Summer

lobstersaladongreenswideThere is no place I’d rather be in the summer than the breathtaking coast of Maine...And nothing I’d rather eat, anytime of year, than Maine lobster.

But if you can’t get to Maine, here’s a way to experience the region’s magical flavors (and this year’s record setting lobster harvest) in a healthy and delicious way: Skinny Lobster Salad and Light Lobster Rolls.

Unlike the salads and rolls you’ll find at the ubiquitous lobster stands that dot the roadsides of Maine, this one has no mayonnaise…which lets the natural flavor of the sweet lobster come through and drastically cuts the calories and fat.

(On it’s own, lobster is a fairly low calorie and nutrition dense food…with just 145 calories, less than a gram of fat and 29 grams of protein per cup of cooked meat. Mayo? About 900 calories and 80 grams of fat per cup!)

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Grilled-Buttery-ChickenSummer makes me want to grill everything, it makes dinner so simple to execute. Picking a protein is the biggest decision. Once that's settled it's easy street.

And I have been cheating a little. I have been using my new indoor grill, which I love. I mean I really love the thing. It's so easy to use and sits right on my counter top. I can't help but throw everything on there. My kids have been poking a little fun at my new grill obsession. I can't help it.

One of my favorite grill uses has been for appetizers. We had some friends over the other evening and I made these chicken skewers with my crazy sauce for dipping. I love everyone sitting at my kitchen bar, while I grill away. So easy and fun and feels very interactive. 

The chicken turned out great. I used tenderloins instead of breasts, they stay much juicier and are really easy to cut up into pieces. Have no fear if you don't own an indoor grill, you can easily make these on a grill pan made for the stove, or on a real outdoor grill.

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blueberrysign.jpgWhen I was growing up, my mom’s favorite thing to do when we hit the road was to stop at the roadside stands and buy fruit and vegetables from the local farmers.  What she dearly loved was when we could actually stop at the farm and do the picking ourselves.

One of her favorite places to visit was Cherry Valley, east of Los Angeles, where she would find an orchard that would let us kids climb up the ladders, buckets in hand, and pick and eat as many cherries as we could handle.

Heading up north I remembered those experiences when I saw the signs for Restoration Oaks Ranch's Santa Barbara Blueberry Farm, with its U-Pick option.

Thirty minutes north of Santa Barbara and three miles south of Buellton (home of Anderson's Pea Soup), from May to early August, keep a lookout on the east side of the highway. There are signs on both sides of the highway but the turn off comes quickly, so be alert, especially on the southbound side where the exit is from the left lane.

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friedgreenbeans.jpgStill finding new ways to use up all my Farmer's Market finds.  I love green beans and always buy so many, I could eat them with every meal.

I made these up as a little pre-dinner appetizer and they disappeared.  They were fantastic.  The kids proclaimed they tasted just like French fries and gobbled them up. 

The beans are crunchy and crisp and because they are a vegetable, you feel a little less guilty popping them in your mouth!

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blackberrypeachesYa’ll, this is my go to summer dessert. Well, it may be my go to dessert period. I love to interchange seasonal fruits, but this version may be my favorite. Peaches by themselves are perfect for this dish, and I find myself throwing blueberries into the mix as well. You really cannot go wrong with this recipe!

I have this in A Time to Cook as well but this version calls for steel cut oats – I love the crunch effect they create. The tidbit of almond fairs so well with peaches since they are all in the same family. Speaking of family, yours will be running into the kitchen for this crisp!

You can make it in two separate, deep dish pie pans or a good ol’ 9x13 pan – trust me, you and yours will be just smitten either way! Enjoy ya’ll!

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