Posts tagged under Summer. Show all posts.
Clearly, Dads were the inspiration behind EatSavvy this month—with the menu laid out for a Father’s Day Feast. We made things simple, savoury and sweet, just like our Dads but we want to be clear that this menu is not just for that one day of the summer—it’s a perfect summertime feast for any night. We chose recipes that not only Dad would like (and that paired well with beer) but items that the kids could get involved with preparing. We know that if the children are more involved in the preparation of the food, they are more likely to eat it and enjoy it. So lemonade and ice cream cake are obvious choices for the kids, but why shouldn’t they also help with the seasonal green salad and yummy strawbana kebabs. Get them excited about fresh produce at an early age—there is always chocolate to dip in if necessary! Enjoy your dinner.
What did you make for Father’s Day dinner?
This summer I discovered the perfect picnic sandwich. I took the original recipe for a “Muffuletta Sandwich”, a specialty hero-style sandwich of New Orleans, and switched it up a bit to make it a little more “family friendly”. A Muffuletta is a multi-layered sandwich made on a large round loaf of Italian bread, smothered with olive dressing, and layered with delicious Italian-inspired ingredients. My version, the “picnic sandwich”, consists of a round loaf of multi-grain bread, olive spread, hummus (or any other dip/spread you may have on hand), grilled or roasted vegetables, sliced meats, sliced cheeses, tomatoes, pickles etc. This sandwich is perfect for a picnic, lunch on the dock, or a packed lunch because it can be made ahead of time, feeds a crowd, is easy to transport, and, most importantly, tastes incredible.
Perfect Picnic Sandwich
Makes 8 sandwiches
What are you packing for lunch this summer?
With an over abundance of fresh local produce in the grocery stores, fruit stands, and farmer’s markets, I can’t help but get excited about cooking. Nor can I help myself from buying every seasonal fruit and vegetable offered at the roadside markets. And, what mom doesn’t get excited when her children ask for a second piece of fruit from the basket? Everything smells and looks so delicious in August.
It’s Thursday and that means that I need to plan the menu, shop and cook for a weekend with family and friends at the cottage. And, because it’s summer, I turn to one of my favourite summer resources for inspiration “Best Summer Weekend Cookbook”, by Jane Rodmell. This cookbook is full of delicious seasonal recipes for breakfast (Basic Buttermilk Pancakes with Wild Blueberry Syrup), lunch, dinner (Whole Grilled Fish with Lime and Coriander), snack, and dessert (One Pot Brownies). The majority of Jane’s recipes are easy to prepare and serve, features I look for when creating weekend menus. I also like the fact that she includes variations and substitutions for main ingredients in her recipes and make-ahead instructions for those recipes that can be made in advance.
What is your favourite cookbook?
It’s my turn to write about one of my favourite topics—seasonal produce. So just in case you missed my recent article on Mother Nature’s Best, check it out on savvymom.ca. I do love August for all the great fresh food we can enjoy. Nothing fancy, just good simple ingredients, that we can feel good about eating and enjoying. The article is full of ideas on different ways to prepare and enjoy watermelon, corn, tomatoes, peaches and blueberries.
Just yesterday we had visitors from Loblaws come and visit us at the office. They brought a truck load (literally) of fresh seasonal produce for us to see, eat and learn about—straight from the farmer who grows them. We learned that 40% of the fruits and veggies sold in your Loblaws grocer are local and it only takes them 1–2 days to get the produce to the store from the farm. That’s progress—and that’s pretty fresh by our standards. Those peaches and blueberries were delicious!
So enjoy what you can now and freeze what’s left for later in the year.
While I may be obsessed with hot drinks (tea is a passion of mine), in the summertime, I’m completely in love with cool snacks. This weekend, my two year-old just discovered the joy of her first popsicle (and her face/hands/clothing had the joy of experiencing it as well). Knowing that my passion has passed on to the next generation, I’m really excited to try making our own versions with these fab new popsicle-making products that we featured. I especially like the idea that they’re both eco-friendly and help keep little fingers a little less sticky.
However, I also recently had the chance to enjoy a new version of one of my fave summer treats in the office the other day: Skinny Cow Cookies ‘N Cream ice cream sandwiches. With only two grams of fat, and only 150 calories, I don’t feel quite as guilty reaching for one.
So whether I’m enjoying my own frozen concoctions, or munching on a skinnier version of the classic ice cream sandwich, I know I’m set for the summer.
What are your favourite summer treats?
