Well, that season is here - the season of picnics, parties and cookouts. Food temptations all over the place and usually served in social settings where celebration is expected. I find this hard. Fun, but hard. It must be much harder for kids. Last weekend I was at an evening outdoor party where duck was served (I crazy love duck) and lamb and goat sausage, in addition to the usual dishes. Then there are the potato chips that I have a lot of trouble saying no to, high fat salads that are doused in things I wouldn't cook with at home, and lots of sweet desserts, which I don't have so much trouble saying no to.
I have given considerable thought to what I bring to the party, and want to share two ideas that work well for our family. I fall back on these two recipes often throughout the summer. With both dishes I have actually spent years tweaking the recipe so that it still tastes like a special summertime treat, but with both I have made several healthy modifications so that I can feel good about eating it myself as well as feeding it to my kids.
The first is one of my specialties;
Yankee Baked BeansI use small white beans and do soak them overnight or simmer awhile. This version qualifies as a super food in my book because in addition to being vegetarian I have replaced molasses with honey. I got lots of compliments on the last batch.
Drain beans, reserving liquid in case needed later, and put in bean pot. Saute a chopped white onion in a small amount of butter and olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder. Add chopped fresh herbs, and a rib of celery. Slowly stir in a bit of tomato paste, a half cup ketchup, a half cup barbecue sauce, and a half cup honey, salt and pepper. When blended add a bottle of beer. I sprinkled in a generous shake of seaweed gomasio and vegetarian b'con bits too. Pour into pot and mix gently. Cover pot and bake at 250 for 6 or 7 hours.
Better Potato Salad
I promise that this still tastes like your Mama's not so very good for you potato salad, but a small scoop of this has lots to offer your body. Boil six medium potatoes and 4 small eggs til cooked. Let cool. In a large bowl pour 1/3 cup pickle juice, add chopped potatoes and eggs. Season with fresh chopped chives and parsley. Season with salt, pepper, seaweed gomasio, celery seed, tumeric, mustard, garlic powder, and paprika. Slowly fold in one chopped pickle, one chopped rib of celery, and some chopped onion, with just enough mayo made from olive oil to combine. Add it slowly so that you don't overdo. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
And here is an idea for a really original green salad from this weeks offerings at Meatless Mondays. It's one that I think young children would enjoy making and eating.
These three recipes should get you (and me) through the long cookout season with dishes that everyone at the party can, and should, enjoy. Enjoy!