This is our third summer in Philadelphia (we moved here in August of 2014) and as someone who grew up on the beach, I cannot bear another summer without a place to cool off. Last year, we spent most of the summer indoors with the A/C on full blast and as a result, we hardly saw the sun. This year we're determined to change our approach. We joined the Roberts Park Pool in Collingswood, NJ, a "beautiful complex for summertime fun and relaxation where thousands of locals enjoy three pools offering activities, programs and a place to cool off."
It's not the most glamorous place in the world and it's certainly not the beach, but, we are making do with what we've got! We bought great lounge chairs, including this ridiculous-looking but incredibly comfy inflatable lounger, an umbrella, a tent for Daisy and a cooler on wheels so we can set up a little home away from home. Here's what we brought to the pool this weekend:
For Nick & I...
Layered Cobb Salad with Grilled Lime Chicken
The salad I made this week is a riff on Ina Garten's Lobster Cobb Salad (sadly we can't have lobster every week, though I sure wish we could - plus it doesn't taste the same when you're outside New England). I added corn, diced red onion and use spinach instead of arugula for nutritional value. My vinaigrette is a combination of dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, honey and a bit of smashed garlic. We marinate chicken breasts overnight in lime juice, garlic, spices and olive oil then grill and keep in the fridge. When we got to the pool, we sliced the chicken and some avocado and added to the salad with a drizzle of vinaigrette.
Herbed Bean Salad
This is a delicious side dish that can be eaten cold or at room temperature and just gets more delicious as the day goes on. For outdoor adventures I like to bring a healthy alternative to store-bought snacks for when a hankering for something salty hits. Cannellini beans contain a wealth of B vitamins, including B12. They also provide iron, potassium, zinc, and other essential minerals.
Kitchen Sink Fruit Salad with Lime and Mint
I threw together all of the fruit we had in the kitchen - watermelon, oranges, pineapple, watermelon, cherries, banana and green apples and tossed them with a splash of lime juice and shredded fresh mint. I love the way lime juice brings other fruit to life and mint adds a cool bite and fragrance that just feels like summer.
Green Beans and Tahini Sauce
This tahini sauce from Trader Joes is one of my all-time favorite condiments or dips and I love using it with veggies. Crisp, crunchy green beans or carrots dipped in this are delicious. Tahini, made from sesame seeds, has 20% complete protein, which means it offers a higher amount of protein than most nuts. Its high alkaline mineral content helps with weight loss and it's high in unsaturated (good!) fat.
Summer Squash and Basil Pasta
We have been feeding Daisy bites of what we eat for a long time, but, as soon as we got the official green light to feed Daisy "table food", I started choosing recipes that I knew Daisy would love too. Rigatoni is a good introductory pasta because she can hold it in her hand and take small bites. The sauteed squash and zucchini is soft enough for her to chew with just her two little teeth. This recipe is delicious for adults and kiddos alike.
Daisy loves feeding herself. The days of feeding her by spoon are over - she wants to grab the utensils and do it on her own! When it comes to fruit, she wants to hold it in her hand and work on it slowly using her two little teeth and her gums. We find that juicy, fibrous fruits like pineapple and mango are great for this - we cut them into spears which she can hold in her fist. She can suck on the flesh and get some of the delicious juice and gnaw away to get little bites.
What are you bringing to the beach and pool this summer? Send me your recipes! I'm always looking for new ideas :)