Since many of my patients are off enjoying their summer taking vacations or running up north to the cabin for long weekends, I decided to make our July monthly update all about food and fun! I hope you enjoy the recipes I have included, perhaps even getting the whole family involved!
It’s no surprise we LOVE cooking in our house. Come in the morning and there is a good chance the smell of bacon and eggs will still be lingering in the air. Have an appointment in the evening and perhaps you’ll smell freshly baked sourdough bread that I had prepared the night before (the best sourdough recipes always take days!). Because food is so essential to our health I grew up with a mother who was a ‘foodie’ even before the term existed. She knew that we are only as strong as the things we put in our body (that goes for what we think and the company we keep but I will leave that to different experts!)
Having a variety of foods not only makes life much more fun and yummy, it also ensure that we get the right amount of nutrients that keep our bodies functioning at top notch! For instance, we need our dark leafy greens for all sorts of things like fiber, Vitamins A, C, E, and K as well as some greens like mustard and bok choy which are great sources for B Vitamins. Eating lentils are wonderful for their rich supply of folic acid and potassium, can we say heart healthy! And in past monthly updates, we have covered the importance of getting the right amount and sources of fats in our diet. Some of my favorites are eggs, avocados, nuts, and cheese. The Wisconsin girl in me loves all the cheeses, though I try to only eat fried cheese curds occasionally as, shocker, fried foods aren’t that great for you.
There are many different approaches to cooking and eating. Some follow advice from the Ayurvedic tradition, others try diets for various reasons, and many others just eat what gets them to the next activity. If we have talked about food, which we probably have cause it’s one of my favorite topics, you know that I’m not a fan of diets. I grew up with the knowledge that food is health. Having grown up growing most of our produce we ate what was in season. I still follow by this rather simple rule. This month we won’t be getting into the nitty gritty of what food are good for you or which to avoid, rather I’m going to focus on foods that are in season and fun to eat in the summer. If you have any questions that go deeper, please reach out to me! I would love to help you along your foodie journey, it’s a run ride!
Strawberry & Lemon Balm Infused Water
8 large or 12 small organic strawberries
Small handful of fresh lemon balm leaves (approx. 1/4 cup loosely filled)
4 cups cold water
Rinse and slice the strawberries and place in a clean quart-size mason jar. Rinse the lemon balm, then crumle the leaves in your hand to release their fragrance. Add to the jar. Cover the ingredients with cold water, cover with a lid, and shake gently. Steep in the refrigerator for a min. of 4 hours or overnight. Strain the infusion and keep chilled. Keeps for 2 days in fridge.
Notes: Fresh strawberries are best though frozen work. If you don’t have lemon balm try using 4 large fresh basil.
All-Natural Berry Booster
Juice of 2 oranges or 3 tangerines
1 banana, sliced
1 cup unsweetened plant milk
1 t. chia seeds (optional)
1 t. ground flax seed (optional)Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Serve immediately. Alternatively use other fruits for different flavors. Adding yogurt may help thicken and balance out the flavors. Note: chia seeds can make the smooth gelatinous after about 10 minutes.
Homemade Ranch Dressing
¼- ½ cup full fat mayonnaise- I prefer mayonnaise with avocado oil
1 cup well shaken buttermilk
½ cup full fat Greek yogurt or full fat sour cream
3 tablespoons of finely chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoons of finely chopped chives or red onion
4 teaspoons of lemon juice or white wine vinegar
1-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ teaspoon of salt, plus more as needed
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
Lemon-Infused Lentil Soup with Turmeric
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium white onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
6 cups vegetable stock, or chicken stock
1 1/2 cups dried red lentils, rinsed
3/4 cup sweet corn kernels
1 t. ground turmeric
1 t. curry powder
Pinch of cayenne, red pepper flakes, or spicy paprika powder (optional)
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1/2 lemon, finely minced
Sea salt to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper
Yogurt, for garnish (optional)
Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish (optional)
2. Add the vegetable stock, lentils, corn, turmeric, curry powder, and cayenne (if using) and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are completely tender, about 15 minutes.
3. Using an immersion blender or working in batches in a regular blender, puree the soup until it reaches your desired consistency. If you used a regular blender, return the pureed soup to the pot and gently reheat.
NOTE OF CAUTION: Be careful- hot liquids will expand and splash while blending.
4. Stir in lemon juice and lemon zest. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
5. Ladle the soup into individual serving bowls and garnish with a swirl of yogurt and or top with cilantro if desired. Leftover soup can be stored in a covered container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or for up to 3 months in the freezer.
Thai Peanut Coleslaw
2-3 large carrots, grated or julienned
½ head of red cabbage – thinly sliced or shredded
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
¼- ½ red onion or 3 spring onions
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
¼ cup roasted peanuts, chopped (or use chunky peanut better below)
¼ cup smooth or crunchy natural peanut butter or use almond/cashew butter
1-3 clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce/tamari* or aminos
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar or coconut sugar
1 tablespoons sesame oil, or olive oil for paleo diet
- In a small cup or jar whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing until a smooth, creamy dressing forms. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Set aside while you prep the salad.
- Add the cabbage, carrots, bell pepper, spring onions cilantro and peanuts to a large mixing bowl. Toss well to combine.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss again to coat everything in the peanut sauce.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!