The end of the summer is always a challenging seasonal transition. Many of us, or our kids, are returning back to school, going back to 5 days in the office, or going back to our pre-summer routine - which is the positive 🙂!
The sunshine, the breeze, longer days, and fresh produce abound, and many of us rightfully chill out in the summer heat. From travel, beach time, or just enjoying a lighter schedule, we tend to move away from our usual eating and workout routines in the summer. But getting back to business, however you define it for yourself, is important for our health and longevity. We can hopefully bring some of the summer sunshine with us, perhaps with new exercise routines, new recipes, and refreshed attitudes, and empower ourselves to set some new clearly defined goals.
Finding the balance of our nutrition, fitness, and mental well-being will help us keep the summer chill going, as we enter those chillier nights and eventually chillier days. The autumn equinox takes place in late September, but emotionally, for many of us, it seems to begin after Labor Day. Prioritizing YOU starts with a plan for curiosity. Making room for curiosity first will help you create the best plan for you.
*What will your new or refreshed fitness routine include? If you love the outdoors, keep it going! Be sure to schedule it on your calendar to make sure you prioritize the time. Is there a new indoor class or app workout you have been wanting to try? Think about what you truly desire, and experiment from there. I love to find a new walking or hiking trail in my neighborhood for some inspiration.🍂
*Nourishing your body with what? How can you be more mindful of your food choices than visiting your favorite ice cream shop, as we like to do during the summer 🍦😊? Stock your refrigerator and freezer with fresh and frozen produce, lean proteins, and whole grains. Check out the fresh fall produce starting to make its way to your local farms and produce shops like apples, Asian pears, bell peppers, jalapeño peppers, cranberries, dates, figs, grapes, persimmons, pears, pineapples, pumpkins, to name a few! Seasonally fresh means you are getting the highest value from both a cost perspective and nutrition, with the maximum amount of vitamins and minerals present. My favorite fall snack is a crispy apple with peanut butter!😋
*Reestablishing our sleep patterns - restoring regular sleep after our summer travels or late-night routines is soooo important. Studies support that sleep quality along with consistent bedtimes and wake-up times are favorably associated with better health.❤️This might be starting 10 minutes earlier than your usual time, and slowly adjusting as needed from there.
*Keeping stress in check - hopefully, our stress decreased a bit in the rays of the sun, but planning ahead for your transition will definitely help to keep it at bay. Try this exercise to tune up your mindfulness. Maybe a new meditation or deep breathing routine is on tap for you this fall🙌? I continue to need to re-establish my meditation routine. The fall is a great time for taking it outdoors.
*Socially reconnect - some of us are actually more isolated in the summer, with summer schedules and/or locations not always being in sync. Make plans to engage with friends and family, connect with your neighbors, and volunteer in your community. Volunteering is an opportunity to develop confidence and self-esteem. Your role as a volunteer can give you a boost in your mental health, including your pride in your sense of self and well-being😇.
*Give yourself credit by tracking your progress - celebrate your achievements, no matter how small. Track your progress by either journaling, using one of many apps out there, notes on your phone (my favorite), or setting a consistent time to check in with a friend or buddy. 💕
Establishing a healthy routine for post-summer sets you on the path to long-term well-being. From your nutrition, exercise routine, sleep quality, stress management, social connections, and tracking your progress, set your sites on what you know would be best for you. You do not want to overwhelm yourself!! Pick one to two small goals, take one step at a time, and always stay curious. I am always here to partner with you as well!
Here are some simple recipes to enjoy the end-of-summer delights, and prepare for the busier days ahead.🍁
When I realized we were already in August and I had not made gazpacho yet this season, I knew the time was now. In the midst of these hot and humid days, this cold soup could not be more satisfying to the mind, body, and senses. It is such a tasty way to enjoy the produce of the season! Adding a protein can make it a meal, or just a heartier appetizer. The balsamic vinegar gives a sweeter zing, but red wine vinegar works as well. Spice it up as much or as little as desired. Either way, hopefully, it brings some cool satisfaction to your mind and your appetite.
1 large cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded
2 large tomatoes, halved and seeded
1 bell pepper (any color or a combo of colors!), halved, cored, and seeded
1 medium red onion, peeled, sliced in half
2 cups V8 juice®, low sodium
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon crushed garlic
1 jalapeño pepper, halved, seeded
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 pound of any combination of cooked shrimp, scallops, lump crabmeat
Optional garnishes: fresh cilantro, hot sauce, fresh minced mango
Finely chop half of your cucumber, one of your tomatoes, half of your bell pepper, and half of your onion—place in a medium bowl and set aside.
Chop the other half of your cucumber, your second tomato, the other half of your pepper, and the other half of your onion, into large chunks. Toss them into your blender. Add your V8 juice, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic. Process until puréed.
