Monday, July 9, 2012

Delicious Without Cooking and Fun Without Electricity

Wherever you’re reading this from, you might just agree with me that this weekend was hot. Extremely hot. The kind of hot that gets you nervous about the whole global warming thing.
In this kind of weather, hot meals sound pretty unappealing, as does cooking because it will just make your small Brooklyn apartment feel even more like an oven. So in these scorching months, I think salads are the way to go! Not only are they healthy and delicious, depending on what you put on them, they might require no cooking at all. You’ll also save a ton of money if you purchase the goodies to top them off with in bulk at the store or local farmers market. The salad restaurants can cost an arm and a leg if you like about 10 toppings like I do!

Here’s a list I’ve come up with for some excellent, no need to cook, toppings for your super healthy summer salad:
Black beans
Fresh berries
Almonds (or any nut that you enjoy)
Croutons (my personal favorite)
Sesame sticks
Canned tuna
Salsa/mango salsa
Mandarin Oranges
Mix and match these for countless flavor combinations, and you’ll never eat a boring salad again!

Now all you need is the dressing, although with toppings this good, you could probably skip it!

Here’s a couple recipes for simple, healthy dressings to make at home:

Basil Vinaigrette Dressing
         1 cup olive oil
         1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
         1/4 cup honey
         3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
         2 cloves garlic, minced

Japanese Ginger Salad Dressing
         1 cup olive oil
         1/4 cup soy sauce
         1 lemon, juiced
         3 cloves garlic, minced
         3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
         1 teaspoon prepared Dijon-style mustard
         2 teaspoons honey
         ground black pepper to taste

Now all you need to follow up your refreshing and healthy salad is a fun activity that will keep you cool and doesn’t require much electricity.

Here are a few of my favorites, or some ideas that I’ll be trying out this season:
Board games
Nighttime or early morning walks
Water balloons
Arts and Crafts
Yoga – inside or out
Letter writing
…and of course, going out for ice cream!

Summer is my favorite season because it’s my personal reminder to slow down (because you really can’t move too fast in the heat) and enjoy the simple things. Nothing sounds better to me in the summer than fresh fruit, or a cool salad. Also, I love going outside, when it’s not too hot, and enjoying nature. While I know not everyone is with me on this, I’m not a fan of just staying in the air-conditioning, so it’s a fun challenge to discover new and fun ways to beat but also enjoy the heat. As long as you put the sunscreen on and stay hydrated, I say enjoy the summer!

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