️. I am sure I am not alone in hearing or experiencing “I have gained weight this summer” “It has been too hot to exercise” “The chaos of the kids has thrown me off my healthy track.” etc. The summer is often busier than expected, more chaotic than expected, and a hell of a lot of fun.

So whether we are managing kids getting back to school or moving out, or just our own summer festivities coming to a close, it is time to get back on track with our health goals and desires. “Back to school” is a great philosophy, whether you are heading there or not 📚.

​Where to begin? 80% of Americans do not know at 4 pm what they are having for dinner. I honestly think that can be okay, as long as you have options on hand by planning ahead. What we do know, we want our meals to be healthy, tasty, and quick. Whether you are working during the week, going to school, getting your kids to school, or just managing your household, you may feel like you don’t have the time or energy to throw together a balanced dinner. The good news is, that a nutritious home-cooked meal does not have to be overly involved. Keep it simple by using just a few ingredients that help you build a tasty, balanced and nutritious plate, still allowing some time for Netflix binging. Here are some tips to get you there:

  • Simplify your grocery shopping 

📝 Figure out your best food shopping list method. Electronic, good ol’ fashion pen and paper, whiteboard, whatever is most convenient for you and your mates.
📆 Plan ahead. Pick a few recipes, note all of the ingredients on your list, and even add items you might need to manage the leftovers (ie. Grilling chicken this week? Be sure to have wraps and salsa on hand for quesadillas later in the week.)

  • Spend less time in the kitchen —

🥕Clean and chop those veggies as soon as you get home before you put them away.
♨️ The microwave is your friend. The speediest way to steam veggies, reheat leftovers, and defrost your chicken or fish.
🥫Keep staple foods on hand so you always have ingredients to make a few of your favorite meals.
🧊Freeze leftovers for another meal. Even for just part of another meal.
Satisfying your body with food helps to satisfy your soul with a sense of energetic satisfaction. Nutritious snacks can help us get there. Snacktime is not just for kids, but adults too! Here are some ideas:

  • Apple slices and nut butter
  • Corn tortilla (6-inch) with low-fat cheese and tomatoes
  • Banana with peanut butter (and flaked coconut, if so desired)
  • Low-fat pudding and a handful of grapes
  • Apple slices wrapped with low-fat cheese
  • Fresh salsa with cucumbers, jicama…and a few chips
  • Banana Split Smoothie: 1 cup milk-of-choice + 1/2 cup low-fat chocolate frozen yogurt + 1/2 banana. Blend until smooth.
  • Cucumber slices + 1/2 cup tzatziki
  • Oatmeal in a Cookie (see below😊 🍪)

It is not quite time to say goodbye to summer’s bounty of fresh fruits, herbs, and veggies. It is time to make your shopping list, get cookin’, and find your soulful balance.

END OF SUMMER CORN SALAD
Let’s celebrate those amazing crops while we still have them available to us! As summer starts to come to a close, grabbing fresh corn helps us linger in the warm sunshine a bit longer. Freezing your fresh corn (once cooked and off the cobb) or purchasing frozen corn, can help create some salad sunshine any time of the year as well.

INGREDIENTS

6 ears corn, husked, steamed, (or 16 oz frozen corn, defrosted and steamed)
1–2 Tablespoons chopped jalapeño peppers, fresh or jarred
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1–2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (or 1 Tablespoon dried)
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
freshly ground pepper and salt to taste
Option: 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

​PREPARATION

If using fresh corn, once corn has cooled, slice carefully to remove corn from the ears and place it into a medium-sized serving bowl. Add tomatoes and cilantro. Whisk together red wine vinegar, honey, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Pour over the corn mixture and stir well. Option: top with feta cheese and fresh cilantro. Serve warm or at room temperature. Taste the summer goodness, no matter the season. Makes 5–6 half-cup servings
POLYNESIAN CHICKEN COMBO
These sweet and sassy flavors bring the sunshine any season, but being able to take advantage of the grill creates a delicious combination. I created this recipe with any chicken in mind, but certainly salmon or seitan would work well. Cooking chicken with the skin on helps to seal in the moisture, but I suggest removing the skin afterward, for a leaner plate :).

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds chicken combo (wings, legs, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, etc)
1/4 cup soy sauce, low sodium
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup dry white wine (or low sodium broth)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2–3 scallions, chopped

PREPARATION

Whisk together soy sauce through salt in a small bowl. Marinate the chicken combination in the marinade for 1–2 hours or overnight, turning frequently.

​Preheat the grill (or oven to 350 degrees). Grill chicken for 5–6 minutes per side, depending on chicken pieces (check frequently for wings). If baking, place chicken in a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Bake for 30–40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through, basting during the last 15 minutes of cooking time. Makes 4–5 servings.
OATMEAL IN A COOKIE
Getting back to the grind can mean less time in the morning to create your favorite dish. Though overnight oats (Oh Those Overnight Oats) are a great option, these cookies can provide a sweet, quick, and nutritious breakfast or snack, providing dietary fiber, along with a range of cholesterol-lowering properties, in a small and mighty package. Enjoy a couple with a half-cup of nonfat Greek yogurt, to make sure you get enough protein for breakfast or enjoy 1–2 as a snack or dessert. These cookies are moist and soft, not crispy. They can be stored at room temperature in a sealed container for 1 week, or frozen for 2–3 months.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup applesauce, unsweetened
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/2 cups of old-fashioned oats
1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
3/4 cup dark chocolate chunks

PREPARATION

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, add the applesauce through the oats and mix well. Mix in the dried cranberries and chocolate chunks.

​Scoop by the rounded tablespoon onto nonstick baking sheets. Bake for 10–12 minutes. Makes 26–32 cookies.

It’s so important to give your all, no matter how many obstacles you face.

~🎾 Serena Williams~GOAT~The US Open 2022 🎾~
For comments, thoughts, requests, or anything else you feel the need to share, please do: amy@rebelliousrd.com or visit me at rebelliousrd.com.

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With a longstanding dedication to healthy cooking and eating, I promote nutrition with a rebellious twist: the belief that perfection is not required for success on your wellness journey. 

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