Sunday, 14 July 2013

Beat the Heat with these Healthy Summer Recipes

July has arrived in full force with 30 degree (celsius) weather for days on end, which is normally unheard of in Nova Scotia this early in the summer.  The fur baby and I have been close to melting for the last several days and have not strayed far from the fans.
Hugo and his cousin Winnie staying cool in the basement
As a result, I have not had the heart to use the oven - so, hello barbecue and summer salads! With this in mind, today's post is an homage to summer fare and all things fresh and cool.

First and foremost, my husband and I love to cook and to eat, to this end we have planted one heck of an herb garden including: sage, mint, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, dill, lavender, basil and parsley.

I have a not-so-small obsession with basil and parsley and tend to incorporate these two herbs into almost everything I cook.  I have been trying to ensure that none of it goes to waste, so my first "recipe" for you is really more of an idea of what you can do with the extra herbs left over from your garden or from seasoning your dinner.

Garden Herb Cubes
- Any amount of leftover herbs
- Olive oil
- Garlic
* Other ingredients could include: green onion, cilantro and Parmesan - to name but a few.

Take all of the ingredients listed above and pulse in a food processor.  I would recommend eye-balling the olive oil so that you can determine your desired consistency.  Transfer the mixture into ice cube trays, freeze and you are done.  So simple!  

These cubes will be ready to use for a variety of dishes.  We used ours for grilled zucchini and shrimp, salad croutons and a chicken marinade.

This second recipe was inspired by a post on the Kitchn (if you have never checked out Apartment Therapy then you are missing out!) that I have been thinking about for quite awhile.  It also arose out of necessity given the weather and the copious amounts of frozen treats my husband and I were ingesting (including the ice cream bar milkshake incident - spiked with Godiva) - none of which are recommended for someone who suffers from irritable bowel syndrome.  I felt compelled to find a healthier alternative to my ice cream stupour!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana "Ice Cream"
- 2 bananas (sliced and frozen)
- 3 tbs of natural peanut butter
- Chocolate chips

Take the bananas and pulse in the food processor until it reaches a soft serve-like consistency. Add the peanut butter and mix, followed by the chocolate chips.  Place the "ice cream" in a container in the freezer until ready to serve.  Enjoy!

I hope these quick and easy recipes inspire you to create fabulous summer meals.  Be sure to share your faves in the comments section below!

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