When I have the energy (which is not always!), I try to fill our cooler for the pool with a yummy cold lunch and healthy snacks to munch on so we can avoid the snack shack which basically serves carbs and sugar (soft pretzels, hot dogs, slush - or as they call it here in Philly "water ice"). Don't get me wrong - some days call for a cup of icy cold slush flavored and colored like nothing that exists in nature (blue raspberry? so wrong but so good) but as a mom, I try my best to keep things healthy for the most part. Here is what we're bringing to the pool this weekend:
Cold Soba Noodle Salad with Chicken, Peppers & Cucumber
If you read my regular posts about food, you probably know by now that I love any recipe involving shredded rotisserie chicken. I'm a big fan of letting someone else do the work when it comes to things like roasting chicken or making broth and for $10, Whole Foods does a lovely job making a juicy roast chicken. This recipe is quick and easy and it yields a delicious dish that just gets better as it sits in the fridge - just as yummy cold or at room temperature. Perfect for a picnic at the beach or pool. You could make this with whole wheat pasta if you can't find soba noodles in a pinch but I recommend keeping a package on hand. Soba noodles are made from buckwheat which is fat- and cholesterol-free and a good source of nutrients like manganese (beneficial for development & a healthy metabolism!), lean protein, carbohydrates and thiamine. Photo from Martha Stewart.
Chilled Avocado Cucumber Soup with Dill
A few weeks back, we took a family adventure to Yardley, PA, where we treated Nick to dinner at a new favorite brewery for Father's Day. While we were in the area, we stumbled upon a little fine foods store (my favorite kind of store) and they had a little refrigerated section with prepared foods from a local chef. We brought back a bolognese sauce and a cold soup that I dreamt of for nights after I finished it - a cold cucumber avocado soup prepared with dill, shallots, garlic, pickling juices and lime. I knew it was something I had to learn to recreate, and, that it would be perfect for a portable feast. This New York Times recipe is pretty close - I add some pickling juices from my favorite hot pickles ever (I never throw away pickle juice!) and skip the buttermilk because I try to avoid dairy when it's not necessary.
Crudites with White Bean Garlic Spread
Traditional Italian white bean spread is one of my all-time favorite dishes to make for a picnic or in a pinch when friends come over unexpectedly. Equally delicious with crunchy veggies, blue corn chips or crusty bread. I always keep Cannelini beans in my pantry and lots of good extra virgin olive oil, and, you'll never find our kitchen without big bulbs of organic garlic. I drain and rinse the beans and whir them in the food processor with a few cloves of garlic, a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper and a long drizzle of EVOO. Top with parsley and red chile flakes if you like a little bite. This is simple, delicious and healthy - cannellini beans provide stable energy and good fiber and can help you lose weight, regulate blood sugar levels, and contribute to a healthy heart.
I hope you all had a fabulous July 4th holiday filled with sunshine, delicious food, family and friends! We are sending you all lots of summer love.