Pucker-UP! Last Days of Summer Peach Cherry Lemonade (and 3 tips to prepare for September!)

Peach Cherry LemonadeI can’t believe the end of summer is upon us. Can you? It feels as though it flew by. As if one hot day ran into another and suddenly…it’s the end of August! September is literally around the corner! Is that what happens when you have kids? The summers just disappear, days melting into one another like ice cream melting in your mouth as the sun beats down on you; you can’t remember what park you went to on what day, who you saw or if you even fed the kids or just snacked on veggies and dip??? I think I fed the kids today. Although it’s possible one meal consisted of samples from Costco…

Peach Cherry LemonadeSo today I have here a simple recipe for your final long weekend of the summer. You heard me. The FINAL long weekend of summer. Before ALL the crazy chaos of September begins and next you know it’s the end of December and I’m bringing you comfort food instead of juice. If you don’t have a juicer (and I suspect many of you won’t) don’t panic! You can make this refreshing juice by peeling the fruit and blending it in the blender. Then simply strain it through a fine strainer or a nut-milk bag to get some of the pulp out. Pour over ice – and you’re set!

Peach Cherry LemonadeTo relieve some of your panic (or my own personal panic), I thought I would share with you three tips to help you prepare and keep your family eating clean during the mad rush. Here we go:

1. Meal Plan Dinners

I know you’ve probably heard this one a million times but put together a simple meal plan for dinners. There are some fabulous resources out there to get you inspired such as Clean Eating Magazine, Healthful Pursuit (Leanne Vogel) or of course Pinterest. Don’t stress yourself out too much about it, start with one week and when you are comfortable add a second week (rotate so the family does not get bored with the food on the table). Many of these resources have shopping list to go with their plans to make it a lot easier. And remember to ask you family (the little ones included, not just your spouse) if they have an favourites they would like to see on the menu! They may be more helpful than expected!

2. Prep the food

Did you know a recent study shows that the average American spends only 33 minutes on food prep each day and 1hr and 11min watching TV? So guess what my lovely readers (where ever you may be…) we can make our lives easier with food preparation. Once you know your meal plan, have your shopping list and have purchased the food, make two nights where you do a little extra food prep for the week. For example, when I get home from grocery shopping I take the veggies I know will be used for pre-dinner munching or salads and clean, cut and pack them back up in the fridge so they are really easy to grab when I’m in a rush. The second day I prep for the week (usually falls on a Sunday) I prepare either baked goods, soups/stews, granola or sauces (pesto or BBQ sauce anyone…?) and tightly store them in containers in the fridge. Again saving time. Tell me, if you’re a woman, can’t you watch your TV shows AND meal prep at the same time? Also saving time. Just sayin’.

3. Keep It Simple Stupid

When in doubt KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID (K.I.S.S.). Sometimes we over complicate food. Well, a lot of the time. Heck, there is an entire industry out there trying to make your life easier with prepackaged meals. The problem with that food is it is over complicated with chemicals & preservatives  with often not a lot of nutritional value. You spend more time trying to decode the ingredient list when you could be spending that time with your family (or driving to the next soccer practice!). There is nothing wrong with steamed veg (use the raw ones you already cut earlier in the week), quinoa or brown rice & an avocado drizzled with olive oil & sprinkled with sea salt. Or using eggs for dinner instead of stressing about the meat you forgot to take out of the freezer the night before. Sometimes, if we keep it simple, we don’t have to worry as much about getting our families fed. And don’t feel guilty if your weekly plan does not work out. Just try to plan better for next week and adjust where you need to.

May the force be with you for the coming month!

Peach Cherry Lemonade
 
Ingredients
  • 6 whole lemons, peeled
  • 4 very ripe peaches (preferentially freestone), pitted
  • 10 cherries, pitted
  • 5 cups filtered water
  • 2 cups ice
  • natural sweetener of choice (I used no calorie Stevie)
Instructions
  1. In your juicer, place all the fruit. If no juicer, blend peeled and cut fruit in blender on high and then strain through a nut milk bag.
  2. In jug, mix juice mixture with water, natural sweetener and ice. Stir.
  3. Garnish with some fruit and serve immediately.

 

Sweet Potato, Avocado & Bacon Salad

I can’t believe how long it has been since I posted a recipe! Life has been busy my friends! Can you believe it is finally summer? I have been dying to go to the beach tomorrow so I am hoping that the weather holds up and I can get a little sand time. This is the time of year when you gather often with friends around a hot barbecue for a sausage fest and bowls of potato chips and strange but always delicious cold salads. I’ve got a great recipe for you today that is perfect for any barbecue or summer party.

Sweet Potato, Avocado & Bacon Salad

One of my absolute favourite memories growing up was that of barbecue dinners at my Grandmother’s house. She would make her always famous beef burgers (which she has only given my baby sister the recipe), the BEST potato salad and we would top off the night with chocolate chip ice cream. It was something else I tell you! I probably loved it so much because the burgers were never burnt (my Dad was VERY good at overcooking meat on the BBQ) and there was endless potato salad for everyone!

Sweet Potato, Avocado & Bacon Salad

Now, I have an allergy to beef, a sensitivity to white potatoes and I try to stay away from refined sugar (although ice cream is hard to resist). So, when our food habits changed, I redesigned the family favourites. The beef burgers became turkey burgers  and veggie burgers, the sugary desserts transformed to ones like this, this or this and the famous potato salad – well, NO way I can top my Grandma’s. BUT I was able to make one that is a super delicious alternative!  Creamy, salty and full of flavours, this recipe is a keeper for this summer!

Sweet Potato, Avocado & Bacon Salad

Sweet Potato, Avocado & Bacon Salad
 
Ingredients
  • 8 medium sweet potatoes, peeled & cubed
  • 1 tbsp of coconut or olive oil
  • small pinch of sea salt & pepper
  • 6 strips of low sodium, natural bacon
  • ¼ of a red onion
  • 3 tsp of the bacon fat
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 basil leaf, cut in thin pieces
  • 1 pinch of dry thyme
  • Juice from a whole lemon
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp raw apple cider vinegar
  • 2 ripe avocados, skin removed and cubed
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place cut sweet potatoes in a bowl and cover with oil, sea salt & pepper. Place on baking sheet and put in oven for 40mins (turning once after 20mins).
  3. In the meantime, cook bacon on a skillet. When at desired crispness, place on a plate lined with good paper towel to soak extra bacon fat up. Once cooled, cut into bite sited pieces.
  4. Saute the onions on medium in a little bacon fat until caramelized. Place in small bowl and add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT the avocado. Whisk together.
  5. In a large bowl, toss sweet potatoes, cooked bacon, dressing and avocado. Serve warm or serve cool. Tastes good either way!