Simplify 2016 is a new, monthly series designed to provide practical tips for how to live joyfully and fully in a busy world. Missed the last edition? Check it out here.
Now that summer is upon us, the last thing we want to be doing is cooking in a hot kitchen, right? I know I’d rather be running, reading in my backyard, napping in the hammock, entertaining neighbors over sangria and guac, but definitely not sweating away in the kitchen. Even on a day-to-day basis, meal planning in the summer tends to disappear, as vacations happen and life gets fun, and mental capacity to do regular adulting chooses to take a break. So how can we make meal planning simple? Especially in the summer, but also year round? I tend to follow two equations for meals, one that works in Spring and Summer and another for cooler Fall and Winter schedules. Here is the easy way to eat well this season.
- Get rid of the grocery list and go to the garden. Summer is full of bright, rich, colorful produce. Get a CSA, shop a farmer’s market, or grow your own goodies in the backyard. Make this flavorful abundance the star of meals and not the stale, shipped in produce at the supermarket.
- Use fresh herbs. Why use the dried stuff when fresh is so plentiful right now? A little bit goes a long way and adds a ton of flavor with little other seasonings or sauces. Play around with combinations or stick to your favorites.
- Smoothie + Salad + Grill. Basics here. Take all the summer fruits and blend them together with a little nut butter or hemp seeds (for fat + protein), a little greens, and a splash of liquid. Make a rainbow salad for lunch with all the colors of the season (and don’t forget about mixing fruits and vegetables and fresh herbs together! Salads aren’t just for vegetables). Top with walnuts or roasted tofu and it’s a meal. And for dinner, grill up all those veggies! Make a foil pouch with veggies, garlic, herbs and spices and grill it up until its tender. Serve over rice or quinoa. Easy, bright meals for every day.
Here’s to an easy, breezy, relaxing summer menu!