Summer harvests are just starting to increase as more and more foods finish their growing season. A whole lot of different fruits and veggies are available this time of year, which means you can create nearly anything to eat, any time of day. Eating seasonally means eating choosing foods that are growing and ready in the same place, or at least nearby, as where you live.
Summer in Utah means hot weather, afternoon storms, and lots and lots of produce to eat! Do you see anything you’d like on the list below? It is not a list of everything that may be ready to eat, and not all of them grow in Utah, but it’s got a lot of options.
Fresh fruit and a glass of cold water can be a tasty afternoon pick me up, or eating fresh fruit to dessert can boost the number of fruit servings you can eat in a day. Remember, most people need 2-3 servings of fruit each day, and eating a rainbow of colors adds interest and different vitamins too.
Captain Create has a few tips to make adding whatever fruit you have to dessert, and following these easy steps will help you create the fruity dessert of your dreams!
Captain Create made a Summer Berry Crisp and topped it with tasty vanilla ice cream!
Summer nights are perfect for playing outside with your friends and family, but that also means dinnertime can sneak up on us. Get the whole family involved in creating dinner with Captain Create’s handy CREATE A SKILLET MEAL pro tips.
Simply choose something from each category, stir it all up in a skillet, and set the table! There are no rules, so take advantage of what is growing in your garden, or what you found at the market this week.
Two cups of veggies might sound like a lot, and you can mix and match until you have the perfect combo. Zucchini, yellow squash, and tomatoes are brightly colored and make any dish prettier.
Greens like swiss chard, kale, and bok choi add a bunch of vitamins, and different herbs can take you on a tiny dinnertime vacation. Italian, Southwestern, or Greek seasoning combinations can take a simple dish to new heights. There are no rules, so make it exactly how you’d like!
Captain Create’s favorite this week is a Greek Skillet Meal, because who wouldn’t enjoy a tiny dinner-table vacation to the mountains and ocean views of Greece? Remember, you can add or change anything you’d like to make this skillet meal your own.
This week Captain Create does not want to turn on the oven to cook; its too hot outside! Summer cooking can be tough, because grown ups do not want to make more heat inside, even for tasty food like pizza. A microwave works with most foods, but even pre-made pizza always comes out of the microwave with a soggy crust. Soggy pizza is no fun but no worries!
Captain Create has a solution!
Use a waffle iron instead! Waffle irons only heat the panels on the inside, instead of a whole box of space like an oven, and still creates a hot pizza with a crispy crust, plus you can CREATE YOUR OWN PIZZA this way, and everyone gets exactly the lunch they want.
First, gather all the things you’d like in your pizza, then heat the waffle iron. It needs time to get hot while you mix the waffle batter/pizza crust. You can add any toppings, and be sure to cut them smaller than you would for a regular flat pizza. Consider combining a few different meats, veggies and fruit for your pizza like mushrooms, bell peppers, spinach, onions, olives, tomatoes, pepperoni, ham, pineapple, and fresh herbs. There are no rules; Create the pizza you want!
No waffle mix? Captain Create has the solution. This recipe makes a large-batch of waffle mix that you can make, then set aside until you need it. Use it just like a mix from the store (but you don’t have to go to the store. Isn’t that handy!)
Captain Create has floated her balloon all the way to Kathmandu, in Nepal! Nepal has the only flag on Earth that is not a rectangle! The two pennants have been used for a long time, but it wasn’t officially adopted as their flag until 1962.
That’s not all… Nepal has a lot going on!
Located in the Himalayas between India and the Tibet region of China, Nepal is a small and very interesting country. Nepal is home to 8 of the 10 highest mountain peaks on Earth! Because of this dramatic elevation change, it is also home to many different plants and animals. Nepal is home to 35 different forest-types and 118 ecosystems! This means there are lots of different plants to eat!
If you attend a meal with someone in Nepal, you’ll find that they serve food a bit differently than we do in the USA. Meals are centered around a cereal grain, like rice, and a few smaller and more flavorful dishes to go with the cereal grain. Instead of eating a meal in courses, everything is put on the table, or on a tray, together and you combine the parts of the meal that you want to eat.
Many of the dishes served in Nepal are vegetarian, but not all of them. Meats like chicken, lamb, goat, and buffalo are common, but its less likely you’ll find pork or beef. Spices like ginger, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamon, jimbu (like a green onion), and spicy chiles are often used to flavor the meat or vegetable side dishes, chutneys, pickles, and sauces served at mealtimes.