Homemade lemonade is one of the things we all associate with the lazy days of summer, but the reality is in this day and age, not very many of us know how to make it. And certainly, when it comes to the economics of a lemonade stand (and you’ll find lots of tips on setting up a lemonade stand), it’s crucial if you’re thinking of helping the kids with one. Any young entrepreneur will soon find that serving real lemonade comes with a much higher cost structure than Kool-Aid, and might just price them out of the kiddie market, where kids only have a quarter to spend.
But, inspired by some of her summer reading, my 9-year old daughter recently decided she wanted to try to make some ‘real lemonade’ and lots of kitchen experimenting ensued. After much trial and error, we learned you need a lot more lemon juice and sugar than you would think, and that it’s pretty tough work without a proper lemon squeezer. But once we found out about the miracle of simple syrup, and the easy-to-remember 1-to-1-to-1 ratio, we had our summer lemonade recipe down cold…and that’s just how we’ve been enjoying it.
Prep and Cook
What’s your favourite summer drink?
What’s wild and delicious and in season right now? Did we mention they’re blue? Okay, they’re not cheap, but each time you see them think of what it takes to pick those tiny little gems individually, then pack and keep them fresh and not squish them or bruise them.
We have a savvy blueberry sauce recipe that will go with everything and anything. I like to put it on ice cream, pancakes, chocolate brownies or over fresh peaches.
When you make it, be sure to double the recipe so you’ll have lots left over. You’ll want to drizzle it over everything.
Have a very blueberry month!
We’ve mentioned before how we’re wild about watermelon and the hydration benefits that come with this delish fruit. We also like that it’s a low-fat, cholesterol-free summer treat. But it’s much more than a pretty pink (and green) face. In fact, this fruit is a source of vitamin C, Thiamine, vitamin A, vitamin B6, the antioxidant lycopene, and citrulline ( an amino acid that plays a role in helping the body heal its wounds).
While it’s a great snack in its pure form, sometimes it’s nice to spruce it up a bit, especially if it’s in competition with other summer treats (like ice cream, or popsicles). That’s why we love the recipes that the National Watermelon Promotion Board is sharing, making this fruit even more mouthwatering than ever.
Rather than dish out a classic sundae, try out a Watermelon Banana Split. Take that ice-cream scoop, and dole out three scoops of watermelon to start. Add your banana slices, then top with fresh fruit (and maybe a sweet sauce such as maple syrup or caramel) and voila! I’m excited to try this one with my toddler.
For adults, we liked the Snow Capped Watermelon Mountains, a classy dessert idea that is a simple, elegant ending to an evening barbeque. Using a flat dish, cut out 3 to 4 inch watermelon ‘pyramids’ (aka mountains) and place on a platter. Add a dollop of whipped cream on the top, a sprinkle of icing sugar around the edges, some white chocolate and shredded coconut and you’re done.
That’s what we call healthy, heavenly hydration. What are your favourite watermelon recipes?
Sometime in the next three or four weeks I’m hoping we’ll be able to load up the car and head out for our annual strawberry picking excursion.
I absolutely love this fruity season, and whether I’m buying mine directly from the farm, at the market or in the store, I always find that as soon as I walk in the door with my bundle of berries, they begin to ripen.
Since they’re so expensive and not in season for very long, I try my best to store and wash them properly in order to maximize their longevity. Here are some tips on what works well for me:
Every busy mom needs a few quick and easy appetizers in her back pocket, don’t you think?
I first spotted these in Martha Stewart’s Weddings magazine and was relieved to find a recipe for something fun and simple that didn’t require me to spend my day in the kitchen.
Using nothing more than a large baguette, some favourite dips and spreads and a few chopped veggies, these little nibbles will make a great starter for any event. They’re a hit with the ladies, hearty enough for the men and they work for the kids too. In fact, I’ve offered these up to my boys for an after-school snack, and they devour the veggies far quicker then if they were just set out on a plate.
Tell us, what are some of your back-pocket appetizers for entertaining?
Individual Crudité in Bread Bowls
Prep and Cook
While it did arrive a little late, berry season is finally here. Now that you’ve likely picked a few packs at your local u-pick, or purchased fresh ones from the market, how do you store your precious berries?
If you don’t plan to eat your goods right away, freezing them is the very best bet. The cold storage prevents growth of micro-organisms, which is often the cause of food spoilage.
Unbeknownst to some, there is more than one way to freeze your berries. Here are the two methods I like best as they are both easy to execute, and leave me with local berries I can enjoy all fall/winter long.
