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Summer Recipe Roundup

Real_Food_Life_Peach_Salsa

I love summer. If for nothing else but for the assortment of fresh produce at my disposal. From strawberries to cherries to tomatoes to herbs to zucchini and peaches. Oh, how I love summer peaches.

The past 3 years we have been taking our kids to the local orchard to pick our own peaches. It’s become something we look forward to this time of year. We come home with a big basket of peaches and lay them all out waiting for them to ripen up over the next few days. And oh do they ever. Biting into a peach and having the juice run down your arm = pure deliciousness.

See the problem becomes, though, once peaches ripen you need to eat them. FAST. Wait too long and they start to go bad. I’ve learned over the years after I’ve made a few peach cobblers or sliced a few up on our granola whatever is left gets peeled, sliced and frozen. There’s nothing like pulling out peaches in the middle of winter.

This year, I got a hankering for a peach salsa. Salsas are so easy to throw together and who doesn’t love a great fresh salsa? Take it to a party, serve it over top of fish or hoard it all for yourself. Either way, I won’t judge.

Real_Food_Life_Peach_Salsa_2 (2)

 

Summer Recipe Roundup
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 cups
 
Quick and easy recipe to use up those summer peaches!
Ingredients
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped (I used Roma)
  • ¼ red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed and finely chopped (use ½ jalapeno for less heat)
  • 3 peaches, peeled or not, chopped
  • Cilantro to taste, left whole or coarsely chopped. (I love cilantro, so I use ¼ cup or so)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste (approx 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper)
Instructions
  1. Chop all ingredients and throw them into a medium size bowl.
  2. Add juice of one lime, salt and pepper and cilantro and mix until combined.
  3. For best taste, let the flavors marinate for 1 hour or more before serving.
  4. If you can't wait, eat immediately.

Summer Recipes GALORE!

Because there are so many wonderful summer recipes out there, and so little time, I turned to my food blogging community to put together a list of some awesome summer treats for you to try. I love the variety of produce and ingredients that you can choose from to suit any occasion or taste. Take a look and give them all some love by checking out their recipes!

 

 

Watermelon Raspberry Aqua Fresca

Thanks to Becky @ A Calculated Whisk, this Watermelon Raspberry Agua Fresca is the perfect drink on a hot summer day!

Cucumber-Ginger-Smoothie

I have a ton of cucumbers growing in my garden, so this Cucumber Ginger Smoothie by Margaret @ Veggie Primer just might be in order. I love when healthy ingredients come together in a super simple smoothie!

 

 

Iced Carob Latte

Summer is the perfect time for iced coffee. This Iced Carob Latte by Natalie @ Feasting on Fruit is so much better than a Starbucks! Banana milk anyone? Yes please!

spinach dip

I am sucker for a Rich and Creamy Spinach Dip and Jessica @ Two Green Peas hits a home run with this one!

Summer-Veggie-Pasta-Salad-

Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine gives us a classic Summer Veggie Pasta Salad. The colors look amazing!

Zucchini Macadamia Pasta

Zucchini is growing crazy in my garden this year and I am always looking for new ways to use it up. Florian @ Contentedness Cooking has a yummy looking Zucchini Macadamia Crunched Pasta to the rescue!

pasta-rhubarb-salad

What do you do when you get rhubarb in your CSA basket besides making a dessert? Gunjan @ Kiipfit shows us a summer salad dressing is the perfect way to use that otherwise mysterious vegetable in her Arugula Pasta Rhubarb Chia Salad.

Edamame-vermicelli-and-lychee-salad

I am always looking for interesting summer salad ideas. Jennifer @ Delicious Everyday gives us this Asian inspired Edamame, Vermicelli & Lychee Salad.

Fennel Pomegranate Grapefruit

Fennel is not a veggie you normally would think to try, but if you haven’t yet, you really must. Especially when it’s paired with pomegranates and grapefruit in this Fennel, Pomegranate & Grapefruit Salad by Trisha and her husband Carlo @ Foodie Awareness. Sign up for their newsletter and get some other mouthwatering plant-based recipes!

mango-sorbet

You know what is so great about mangoes? They are delicious. Period. They are about to get even better in this Creamy Mango Sorbet by Alissa @ Connoisseurus Veg.

Balsamic-Strawberry-Basil-Dairy-Free-Ice-Cream

Who likes ice cream? Who likes dairy-free-real-food ice cream? I DO! Audrey @ Unconventional Baker is definitely unconventional pairing balsamic strawberries and basil in her Balsamic Strawberry & Basil Ice Cream.

Key Lime Pie

 

Lucie @ Win-Win Food knows how to do a  Key Lime Pie up right! Full of real food ingredients with no food coloring at all, it’s a perfect light summer dessert.

