With all the yummy garden produce, plus only a few more weeks left in summer, we thought it would be a perfect time to share some delicious summer salads. 

Watermelon Feta Salad

  • 4 cups spring mix
  • ½ cup watermelon, cubed
  • ½ cup mixed berries (I used blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries)
  • 3 tablespoons feta, crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons basil, chopped

Easy 3 Ingredient Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  1. Fill two bowls with mixed greens. Top with watermelon, berries, feta and basil.
  2. Drizzle with the Balsamic Vinaigrette and serve immediately.

Easy 3 Ingredient Balsamic Vinaigrette

  1. In a small bowl combine balsamic vinegar and brown sugar.
  2. In a slow steady stream whisk in the oil until combined and thickened. Set aside until ready to serve with the salad. If oil and vinegar separate whisk again right before serving.

Source: Chef Savvy

 

Corn, Avocado, and Tomato Salad
Ingredients
  • 2 cups cooked corn, fresh or frozen (see Note)
  • 1-2 avocados, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  1. Combine the corn, avocado, tomatoes, and onion in a large glass bowl. Mix together the dressing ingredients in another bowl, pour over the salad, and gently toss to mix. Chill salad for an hour or two to let flavors blend.

NOTE: Fresh corn is really best to use here. Cut it off the ear and boil it for 3-4 minutes to cook it and for even more flavor grill it and get those nice toasty kernels!

Source: The Girl Who Ate Everything

Cucumber and Tomato Salad in Garlic Yogurt Dressing

  • 1 lb cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 12lb tomatoes, chopped
  • 4green onions, minced
  • 12cup of fresh mint, chopped fine
  • 12cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • black pepper

Directions

  1. Mix the lemon juice, yogurt, garlic, pepper, mint and parsley together.
  2. Pour over cucumber and tomato mixture and stir.
  3. Serve within an hour for best taste.

Source: Food.com

Without special eye protection, viewing a partial eclipse can cause vision loss, even permanent blindness.

A total solar eclipse—when the moon completely covers the sun—will be visible from coast to coast on August 21, 2017. This amazing event lasts only about 2 minutes and is safe to watch, but the partial eclipse that happens before and after can permanently damage your vision. Use proper eye protection for safe viewing!

In a 70-mile wide band from central Oregon through South Carolina, a total eclipse of the sun will be visible across the entire continental United States for the first time in almost 40 years. The rest of the nation and parts of North and Central America will experience a partial solar eclipse. Without special eye protection, viewing a partial eclipse can cause vision loss, even permanent blindness. But, with proper eyewear or a solar viewer, you can safely enjoy this sight of the century.

The Sun in Your Eyes

Looking directly at the sun without the correct eye protection, even for a short time, can cause permanent damage to your retinas, a light-sensitive part of the eye that transmits what you see to your brain. Damage can occur without pain, and it can take a few hours or even a few days after viewing the eclipse to have symptoms of damage, which include not being able to see colors as well and loss of central vision, with only side vision remaining. If you notice any symptoms after viewing the solar eclipse, seek immediate help from your eye care professional.

Safe Watching

The only way to look directly at the sun when it’s not eclipsed or is only partly eclipsed is with a special solar filter, such as eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer. Goggles, homemade filters, or sunglasses, even very dark ones, will not protect your eyes. Also, always avoid looking at the sun through an unfiltered camera, smartphone, telescope, or any other optical device. You’ll need to add a certified solar filter to these devices to safely look at the sun.

Eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers are inexpensive and can be purchased from many retailers. However, not all meet the required ISO 12312-2 international safety standards; make sure yours do. Even if your eclipse glasses meet the safety standards, don’t use them if:

The lenses are scratched.
The lenses are wrinkled.
They are older than 3 years.

You can also make your own simple and inexpensive pinhole projector to safely view the eclipse. Be sure to follow instructions carefully, and never look at the sun through the pinhole.

CDC’s Vision Health Initiative

CDC’s Vision Health Initiative (VHI) works to improve eye health, reduce vision loss and blindness, control eye disease and eye injury, and promote the health of people with vision loss. VHI hopes you can safely enjoy this exciting solar eclipse by taking the time to protect your eyes. Learn more about VHI’s work at the VHI website.

Health Benefits of Water-based Exercise

Swimming is the fourth most popular sports activity in the United States and a good way to get regular aerobic physical activity. Just two and a half hours per week of aerobic physical activity, such as swimming, bicycling, or running, can decrease the risk of chronic illnesses. This can also lead to improved health for people with diabetes and heart disease. Swimmers have about half the risk of death compared with inactive people. People report enjoying water-based exercise more than exercising on land. They can also exercise longer in water than on land without increased effort or joint or muscle pain.

Water-based exercise can help people with chronic diseases. For people with arthritis, it improves use of affected joints without worsening symptoms. People with rheumatoid arthritis have more health improvements after participating in hydrotherapy than with other activities. Water-based exercise also improves the use of affected joints and decreases pain from osteoarthritis.

Water-based exercise improves mental health. Swimming can improve mood in both men and women. For people with fibromyalgia, it can decrease anxiety and exercise therapy in warm water can decrease depression and improve mood. Water-based exercise can improve the health of mothers and their unborn children and has a positive effect on the mothers’ mental health. Parents of children with developmental disabilities find that recreational activities, such as swimming, improve family connections.

