Eat the Seasons | August
We are closing in on the tail end of summer now that August is in full affect. Crazy to imagine, right? A lot of your kids will be going back to school soon. If you didn’t get that great summer vacation in, while the kids were on break, you’re thinking of ways to make it even more epic next year. Though we don’t have kids, I owe Adam and our dogs a killer vacation to a warm beach next year; “warm” being the key. California isn’t short on beaches, but it does lack water that’s warm enough to go into without a thermo-suit. It’s been 3 years since we’ve relaxed near our favorite beach in Charleston, sipping on mimosas, so I definitely owe Adam a trip back.
Wow, I can’t believe it’s been 3 whole years. That also means 3 whole years paying for a storage unit that’s still down there… I have got to get my stuff back, like yesterday! Half of the unit is consumed by my cooking supplies and with all of the amazing produce out there for the month of August, I would love to have my gadgets, great knives, beautiful dishes… oh and most of all, my kitchen aid! I miss you Kitchen Aid and I’ve not forgotten you. I will come for you and when I do, we will have days filled with baking and mixing stuff.
Sorry, I digress. Talking to an inanimate object probably isn’t the best way to prove my sanity.
Like I mentioned before, the August harvest brings in loads of great produce to the farmer’s markets and grocery stores. These are the days to get your fill of heat-loving produce before the fall days set in and there’s a great chill in the air. Which means pumpkins, apples, gourds, root veggies and more. Right now, I’m fully loving the ample supply of tropical fruits, berries, tomatoes, herbs and so much more! The best part, is that they have so many great health benefits. Writing this post each month has opened my eyes to the importance of incorporating fresh, organic fruits and vegetables into our diets.
Now, when I snack on an apple or a handful of almonds instead of the usual junk food that tempts me from afar, I feel good about that decision, because I know what it’s doing for my body.
Remember that what’s in season is different for each region and state. Here we mainly focus on California. To find out what’s fresh in your neck of the woods, check out Sustainable Table or Epicurious. Both offer up some very in depth information.
With love, from my kitchen to yours!
Almonds are a powerhouse of nutrients and considered “energy-dense”, mainly when eaten raw. They provide a so many things that we often lack in our standard American diet, such as protective phytosterol antioxidants, healthy amounts of magnesium, vitamin E riboflavin, fiber and protein. Eating almonds can help lower cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels. On top of that, if you are looking to curb your hunger and promote weight loss, than a handful of almonds is your best friend. The benefits of eating ¼ cup of raw almonds a day is endless, so I highly recommend you head out and stock up. I love just eating them plain, but if you want to spice things up, here are some great recipes to incorporate this superfood.
Almond Apple Quinoa Salad | by Chelsea’s Messy Apron
Roasted Almond Crusted Salmon with Pomegranate Glaze | by How Sweet It Is
Raw Almond Butter Cups | by Oh She Glows
Carrot Almond Salad (Fresh Turmeric + Coconut Dressing) | by Viktoria’s Table
Basil is probably one of the most well known herbs on the plant. I put in on everything I cook. But did you know that these tender little leaves play an even bigger game in the health department. Loaded with vitamin A (beta-carotene), vitamin C and K, copper, calcium, iron, magnesium, folate, and omega-3 fatty acids, Basil (preferable Holy Basil) can help us out a lot! Benefits range from anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, fever-reducing, liver protecting (definitley need that) stress-reducing, cancer-fighting, diabetes preventer and seriously so much more! This is one bad a@$ little herb and adding it into your diets with some of these great recipes will impact your health in great ways!
10 Minute White Bean Artichoke Basil Toasts | by Pinch of Yum
10 Minute Thai Basil Chicken (Gai Pad Krapow) | by The Woks of Life
Creamy Avocado Basil Pesto | by Ambitious Kitchen
Nectarine Pizza with Fresh Basil and Reduced Balsamic | by Alexandra Cooks
Strawberry Basil Homemade Frozen Yogurt | by Joyful Healthy Eats
Ah, grapes. The wondrous berry that sacrifices itself so I can enjoy a delicious glass of wine. Though drinking wine made from your everyday-grocery-store varietal is not recommended, this sweet little gems is packed with powerful antioxidants, that can help fight against heart disease. This is why your doctor encourages a glass of wine per day, to help give your body that extra boost. Unfortunately, my doctors tirelessly have to remind me that the benefits stop at ONE glass and just because the bottle is made of glass, doesn’t count. So if you can stick to that one glass of wine, or do love to snack on grapes all day, the benefits are awesome. Think vitamin K, C, B-6 and thiamine. Minerals such as potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron and calcium. Who knew grape held so much power? Oh, if you do stock up on grapes, make sure to grab the red or black ones. They tend to have more nutrients than the green ones. Check out these great recipes highlighting grapes:
Roasted Grape Crostini with Goat Cheese and Walnuts | by Healthy Seasonal Recipes
Rosemary Roasted Chicken with Roasted Grapes | by Steele House Kitchen
Purple Grape & Rosemary Sorbet | by Wallflower Girl
Arugula Salad with Grapes and Black Pepper Vinaigrette | by Pinch of Yum
Savory Fig and Grape Tart | by Kitchen Confident
To some of you Kale is that strange, curly little creature you see playing an “extra” when parsley can’t make it to the “garnish show” at some out-of-date restaurant (no offense, if you are that restaurant, but it’s time to let this look go), Kale scares people and most can’t eat it, if it’s not ladened with a load of butter. But I’m here to tell you that Kale is better than that piece of garnish you scoff and push to the side. Did you know that in one serving (3 oz.), Kale steals the show with nearly 3 grams of protein, yet ZERO fat? It also boasts some serious vitamin A, C, K , calcium, Folate and B vitamin. Folate and B vitamin are essential for the brain’s development. So stop forcing kids to eat their peas, instead, start them on the Kale train early!