Add to the chopped vegetable bowl. Stir to blend. Mince half of the jalapeño pepper and add to the bowl. Add the salt, freshly ground pepper, and perhaps some hot sauce, and continue to stir and taste until your desired spice. Stir in the seafood. Ladle into four soup bowls and garnish as desired. Makes 4 servings appetizer servings or 2 entrée servings.
BLACK BEAN AND QUINOA SALAD
As we are still managing heat, and getting ready for back-to-school, back-to-work, back to a likely busier schedule, this simple dish can be made when you have time, and consumed throughout your week, served warm or cold. The quinoa and beans add some plant-based protein, along with lots of fiber and nutrients from the fresh tomatoes. Feel free to add cheese if desired, and any other veggies or proteins.
1½ cups quinoa
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 Roma tomatoes, rinsed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely grated
½ cup fresh cilantro or basil, chopped
¼ teaspoon red pepper
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
Options: cut-up grilled chicken, lean meat, tofu, feta cheese, toasted pepitas, or other nuts or seeds
Prepare quinoa according to package directions and leave in the pan on warm heat. Add the prepared beans and tomatoes. Stir to mix and allow for the mixture to get warm, about 4-5 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, garlic, cilantro or basil, red pepper, and salt. Taste to adjust any seasonings. Pour over the quinoa and stir well. Option to garnish with additional herbs. Makes 4-6 servings.
MEXICAN CORN SALAD
A take on the official Mexican street corn salad, yet with some tasty substitutions and tweaks. This dish could be served as a side dish with dinner, then a scoop on your green salad for lunch with some additional protein. Personally, I enjoy eating corn in a salad versus off the cob, for a neater experience for my hands, face, and teeth.😉
4 cups corn kernels, fresh (about 4-5 ears cooked and cut from the cob), frozen (defrosted and drained), canned (rinsed and drained)
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, finely chopped
½ small red onion, finely chopped
½ cup chopped cilantro
½ cup crumbled feta or cotija cheese (optional)
½ jalapeño pepper, finely diced (or more if you like extra heat)
4 slices turkey bacon, cooked, chopped into bite-size pieces
4 Tablespoons Greek yogurt, plain, nonfat
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
In a large bowl, toss together corn, bell pepper, onion, cilantro, cheese (optional), jalapeño pepper, and turkey bacon.
In a small bowl, whisk together Greek yogurt, lime zest, lime juice, cumin, and chili powder until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour dressing over corn mixture and gently stir until well coated. Add additional lime juice, cilantro, salt, or pepper, to taste. Makes 8 (½ cup) servings.
MY FAVORITE AVOCADO SPREAD
This recipe has been a favorite in my summer repertoire. It takes all of 3 minutes to make, yet will make any flatbread, sandwich, protein, or pasta salad of sorts, so very delicious. This makes one serving, but you can easily multiply the ingredients for more servings. It has an awesome kick, but you are in control of how kickin’ you want to go. ⚽
½ small avocado, pit and skin removed
1 teaspoon white miso paste, reduced sodium
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
½ - 1 teaspoon siracha (¼ = little kick; ½ = nice kick; 1 = hot kick)
1 Tablespoon Greek yogurt, plain
1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped + 1 pinch
Place avocado in a wide small bowl and mash with a fork. Add the miso and continue to mash into the avocado. Add the lime juice, siracha, yogurt, and cilantro. Whisk together with the fork until a smooth paste. Spread it, sprinkle a pinch of cilantro, and enjoy! Makes one serving.
DARK CHOCOLATE PROTEIN BALLS
These have been fun experiments this summer! We have tried these with a scoop of vanilla protein powder, a scoop of chocolate protein powder, a scoop of regular protein powder, or no protein powder at all. No matter how you decide to scoop or not to scoop, they are tasty and satisfying as part of your on-the-go breakfast, snack, or post-meal sweet. I included the nutritional facts here, as moderation is key, 1-2 per serving.
1 cup Kodiak Cakes® dark chocolate mix
½ cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons chia seeds
⅓ cup mini chocolate chips
Option: add a scoop of protein powder
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the Kodiak Cake® mix, oats, peanut butter, honey, and vanilla extract. Add the chia seeds and chocolate chips. Stir until well combined.
Using a tablespoon to measure, scoop one tablespoon of the mixture at a time and round each into a ball. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator until firm, at least 2 hours, or overnight.
Store in a covered container for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator or up to 2 months in the freezer.
Makes 30 servings. 1 serving = 1 ball
Nutrition Information (per serving):
Calories: 95; Total fat: 5.6 g; Saturated fat: 1 g; Sodium: 37 mg; Cholesterol: <1 mg;
Total carbs: 11 g; Fiber: 1.5 g; Sugars: 6 g; Protein: 3.5 g
For comments, thoughts, consultations, requests, or anything else you feel the need to share, please do: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit me at rebelliousrd.com.
The rebellious Rd
As a longtime promoter of healthy cooking and eating, Amy's focus is on plant-based eating, with a rebellious twist - that she and no one, needs to be perfect.