The Colors of Summer

imageFarmer’s markets around town are the sure, vibrant signs of summer. This photo displays part of my vegetable and fruit haul last weekend. I try to buy veggies and fruits in all colors–the reds, greens, yellows, and whites–in part because they are nutritious and in part because they are pretty. We eat them raw, in stir-fry meals, or roasted. The difficult part, I find, is figuring how best to store fruits and veggies so they do not rot before we eat them.

I learned a very handy trick in the Heart Insight Magazine about fresh herbs. It is possible to freeze them for later! Just cut fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, or basil, and put them by teaspoon or tablespoon into ice cube trays. Fill with water and freeze. When you want to use the herb, toss the ice cube into the pot. Wa-lah!

Here’s a handy guide for storing vegetables and fruits so they may last their longest:

VeggiesEnjoy the colors of summer!

 

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Yummy Apple Oat Bran Muffins

apple_oat_bran_muffins_RCPOkay, I added the word “Yummy” to the name of this recipe because the “Oat Bran” may turn a few folks off. But these muffins are not only healthy, full of fiber, with no added sugar, they are also really tasty! This recipe is from Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet and pyramid, a way of eating that decreases the chronic inflammation caused by much of the traditional western diet. The muffins freeze and defrost nicely if you don’t eat them all right away.

 

 Ingredients

Canola oil for oiling the muffin pan (skip this if using muffin papers)                                       2 large green cooking apples (Granny Smith or another apple you like)
2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 1/4 cups oat bran
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 12-ounce can apple juice concentrate, thawed
1 cup water

Instructions

1. Heat oven to 325° F. Lightly oil muffin pan. Peel and core apples; chop them coarsely. Set aside.
2. In a mixing bowl, stir together pastry flour, white flour, oat bran, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
3. Add thawed apple-juice concentrate, chopped apples, and enough water to make a light batter.
4. Mix just enough to moisten all ingredients. Divide batter among the muffin cups and bake till lightly browned, 25-30 minutes.
5. Remove muffins from cups while hot.

Dr. Weil’s website includes lots of information about healthy aging and the anti-inflammatory food pyramid. Enjoy!

Summer Kabobs

kabobs 5

This summer my husband is into grilling. Burgers, chicken, veggies, fruits, whatever he can. We are in the market for a new grill to replace our small, old gas grill and are experimenting now with charcoal. Michael dusted off the old Weber, chose some new lump coal, and is loving the flavor it offers.

One of our favorite meals is chicken, peppers, onion and bok choy stir fry. This combination with peanut sauce or teriyaki sauce is an easy and tasty dinner. But with the grilling kick going, we decided to change the pace and grill kabobs.

Kabobs are just fun. Take your basic foods, cut them into chunks and arrange them onto sticks. The grill adds unexpected flavor and textures.

Method: I chopped red pepper, green pepper and red onion into large pieces. Also chopped boneless, skinless chicken breasts into large pieces (about 1.5 – 2 inches) so that they would stay on the skewers without coming apart.

Zucchini, summer squash, shrimp, tempeh, pineapple, and mushrooms are other foods that would do well as grilled kabobs — not together, but in whatever combination you like.

Veggies & Chicken on the Weber

Veggies & Chicken on the Weber

The skewers are wood and came from Target. Just be sure to soak them in water for a short time so they don’t burn on the grill. I brushed the veggies and meat with a little teriyaki sauce and garlic for flavor and to prevent them from sticking to the grill. Olive, canola or peanut oil would work for this too.

We separated the chicken from the veggies since they cook at different rates. Direct heat in the center cooked the chicken more thoroughly, while indirect heat along the sides did a nice job with veggies, allowing them to cook but not get mushy.

 

 

In the end, here’s how they looked:

kabobs 4

We pulled everything off the skewers and tossed it in a large bowl, pictured above.

Y-U-M! Here’s to summer grilling!