Vanilla cake

I am always looking for ways to use up pulp from juicing. This Raw Berry Red Velvet Short Cake by Amy @ Fragrant Vanilla Cake is just the way to do it.

passionfruit-cheesecake

Ever tried passion fruit? Well, you might want to after seeing this Drool Worthy Vegan Passion Fruit Cheesecake from Masha @ The Minimalist Vegan.

greens and beans medley

Stephanie @ Spice of Life Wellness put together an awesome looking Beans and Greens Medley. She focuses on eating for optimal fertility. This is a great recipe for summer because it’s light and chock full of healthy, fertility-friendly vitamins and minerals. Even if you are not trying to conceive, this is a super healthy dish.  It’s quick and easy to make, minimizing your time in the hot kitchen (also a must for summer, in my book!), and it’s yummy! Check out her Facebook page for more info!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat Israeli (pearl) couscous or quinoa
  • ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup organic raisins
  • 2 bunches Swiss chard, stems trimmed
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • Pinch of sea salt

Directions:

Cook couscous or quinoa according to package directions. In a dry, large skillet, toast the pumpkin seeds over low heat, about 3-4 minutes, shaking the pan frequently, until they start to pop. Transfer toasted pumpkin seeds to a plate to cool. Over medium heat, heat olive oil in the same skillet you used for the pumpkin seeds.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add the garbanzo beans, raisins, chard and pepper. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chard is tender. Add salt to taste. Divide couscous or quinoa among individual plates and top with the chard and beans mixture and top with pumpkin seeds.

If you make any of these recipes, be sure to snap a photo and tag us @realfood_life or hashtag it #realfoodlife. I’d love to see what you make!

Until next time, keep it real.

*All recipes and photos were used with permission by each participant.

The Best Fruit Infused Water

 

Fruit Infused Water

We all know that we need to drink more water, especially in the summer when it’s hot and muggy. Sometimes I get really bored drinking plain ole water every day.  I’ve seen the flavored drinks at the grocery store, but those alternatives provide no benefit from the vitamins added and, in fact, can actually be harming your health due to all the chemicals and sugar. (see ingredients in NestlesVitamin Water and Propel)

The good news is (yes, there is always good news when looking for a real food option!) you can make your own fruit water at home. It’s the BEST summer drink and even kid approved! The combinations are limited only by your imagination, but here are a few of our favorites to get you started.

Real_Food_Life_Watermelon_Basil_Water

 

Watermelon Basil Infused Water
Author: 
Recipe type: Drinks
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 oz
 
Ingredients
  • Watermelon chunks
  • Small handful of fresh basil
  • Filtered water
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a glass mug or container with a lid. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. The longer it sits the stronger the flavor. Let it infuse overnight for maximum flavor.
Notes
Note: You can refill these waters a few times after drinking until it has no flavor left. I usually refill mine 2-3 times.

Real_food_Life_Orange_Mint-Water

 

Orange Mint Infused Water
Author: 
Recipe type: Drinks
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 oz
 
Ingredients
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • Small handful of fresh mint leaves
  • Filtered water
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a glass mug or container with a lid. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. The longer it sits the stronger the flavor. Let it infuse overnight for maximum flavor.

Real_Food_Life_Cucumber_Lemon_Water

 

Cucmber Lemon Infused Water
Author: 
Recipe type: Drinks
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 oz
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lemon sliced in rounds
  • ¼-1/2 of a cucumber sliced in rounds
  • Filtered water
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a glass mug or container with a lid. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. The longer it sits the stronger the flavor. Let it infuse overnight for maximum flavor.

Real_Food_Life_Strawberry_Blueberry_Water

 

Strawberry Blueberry Infused Water
Author: 
Recipe type: Drinks
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 oz
 
Ingredients
  • 2-3 strawberries cut into rounds
  • Handful of blueberries
  • Filtered water
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a glass mug or container with a lid. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. The longer it sits the stronger the flavor. Let it infuse overnight for maximum flavor.

We decided the orange mint is our favorite flavor thus far. What’s your favorite summertime drink?

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and tag us @realfood_life or hashtag it #realfoodlife. I’d love to see what you make!

Until next time, keep it real.

Try these cute glasses to drink out of!

Affiliate disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to purchase an item through our link you will not incur any additional costs but Keepin’ it Real earns a small commission. We only recommend products we have used, would use or trust. Your support is greatly appreciated so we may continue to spread the news about real food.

Safe Sunscreen Guide for Summer

 

Safe Sunscreen Guide

It’s that time of year when we should all be enjoying the outdoors now that winter is finally behind us. Sunny days and warm temperatures have graced us with their presence once more. But what about sun protection? Most of us will head to our local store, pull a sunscreen off the shelf and blindly throw it into our cart without knowing the damage chemical sunscreens can actually have on us.

The Environmental Working Group recently released their 2015 Guide to Sunscreens and found:

…persistent problems with the ingredients and marketing of sunscreens for the American market. Fully 80 percent of 1,700 products we examined this year offer inferior sun protection or contain worrisome ingredients…

That’s some scary stuff.

I often talk about reading ingredient labels but this doesn’t apply to just food labels. Blindly picking a sunscreen without some proper insight might have some detrimental effects depending on what brand you choose. Many popular brands contain potentially hazardous ingredients. So before you start slathering sunscreen on your skin this summer let’s look at why choosing the right brand is essential.

