Monthly Archives: May 2016

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Slow Cooker Recipes for the Summer!

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We may be heading toward summer, but don’t relegate your slow cooker to the dark recesses of the storage cabinet. I know, I know, the slow cooker is ideal for fall and winter. The weather’s getting pretty hot now. Who wants to chow down on thick stews?

Well, no one, of course. But, if that’s all you think the slow cooker is good for, your sadly mistaken. I admit, I was that person, too. Literally, for years, I would pack my slow cooker away every spring and then dust it off every fall. But no more!

The slow cooker is as useful throughout the summertime as it is all winter. Think: pulled pork sandwiches, corn on the cob, a light frittata, cinnamon buns … all this and so much more can be cooked up in your slow cooker. The best part? You don’t have to heat up your kitchen at all!

Tell me, what are your favorite summertime slow cooker recipes?

Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwich

Pick up some thick, Italian-style buns, load them up with a good helping of this pulled pork, and top with citrus coleslaw! Alternatively, wrap the filling in warm tortillas.

1 – 5lb pork roast (a cheaper cut will work just fine here)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce

1-1/2 cups beef broth

1/4 cup brewed coffee

  • Sprinkle roast with salt and pepper. Place inside the slow cooker bowl. Add remaining ingredients.
  • Cook at Low for 6 to 8 hours, until fork tender. Adjust cooking time according to the size of your slow cooker.
  • Carefully lift roast onto a cutting board. Using two forks, pull meat apart.

Citrus Coleslaw

1/2 green cabbage, shredded

1/2 red cabbage, shredded

2 carrots, shredded

1/4 fennel bulb, shredded

1 orange, zest and juice

1 lime, zest and juice

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Salt

Pepper

  • Toss the first three ingredients in a large bowl until well mixed.
  • Add orange and lime juices and zest. Stir till well combined.
  • Season to taste.
  • Garnish with cilantro.

Let sit for about an hour. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Corn On The Cob

6 ears of corn (Or however many fit into your slow cooker. Corn can be broken in half if that helps them fit better.)

  • Wrap each cob in foil.
  • Cook on Low for 5 to 7 hours.

 

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The Latest Kitchen Countertop Design Trends

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Kitchen countertops have come a long way since the days of formica, various kinds of plastics or even particleboard! Now, natural materials have become the materials of choice – granite, marble and wood. I’d be very surprised if any of those go out of style soon. Consumers like the fact that natural products are often renewable resources, environmentally friendly and beautiful to look at.

Care, however, can be an issue. Natural stone and wood surfaces must be treated and oiled at least once per year. Beware of hot pots, sharp knives or food splatters. Any of those can cause irreparable damage in a moment of distraction. Despite the dangers, though, many people opt for these countertops, and they’re often installed automatically in newly-built homes. Stone surfaces, especially, can be expensive. But, with proper care, they will last a lifetime and always look as beautiful as the day they were first installed.

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Do you love natural countertops but are put off by the cost? Then you’ll be very happy to know that there’s a less expensive way to own stone counters. Instead of purchasing a counter that is made completely from stone, you can choose a thin layer of stone that can be laid directly on top of your existing countertop.

Hybrid, or engineered, kitchen counters have become increasingly popular. These countertops are made by mixing polymers with glass, stone or plastic. Color and veining are added to match your kitchen design and preferences. Made to be nonporous (so stains won’t sink in!), hygienic and impact-resistant, this kind of countertop is less expensive than natural stone or wood, but can be much easier to care for.

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Finally, just as popular this year as stone, wood and hybrid countertop materials is stainless steel. The concept of the professional kitchen in the home has not faded. Stainless steel looks clean, is hygienic and will not scratch or dent easily. Some people do complain that stainless steel makes the kitchen look cold, clinical and uninviting. But, with the right accent materials, like warm wooden cabinets and a natural stone backsplash, stainless steel will look stunning.

