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Fabulous Food for the Fourth


Independence Day is a day for getting together with family and friends, creating explosions, and eating delicious food. Just because there's a pile of brats on the barbecue doesn't mean you can't contribute with something delicious AND healthy. Chances are you aren't the only one interested in eating clean, and you might even find the crowd is delighted with your contribution.


Watery fruit is the name of the game for summer: oranges, apples, cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew. Watermelon in particular is helpful in summer--the vitamins are necessary for skin to protect itself from external factors, and the liquid is chock full of electrolytes.


We hunted down a few festival-friendly recipes and hope you love them this holiday.


SWEET AND SPICY WATERMELON SALSA

  • 1 cup finely diced watermelon

  • 1/2 cup frozen sweet corn, thawed

  • 1.5 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  • 1 small shallot, minced (1-1.5" diameter)

  • 1 jalapeño, seeded/de-veined, minced

  • dash of salt

Combine everything into a medium bowl. Let sit together for fifteen minutes before serving with chips. If you prefer a more tart salsa, use the parts of the watermelon closest to the rind (and let the kids eat the rest.)


BLACK BEAN AND VEGGIE BURGERS

  • 2 cans (16 oz) black beans

  • 2 whole carrots, shredded

  • 1/2 apple, finely chopped

  • 3/4 cup salsa OR 2 green onions, 1 Roma tomato, 1/4 green pepper, 1 jalapeno pepper, all finely chopped + 3 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 2 to 3 cups oats

  • 1/4 cup wheat germ (or wheat bread crumbs)

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder

  • 2 tablespoons cumin

  • 2 tablespoons oregano or Italian seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon onion powder

  • 2 to 4 cloves minced garlic (or 1 to 2 tablespoon of the canned stuff)

  • 1 cup couscous

Drain beans. In a large mixing bowl, mash them with a fork, potato masher, or your hands. Boil just over a cup of water and cook your couscous (it's best to prepare it in advance.) Shred carrots and chop veggies if you're using those instead of the salsa. Combine those and all other ingredients with the smashed beans.


Start by adding just 2 cups of oats. The mixture should be sticky, not too dry, but definitely not gooey (similar to the consistency of raw ground beef.) The next step will determine if you need to make it wetter or dryer.


Warm your skillet. Keep it on medium-low, in case the next step takes longer than expected. Non-stick coat your hands with either a bit of olive oil or flour. Scoop about 3/4 cup of mixture into your hands, roll around, and press into a patty. You should be able to do this fairly easily, without the mixture crumbling up or being a non-manageable handful of goo. If mixture is too dry, add salsa. If mixture is too wet, add oats.


Coat your skillet with non-stick cooking spray, and slap down the patty. If you can help it, place the freshly-formed patty right from your hand, rather than laying it down somewhere and trying to pick it back up (it won't be easy.) Wait until the first side is at least somewhat browned before flipping the patty over. I also recommend having a spatula that is at least as big as, or close to, the size of the patty. These two steps will make it easier to fry up the patty without it falling apart.


HONEY PECAN ROASTED SWEET POTATOES

  • 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1/4 cup raw honey

  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, optional

  • 1/3 cup pecans, broken, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place sweet potatoes in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, honey, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Drizzle over sweet potatoes and toss by hand, coating all pieces well. Add pecans. Transfer to a shallow roasting pan and pour any remaining oil mixture over potatoes. Spread out evenly. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender.


QUINOA BEET SALAD WITH SESAME MISO DRESSING

  • 2 beets, with greens

  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked

  • 2 cups water

  • 2 shallots

  • olive oil

  • fresh mint leaves

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup white miso paste

  • 1/8 cup water

  • 1/8 cup sugar

  • 1.5 tablespoon rice vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon veg oil

  • dash of sesame oil

Wash beets and greens, cut off greens and set aside. Roast beets in oven preheated to 400 F for about 1 hour, until skin peels away and they become tender. Let cool, then peel off the skins and finely dice the beets. Saute the beet greens in a pan while the beets are roasting.


Boil the water, then add the quinoa and turn the heat down. Cook until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Once cool, stir in the diced beets and chopped mint leaves until the quinoa turns pink!


Make the dressing by whisking the miso, water, sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce together in a bowl. Then slowly add the oils while whisking so that the dressing becomes creamy.

Finely slice the shallots and fry them in the olive oil. Arrange the greens, then the quinoa and beet mixture, then the shallots, and finally drizzle on the dressing (you probably won't need all of the dressing but you can keep the leftover dressing in a jar.)


MAKE SURE while you are out enjoying your day that you have adequate sun protection. Cover up and apply the serum! Put on some creme at the end of the day and you'll wake up feeling refreshed and luminous.

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