Monthly Archives: June 2016

Cucumber and Melon Summer Salad

It’s summer, it’s hot, I’m busy and I don’t have time to spend a lot of time on meal preparation! However, I still want (need) to eat in a way that makes me feel healthy and strong.

A few weeks ago I concocted this refreshingly simple salad.  I made a large batch and ate it as a light lunch or a side to a larger meal for several days in a row.  Actually, the salad is better the second day since the flavors begin to meld (if making a large batch wait to add dressing until just before eating). It’s light, has minimal ingredients, it’s quick to prepare, tastes great and most importantly makes me feel super human!

If you are going to eat it as a meal, add some type of nuts.  I roasted some sunflower seeds with thyme and added them just before eating.

Simple and refreshing!

Simple and refreshing!

Ingredients

1 Cantaloupe

6-10 Green Onions (depending on how much you like onions)

4 organic cucumbers (conventional have wax on the skin. if you are using them make sure to peel them first)

1 lime- juiced

1/4 cup oil (I used sunflower oil but EVOO would work too)

salt to taste

Roasted chopped nuts (optional. 1/4 cup per serving)

Method:

Dice cantaloupe and cucumbers into bite size pieces.  Chop onions (including the green parts). Toss all ingredients into a bowl and add oil, lime and salt to taste.  That’s it kids, your done and ready to munch!

This is best enjoyed outdoors. I like to eat most of my meals on the deck during the summer- Hey you have to take advantage of every glorious minute of a Minnesota summer!!

 

Revisiting Maggie’s Pumpkin Bread

Like I said in my last post; I love cake!  Sweet with a tender crumb that is accompanied with the nostalgia of childhood memories.  MMMM!  Nothing fits the bill better than my grandma Maggie’s pumpkin bread recipe with a few tweeks – don’t worry; she would approve!  She would have been a fan of clean eating.  She grew up on a self sustaining farm and then ran one with my grandpa for the majority of their life in Popple Creek, MN.  My mom recalls “fond” memories of no indoor bathroom, chicken feet soup, a garden the size of football field, canning, chicken butchering day, bread baking day and laundry day.  It was work just to live and everything they ate came from the farm.  Granted – that was when white sugar and white flour prevailed as the “cleaner” option.  Grandma Maggie was never wealthy, but she was never without a smile either(:  She used to say, “No matter how poor you are, you can always afford soap!”  I took this to mean there is no excuse for not taking care of yourself, your family and your home(:

Maggie’s pumpkin bread was a staple sweet accompaniment at everything holiday gathering; spicy, sweet and sometimes studded with toasted walnuts.

Pumpkin is such a powerhouse food, it is the perfect companion to the healthy stand ins that I have replaced the traditional refined ingredients with.

Like the Sinfully Scented Wholesome Banana Bread that I posted, this sweet treat will not only satisfy the treat craving inner child, it will provide complex carbohydrates and lots of fiber to provide sustained energy needed for the demands of today’s busy life.  This Bread is amazing topped with Coconut Cashew Ice Cream – it kind of reminds me of a “Little Debbie” Oatmeal Cream Pie!  Another confession: I used to love those.  For the extra hungry times, I add a little nut butter to increase the staying power(:

Ingredients:

2 cups brown rice flour (any whole grain flour will do)

1/2 cup oat flour (you could use all one or the other – but this combo gives a nice texture that is tender but not overly fragile)

1/3 cup flax meal

1/4 cup date or coconut sugar

1 1/4 tsp salt

3/8 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp cinnamon

3/8 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp cardamom

1 cup toasted walnuts or pecans (optional – a good way to boost the protein and healthy fats)

1/2 cup pure maple syrup (you can substitute honey – but maple flavoring pairs so well with pumpkin – it is really my preference)

1/3 cup coconut oil melted

1/2 cup almond or cashew milk (plain yogurt works well too)

3 local, free range eggs

1 can or 1 1/3 cup pumpkin or squash

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Use coconut oil to grease bottom and only 1″ up the sides of a 9 x 5″ loaf pan.  Dust greased portion with barley flour.

Whisk dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer or regular bowl – beat date sugar, maple syrup, coconut oil and flax.  Beat in milk or yogurt and eggs until thoroughly combined.

Mix in 1/3 of the dry ingredients until no streaks remain.  Follow with 1/2 of pumpkin.  Mix in another 1/3 of the dry ingredients.  Mix in the last 1/2 of the pumpkins and end with the he last 1/3 of the dry ingredients.

Stir in nuts if using.

Turn batter into prepared pan.  Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

It is done when firm to the touch and a tooth pick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

It is done when firm to the touch and a tooth pick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes.  Loosen the sides with a butter knife and remove from pan to cool completely on wire rack.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and slip inside ziploc bag to store in the fridge for at least 1 week.  Freeze for longer storage.

Tender, spicy and lightly sweet this cleaned up sweet bread melts in your mouth!

Tender, spicy and lightly sweet this cleaned up sweet bread melts in your mouth!

I have even brought this bread into the BWCA on a trip with my brother.  It makes a great dessert or breakfast accompaniment while camping – add a little smear of nut butter for added staying power!

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Sunning it up on a cool Boundary Waters evening – can’t wait for the next adventure!