There are so many choices in countertops available today. Better yet, there’s really no right or wrong answer to the design choice you make. The ultimate trend is to build your kitchen space according to the materials and colors that make you happy.

So, which countertop material is your favorite?

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Healthy Memorial Day Recipes

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Summer may not have arrived officially, but there’s no denying that this Memorial Day long weekend is the kick-off to summer. It’s just one more reason to get outside and soak up the beautiful weather.

Picnics, barbecues, watermelon-eating contests … there’s so much to do this weekend.

Parades, of course, are a staple of Memorial Day celebrations. Nearly every town across the country hosts one. Take some time out of your weekend to gather with friends and family and take in the marching bands.

Like the Fourth of July, Memorial Day is a fantastic opportunity to decorate your home with the red, white and blue. Flags and streamers will lend a festive feel to your party. Get the kids involved, too. They can help with decorating. Have them cut poppies out of red paper and stick them onto a wall in a pretty wreathe formation. Did you know that flying the flag at half-mast from dawn until noon is a longstanding tradition on Memorial Day?

Are you ready for an afternoon of games? Hide and Seek, Capture the Flag, Four Square, Red Rover, Hopscotch … I could go on and on, and so can you, no doubt. When family and friends get together, fun spontaneously happens. What are some of the games you and your family like to play on this long weekend?

So, you’ve seen the parade; you’ve played a lot of games and had more fun than you’ve had in a while. But, now you’re hungry!

The beauty of the Memorial Day holiday is that it falls in late May when it’s warm enough to eat outdoors, which means you can opt for a picnic instead of slaving over a hot stove! Building meals around healthful ingredients not only keeps you and your family healthy, it allows everyone the opportunity to enjoy the best of ripe and flavorful local produce.

Curried Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Thanks to the great people at My Recipes for this fabulous light and filling sandwich idea. Makes 8 sandwiches.

1/2 cup light mayonnaise

1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 cups shredded cooked chicken breast

1/2 cup seedless red grapes, halved

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

1 (8-ounce) can pineapple tidbits in juice, drained

1/3 cup diced red onion

16 slices whole wheat Double-Fiber bread

8 lettuce leaves

  • Stir together mayonnaise, yogurt, curry powder, lemon juice and salt.
  • In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients, except for the bread and lettuce.
  • Add the mayonnaise mixture into the chicken mixture. Stir to mix well.
  • Place a large spoonful of the chicken mixture onto a slice of bread. Top with a lettuce leaf and the other slice of bread. Continue until all sandwiches have been made.

Store in the refrigerator or enjoy right away.

Confetti Slaw with Poppy-Seed Dressing

Although coleslaw is a picnic staple, this one (courtesy of Health.com) is a healthier version because it cuts out the mayonnaise. Serves 4.

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons honey

1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill

1 teaspoon poppy seeds

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 cup thinly sliced green cabbage

1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage

1/2 cup pre-cut matchstick carrots

  • Stir together the cider vinegar, honey, mustard, dill, poppy seeds, olive oil, salt and pepper; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, add green cabbage, red cabbage and carrots. Still until well mixed. Pour dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss till combined.

Fun Recipes to Make with Kids

The school year is waning, and soon children will be out for the summer. Parents often find it a bit challenging to come up with activities for their kids once school has been let out for the summer and the kids are wild and free. Most likely, much of your kids’ summer will be sent with other kids, enjoying their free time near the pool and enjoying the great outdoors, but if you’re like most parents, you like to plan a few things to do with the kids in your off hours. Things get hectic during the school season and it’s hard to squeeze in quality time with the kids. Mom and dad’s jobs may not stop during the summer months, but you may find that you have more time for your kids without the stress of enforcing homework, baths and bedtimes in lieu of school the next morning, and bedtimes might become more flexible with the constant “weekend” vibe going on.

