There are no miracle foods in the energy equation, but smart food choices really boost your day. For example salads with both dark greens, packed with iron to keep your brain alert throughout the day, and whole grains, like quinoa, filled with amino acids, can keep your stomach full and your body full of energy. Summer snacking is a crucial time to treat your body well. Days are longer and you need more energy and hydration to stay perked up for the day’s events. I’m keeping my refrigerator full of kale and arugula for interesting salads and making some homemade snack bars to keep the kids happy. I’m also preparing edamame beans to toss into salads, make into a salsa or using it in the Nutty Edamame Spread below for a flavor and energy boosting appetizer.
Makes 10 servings
Serve with vegetable crudite, crackers, alongside tuna, or on top of grilled salmon.
- 2 cups frozen shelled edamame
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
- 2 tablespoons tofutti sour cream or mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Combine edamame and garlic in a small saucepan; cover with water to 2 inches above edamame. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes or until edamame is tender. Remove from heat; drain well.
Combine edamame, garlic, basil, pine nuts, and Tofutti sour cream in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarsely ground. Add 1/4 cup water and remaining ingredients; process until almost smooth.
Cherry-Almond Energy Bars
- 1 cup uncooked old-fashioned rolled oats
- 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
- 3/4 cup tart dried cherries or craisins, coarsely chopped (or other dried fruit)
- 1/2 cup salted, dry-roasted almonds, chopped
- 1/3 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed, optional
- 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup unsalted creamy almond butter
- 6 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350°.
Spread oats and quinoa on a baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Place oat mixture in a large bowl, and stir in cherries, almonds, coconut, flaxseed meal, and chocolate.
Combine almond butter, honey, oil, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Pour almond butter mixture over oat mixture; toss well to coat. Press mixture into a greased 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish. Bake for 13 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely in dish. Cut evenly into (1 x 4-inch) bars.
Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Fresh Vegetables
Serves 8 – 10
- Kosher salt
- 1 ¼ teaspoons cumin
- 1 ¼ teaspoons coriander
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ½ cups red quinoa
- 1 (15.5 ounce can) black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 medium cucumber, cut into small dice
- 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
- 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels, microwaved for a few seconds
- 1 red pepper, cut into small dice
- 1/3 cup sliced scallions
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
- ¼ cup fresh orange juice
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
- 2 teaspoons honey
- ¼ teaspoon Asian chili-garlic sauce or paste
- ½ cup toasted pine nuts
Combine 1 teaspoon salt, cumin, coriander and cinnamon in a small bowl.
In a 3-quart saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium low heat. Add salt spice mixture, stir well, and cook for 30 seconds. Add quinoa, stir and add 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer, cover and cook until quinoa has absorbed all the water, about 20 minutes. Stir, uncover and cool thoroughly.
In a mixing bowl, combine black beans, cucumber, tomatoes, corn, peppers, scallions, parsley/cilantro, orange juice, remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, lime juice, garlic, honey, chili-garlic sauce, and ½ teaspoon salt. Stir. Add cooled quinoa and mix well. The flavors will blend as it sits. Garnish with pine nuts. Can be made a day ahead of time.
Homemade Basic Granola
Makes 4 cups
Homemade granola is not only less expensive than the store bought variety but also more delicious. I love to customize it with my favorite ingredients and play with new combinations. One friend gave it out as a homemade mishloach manot and it was a huge hit! Granola is not just for breakfast, we love it crumbled into salad for added crunch, atop a noodle kugel or as an on-the-go snack.
- 3 cups old fashioned cooking oats
- 6 tablespoons canola oil or melted coconut oil (studies link this oil to helping with memory retention and better overall general health)
- 6 tablespoons honey, maple syrup, or agave
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup nuts, any type, chopped
- 1 ½ teaspoon spices, mix 1 teaspoon cinnamon with ¼ – ½ teaspoon of any of these , nutmeg, mace, cocoa powder, curry, cardoman, or whatever you like
- ½ cup dried fruit, apples, apricots, raisins, coconut, bananas, whatever you like
Mix all the ingredients except the dried fruit and bake at 250°F for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes until golden brown. Fold in the dried fruit, then let cool. Store in airtight container until ready to use.