Fresh Peach Sauce

This recipe requires farm fresh local peaches. No grocery store peaches. No. No. No.

4 ripe peaches, pitted and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon sugar

Puree peaches and sugar in a medium bowl using a hand blender or in a blender.

Pour the puree through a strainer set on top of a medium bowl. Use a rubber spatula to push the pulp through. Set the strainer aside and discard the bits that did not pass through. Serve or store the sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Prep-time: 10 minutes

Back-to-school Snackage

So here we are again. The days are still long, but the summer is rapidly coming to a close. This seems like a good time to remind you of a few snacks  that might be a good fit for your child’s lunchbox or snack bag. Here they are (in no particular order):

Nutter Butter Rolls
Granola Bars
Pancake Sandwich

Sweet Potato Chips
Garbanzo Poppers
Baked Pita Chips
Homemade Fruit Roll Ups

Also, I have a guest post up at Meal Planning Magic titled Healthy Lunchbox Building Blocks. It is a list of super easy and healthy bits that I’ll be using to round out my kids’ lunchboxes and snack bags.

 Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Mint Lemonade

Perhaps I’m not the only one feeling all kinds of self-imposed pressure to live it up before the summer suddenly comes to a close. I’m sure no matter how much we run around livin’ it up before school starts, come September there’ll be about forty things that I’ll wish we had done. But, there’s always next summer… and as long as I’ve got a glass of mint lemonade in my hand, I believe I will be able to chill out and actually enjoy the time we have left.

4-5 fresh mint leaves
5 ice cubes
5 tablespoons (2 1/2-ounces) freshly squeezed lemon juice (about two lemons)
3 tablespoons (1 1/2-ounces) simple syrup
1 cup (8-ounces) cold water

In a large glass, smash up the mint leaves a bit with a muddler or the back of a spoon. Add ice cubes, lemon juice, simple syrup, and water. Shake or stir well and serve immediately.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Prep-time: 5 minutes

Yogurt 101

This post is a part of a series of 101 ways to enjoy plain yogurt. (Keep scrolling down after you click on link to see the entire list.) For more information about yogurt in general, go to my Yogurt page.

95. Coconut Lime Yogurt with White Chocolate

This was another big hit with the kids. They loved making the chocolate shavings themselves with the vegetable peeler almost as much as they loved eating their snack.

I lucked out and found a bar of coconut flavored white chocolate at Target. But I’m sure plain white chocolate would be more than fine.

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup shaved white chocolate
1 teaspoon sweetened shredded coconut, toasted (optional, for garnish)

Mix together the yogurt, sugar (if desired), coconut extract, lime juice, and most of the chocolate shavings in a small bowl. Top with remaining chocolate shavings and toasted coconut (if desired). Serve.

Cucumber Snack Salad

I love this zippy little summer salad when I have a little extra time in the afternoon. It gives us a break from the usual carrot sticks. If you don’t have champagne vinegar, you can try lemon juice. Champagne vinegar is also lovely with strawberries or on salads containing fruit. (A cucumber technically is a fruit, right?)

This recipe is adapted from a recipe in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

1 medium fresh-picked cucumber, peeled
A generous pinch of fine salt
Pinch ground white pepper
1 – 2 tablespoons of champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh dill (optional)

Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds with a spoon and discard. Slice the cucumber thinly and transfer to a bowl. Sprinkle on the salt, pepper, vinegar, olive oil, and dill. Mix with your hand or serve as is.


Why I’m Okay with Living in New England

I’m okay with the snow and the humidity and the lack of sidewalks because until I moved out here (from central California) I had never tasted anything like this:

Or this:

Or this:

I’m probably living under some sort of delusion. But these fruits of summer (and a few pretty leaves in the Autumn) are seriously why I’m able to endure. So don’t tell me you can get all this stuff in California now. That would crush me.

Yogurt 101

This post is a part of a series of 101 ways to enjoy plain yogurt. (Keep scrolling down after you click on link to see the entire list.) For more information about yogurt in general, go to my Yogurt page.

I’d like to dedicate this particular post to all the kids out there who refuse to eat anything but white foods. The dips accompanied by some white bread and served on a white plate made me think of y’all.

93. Eggplant and Yogurt Dip

I’ve always wanted to like eggplant more than I actually do. This recipe is adapted from one in the New York Times Cookbook (which has been doing right by me quite a bit lately) takes eggplant to a happy place.

1 medium eggplant
1 cup Greek-style plain yogurt
1 clove garlic, peeled, smashed, and chopped fine
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1/2 of a lemon)
1 teaspoon fresh mint, chopped fine
1 teaspoon olive oil

Roast the eggplant in the oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes to an hour until the eggplant has softened considerably. This can also be done on a grill set to medium heat for approximately 30 minutes. In both cases, coat the eggplant with spray oil and pierce several times with a fork prior to roasting.

Allow the eggplant to cool. Scoop out the pulp and discard the skin. (You should end up with roughly one cup of pulp, give or take.) Place the pulp, yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, mint, and olive oil in a small bowl and process with an immersion blender until smooth. (If you don’t have a handheld/immersion blender, you can use a food processor.) Serve with french or pita bread.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Prep-time: 10 minutes
Inactive prep-time: 1 hour


94. Tzatziki

The world is full to the brim with tzatziki recipes, but this one is inspired by one in Debroah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. I’ve taken some liberties with it, so I’m not sure if she’d approve. My 6-year-old was a fan of this one.

1 small or 1/2 of a medium cucumber, peeled
1 cup Greek-style plain yogurt
Pinch salt
Pinch ground white pepper
1 clove garlic, peeled, smashed, and chopped fine
1 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped fine
1 teaspoon fresh mint, chopped fine
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1/2 of a lemon)
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

Remove the seeds from the cucumber by scraping them out with a spoon. Slice the cucumber thinly. In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, salt, pepper, garlic, dill, mint, lemon juice, and olive oil. Add the cucumber and stir to incorporate. Serve with pita bread.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Prep time: 10 minutes


Lest you think my children are fed a diet free of artificial foods, behold a Rowland family favorite:

The recipe for this dip most likely came the back of a can of RO*TEL, but the Rowland clan claimed it as their own a long time ago. Some of the extended family got together recently and I had the pleasure of whipping up a batch for the first time in several years.

1 pound Velveeta cheese
1 can RO*TEL tomatoes

Cut Velveeta into cubes. Place cubes in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave for approximately two minutes or until melted. Pour in undrained RO*TEL tomatoes and stir to combine. Serve with tortilla chips. 

Yield: 3 cups
Prep-time: 5 minutes

Seeded Watermelons Are The Best

Nothing says summer like a big plate full of watermelon slices. When it’s too hot to take a break from running through the sprinkler, a slice of watermelon serves as the perfect snack for grown-ups and kids alike. I’ve rediscovered watermelon recently and am gravitating toward the seeded varieties. They pack so much more flavor! And my kids are finally old enough to handle a good ol’ seed spittin’ contest.

I found a Sweet Baby (solid green on the outside) and a Yellow (striped on the outside) watermelon at a farm stand.  Here’s the Sweet Baby:

And here’s the Yellow:

And here are the slices before we devoured them:

They were both delicious. I think the Sweet Baby was a little bit sweeter, but I’m a sucker for the color red.