Chill out!

4 Jun

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I love oatmeal. I love soup. I love summer. Don’t think these things go together? That’s where you’d be wrong. Yesterday, I enjoyed cold versions of both, perfect for warmer weather ahead. Read on, and you’ll learn how to summer-ize two of my (and maybe your) winter favourites.

Yesterday’s breakfast was a delicious take on the blog world’s overnight oats: a recipe I am calling “Tropi-cold” Oatmeal. Here’s how you make it:

The night before, combine:

  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup fat-free plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • a splash of vanilla
  • tiniest pinch of cardamom (optional: I didn’t put enough in, so couldn’t really taste it)
  • touch of Brown sugar twin (or sweetener of your choice, or leave out)
  • 1 cup mostly mango and pineapple, chopped, plus a few sliced strawberries

Stir it all together in your bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight. Open up the fridge in the morning, uncover and serve (no AM prep required Smile). Mmmm….SO GOOD! And would be great for a busy morning. I have to say, this was only my second attempt at overnight oats, and I liked it much better than my first. Expect to see this one (and variations, of course) all summer long!

Now onto the cold soup (same bowl, different deliciously chilled dish). I’ve IMG_1657made a cool cucumber soup before, and figured with all this fresh local asparagus, I could come up with something tasty. Add in a few fresh herbs and some PC Blue Menu Tzatziki, and we’ve got ourselves a winner!

Cool as a Cucumber (and Asparagus) Soup (I didn’t measure, so quantities are not exact – this made one large portion)

IMG_1653– several spears asparagus, cooked until tender (I cooked them softer than I normally would since I was going to be blending them up), then immediately plunged into icy water

– a handful fresh spinach

– about 1/3 cucumber, peeled and chopped

– 2 green onions (white and most of the green part), chopped

– fresh mint, parsley, dill and chives, chopped

– a big spoonful of PC Blue Menu Tzatziki

– garlic salt and pepper to taste

– a couple of splashes of waterIMG_1650

 

This is what the asparagus looks like when it’s in the ice water. It’s important to do this right away, so it doesn’t cook too long and so it’s nice and cold to add to the soup.

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This soup is EASY! All you have to do is put everything in a bowl/pot/micro-cooker that you microwaved the asparagus in and then blend away with your immersion blender (or you could put it in a blender/food processor if you don’t have one of these guys, but really, YOU SHOULD….I use mine all the time). Season to taste with salt and pepper, add water until you reach your desired thickness. Then chill it in the fridge until it’s nice and cold (I didn’t have a lot of time, so I actually stuck mine in the freezer for a bit to get it nice and refreshingly cold.

Optional: garnish with Greek yogurt and fresh parsley before serving. Mmmm! This will be a perfect one for the dog days of summer, when it is just too hot to cook (although I will have to eliminate/substitute the asparagus once it’s out of season). It is so refreshing and also filling, while also being incredibly light.

So IMG_1655that soup did not appear all on it’s own on the stage that is the dinner table (or more often than not, dinner counter) of HHH. Nope, it was a part of Friday night PIZZA night! And it had been FAR too long since I made my own Friday night pizza…what with last week’s low carb-ness, 2 Fridays of being on vacation (NOT complaining), crazy-mad catering, ladies’ retreat at church, we’re talking a month and a half! So Friday night pizza at home came back with a bang in a majorly summery and delicious way: summer corn and bacon pizza! Let’s go in for a close-up!

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So here’s the down low on this beauty:

The usual crust (pre-baked, of course)

Sauce: quick mix of some salsa, light BBQ sauce, Splenda and 2 finely chopped grape tomatoes

Cheese: 1/3 cup ligh Italiano cheese (it was what I had on hand)

Toppings: just under 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed; chopped green onion; chopped red bell pepper; chopped fresh parsley and chives; 1 generous tablespoon of bacon bits.

Bake around 425 until cheese melts (5-10 minutes). Cut and enjoy!

I also served this supper with some roasted cauliflower (cumin, garlic salt, pepper, olive oil). Simple, but delicious…why change what works?

Dessert was a new recipe I tried for a frozen creation that I’m debating about whether or not to share with you, as it didn’t WOW me…we’ll see.

Just a note about all the fresh herbsI’ve been using on here (and you’ll continue to see all summer). I have a lovely herb garden to pick from, and I try to take full advantage of it all summer long. That being said, I know that many of you don’t have the luxury of having a wide variety of herbs right outside your kitchen door. I would hope that my posts/recipes might inspire even one of you to plant a few herbs. But I know not everyone is a green thumb, so feel free to buy the fresh herbs, and if this gets too expensive, experiment with dried herbs and/or leave out one or two. I’m telling you now, the flavour won’t be the same. It will be good, but different.

I’m just writing this because the last thing I want is for you to take one look at a recipe and say “I don’t have that herb, I can’t make it.” No, no, no, my friends! One thing I want to get across with my recipes/cooking is that they’re quite flexible, and can be varied according to your tastes and what you’ve got on hand. Who knows? You may just make a variation that is even better than the original. Use my recipe as your guide, and let it be your jumping-off point to whatever you create! Your kitchen is your studio, let the recipe be your own unique work of art (okay, I’m done with the chees-y clichés now Winking smile).

Do you have any summer versions/variations of favourite dishes?

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