For all of last month, I did something I’ve never done since I started this site: I took a break from blogging, complete with not posting on my Facebook page, logging into Pinterest, or doing any other of the tasks that seem to be required these days if one wants to keep a steady stream of traffic coming to visit their blog.
I needed the break and I’m really glad I took it. Stepping away from blogging gave me time to reflect on how different my life is now from when I first started Healthy Green Kitchen. Some examples: when I started blogging, my kids were pretty young and now they are teenagers; I was casually doing karate and now I am competing in powerlifting. I was content to sit in front of the computer for many hours every single day working on this blog and now I am not (there are simply too many other things I want to do, including becoming a nutrition and strength coach…I am currently taking the steps necessary to make this happen). I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can switch things up here to better reflect the current state of “me”. I don’t quite have it all figured out; I’m trying to just be patient and see how things here naturally evolve.
Something else that’s evolved quite a bit since I started this site is my garden. After focusing on expansion year after year, my husband and I recently made the decision to change direction a bit. We had built so many raised beds for veggies: I really couldn’t keep up with all the maintenance. So we made the garden smaller in order to create a space that’s more manageable. We also fenced in portion of of our yard next to the garden to accomodate five fruit trees (2 varieties of heirloom apples, 2 varieties of plums, and one nectarine) and more room for our chickens to roam.
It’s been raining a ton, so I haven’t had to water much, which is always nice. I am of course looking forward to our first cukes, tomatoes, etc. In the meantime I’ve been enjoying lots of fresh herbs, radishes and all sorts of greens daily. Here are some garden photos…I’ll share more as the summer moves along!
As for the giant summer salad- oh wow here comes that evolution theme again- it’s inspired by a Tofu Brown Rice Salad I’ve been riffing on for about 25 years. I think I had the original salad at the Cabbagetown Cafe, which was a super “crunchy” veggie restaurant where I used to eat when I was in college at Cornell. I don’t think it’s there anymore :(
I don’t use a recipe when I make this salad and it’s got different things in it depending on the season and what I have on hand. For the summer salad you see here, I used a combination of four different types of lettuces from my garden chopped with radishes, nasturtium flowers, and fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, lemon balm, and parsley, also from my garden). I added steamed broccoli, about 3/4 cup cooked Jasmine rice, lots of pan-fried tofu (the recipe for how I make mine is here), a few handfuls of of raisins (I love raisins in salad!), and sprinkled it with sesame salt (a combination of crushed sesame seeds and sea salt). Then I drizzled the salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. And yes, I eat the whole bowl myself, so when I make it for more people than just me, it’s truly humungous.
Related posts I think you’ll like:
David Lebovitz once worked at the Cabbagetown Cafe and blogged about their hummus recipe
Big Ass Salad from Oh, Ladycakes
The Big Salad from Oh, She Glows
Chopped Salad with Feta, Lime, and Mint from Smitten Kitchen
Shredded Everything Salad from Food In Jars
Disclosure: I recieved a lovely care package of products from Colavita, plus I am being compensated for my participation in the Italian Summer Grilling campaign; all opinions are 100% my own.
I’ve been using and enjoying Colavita olive oils and vinegars for years, so the decision to collaborate with them on a Italian Summer Grilling post was an easy one for me. They sent me a variety of beautiful products and asked me to create a recipe for the grill using at least five of the items.
I came up with this Grilled Pesto Chicken Pizza with Fontina, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes: it’s definitely a keeper.
Have you ever cooked pizza on the grill? It’s so quick, easy, and delicious, and makes a perfect summer meal. I’ve had a pizza stone like this one for a long time and I use it both in the oven and on the grill. This pizza was finished on the grill itself after cooking on the pizza stone.
For the chicken: I first marinated it, then cooked it on the grill before using it as one of the pizza toppings. Feel free to play around with the cheese in this recipe: I think a smoked mozzarella would be great. You can use be creative with vegetables, as well: adding some sliced cooked artichoke hearts or grilled eggplant would be perfect, I think.
You may use store-bought pizza dough or you can make one of Colavita’s pizza dough recipes: try the classic Fresh Pizza Dough or go for something more unique (and gluten free) with the Polenta Pizza Crust or the Cauliflower Pizza Crust.
We recently hosted a big brunch for family and friends who came from out of town for my daughter Maddie’s Bat Mitzvah. After the brunch, I was left with a good deal of beautiful fresh strawberries so I spent a few days whirring them into smoothies. This one, made with Silk soy milk is a new favorite.
I train with weights most weekday mornings, and I like to eat something that is high in protein when I return home. Why? Because protein provides energy and is essential for growth, repair, and maintenance of lean muscle tissue. Silk Soymilk contains 8 grams of protein per cup so this smoothie is great as a post workout drink. (If I’m looking to boost the protein further, I sometimes add some protein powder.)
Smoothies weren’t that appealing in the winter, but now that the weather is warm, I am really enjoying them. In addition to the protein content, another great thing about this Strawberry Date Smoothie is it’s made with just 3 ingredients and can easily be varied. Add a few leaves of lettuce or kale for a green smoothie, or mix up the fruit: I also love it with dried cherries.
Recipe for Strawberry Date Silk Smoothie
*1 heaping cup of fresh strawberries, sliced in half
*4 pitted dates, preferably Deglet Noor
*1 cup of Silk soy milk (I used the Original flavor)
*1 cup of ice
*1 teaspoon of all-natural jam for added sweetness- optional (try strawberry, raspberry, or another flavor; I used a spoonful of this jam-like preserved rose petals)
Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until the desired consistency is reached. Add additional ice for a thicker smoothie and more liquid for a thinner one.
Be sure to check out the Silk website, where you can sign up for a coupon for $.75 off of your Silk soymilk purchase!
Disclosure: This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.
Maria Speck‘s award-winning first cookbook Ancient Grains for Modern Meals is one of my favorites, so I was extremely pleased when I heard Maria was writing a follow up. Her new book is called Simply Ancient Grains: Fresh and Flavorful Whole Grain Recipes for Living Well and I am happy to say this book is just as lovely as the first. It features beautiful, innovative ways to fit grains including amaranth, buckwheat, freekeh, millet, quinoa, sorghum, and teff into your life.
Ancient grains are wholesome and versatile staple foods, and Maria will inspire you to think way outside the box with recipes such as Burgundy Bulger with Blueberries and Orange Blossom Water, Sweet Potato and Oat Cakes with Blue Cheese and Sage, and Lemony Millet Pudding with Caramelized Grapes. I made her gorgeous Quinoa Salad with Roasted Beets for a family gathering and it quickly disappeared…I am certain you will have a similar experience with her recipes :)
Pacific Foods makes a variety of non-dairy beverages and they recently sent me some of their new organic coconut milks.
I’ve only ever purchased coconut milk in cans before, and I use those cans for soups and other recipes where I am looking for a creamy product with really distinct coconut taste. Pacific’s coconut milk is entirely different. It tastes light, mildly sweet (it’s sweetened with coconut water only), and quite hydrating/refreshing. It contains notable amounts of vitamin b12, vitamin D, and potassium, as well.
I’ve been playing around with different oatmeal recipes lately, and decided to try cooking my steel-cut oats in Pacific’s Original Coconut Milk instead of water or regular milk. I like how the coconut milk imparted a subtle sweetness to the cooked oatmeal. I portioned out the steel-cut oats cooked with coconut milk and added pomegranate seeds, toasted walnuts, plain yogurt, and a little unsweetened coconut as a garnish, then drizzled some pomegranate molasses on top to finish. So good!