So, what are some great activities to do with kids over the summer months? A great option is to utilize the kids’ help in readying the meals for the day. Kids like to feel useful and they especially enjoy getting to help out with “big people” tasks. Most kids offer their assistance in your cooking and baking activities as it is, so why not find great recipes that will be easy for them to help out with, create ways for you to spend quality time, and serve a purpose all at the same time? So, what kinds of recipes work best for making with the kids’ in mind? Check out the recipes below for some easy-to-make, picky-eater-friendly recipes.

Stick Stacks
These can be as diverse or as simple as you want them to be, but the main idea is to have finger foods that your child can push onto the stick. Fruit, mini pancakes, and more fruit often work, or you could do a kabob-like recipe with your choice of meats.
Stick Stacks                                                    Photo Credit: Parenting.com

Ingredients:
1 ¾ cups unbleached all purpose flour
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons flax meal
Pinch of ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 cup milk
4 strawberries, cut widthwise into thin slices
2 kiwis, peeled and sliced widthwise into circles
¼ cup blueberries
4 skewers

Instructions:

  1. Chant “Pancakes! Pancakes!” as you combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, flax meal and cinnamon.
  2. Combine the eggs and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Add the butter and milk. Slowly add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until smooth. Chill in the freezer for 5 minutes.
  3. Preheat a griddle to low. Lightly spray the griddle with nonstick spray. Ladle the pancake mixture onto the griddle to make 2-inch mini pancakes.
  4. When the pancakes start to bubble lightly and the edges turn golden brown, flip them over. All bitty bakers should flip around the kitchen, as if they were just flipped with a spatula. Cook on the other side for one to two more minutes, until the pancakes come off the griddle easily with a spatula.
  5. Layer the pancakes and fruit on the skewers. Dip in maple syrup and eat one layer at a time.

Recipe via All Recipes

Multi-Decker Dessert
This may not be the favorite dessert choice for the adults in the room, but the kids will have a blast constructing this towering dessert, and with the right ingredients, it could make for a semi-healthy, and easy to slice snack.

Multi Decker Dessert

Photo Credit: Parenting.com

Ingredients:
1 ¾ cups unbleached all purpose flour
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons flax meal
Pinch of ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 cup milk
4 strawberries, cut widthwise into thin slices
2 kiwis, peeled and sliced widthwise into circles
¼ cup blueberries
4 skewers

Instructions:

  1. Chant “Pancakes! Pancakes!” as you combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, flax meal and cinnamon.
  2. Combine the eggs and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Add the butter and milk. Slowly add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until smooth. Chill in the freezer for 5 minutes.
  3. Preheat a griddle to low. Lightly spray the griddle with nonstick spray. Ladle the pancake mixture onto the griddle to make 2-inch mini pancakes.
  4. When the pancakes start to bubble lightly and the edges turn golden brown, flip them over. All bitty bakers should flip around the kitchen, as if they were just flipped with a spatula. Cook on the other side for one to two more minutes, until the pancakes come off the griddle easily with a spatula.
  5. Layer the pancakes and fruit on the skewers. Dip in maple syrup and eat one layer at a time.

Recipe via All Recipes

French Bread Pizza
What kid doesn’t like pizza? Pizza is a favorite among most kids, and your kids will love getting to help you craft their best version of pizza. The easiest way to do this is by getting a bunch of flat bread pizzas and providing an array of sides. Let your kids pick what toppings they want on their pizzas, and then stick in the oven.

Flatbread Pizza

Photo Credit: Buzzfeed.com

Ingredients:
6 whole Deli Rolls Or Crusty Italian Rolls
Jarred Marinara Sauce Or Pizza Sauce
Jarred Or Refrigerated Pesto
2 pounds Mozzarella Cheese, Grated
Grated Parmesan Cheese To Taste
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 whole Onion, Sliced
1/2 pound Sausage (regular Breakfast Sausage Or Italian Sausage)
Pepperoni Slices
Canadian Bacon Slices
Pineapple Chunks, Fresh Or Canned
Roma Tomatoes, Sliced
Sliced Black Olives
Optional Ingredients: Goat Cheese, Sliced Bell Peppers, Various Cheeses, Pepperoncinis, Jalapeno Slices, Diced Red Onion, Any Other Pizza Topping You’d Like!

