I’ve always wondered what this “bikini body” is that everyone speaks of come summer months. The focus on getting, and staying, thin and super fit before stepping into a bikini not only seems like an ill way to spend your summer, but also a task that seems nearly impossible. For me, and I believe majority of other people out there, my summer goes a little like this: the gorgeous weather encourages more frequent drinking than usual, there are BBQs galore with all the chips, dips, and sides you can dream of, ice cream becomes a no brainer after dinner, and a ton of traveling to enjoy these glorious weekends with friends leads to minimal at home cooking.
To beat that afternoon hanger
Looking for a quick and easy snack to grab on the go while still eating something healthy and delicious? Aren’t we all! Energy balls are one of my favorite things to make in mass and then store in my freezer for afternoons when that hanger strikes (we’ve all been there). This version includes a ton of protein packed ingredients and a nice sweetness from the cacao powder and the coconut; not only are they a great snack option but they also can be a perfect 2-bite dessert. The best part about them though? When you make these on your own they cost you about 1/10th of the price you see in those fancy coffee shops. Anyone else have a moral dilemma paying $4 for a small ball made of majority peanut butter and oats!? No way I’m alone in that.
The perfect night-cap
Once the sun begins to shine and it is officially summer, it is as if my body has a trigger response to immediately crave every dessert in site. So, in an attempt to not eat twenty pints of ice cream or store-bought cookies, I make an effort to personally cook the desserts I’m eating to try and fill them with healthier options than many purchased baked goods. These double chocolate chip muffins not only fill that post-dinner craving, but they free of a lot of ingredients that make up most of our desserts (i.e. gluten, dairy, and processed sugar). Behold, my new best friend. And also, my freezer’s newest tenant, because you better believe I have a couple batches of these in there for future night caps!
The perfect summertime meal
The grill and I have an extremely long and historic love affair. From a very young age, I remember my dad grilling every single thing possible. The scent of the smoke and that char on whatever he was cooking is one of my favorite memories of childhood. Once I became old enough to cook, I was infatuated with the grill and mastering its ability to make every single ingredient produce more flavor than any other available cooking method. Seriously – why does everything taste better when cooked on a grill!? So, after many of nights watching my dad master the method, I one day decided it was my time to try; and the rest was history. While it may seem intimidating at first, I promise it is probably one of the easiest cooking gadgets out there. It does all the work for you! Although grilling is definitely not exclusive to summertime, this is one of my favorite quick and easy meals to throw together for a summer lunch or dinner. Say goodbye to lame salads and hello to flavor!
A fully farmer’s market dinner
This week I found myself in the Union Square farmer’s market doing some research for an upcoming piece (stay tuned!) and I began questioning why I ever purchase groceries anywhere other than a farmer’s market. I get they can be extremely busy at times, and you have to plan your shopping around when they are open, but gosh if you go at the right time, they are extremely pleasant. What is better than picking from a massive selection of produce, protein, and dairy all from local farms and all while enjoying the outdoors? (Get back to me if you think of anything). As I was perusing around and scoping out every single tent, I decided this was going to be the source of all my ingredients for my date night in with Joe. Grabbing the veggies from the organic farm stand, the chicken from the pasture raised organic protein man, and the cheese from the goat milk stand, I was ready to rock. Along with this recipe below, go check out the corresponding IGTV episode on my Instagram so you can feel like we’re in the kitchen cooking together!
Shining light on a barbecue staple
Why is pasta salad totally the overlooked “step-sister” of a BBQ spread? For some reason, it is a dish I am constantly passing by and never craving. When a client recently mentioned how much he loved pasta salad it triggered me into a train of thoughts that came to the realization: pasta salad not only provides us with a way to still enjoy one of everyone’s favorite dishes in the summer without sweating our butts off, but it is freaking delicious, and extremely versatile. So, I naturally got in the kitchen, and got cooking. Safe to say, I will no longer be overlooking this side at summer cookouts.
A delicious breakfast on the go!
You all know by now that banana and almond butter is one of my all-time favorite combinations; something I am constantly looking to include in recipes as a vehicle for this delicious flavor bomb. As someone who also loves baked goods, but hates dealing with the “are these gluten free?” question and time spent trying to figure out what sugars have been added into them, I’ve pretty much cut them out of my breakfast routine. Instead of deciphering whether or not the local coffee shop is serving basically cake and calling it a breakfast muffin, I decided to get to my kitchen and make my own. These babies are gluten and dairy free and are only sweetened with a bit of maple syrup. They also can be made vegan by using a flax egg (don’t hate on this method til you try it!). My favorite way to enjoy them: nice and warm, cut in half, and filled with a layer of almond butter and some extra banana. BAM!
A Simple 25 Minute Dinner
The other Sunday, after a weekend of traveling and having zero interest in going to a grocery store, I caved and ordered groceries online to our apartment for us to use that upcoming week. When I got home late that night I was excited to see the groceries hanging on our door until I realized that they were in fact not my order but, instead, someone else’s entirely. Since it was too late for the delivery system to do anything, I emptied the bags into our fridge and took note of what we were working with.
And my 5 tips on how to do it
As someone who now considers herself a part of this “health and wellness movement” for full time work, I am extremely appreciative and grateful of the effort everyone is making to better themselves. It makes my heart happy that we are all finally paying attention to the ingredients that go into our body and the fact that many aspects of our lives can play a role in our health: food, relationships, physical activity, career, and so much more. That being said, it can be extremely overwhelming. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that an overabundance of options actually causes more stress. I notice this in certain aspects of my life, such as picking an outfit to wear or choosing between the thousand fitness studios NYC now fortunately offers, and I’ve chalked it up to potentially being the sheer aspect of FOMO that I continuously find myself struggling with (when will I ever get over this!?). However, I’m starting to notice it in one particular part of my life that I never thought it would affect: my health.
Your new go-to week day breakfast
One of my breakfast staples as of late, chia pudding. Honestly, it is one of the cheapest, quickest, and most versatile breakfasts out there. During the summer we are all jam-packed with incredibly fun weekends that not only pay a toll on our bodies, but also leave us with minimal time to prep. I’m not saying change your schedule; hell, load on more fun. But, at the same time, don’t let that excuse get in the way of you enjoying a healthy breakfast.