fire up the grill.

Sometimes, it’s important to encourage summer along.  Coax it out of hibernation. Give it a little pep talk…a little one-on-one.

And since cookouts scream summer to me—especially when they involve burgers—dinner became an obvious choice.

The sun was out all weekend long, well into today.  It reached 75.  Seventy-five! That is shorts and t-shirt weather at its finest.  And I like to think that I played my part by firing up the grill.

Yes.  I fired up the grill.

Well.  Dad did all of the cooking, after I initially pushed that little green button.  But still.  This must count for something.  Right?

My Pepere, my parents and I didn’t talk much during dinner.

I think this had something to do with the juicy grass fed burgers, the warm weather and the sunshine.  Lovely.

Summer Squash and Zucchini Saute; on the grill

For health and wellness reasons, it’s a good idea to strive for at least 1-2 vegetarian meals a week.  However, don’t stop there!  And don’t feel that you need to exclude meat in order to reap all of those colorful benefits.  Try including more vegetables with each meal, regardless of whether meat is being served or not.  And then have fun sampling your way through all different kinds, such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, turnips, spaghetti squash, kohlrabi, tomatoes, etc.   What you end up loving may surprise you! 😀

This is a simple way to include some extra veggies whenever you fire up the grill.  Cook up some extra, then layer it on top of your favorite pizza for the following night.  Enjoy! 😀

  • 1 whole, medium summer squash, cut or sliced
  • 1 whole, medium zucchini, cut or sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Mrs. Dash Onion and Herb blend…OR…garlic powder and sea salt…OR…italian seasoning
  • Pepper
  1. Preheat grill to medium.
  2. Place squash, zucchini and onion on a large, doubled sheet of foil.  Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with seasonings.  Stir gently.
  3. Fold edges of foil in and tightly seal the bundle.  Place on grill over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Cook until soft and tender, about 15 minutes.  Enjoy! 😀

QUESTION: What foods “scream” summer to you?

 

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a bowl of comfort

Comfort comes in many shapes and sizes.

A warm hug.  A friendly hello.  A new book on a rainy day.  A phone call from a close friend.  A smile, a laugh, an ‘I love you.’

On the health front, the idea of comfort food has quickly gone out of style.  Replaced with the idea that food should not carry such emotion.  It should not have feeling.

Food and comfort do not belong in the same sentence.  So they say.

But you know what?  I say piddly wish-wash to all of that!!  I find the idea of sitting down to dinner with my parents every night, comforting.  I find the idea of eating lunch with friends, comforting.  And, obviously, the holidays are filled with warmth, good food, and comfort.

And—absolutely!—I find that sitting down to a warm bowl of summer squash and white bean saute to be absolutely comforting.

It’s okay to enjoy your food.  To enjoy your friends and family.  To enjoy the process from kitchen to table.  To find comfort in the simple preparation of a meal and to find comfort in eating until…well…comfortably full.

(It’s also okay to find comfort in downward dogs and tree poses. )

Yes.  Comfort comes in many shapes and sizes.

Summer Squash and White Bean Saute—courtesy of Eating Well Magazine

I like to serve this saute over brown rice, letting it soak up all of the delicious sauce.  But it also tastes delicious served in a wrap, if you don’t mind getting a little messy.  Enjoy! 😀

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, halved and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 medium yellow summer squash, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 15- or 19-ounce can cannellini or great northern beans, rinsed (see Tip)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add zucchini, summer squash, oregano, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring once, until the vegetables are tender-crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in beans, tomatoes and vinegar; increase heat to medium and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in Parmesan.

QUESTION: What does the word “comfort” mean to you?