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Slice rolls in half and lay them, cut side up, on a large baking sheet.
Top each half with a generous portion of either marinara or pesto. Next, top with a generous amount of grated mozzarella and Parmesan, if you’d like.
Add whatever toppings you’d like on top of the cheese!
Once all assembled, put the pan in the oven on the lowest rack for 8 to 10 minutes. Crank up the heat to 425 and put it on the highest rack until the cheese starts to bubble a bit and turn golden.
Remove and serve immediately! You can cut the pizzas in half right across the middle so there are mini French Bread Pizzas for everyone.

Recipe via The Pioneer Woman

No-Bake Cheerio Snack Bars
Here’s another recipe that’s sure to be an instant favorite with the kids. It’s easy to make, not all bad for you, and it’s just the type of treat that kids enjoy. In fact, they might be more interested in eating the ingredients to this one than actually creating the recipe.

Cherio Bars

Photo Credit: Buzzfeed.com

Ingredients:
1/4 cup creamy unsalted butter (half of one stick)
1/4 cup honey (light-colored corn syrup may be substituted and will keep the bars firmer at Room temp than using honey)
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups Honey Nut Cheerios (or similar storebrand cereal; plain Cheerios may be substituted for a less sweet bar)
1 cup raisins, optional (1 cup  honey-roasted peanuts, 1 cup chopped almonds, or 1 cup trail mix may be substituted)
About 1/2 cup chocolate-covered sunflower seeds, optional (I used Trader Joe’s)
Pinch sea salt or Kosher salt for sprinkling, optional

Instructions:
Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil leaving overhang, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine butter, honey, brown sugar, and heat on high power for 1 minute to melt.
Stop to stir. Mixture will be on the granular side, this is okay.
Return bowl to microwave and heat for 1 more minute on high power. Stop to stir
Return bowl to microwave and heat for 1 more minute on high power. Stop to stir. On this third and final burst, mixture will become quite bubbly and foamy; use caution when removing from micro because this is boiling hot caramel and can cause burns.
Stir in the vanilla using caution because mixture could bubble up.
Stir in the cereal.
Stir in the optional raisins (or nuts).
Turn mixture out into prepared pan, packing it down firmly with a spatula and smoothing the top.
Optionally, sprinkle evenly with sunflower seeds and salt (the salt cuts some of the sweetness and I recommend it).
Cover pan with a sheet of foil (to prevent fridge smells), and place pan in fridge to set up for at least 2 to 3 hours, or overnight, or until bars are completely set before lifting out with foil overhang, slicing, and serving.
Bars will keep airtight in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 6 months. I recommend storing them in the fridge rather than room temp because they soften and get loose.

Recipe via Averie Cooks

Peanut Butter-Banana Quesadillas
Another easy-to-make and very kid-friendly recipe is this peanut butter and banana quesadilla. This works as a healthy in-between meal snack, or as a healthier option for dessert. Chocolate chips are optional and can add a sweet flavor without the sugar of a usual dessert.Peanut Butter-Banana Quesadillas

Photo Credit: budgetbytes.com

Ingredients:
Whole grain wheat tortillas
Organic peanut butter
Bananas
Chocolate chips

Instructions:
Spread peanut butter over the tortilla and spread the bananas and chocolate chips over the peanut butter. Fold the tortilla in half and enjoy!

Recipe via Budget Bytes

These are just a few ideas for fun recipes to make with kids, but you can find infinitely more by simply doing a bit of research. Your kids will enjoy the memorable experience, and you will be thankful for the quality time with them while getting a few meals or snacks out of the way!