What do they do during the day between meals in Nepal? All sorts of things! When folks are not at work or school, they work in their gardens, go hiking, take lessons, and play sports just like we do in the USA. Cricket is the most popular sport in Nepal, and while it sort of looks like baseball, the only similarity is whacking a ball with a bat. Ask a grown up to help you look up more about cricket and how it is played. Soccer, which is called football there, is also very popular and played everywhere. Because of all the high peaks in the Himalayas, hiking is a big business, and the Sherpa people in the north are experts at living and hiking at high altitudes and some work as “sherpas” and carry things to base camps for folks hoping to hike to the top of the highest peaks like Mount Everest.
Doing all of these outside activities means folks get hungry! If you’d like to try eating like you’re in Nepal, cook some rice pilaf, and serve it along with this easy sekuwa recipe and tomato chutney!
Summer gardens all over Utah are bursting with tasty zucchini! These veggies are useful in so many ways, and both the flowers and vegetable parts are edible. In summer, when they are plentiful, zucchini is served sliced, diced, grilled, roasted, boiled, and baked into cookies and cakes.
Zucchini has vitamins like potassium, as well as dietary fiber, and some carbohydrates for energy, and preparing it with other fruits and veggies will boost the nutrition. You can cut zucchini into noodles and serve them with tomato sauce, slice it up and saute it with tomatoes, onions and cheese, or slice them and grill them to serve alongside fish, chicken or beef.
One really easy way to share zucchini with everyone in the family is to add cheese! Captain Create’s recipe for Zucchini Bites mixes eggs, cheese, and breadcrumbs to make a tasty and healthy side dish or snack. You can serve them right after summer school lets out, after swimming a few laps at the pool, or in the place of french fries at your next hamburger cook-out. Be sure to watch your zucchini plants if you have them in the garden; A tiny zucchini can grow into a giant zucchini overnight!
Try them this week and share a zucchini or two with your friends or family!
July is National Blueberry Month! These itty bitty berries are sometimes called a superfood because they have lots of vitamins, antioxidants, dietary fiber, and they taste super too! Blueberries are grown commercially in 26 states in the United States1 and lots of people grow them in their gardens, or hunt for wild blueberries so you can find them all across the country in stores, at farmers markets, or in the woods. Bears like to eat wild blueberries too, so be mindful if you live where there are wild things and go berry picking.
Blueberries are a nutritious and low-calorie food, and can be part of a healthy summer meal plan any time of day. From blueberry pancakes to blueberry salsa, these tasty berries fit into any meal!
How you do enjoy blueberries? Whether you eat them fresh off the blueberry bush, frozen in a smoothie, or preserved in jam, be sure to share with the people you love!
Hot summer days mean tasty watermelon snacks, salads, drinks, and even popsicles! But how do you know you’re getting a good one? There are a few clues on the outside of a watermelon to let know about what is happening on the inside of the watermelon. These tips work on any watermelon, whether you’re shopping in a store, at the market, or even wandering through a watermelon field to pick your own!
Summer time is a wonderful time to be outside playing games, swimming, hiking, or simply having a picnic, and staying busy means you’ll probably get thirsty! Stay hydrated on these hot days by keeping water with you, especially while hiking or swimming, since its easy to get absorbed in what you are doing and forget to get a drink.
It is hard to say exactly how much water each person needs a day. Eatright.org says there are many factors, like age, gender, and activity level that can make individual water needs vary. However, there are some basic recommendations – adult women need about 9 cups a day and men need about 12 1/2 cups per day. Kids can become dehydrated faster than adults because kids sweat less and tend to move more, so their body’s natural cooling system is not as effective as a teen or adult body.
Here are a few tips to help you get enough water each day, no matter your age!
Listen to your body. If you feel thirsty, stop what you’re doing and get a glass of water.
Carry a refillable water bottle. A water bottle on hand makes it easy to drink water. Make a goal to refill it several times a day to ensure you’re hitting the mark.
Add some flavor! If you don’t enjoy the taste of plain water, you’re not very likely to drink it. Try making infused water to boost your level of enjoyment.