Per calorie, Kale has more iron than beef, which is great for the vegetarians out there! And just like almonds, Kale rocks powerful antioxidants that can help protect against certain types of cancer. Stop hiding this leafy green under your chicken parmesan and start incorporating it into your everyday meals for that extra detoxifying, health punch we all need. Here are some great recipes to get you started:
Tomato Inferno Pasta with Kale Pesto | by Earthsprout
Capsicum, Kale and Feta Frittata | by Delicious
Simple Kale and Black Bean Burritos | by Cookie + Kate
Kale Salad with Apples and Hazelnuts | by Food 52
I’m obsessed with mangos. There’s nothing better than snacking on a ripe mango – peel and all. It’s just my luck that their juicy, sweet flavor isn’t all they have going for themselves. Known to contain powerful antioxidant compounds that help to protect against various cancers. The high levels of fiber, pectin and vitamin C help lower serum cholesterol levels.
It does wonders for clearing the skin, both internally and externally. A great source of vitamin A which benefits the immune system, eyes and skin. Mangos are rich in iron, copper, potassium and magnesium. With all of these benefits and more, I’m headed to the store to stock up.
Chicken and Green Mango Thai Salad | by Jamie Oliver
Grilled Lime Salmon with Avocado-Mango Salsa and Coconut Rice | by Cooking Classy
Mango Chicken Lettuce Wraps | by B. Britnell
Caribbean Cabbage Mango Slaw (great served with shrimp tacos) | by Feasting at Home
Mango Guacamole | by Fit Foodie Finds
Mango Tart (GF, Paleo, Vegan) | by Bakerita
Chia Seed Pudding with Mango & Coconut | by FitBit blog
Is it just me or are there a crazy amount of new melon varietals in the farmer’s markets these days, than ever before? Growing up, we had watermelon and cantaloupe, that was it. I picked up a few of these new varietals and was blown away by their sweet, refreshing flavors. Melons have an incredibly low calorie count, so snacking on these new varietals is the perfect treat. Melons also have a high amount of vitamin C (65mg per 1 cup), an antioxidant vitamin vital for growth and maintenance of all tissues in your body.
Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Potassium and the powerful antioxidant lycopene can all be found when consuming melons. They are great for digestion, maintaining healthy skin, weight loss, preventing heart disease and a wide range of other benefits. Check out these recipes below for delicious and healthy ways to incorporate melons into your meals:
Jerk Shrimp Tacos with Spicy Melon Salsa | by How Sweet It Is
Grilled Chicken Breasts with Honeydew Salsa | by Bon Appetit
Melon Rice Noodle Salad | by Kraut-Kopf
Melon Caprese Skewers | by What’s Gaby Cooking
Fig, Melon, and Spanish Ham Salad with Basil | by Serious Eats
Salted and Spiced Melon | by Bon Appetit
Plums and Pluots
This mighty little stone fruit is beneficial for many reasons. For starters, they are very low in calories and fat. Which is great for those of us trying to watch what we eat. Our snack bar at work has been calling my name lately and I’ve been answering. I may need to stock up on the guys as a much healthier option!
Plums and pluots are a great source of Vitamin C (for immune system health) and Vitamin A (for vision and bone growth). So many of us lack these vitamins in our daily diet, so a single plum or pluot per day will make a huge impact! Plums and pluots are high in soluble fiber that help to keep blood sugar levels consistent, which is benefitial for anyone with type 2 diabetes. If you are looking for yummy ways to incorporate more stone fruits into your diet, check out the following recipes:
Jicama, Radish, and Pickled Plum Salad | by Bon Appetit
Honey Roasted Plums with Thyme and Olive Oil | by The Iron You
Goat Cheese Honey Stuffed Plums | by Running to the Kitchen
Pluot Summer Salad | by 101 Cookbooks
Spareribs with Blackberry & Pluot Molasses | by Wilde Flavors
Gluten Free Olive Oil & Pluot Cake | by Eat Your Beets