What do you think of when you think summer? Hot sunny days? Warm rainy nights? The beach? Camping? I like to think of fresh cut grass, barbeques and farmers` markets! Juicy strawberries, watermelon, blueberries, and tomatoes are just a few of the mouth-watering foods I look forward to in summer. Sure, we can buy these all year long from grocery stores, where they’ve been imported from California or Mexico. But, it’s not the same. Buying local, fresh produce is tastier, it supports our farming community and it’s better for the planet. These are all great reasons to visit your local farmers` market today.
Got a green finger? Plant your own garden! To find out what fruits and vegetables are in season now, you can download a handy guide at www.foodland.gov.on.ca/english/availability.html.
It’s always better to buy organic when you can. For a list of the 12 worst offenders, see the Dirty Dozen list at http://static.foodnews.org/pdf/EWG-shoppers-guide.pdf. So, go ahead and get in the dirt, or visit a farmers` market today. Here are a few of my favorite seasonal recipes.
Sauteed Vegetable Chicken Pizza
Asparagus, onion and greenhouse bell peppers are all in season May and June
12 asparagus spears, cut into ½ inch pieces
One onion, sliced
1 red or yellow pepper, chopped
2 small or one large chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces (about one cup)
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp oregano
2 medium or one large pizza crust (it is better to make your own pizza crust if you can. But, when time is an issue, it’s ok to buy something premade. Choose a whole grain, or gluten free pizza crust depending on your preference. You can also use pita or naan bread.)
Tomato sauce (about ¼ cup, adjusted to taste)
Mozzarella cheese, grated (about ¼ cup, adjusted to taste)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Add coconut oil to a large skillet and sauté the asparagus, onion and peppers for five minutes over medium heat. Add the chicken and oregano, continuing to sauté for another 10 minutes.
Spread tomato sauce on crust and top with chicken, sautéed vegetables and cheese. Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the crust has browned.
Option: top with sprouts before serving.
Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet potatoes are always in season!
1 medium sweet potato
1 tbsp olive oil
Preheat oven to 450 F. Grease baking pan with ½ of the oil. Peel sweet potato, cut into sticks and place them in a bowl. Use the rest of the oil to drizzle and coat the potato sticks (use your hands to evenly distribute the oil). Arrange them on the pan and bake for 15 – 20 minutes.
Beets, carrots, cucumber, snow peas and lettuce are all in season July – September
3 beets, peeled and cut into strips
1 tsp olive oil
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 cucumber, sliced
1/2 cup snow peas (tips removed)
Leaf lettuce or mixed greens
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 lemon (juice of)
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp ground mustard
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp honey
Rub the beets with olive oil and bake them at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. Allow them to cool.
Prepare the carrots, cucumber, peas and mix them together in a bowl. Combine all dressing ingredients and whisk until well blended. Place carrot, cucumber and peas on a bed of greens, top with beets, feta cheese and drizzle with dressing.
by Karen Stoyles, RHN
Karen is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, military wife, mother and owner of Nature Prenatal. You may visit her website at www.natureprenatal.com for more recipes and information on her services.