 

Tips for Cleaning Your Backyard Grill

Backyard Grill                                           Photo Credit: Ferrier’s Hardware

It’s that time of year when you start thinking about summer barbeques and outdoor grilling. If you already have a grill, you’re all set! But you may find that your grill has begun collecting dust throughout the long winter and fall months, especially if you keep it outdoors. Your first thoughts might be somewhat filled with disgust at the thought of cooking ready-to-eat food on your now filthy and weather-beaten grill. Not to mention what your guests might think when they see you cooking their lunch or dinner on the shabby looking instrument. So, how can you clean your grill and get it back to like-new condition for summer?

Burn of Excess Food and Grease
As with most things that can rise in temperature, it’s a good idea to start your grill cleaning by burning off any excess food and grease.  Put the grill heat on high and let it burn for about 20 minutes or until the grill is no longer smoking or giving off food odors. Leaving the grill burning will allow force any remaining food particles to turn to ash and make the grill easier to clean.

Complete Routine Checks
Before you can really start cleaning your grill, it’s vital that you check the ignition system and make sure that the gas is disconnected. Check the pressure regulators to makes sure that using your grill will not create a fire hazard, and that temperatures are evenly distributed throughout the grill to prevent only one side of your meat from grilling properly and safely. Check flame tamers, heat tents, and/or vaporizer bars and brush off any debris that has accumulated on the wire brush.

Clean the Grilling Grates
Possibly one of the areas that need the most cleaning, the grates will most likely need to be scrubbed clean. If possible, we recommend removing the grates from your grill and soaking them in hot soaping water for as long as possible. The hot soapy water will loosen any burnt residue or grime off of the grates, and then you can scrub the remaining debris with a tough scrub brush until your grilling grates start to look like new.

As a reminder:
Gas Grills – Burners MUST BE OFF before cleaning! If using a grill stone, no water is required — the stone will remove residue. After you have cleaned the cooking grates, spray them with cooking oil.

Charcoal Grills – Clean surfaces when the grill is still hot. Use a grill brush that dispenses water to steam-clean the grates. If your brush does not have that feature, a little water sprinkled onto the brush produces the same effect.

Chrome Wire Grates – Coat with vegetable oil after cleaning to prevent rust.

Cast Iron Grates– Coat with a vegetable oil after cleaning to prevent rust.

Porcelain-coated Steel Rods and Porcelain-coated Cast Iron – No coating is required unless porcelain is missing. Coating prior to cooking will help prevent food from sticking.

Clean the Interior of the Grill
The grates are not the only part of the grill that needs scrubbing. This is also the time scrub under the hood and clean the inside walls. Loosely cover the heating elements with a large piece of foil to protect them from damage and resist creating a fire hazard. Soap and water is are the best cleaning tools for the inside of the grill, as you want to avoid anything with hard chemicals that could possibly contaminate food.

Clean the Exterior of the Grill
To clean the exterior of the grill, make sure to use products that are stainless steel friendly.  Soap and dishwasher water or stainless steel wipes often do the trick. Be careful to use a soft material to wipe down the grill so that you can prevent scratches to the stainless steel outer face.

Keep Your Grill Covered
Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned your grill, you’ll want to make sure that it is protected from dust and debris so that you don’t have to go through this process every time you want to use it.  Most grill manufactures will include a grill cover when you purchase a grill, but if you don’t have one, there are many hardcore grill covers than can be purchased for about $25 from your local home and garden store. These grill covers normally come with a thick undercoating to keep your grill protected from the harshest of conditions. However, if you have a garage or an outdoor shed, then you might consider keeping it indoors to further prevent harm from the weather.

Get your grill clean and get ready for summer! Do you have any special tips or trick to use when cleaning your outdoor grill? Leave your suggestions and feedback in the comments below and let us know what works best for you.