The Trouble with Chemical Sunscreens

Sunscreen comes in both chemical and mineral forms. The most popular brands of sunscreens found at your local store most likely contain chemicals. You may see 2 or more of these ingredients listed on the label: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, octinoxate, parabens and retinyl palmitate (Vitamin A). By studying these chemicals, the Environmental Working Group found they can be absorbed into the bloodstream and produce unfavorable reactions such as:

  • hormone disruption
  • skin irritations
  • allergic reactions
  • can be toxic to reproductive systems
  • possibly contributing to increased cancer risk

One of the most common ingredient, oxybenzone, has some growing concern.  In one study, individuals applied a sunscreen with 4% oxybenzone and submitted urine samples 5 days after application. All the subjects’ urine were found to contain oxybenzone, which suggests the body’s ability to store it. In 2008, a similar experiment was done on a national scale and found the chemical to be present in 96.8% of the urine samples surveyed. There is suggested to be increased risk of endometriosis and lower birth weight in daughters, skin reactions and hormone disruption due to this chemicals effects on our bodies.

The Sun Isn’t Always Bad

The sun supplies us with Vitamin D which is an essential vitamin for our health. Getting a sufficient amount of the vitamin is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance against certain diseases. Exposing bare skin to just 15-20 minutes of mid-day sun allows your body to naturally produce 10,000 to 25,000 IU of vitamin D.  However, the risk becomes when you overexpose your skin to the sun and become burnt.

What Should I Do?

Practicing safe sun exposure is crucial in reducing your risk of cancer and other complications from chemical sunscreens. While there are some safer sunscreens on the market, it shouldn’t be your only line of defense against sun exposure. Here are some simple guidelines to follow when staying safe in the sun:

  • Cover up! Hats, shirts and sunglasses are your best protection.
  • Do not use tanning beds, spray tans or let yourself fry in the sun.
  • Find shade. Picnic under a tree or set up a canopy to sit under.
  • Pick a non-toxic sunscreen containing titanium dioxide, zinc oxide or both. It’s your safest option if you are going to wear sunscreen.

Sunscreen Tips

  • Stay away from spray sunscreens. They pose serious inhalation risks to young children.
  • Don’t use products with Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A). Added to makeup, moisturizers and sunscreens, vitamin A may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions when applied to the skin.
  • Just say no to Oxybenzone. Oxybenzone gets into the bloodstream and acts like estrogen in the body. It can also trigger allergic reactions.
  • Visit Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Sunscreen before you shop.

My Favorite Picks

  • Blue Lizard. I use this on both myself and my kids. I like that it is easy to apply, doesn’t leave a white greasy film and is relatively cheap compared to other natural sunscreens.
  • California Baby. I use the stick on my kids faces and can easily be found on Amazon or Target.
  • Badger scores well with both reviewers and on EWG’s guide.
  • Raw Elements. Also a favorite among reviewers and EWG.

Another great option when out at the pool or beach is to try a rash guard. They keep you protected from the sun while staying cool. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors.

So, tell me what’s your plans for this summer? I’d love to hear in the comments below!  Whatever they may be, enjoy your summer, but stay safe!

Our recommendations:

Affiliate disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to purchase an item through our link you will not incur any additional costs but Keepin’ it Real earns a small commission. We only recommend products we have used, would use or trust. Your support is greatly appreciated so we may continue to spread the news about real food.

Sources:
http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/how-do-i-get-the-vitamin-d-my-body-needs/#
http://draxe.com/75-of-sunscreens-are-toxic-what-to-do-instead
http://www.chrisbeatcancer.com/do-sunscreens-prevent-cancer-or-cause-it/
http://www.ewg.org/2015sunscreen/#0
https://www.truthinaging.com/ingredients/oxybenzone

Easy Homemade Fruit Popsicles

 

Fruit Popsicles

It feels like summer out there and if your kids are anything like mine, they come craving popsicles…and often bring the neighborhood kids with them. I love being a house where the kids find refuge from the heat, but I refuse to buy popsicles containing artificial colors and flavors. 

I started making fruit popsicles a couple years ago and they are so super simple that it’s almost silly not to make them yourself. There really are no rules to making your own fruit pops, and as with most of my cooking, I kind of just throw things together and hope for the best. But my favorite seems to be these babies below made with orange juice and a mix of kiwi, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries.

Easy Homemade Fruit Popsicles
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • Fresh fruit. Peaches, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries or kiwi are some of my favorites.
  • Liquid. Orange juice, blended watermelon, coconut water, etc.
Instructions
  1. Wash and slice the fruit. Add to the popsicle molds arranging some fruit along the side if you are concerned about the appearance. Pour liquid into molds and insert the stick. Freeze overnight. When ready to eat, run the mold under hot water for a few seconds to remove the popsicle.

Real_Food_Life_Fruit_Popsicles_2

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and tag us @realfood_life or hashtag it #realfoodlife. I’d love to see what you make!

Until next time, keep it real.

Our recommendations:

Affiliate disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to purchase an item through our link you will not incur any additional costs but Keepin’ it Real earns a small commission. We only recommend products we have used, would use or trust. Your support is greatly appreciated so we may continue to spread the news about real food.