Water-based exercise can benefit older adults by improving the quality of life and decreasing disability. It also improves or maintains the bone health of post-menopausal women.

Source: cdc.gov

When eating at many restaurants, it’s hard to miss that portion sizes have gotten larger in the last few years. The trend has also spilled over into the grocery store and vending machines, where a bagel has become a BAGEL and an “individual” bag of chips can easily feed more than one. Research shows that people unintentionally consume more calories when faced with larger portions. This can mean significant excess calorie intake, especially when eating high-calorie foods. Here are some tips to help you avoid some common portion-size pitfalls.

Portion control when eating out. Many restaurants serve more food than one person needs at one meal. Take control of the amount of food that ends up on your plate by splitting an entrée with a friend. Or, ask the wait person for a “to-go” box and wrap up half your meal as soon as it’s brought to the table.

Portion control when eating in. To minimize the temptation of second and third helpings when eating at home, serve the food on individual plates, instead of putting the serving dishes on the table. Keeping the excess food out of reach may discourage overeating.

Portion control in front of the TV. When eating or snacking in front of the TV, put the amount that you plan to eat into a bowl or container instead of eating straight from the package. It’s easy to overeat when your attention is focused on something else.

Go ahead, spoil your dinner. We learned as children not to snack before a meal for fear of “spoiling our dinner.” Well, it’s time to forget that old rule. If you feel hungry between meals, eat a healthy snack, like a piece of fruit or small salad, to avoid overeating during your next meal.

Be aware of large packages. For some reason, the larger the package, the more people consume from it without realizing it. To minimize this effect:

  • Divide up the contents of one large package into several smaller containers to help avoid over-consumption.
  • Don’t eat straight from the package. Instead, serve the food in a small bowl or container.

Out of sight, out of mind. People tend to consume more when they have easy access to food. Make your home a “portion friendly zone.”

  • Replace the candy dish with a fruit bowl.
  • Store especially tempting foods, like cookies, chips, or ice cream, out of immediate eyesight, like on a high shelf or at the back of the freezer. Move the healthier food to the front at eye level.
  • When buying in bulk, store the excess in a place that’s not convenient to get to, such as a high cabinet or at the back of the pantry.

Source: CDC.gov

One of the best thing about August is fresh tomatoes!

Here are a few of our favorite tomato recipes:

 

 Ingredients

Watch how to make this recipe.

Layer alternating slices of tomatoes and mozzarella, adding a basil leaf between each, on a large, shallow platter. Drizzle the salad with extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Source: Rachel Ray Capress Salad

 

 

CORN, TOMATO AND BASIL SALAD

6 large ears white corn, husked

5 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

1/2 cup (packed) thinly sliced fresh basil

5 plum tomatoes, seeded, chopped

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Cut corn kernels from cob. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add corn; sauté until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add half of basil.

Transfer corn mixture to large bowl. Cool slightly, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomatoes, vinegar, 3 tablespoons olive oil and remaining basil. Season with salt and pepper. Cover; chill 3 hours or up to 8 hours.

Recipe Source: Corn Tomato Basil Salad

 

 

Fresh Tomato Salsa (Pico de Gallo)

 2-3 medium sized fresh tomatoes (from 1 lb to 1 1/2 lb), stems removed

1/2 red onion

2 serrano chiles or 1 jalapeño chile (stems, ribs, seeds removed), less or more to taste

Juice of one lime

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Salt and pepper to taste

Pinch of dried oregano (crumble in your fingers before adding), more to taste

Pinch of ground cumin, more to taste

Roughly chop the tomatoes, chiles, and onions.

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse only a few times, just enough to finely dice the ingredients, not enough to purée.

Place in a serving bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. If the chilies make the salsa too hot, add some more chopped tomato. If not hot enough, carefully add a few of the seeds from the chilies, or add a little more ground cumin.

Let sit for an hour for the flavors to combine.

Source: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/fresh_tomato_salsa/#ixzz4ok3U0J6b 

 

Fresh Tomato Bruschetta

1/2 pound ripe tomatoes, at room temperature (3 to 4 medium)

Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

6 basil leaves, thinly sliced

Six 1/2-inch thick slices Italian or French bread

2 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole

Halve tomatoes then remove and discard the majority of the seeds. Chop tomatoes into 1/4-inch chunks then add to a medium bowl with a generous pinch of salt, small pinch of black pepper, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the basil. Stir and let sit 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a grill pan over medium heat or prepare an outdoor grill for medium heat. Drizzle bread slices with remaining tablespoon of oil and grill 2 to 3 minutes on each side until warmed through and grill marks appear.

Rub one side of the bread while still warm with garlic — two to three strokes per bread slice should do it.

Stir the tomatoes one more time, taste then adjust with more salt or pepper as needed. Spoon a generous amount onto each bread slice. Drizzle a little of the juice remaining at the bottom of the bowl over tomatoes and enjoy.

Recipe Video

Recipe Tips and Source

How about you? Do you love fresh tomatoes? What is your favorite tomato recipe?