Summer Smoothie Recipes

Whether it’s because you’re trying to lose weight for those days by the pool or at the beach, or whether it’s because it is just so hot that you need something cool, smoothies seem to be a staple of summer in most places. Go down to your local smoothie shop, and you’ll find that it’s packed most days during summer, but why spend the money to buy your summer smoothies when you could make them at home and perfect them to your unique preferences? Have you ever walked into a smoothie store and found yourself disappointed that there were no smoothies that had the exact proportions or the precise fruits you wanted? It’s easy to find a low-cost blender and set up your own smoothie shop in the comfort of your kitchen. Get some of your favorite fruits, ice cream, milk or orange juice and flax seeds, granola or your favorite filler, and you’ll be all set. Need some fun ideas for smoothie recipes? Check out the ones below.

Watermelon Frosty
Watermelon is one of the less seen fruits in smoothies, but it is delicious. This delicious smoothie is light and airy, the perfect cooler for beside the pool or at the beach. It’s so good, you might have trouble keeping your friends at bay as you try to enjoy this delectable drink!

Watermelon Frosty

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups frozen watermelon, cubes
1/2 cup coconut water or water (add more as needed)
1-2 Tbsp maple syrup, grade B
1 large lemon or 2 limes, squeezed
1 fresh banana
Optional: add a few pinches of cayenne for a spicy kick!
Party cocktail version: add 1-2 shots of your fave alcohol

Instructions:
Add all ingredients to a high speed blender like a Vitamix and blend until frosty. Note: Start off with just 1/4 cup of the water liquid and add more in splashes as needed to blend.
Pour into frosted glasses to keep cool, garnish with lime or fresh watermelon sliced.

Recipe via Lunch Box Bunch

Grapefruit Green Smoothie
Grapefruit isn’t for everyone, but those who enjoy it tend to be grapefruit fanatics. If grapefruits tend to be a little sour for your, sweeten them up by adding some bananas and yogurt or vanilla ice cream. If you’re feeling extra healthy, add some spinach and you’re all set.

Grapefruit Green Smoothie

Ingredients:
1 grapefruit, peeled, seeds removed (reserve juice)
1 large sweet apple, cored and skin removed (I prefer honeycrisp)
2 cups spinach (I like to freeze mine to keep it extra fresh)
1 large ripe banana, previously sliced and frozen
2-3 ice cubes
Unsweetened almond milk, water or orange juice to thin (~1/2 cup)
OPTIONAL: 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

Instructions:
Add all ingredients to a blender (including reserved grapefruit juice) and blend until creamy and smooth. Add more liquid if too thick, ice to thicken, and banana or apple to sweeten. Serves two.

Recipe via Minimalist Baker

Kiwi Basil Smoothie
Another healthy smoothie with a fruit that’s not widely advertized for smoothies is the kiwi basil smoothie. Kiwi is a great blend of sweet and flavorful fruit that is a wonderful ingredient for your ideal smoothie recipe.

Kiwi Basil Smoothie

Ingredients:
3 frozen kiwis (freeze in small cubes for easy blending.
1 banana
1 pink grapefruit, juiced (about 3/4 cup juice)
1 Tbsp agave syrup
Small handful of fresh basil
Handful of ice cubes

Instructions:
Blend. Pour. Serve!

Recipe via Lunch Box Bunch

Blue Acai Smoothie
A classic favorite, this blueberry smoothie will delight your taste buds and cool your senses on the hot summer days to follow. Acai is high in antioxidants, protein and it is a great source of healthy omega fats. If you are looking to keep your figure without sacrificing flavor this summer, this smoothie might be your life savor.

Blue Acai Smoothie

Ingredients:
2 Sambazon Acai Frozen Smoothie packs
1 bottle (10.5 oz.) Sambazon Acai Juice, Trinity Blend Flavor
2 handfuls ice (coconut water ice cubes preferred)
1/2 cup frozen organic blueberries
1 ripe banana, raw
2/3 cup soy milk

optional:
1 tsp agave syrup
1 scoop Macro Greens green supe food powder

Instructions:
Blend smoothie until smooth.
Add the fresh banana last.
Adjust soy milk amount for preferred thickness of smoothie.

