Summer Treats

Here are a couple of quintessential summer recipes.  Made them both today!  

When it is super hot in July and the mint in the garden is pretty unwieldy, I know it is time for Timothy’s tea.  A special concoction my son and I created last summer to cool off, fashioned after a bottled tea we really enjoyed!


Timothy’s Tea

This is essentially a honey, lemon, ginger and mint tea.   Really refreshing!

Timothy's Tea

Ingredients:
One lemon, halved:
– squeeze half for juice, slice up the other half for cuteness
Two ginger tea bags
1 teaspoon raw honey, diluted in a little hot water (if you like it sweeter, just add more)
handful++ of mint, chopped very well

One half gallon mason jar or the equivalent is required.  Start with the tea bags and hot water (boiled then cooled down a little), allow them to steep for 5-10 minutes.  Then squeeze out as much ginger goodness as you can and discard.  Let it cool for about 10 minutes before adding all the other ingredients.  Pop it in the fridge and let the flavors mix.  When you are ready to serve, just add ice!

Our niece is recovering from an accident and is on a liquid diet, so I mixed up a big jar of the tea to cool her off, and made the summer zucchini squash and basil soup below for some nourishment. 

Creamy Zucchini and Basil Soup
This is a great soup to use up the farm share–everything in it came from this week’s share 🙂
It is paleo, made using coconut milk, but can be made with milk or cream, if you prefer.

zucchini basil soup

Ingredients:
Two pounds of zucchini in any variation, peeled and chopped
1-2 onions, chopped
One box of organic chicken stock
Salt, to taste
Large handful of basil, chopped
One cup of coconut milk (or organic whole milk if you prefer)

In a soup pot, start the onions on medium heat with olive oil, cook, while stirring, till somewhat translucent.  Add zucchini and cook till they are starting to get a bit soft, then add the box of stock.  Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer.  Cook until the veggies are cooked all the way through.  Let cool a bit.  Add the coconut milk (or milk) and the basil and then, using an immersion blender, puree to a smooth consistency.  Can serve warm or cold.  Enjoy!

“Daily Goodness”

I have a list that I keep tucked in my little book that I am constantly referring to, called “Daily Goodness.”  It is just a reminder of a perfect day of self care.  What’s on it, you ask?  Everything from yoga and meditation to vitamins, to coconut oil pulling.  What what?

Yes, it isn’t mainstream (and by now you may have figured out neither am I!).  But the benefits of coconut oil pulling are numerous and I’ve benefited tremendously from my practice.  I’ve even grown a fondness for the flavor of coconut which I simply didn’t have before.  All good, so I want to share it with you.

I came to it when I had a raging ache in my wisdom tooth (yep, still have them all).  I had just gotten my last silver fillings replaced with the white kind and my poor tooth screamed at me for a few weeks.  When I called the dentist and asked how long something like this might last, they were horrified that I had endured it for so long and invited me back in.  Sitting in the dentist’s chair, I learned it was time for a root canal to get rid of that pain.  I even made the appointment.

In the meantime, a friend mentioned I should try coconut oil pulling.  I read about it on the internet and was pretty impressed.  If it could do half of what it claimed, I would be in excellent health in no time.  And so I dove into the coconut oil.  Just a little at first.  I could only swish/pull for five minutes at a time at the very beginning.  But for those first few days, I did it three times per day. 

Surprises, surprises.  The first one was that within a minute or so of my very first pulling, I found myself racing to the sink to spit out yellow/green mucus that was draining from my sinuses.  This was pretty shocking as I did NOT have a cold or sinus issues at the time.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  Where had that come from?!

The next surprise was that by the second day all the pain had subsided, and, you guessed it, I cancelled the root canal. 

How and why does such a simple thing like this work?!  The viscosity of the oil (once it becomes a liquid in your mouth) does the job for you, along with a pushing motion.  Imagine you are trying to push and pull the oil through your teeth and especially your molars.  That is the sensation you are aiming for and it may take time to get used to it.  The oil is essentially grabbing the bacteria in your mouth–the stuff that is there that you might not even believe is there–and gets it out of your mouth.  So spitting the stuff out is very important, as is rinsing and brushing afterward. 

Recall anatomy 101, the mouth/nose/ears are all connected.  Hence my sinus drainage after my first pulling.  I still get a little drainage from time to time after a pulling.  If you suffer from any sinus issues this could really be a fantastic tool for you!  Start with 5 minutes and work your way up to 15-20 minutes/day to get the full benefits.  

Here is the article I first referenced when I started, I hope you find it helpful, too.

Since I’ve begun coconut oil pulling my dental hygienist is always commenting on how white my teeth are, too.  And no, I don’t use a whitening toothpaste or agent of any kind.  Just an added happy benefit.

With so much to gain, don’t you think you should give it a try?

Jammin’

I have always marveled at the transformative properties of summer.  When the mercury soars, our edges soften and we become more open, more receptive, and generally more happy.  I think that is one of the reasons I love summer so much–it is the underlying feeling of playfulness and connection.  I just want to bottle it up.
Our family was away in Maine last week.  We go to the Belgrade Lakes region, stay in a great house right on Long Pond with a sunset view.  It is dreamy there.  It was a week filled with summer fun:  from shopping at the farmers market, water skiing and wake boarding, listening to the loons on the lake, to sitting around a table playing games at night, it was the stuff that summer dreams are made of.  And my personal highlight is a secret little dock, across the road–on the sunrise side of lake–where I have the pleasure of practicing yoga each morning (sometimes with fish watching me from the water, other mornings with woodpeckers hanging out in the trees above me, or duck families swimming by…..).

To capture a little of our trip, and a little of that summer feeling, my husband and I went to a local farm and purchased a cooler full (seriously, like a whole giant cooler!) of the freshest strawberries I’ve ever seen.  They were the kind that were bright red all the way through, like this:

single strawberry ripe

And then, to literally bottle up all that summer goodness, I made jam.  Loads of strawberry jam.  You may not be able to bottle up that summer openness and delicious feeling, but you can certainly bottle up strawberry jam!

Jammin Summer 2014

Happy summer trails!

P. S. If you are new to jam-making try the low sugar variety (Pomona’s Pectin) at Whole Foods!  Just follow one of the recipes on the insert.