What is an infused water? Its just water with “stuff” in it, and that stuff can be any combo of fruits, veggies, herbs and flavorings you’d like. Captain Create has a few ideas to share, and they’re color coordinated for the month of July! You can start here, or create your own recipe to help you have a fun and hydrated summer season.
July is National Grill Month! Its a great way to cook for quite a few reasons. Grilled food tastes great, grilling is an easy way to cook for a crowd, and many folks choose to cook outside to not overheat the house in summertime. Grilling uses direct heat to cook foods and requires a watchful eye to keep from burning. The direct heat sears the surface and caramelizes food to give a distinct flavor and texture. The food is crispy on the outside and moist and tender on the inside. Captain Create has a few tips and recipes to help you get the most out of yours, plus a bunch of tasty recipes you can try with your friends and family.
There are lots of different ways to grill food, lots of different types of grills, fuels, and cooking methods. Captain Create trusts you to read the manual to operate your type of grill correctly, and to use the right kind of fuel to create the heat your recipe needs. Even though there are many different grills out there, Captain Create has a few tips that can make your grilling month safe, healthy, and delicious. Read on to learn more!
Clean Your Grates: Cooking on a clean grill makes everything easier! Grill grates need to be cleaned after you grill, when they are still hot to remove any left over bits of food, grease, or seasonings. Grates need to be cleaned again before you start because grills are outside, which means there is a chance dust and dirt have settled on the grates. Nobody wants to eat dirt!
Preheat patiently: Follow the instructions to heat your grill, and WAIT for it to be properly heated. Putting cold food on a cold grill will lead to sticking, sad steaks, and saggy vegetables.
Stay out of the Danger Zone: Keep your cold food cold (under 40 degrees), and keep your hot food hot (over 140 degrees) until you are ready to cook or eat it.
Skip the Smash! Smashing your steaks, burgers, and veggies does give a satisfying sizzle, but it really just squeezes out all the juices to evaporate away, leaving your foods dry and chewy.
Trust Your Thermometer! Yes, really. The best, and safest way to see if your foods are cooked to a safe temperature is to use your food thermometer.
Flip Food Once, but Don’t Flip Your Lid: Grilling works best when foods have the chance to sear, which means they need time to get those good grill marks. Flipping the foods over and over does not allow for searing. The lid is on your grill to keep the heat in, so opening it over and over is going to let all the heat out, which means your food will take longer to cook!
Let Meat Rest: After you have cooked your hamburger, chicken, or steaks cook, take them off and let them rest, covered, on a plate for a few minutes. This method allows the tasty juices to stay in the meat, and all the flavor too!
Sauce at the End: Adding sauces too early can lead to burned, bitter sauce and to the foods sticking to the grill. That’s not the way Captain Create wants things to go at your grilled dinner!
Captain Create has quite a few friends that are great grillers, and the links to their recipes are below. Try them out and have a great grilling month!
Summer is a busy time for everyone, but especially for farmers and gardeners! So many things are growing, and there are more fruits and veggies ready to eat every day. The cooler weather veggies, and the fast-growing veggies are ready first like asparagus, broad beans, broccoli, spring cabbage, kohlrabi, lettuce, salad onions, peas, early potatoes, radishes, spinach, and chard. Have you tried all of them yet? They add good color, flavor, and lots of vitamins, minerals, and fiber to any meal.
There are a lot of ways to cook these early season veggies too! You can grill asparagus, broccoli, kohlrabi, and even lettuce! Potatoes are tasty when roasted, or cooked in a light soup with early peas, and radishes are tasty sliced over salads or as a taco topping. There are so many tasty ways to eat veggies, why stop with just one?
Summer time is salad time because it is hot outside, and hot inside if you’re using the stove or oven to cook. No-cook lunches and sides, like salads are a great way to enjoy early summer veggies without overheating.
Look at the bright colors of this Broccoli & Radish Salad by Captain Create’s good friend Candi over at Create Better Health Utah! You can almost taste it from her photo; Just imagine the crunchy broccoli, spicy radishes, and sweet red onions at your next family lunch or dinner cookout! YUM!
Here is her recipe, and you even get to make your very own salad dressing! What a good measuring and stirring job, while a big kid or grown-up slices up the onions and radishes… families that cook together tend to eat together, and kids who cook usually taste new foods that they got to make, plus many hands make light work. Call your friends or family together and assign tasks to make quick work of this tasty recipe, then try it!