This smoothie blends up dark black purple-just the way true acai should be! Yum!

Recipe via Lunch Box Bunch

Key Lime Pie Protein Shake
Okay, so it’s not technically a smoothie, but it does fall into the category of perfectly chilled drinks that are ideal for a hot summer day. Not only that, but it’s still healthy and nutritious, while tasting like dessert!  This shake could even substitute your weekly or nightly dessert for something a bit less sugary.

Key Lime Pie Protein Shake

Ingredients:
2 scoops DailyBurn Fuel-6 in vanilla
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 frozen banana
1 tablespoon key lime juice
Zest of one key lime
1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
1 cup ice cubes
1 tablespoon nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon crushed graham crackers

Instructions:
In a blender, mix protein powder, almond milk, frozen banana, key lime juice, maple syrup and ice until smooth. Top with a dollop of yogurt and graham cracker crumbs.

Recipe via DailyBurn

 

These are just a few examples of the many possibilities that become available once you create your own smoothie shop in the comfort of your kitchen. We encourage you to experiment with your favorite fruits and veggies and find out what your favorite smoothies might be.

Beach Body Summer Recipes

Summer will be here before you know it, and around this time of year, everyone starts caring about what they eat just a little more than usual. Now is the time to work off all those Christmas cookies and holiday feasts, and to get ready for beach days and sun bathing. But what kind of recipes can you continue to enjoy throughout the spring and summer season without sacrificing flavor for your summer figure? After the sweets and treats of the holiday season, it can be hard to get back into the swing of eating healthy. Mentally, it can be tough to convince yourself that healthy foods can still be tasty, but with a few savory, health-conscious recipes, we’re certain that you can be back on health food train again in no time. These recipes might just have you so hooked that you start using them as hosting and entertainment food.

Turkey Burger
If you’re having a pool day or brought the supplies to grill at the beach, a turkey burger can be the perfect stand-in for the popular beef patty cheeseburger or hamburger. Season the turkey patty with fresh herbs, a sprinkle of Dijon mustard or your favorite sauce, and use a whole wheat bun, and you’ve got a delicious and healthy recipe that won’t let you miss a beat or feel left out of the summer food fun.
Turkey Burger                                                     Photo Credit: beachbody.com

Ingredients:
¼ cup whole wheat bread crumbs
½ cup low-fat buttermilk
1 lb. raw 93% lean ground turkey breast
2 green onions, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
Ground black pepper (to taste; optional)

Instructions
1. Combine bread crumbs and buttermilk in a medium bowl; mix well. Let sit for 10 minutes.
2. Preheat grill or broiler on high.
Add turkey, green onions, parsley, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper (if desired) to bread crumb mixture; mix well with clean hands.
Shape into 4 patties.
Grill or broil for 5 to 6 minutes on each side, or until patties are no longer pink in the middle.

Recipe via Beach Body

Chickpea Salad
When it comes to eating healthy, salads are almost always a safe choice, and this chickpea salad is no exception. Crunchy radishes, cherry tomatoes, mild green onions, avocado, juicy jalapenos, chickpeas and your favorite, fat-free dressing make this salad an excellent choice for healthy summer eating. Throw in some fresh spinach and your favorite kind of lettuce, and you’ll have a great meal that keeps you feeling full longer than the average, empty-carb meal.

Chickpea Salad                                                        Photo Credit: beachbody.com

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
6 medium red radishes, ends trimmed, thinly sliced
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained, rinsed
1 cup halved cherry (or grape) tomatoes
6 cups salad greens
2 Tbsp. crumbled feta cheese (½ oz.)
½ medium avocado, chopped

Instructions:

  1. Combine lemon juice, mustard, and garlic in a small bowl; whisk to blend.
  2. Slowly add oil, whisking continuously until blended. Set aside.
  3. Combine radishes, green onions, chickpeas, and tomatoes in a large serving bowl.
  4. Drizzle with dressing; toss gently to blend.
  5. Evenly arrange greens on six serving plates. Top evenly with chickpea mixture, cheese, and avocado.

