In the Northern Hemisphere, Father's Day often falls close to summer solstice, which is the longest day of the year. It's a magical time to sit outside and enjoy the sunset and the stars rise. Take this opportunity to visit a place in nature and soak up the beauty of this verdant season. With such long days, the tendency can be to overdo it and forget to spend time enjoying the warmth, sunshine, and fresh produce that comes at this time of year.
The color green offers a guide for how to eat in the summer. Enjoy loads of green leafy vegetables as well as foods that are cooling and digestive in nature: cucumbers, celery, parsley, cilantro, basil, mint, hot peppers, oats, and millet. Remember to take time during the day to slow down, rest, and appreciate what's happening in your life.
Dads might appreciate a delicious summer breakfast on Father's Day. Try one of these three recipes to inspire you.
Makes 4 cups
You will need:
- 1 ½ cups rolled oats
- ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- A pinch of sea salt
- 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup walnuts
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter or almond butter
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup dried dates, chopped
- 1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Combine the oats, coconut, nuts, seeds, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl and mix well.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, olive oil, nut butter and vanilla.
- Pour the liquid over the oat mixture and mix well, so all the dry ingredients are well coated.
- Spread the mixture on the lined baking sheet in a single, even layer and bake for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the granola bakes evenly.
- Remove from the oven and add the chopped apricots and dates while the granola is still on the cookie sheet.
- Toss well and allow it to cool completely before storing in glass jars.
Cinnamon: encourages the pancreas to produce digestive enzymes; makes the body more receptive to insulin, thus balancing blood sugar and reducing triglycerides. Contains phytonutrients that soothe pain and inflammation. Its antimicrobial activity helps to ward off the cold and flu and reduce overgrowth of candida albicans yeast in the gut.
Oats: high in fiber to lower cholesterol levels and reduce risk of heart disease; they ease digestive stress and support healthy transit time; enhance immune response to infection and stabilize blood sugar; calm and soothe the nervous system to alleviate mild depression.
Walnuts: rich in omega 3 essential fatty acids; gently laxative; cardio-protective; contain ellagic acid, which supports the immune system.
Flaky Herbed Biscuits
Makes 12 biscuits
You will need:
- 1 cup whole wheat flour / brown rice flour for gluten-free version
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter (or coconut oil), cold, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
- 1 ounce cheddar cheese, grated (optional)
- 3/4 cup milk (cow or almond)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Oil a baking sheet with sunflower or grapeseed oil.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, salt, maple syrup, baking powder, and herbs. Whisk until mixed.
- Add butter to flour and, using two forks or your fingers, crumble butter into dough until it is the size of peas and coated with flour.
- Add milk to bowl and stir just until a dough forms.
- Shape the dough into a ball with your hands. Roll it out into a log on a floured surface. Cut the log into 12 evenly sized biscuits.
- Transfer biscuits to prepared baking sheet.
- Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
Corn: although technically a vegetable, zea mays, corn, is considered a grain because it contains amylose starch, which maximizes corn's antioxidant value even when it's dried or ground into flour; high in fiber and B vitamins to promote digestion and maintain balanced blood sugar.
Rosemary: antiseptic herb that contains rosmarinic acid, which supports the immune system, improves circulation, digestion, and concentration. Supportive of a healthy inflammatory response, digestive, and aromatic, this potent herb both aids in digesting fats and decreases the risk of infection from contaminated foods.
Sage: Improves memory by decreasing the growth of neurovascular plaque in the brain. Soothes the digestive tract, dries excess mucus from all membranes, and provides crucial phytonutrients which counteract the effects of oxidation, not only in human blood but also in cooking oils and nuts.
Thyme: Contains thymol and other volatile oils, which support a healthy microbial balance. Helps preserve foods and protect them from microbial contamination. Thymol helps increase the percentage of healthy fats, such as DHA (docosahexaenoic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid) in brain, kidney, and heart cell membranes.
Blueberry Almond Bread
Makes 1 loaf
You will need:
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour / millet flour for gluten-free version
- 1 teaspoon each: cinnamon and cardamom
- 1 teaspoon each: baking powder and baking soda
- A pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup sunflower oil
- 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Oil a loaf pan with sunflower oil and set aside.
- Mixed together the flours, spices, soda, powder, and salt.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and put the vinegar, syrup, eggs and oil into that well.
- Whisk them together with each other then incorporate with the dry ingredients. The batter should be fairly thick and lumpy.
- Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.
- Run a knife along the edges of the bread and let it cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
Almonds: high in monounsaturated fat, which promotes heart health, helps reduce LDL cholesterol, and aids in carbohydrate metabolism, thus contributing to weight loss; contain flavoproteins to balance blood sugar and improve energy levels. Rich in vitamin E to promote cognitive abilities and protect the brain.
Blueberries: supports healthy inflammation. Antioxidant. Great for heart health, cognitive function, and overall brain health. The anthocyanins responsible for blueberry's deep color are associated with improving memory and reducing depression.
Maple syrup: this natural sweetener, derived from the sap of maple trees that's been boiled down to extract its water content, is rich in vitamins, minerals as well as beneficial probiotic bacteria. It's lower on the glycemic index than white beet/cane sugar, so it doesn't cause as dramatic of a blood sugar spike as other sweeteners. It's high in magnesium for muscle relaxation and niacin for mental/brain health. Its polyphenol antioxidants help reduce inflammation, especially in the case of gut-related disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome.
Writer Lisa Mase is a culinary medicine coach, food writer, translator, and folk herbalist living in Vermont. For articles and recipes, visit Lisa at www.harmonizedcookery.com.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or to sell any product.