Fresh Maine Family-Friendly Summer Fare
80% Raw living food, 20% cooked whole food
In the summer my family eats about 80% raw foods. Which is not hard to do. We could pretty much live in our pea-patch right now and the carrots are only a row over, so we’ve already got two of my kid’s favorite food groups covered. But since I am training a lot these days (nine workouts a week) I have been experimenting with fast, family-approved cooked foods that help add a little heft and protein to our otherwise fresh raw diet. I find that as it gets hotter I am replacing my usual heavy-use of nuts and seeds with beans and pseudo-grains because they are less dense and oily, feel easier to digest and seem less heating (pitta aggravating).
I am obsessed with quinoa this summer. It makes everything crunchier, fuller and yummier. I’ve been adding this lovely little Incan pseudo-grain to salads, mixing it with beans and topping it with berries. It is closely related to amaranth (and a little less closely to spinach). These funny looking seeds are in the Goosefoot family and are low in starch but high in protein (18%), calcium and iron. These days pretty much all store-bought quinoa has been pre-washed so I just throw a cup or two into my rice cooker, add water twice as deep as the dry grain and hit go. It cooks in 20 minutes and the result is a lovely fluffy, versatile highly nutritious grain. Sometimes I add a few tablespoons of amaranth to round out the flavor (and the amino acid profile).
1 cup fresh organic “wild” Maine blueberries
1 cup cooked quinoa (see above)
¼ cup toasted almond slivers
½ cup fresh hemp milk
Hemp milk is the perfect summer milk. It is quick and easy to make, easy to digest, cooling, and full of protein and essential fatty acids. I make it first thing in the morning before I can read the numbers on my measuring cup, but it always seems to work out . . .
~1/3 cup hemp seeds (find them in the fridge section of your health food store)
3-4 cups water
A touch of almond or vanilla extract
A touch of stevia liquid or powder
A pinch of sea salt
A pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg (I usually skip these in the summer as they feel to warming
2-3 tsp of maca powder (adds some fat and extra energy)
2-3 tsp flax oil
Blend everything on high for a minute or so. Serve immediately.
Store extra in a glass jar in the fridge for up to a four days. Shake well before serving.
I often mix my hemp milk with chia seeds (1 cup milk to 1Tbs seeds) to make an awesome on-the-go breakfast drink. I also pour it over berries and cold or hot cereal, but I don’t heat it up – high heat will mess with the delicate and healthy omega fatty acids.
Summer squash abundance
We are on the verge of being buried in summer squash. So today I took a bruiser of a yellow squash and put it in the mini-chop. Not sure what to do next, I spied a giant bag of chard that needed to be used so I added several leaves and stems to the blend. Then three eggs. The batter was a little thin so I added a few tablespoons of Pamela’s gluten free baking mix to thicken it up. The result was an amazing savory pancake mix that the girls declared better than “syrup pancakes”. I served them with fresh salsa and the girls ate every single one. Which means they also unwittingly ate an entire squash (one down, eight to go) and a whole bunch of chard.
Since I’ve cut out sugar and processed grass-grains from my diet, beans have become a really nice source of dense, filling comfort food. My favorite is a bowl of refried beans and quinoa topped with cherry tomatoes and raw corn freshly sliced from the ear (yes, a grass-grain, but organic and unprocessed . . .)
Home-cooked beans are sooo much better than the canned version
About twice a week I soak two cups of beans (pinto, black, white or chickpea). The next day I rinse them and cover them with water in a heavy cook pot. I add a pinch of hing (asfoetida) and a few pieces of kombu seaweed (both help with digestion). If I have time I let them cook a full hour, but 40 minutes usually makes them soft enough to eat. I take out the kombu (my kids simply flatly reject seaweed-flavored beans!) land eave half of the beans unprocessed to use later. The other half I blend in my minichop.
White beans and chickpeas go well with:
Lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, green onions and garlic scapes.
This then becomes the base of all things yummy at lunch. As a spread on collard greens, or sprouted corn tortillas. As a dip for carrots and red pepper slices . . .
I add the whole beans to my salads. And I’ve been experimenting with bean-quinoa “burgers” too. Beans are family-friendly, cheap and nutritious and they definitely deserve a place in the 20% cooked food category.