Recipe via Beach Body

Banana Berry Smoothie Bowl
Have you ever wanted the perfect breakfast or the perfect snack, but you just couldn’t figure out what that would look like in the moment? Well, this delicious smoothie will ensure that you always have something that hits the spot when you’re craving a good snack, and this smoothie will boost your mornings and leave you feeling more satisfied throughout the day. It is delicious, healthy and sure to become a new household favorite.

Banana Berry Smoothie Bowl                                                   Photo Credit: beachybody.com

Ingredients:
¾ cup almond milk
1 scoop Strawberry Shakeology
¼ cup fresh or frozen blueberries (reserve some for garnish)
1 cup ice
¼ large banana, cut into thick slices
¼ cup fresh or frozen blackberries
2 Tbsp. sliced raw almonds
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
2 tsp. raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

Instructions:
Place almond milk, Shakeology, blueberries, and ice in blender; cover. Blend until smooth.

Place smoothie in a medium bowl. Top with remaining blueberries, banana, blackberries, almonds, and chia seeds; serve immediately.

Recipe via Beach Body

Cedar Plank Salmon with Maple Glaze
When you’re trying to stay health-conscious in your meal choices, you just can’t go wrong with seafood. It is one of the best choices for heart health and it is a great dinner solution for a meal at home and for entertaining. This salmon recipe can be thrown on the barbecue, or you can cook it in the kitchen, but the outcome is sure to please no matter it’s prepared.

Cedar Plank Salmon with Maple Glaze                                                      Photo Credit: beachbody.com

Ingredients:
1 untreated cedar plank (about 17-by-10-1/2 in.)
2 Tbsp. water
¼ cup pure maple syrup
2-inch slice fresh ginger, peeled, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Ground black pepper (to taste; optional)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 bunch green onions
2½ lbs. raw center-cut salmon fillet with skin

Instructions:

  1. Soak plank in water for 3 hours before grilling.
  2. Bring water, maple syrup, ginger, lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic, and pepper (if desired) to a boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; gently boil, stirring frequently, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until reduced to about ½ cup. Let cool. (Maple glaze may be made 2 days ahead of time and chilled, covered. Bring maple glaze to room temperature before using.)
  3. Preheat grill on high.
  4. Lightly cover the cedar plank with oil. Arrange green onions in one layer on plank to form a bed for salmon.
  5. Place the salmon skin-side down on the cedar plank.
  6. Drizzle with half of maple glaze, reserving other half of glaze to serve with grilled salmon.
  7. Grill, covered, without turning, for about 20 minutes, or until salmon flakes easily when tested with a fork.
  8. Serve salmon with reserved maple glaze.

Recipe via Beach Body

Grilled Watermelon Wedges
While it might not be something you’ve tried before, we promise this recipe please your guests and delight your taste buds. This recipe works great as an afternoon snack, but it can also be a great after-meal treat for those of you with a sweet tooth that rebels against diets and their kind. With enhanced sweetness and that slightly smoky flavor that comes from grilling, these watermelon wedges will have your mouth watering in no time.

Grilled Watermelon Wedges                                                    Photo Credit: beachbody.com

Ingredients:
¼ medium watermelon, rind washed, cut into 1¼-inch thick wedges
1 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Place cookie or baking rack over baking pan. Season watermelon with salt. Place on prepared rack. Let watermelon drain for 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.
  2. Preheat grill or broiler on high.
  3. Lightly brush watermelon with oil.
  4. Grill or broil for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until grill marks appear and watermelon softens slightly.

Recipe via Beach Body

These are just a few of the savory and health-conscious recipes that we’ve uncovered to give you a head start in building your summer physique while staying ahead of your life by putting only the best fuel into your body. What are some of your favorite summer recipes? Do you have any healthy go-to recipes when you’re trying to watch your weight? Let us know in the comments below!