Simple Summer Salads

It’s hot outside and we have reached the point of the year I don’t even want to turn on the stovetop, let alone the oven, for fear of heating up the house too much.  There are many ways to beat the heat such as swimming, staying indoors except in the early morning hours or late evening hours, use a fan, cool and light fabrics, etc. Stay hydrated as well.  Whether you drink your water or eat it, it’s important to increase your water intake to stay cool.  The foods you eat play a bigger part in keeping you cool than you may think though.

Sweet foods are important as they encourage moisture in the body which in turn keeps you cooler. Adding more sweet foods does not mean add honey or sugar to everything, or only eat processed sugars, it means consuming more naturally sweet foods.  Fully ripened fruits are a great way to add natural sweetness to your diet.  The farmer’s market is in full swing.  Stop by and see what you can find.  Good options are grapes, pineapple, watermelon or any melon, cherries, pears and mangos.  Now, you aren’t going to find all of those at the farmer’s market, but you will find some and you can also check out Miss Mary’s Market for more.  For an added cool down, freeze your fruit to enjoy in the afternoon.  Whether you freeze it into a popsicle or freeze the fruit for a smoothie or even just eat the fruit itself, it’s an easy way to stay cool!

Bitter flavors are great to quell heat because they have drying properties. They cool us off by drying any cloying sweat or dampness from accumulated moisture. Look for broccoli, green beans, zucchini, asparagus and leafy vegetables like dandelion, kale or collard greens.

Astringent foods are preventative. They are drying just like bitter foods, but in a deeper way — they actually help to stop the spread of warmth rather than just quell any heat.  Pick up some apples, pomegranates, cranberries or artichokes.  Legumes of any sort will do, but kidney beans, peas, adzuki, chick peas and lentils are far more effective. 

Don’t forget the spices when cooking, just make sure you pick the right ones.  Dill, cinnamon, fennel, mint, cardamom and coriander are all great choices.  Definitely stay away from hot spices such as cayenne and mustard seed as we all know they will heat you up. Also, try using coconut oil or sunflower oil instead of canola for a lighter taste.

You don’t have to eat the food to get benefits from it.  Apply a yogurt mask to your face next time you get hot.  It will cool you off and make your skin glow at the same time!  Don’t forget the cucumber slices for your eyes.  Not only will it reduce the bags and dark circles, it will also leave your tired eyes refreshed after a long day at the office.

Make sure you eat lighter meals.  The more you eat, the more energy, and therefore heat, your body has to produce to digest it.  Don’t be afraid to eat several smaller meals a day instead of a couple large ones.  You can still have a hot meal if you wish without turning on the oven.  Bust out the slow cooker and let it cook away.  It won’t heat the house near as badly and you don’t have to stand over it while it cooks.  Make your grocery list and meet me in the kitchen this weekend for easy summer recipes that won’t heat the kitchen.

 

Shrimp & Pasta Caesar Salad

Mixed greens, I like a kale, arugula, baby spinach blend.

Pasta, cooked and drained

Tomato, diced

Hardboiled egg, sliced or diced

Croutons

Shrimp

Shredded cheese

¼ cup mayo

¼ cup Caesar dressing

1 tsp. garlic powder

Tortilla strips

Mix Caesar dressing, mayo and garlic powder in small bowl. Taste and adjust as desired. Refrigerate until ready to use. In individual bowls, place handful of greens. Top with pasta. Add tomato and egg as well as croutons, shrimp and cheese.  Add dressing to taste and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to use or serve immediately. Add tortilla strips and croutons just before serving.

 

Taco Salad

Taco meat, prepared as desired

Romaine lettuce, shredded or sliced

Tomato, diced

Shredded cheese

Avocado, pitted and sliced

Red onion, diced

2 cups sour cream

1 cup chunky salsa, more or less to taste. If I am being honest, I don’t measure it. I just pour until it looks right.

Tortilla strips

Mix sour cream and salsa in small bowl. Taste and add more salsa as desired. In individual bowls, place lettuce. Top with taco meat.  Top with tomato and onion and sliced avocado. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and tortilla strips. Top with sour cream/salsa mixture. Enjoy!

 

Simple Summer Salad

Romaine lettuce

2 large strawberries

1 mandarin orange, peeled and separated

Apple slices, diced

Feta cheese crumbles

Honey vinaigrette

In individual bowls, place lettuce. Top with sliced strawberries, orange slices and diced apples. Sprinkle with cheese. Drizzle with vinaigrette to taste. Blueberries or blackberries are also good on this. You can also add sunflower or chai seeds or toasted pecans. Yum!

 

Melon Salad

1 cup diced watermelon

1 cup diced honeydew melon

1 cup cantaloupe

Salt and pepper to taste

1Tbsp. lemon or lime juice

2 Tbsps. honey, more or less to taste

In large bowl, add all fruit. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to mix well. In small bowl, combine honey and juice. Whisk to combine. Pour over fruit. Toss to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.