Freezing Whole Strawberries
Using only fresh and plump berries, wash them in cold water and drain them immediately. Spread them on a towel-lined tray or counter, and allow the berries to dry. Place berries in a single layer on a baking sheet that fits into your freezer. Freeze them overnight to ensure they are completely frozen.
Place the berries in a lidded container or zip top baggie and label them with the date.
Freezing Strawberries in Syrup
Make simple syrup by combining 3 cups water to each ½ cup sugar. Place the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring it to a boil, cooking only until the sugar is completely dissolved. Chill the syrup thoroughly.
Add whole or sliced berries to containers and cover with the syrup, leaving at least one inch of headspace at the top. Cover with ½ to ¾ cup of syrup for each 8 to 12 oz. container.
Package and freeze.
Thaw berries at room temperature, or in the fridge, and serve as desired.
We began road tripping when the boys were quite young. Our first trip took us 8 hours away, and since then we’ve done annual getaways spending 6 to 26 hours on the road. While I wouldn’t consider myself a road-tripping expert, I do think we’ve mastered a few food tips that I’d love to pass along.
We always pack two coolers for the trip—one for items we’d like to keep cold, and one for the room-temperature foods. I keep an ice pack (or Mason jar filled with ice) in the ‘cold’ cooler to keep our foods as fresh as possible. I also keep a garbage bag in the front and back of the vehicle for easy trash disposal.
Here are some of our favourite road trip foods. I like to choose approximately three items for every 2 hours of travel. Snacking makes long rides a little more fun, and variety in the cooler bag keeps us from becoming victims of the roadside vending machine.
Grains – Bagels, pitas, crackers, popcorn, cookies, granola bars, rice cakes, mini sandwiches
Fruits and Veggies – Cucumber slices, carrot sticks, grapes, strawberries, bananas, orange slices, dried fruits, melon, broccoli, celery
Protein – Hard-boiled eggs, cheese, nuts and seeds, hummus
Sweet/Salty Treats – Chocolate (keep in the cold food cooler as summer heat can cause the chocolate to melt), nacho chips, pretzels
Are you planning any road trips this summer? What does your family like to eat on the road?
If you’re looking to make your kids something spectacular this week, look no further than your nearest watermelon.
Not only will this juicy fruit feed you well at any of your three daily meals, it’s also capable of making some of the season’s tastiest snacks around.
The wonderful thing about watermelon (besides being loaded with awesome health benefits like antioxidants, Vitamins A, B and C, and lycopene) is that it can be eaten as is, or transformed into something sensational with the simplest of steps. I love to make watermelon popsicles, smoothies and skewers for the kids, and when entertaining a group of adults, the fruit quickly reshapes into easy appetizers and salads, leaving me free to chat with my guests.
Martha Stewart even went so far as to show us that we could all make a simple cake using nothing but watermelon. And when one ingredient can be used for breakfast, lunch, dinner and anything in between, that is indeed a very good thing.
How are you serving watermelon this summer?
Watermelon and Cucumber Cups
The dog days of summer are truly upon us, and some of our meals are being replaced by anything icy cold and slurp-able.
The thought of spending time in the kitchen (with the oven on) is almost more than I can handle, and instead of quinoa loaves and cookies, these days my boys are snacking on homemade creamsicles and watermelon pops.
Homemade creamsicles are perhaps my most favourite of icy treats, bringing me back to my childhood summers more than any other food.
Fast-forward 20 years, and the creamsicle is still a favourite of mine, only now I make them. I keep most of the ingredients on hand, and they taste just about as good as the ones from my childhood, only now they are a little healthier.
Made with orange juice, vanilla, cream and honey, they’re naturally sweetened (making them almost acceptable enough for breakfast).
Do you like to make your own popsicles in the summer? What treats from your childhood do you try to recreate for your own kids?
Prep and Cook
Traditionally made from stale bread and garden fresh tomatoes, panzanella is an easy Italian salad. I’ve seen variations made with the addition of crisp cucumbers and colourful peppers, and this year I tried my hand at a slightly sweet version, using honey, fragrant basil and sweet, juicy peaches.
Summer seems like the perfect time of year to forgo the traditional lunch or dinner meal and eat something that’s easier to prepare. With shortened days soon upon us, it’s nice to make the most of simple spreads whenever we can, and this salad fits the bill perfectly.
Greens can be added to the bowl, along with a splash or two of balsamic vinegar for a more savoury dish, but I find the kids like it best when dressed with a dollop of yogurt.
What non-meal summer menus are you serving up these days?
Prep and Cook:
Tip: Can be made up to two hours in advance.