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Summer Reading List: Yummy Beach Reads with Recipe Pairings

To say I’m an avid reader is an understatement. If I’m caught up in a story, I tend to shirk important things like laundry and a reasonable adult bedtime. My husband may have to wear an Old Navy T-shirt to work because his company Polos are waiting in the hamper, but at least I’ll find out how the latest Gillian Flynn novel ended. Or maybe I won’t. That Gillian Flynn, she’s an enigma.

Some people prefer to read in the winter, but I think summer is the perfect time to inhale books because there are so many places you can go. Take your novel, Kindle, NOok or other word-devouring device and hit the beach, prop yourself up at the pool, plant your behind under a shady tree at the park, swing in a hammock, or take over the kids’ treehouse. In fact, the only thing more enjoyable than reading in the summer is eating! So, let’s do both, shall we?

Listed below are five must-read summer novels and their five must-eat food companions! Still hungry for more? Our list continues with more fresh titles and bites at Yahoo! Shine.

AGirlsGuideToLove

Girls’ Guide to Love and Supper Clubs

With the last name Sugarman and a passion for cooking, you’d think the career path for Hannah would be destined. Unfortunately, she’s too busy trying to please her affluent boyfriend and academic parents so she works at a Washington think-tank. Oh yeah, and she’s miserable. After her relationship fizzles she makes a bold move and starts a popular underground supper club. Unfortunately, the club is run out of her landlord’s house and he doesn’t know about it. This could be a problem.

Pair With This Recipe: Caprese Grilled Cheese

This is not white bread and American cheese, this is grown up fare with flair! All the ingredients that make a robust Italian favorite including Roma tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil are reworked to create a sophisticated sandwich. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar after grilling to capture the full Caprese experience.
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Classic Oatmeal Cookie Sandwiches Are a Healthy Treat Worth Indulging In

Remember those oatmeal cookie sandwiches with the creamy, sweet filling that you used to swipe from vending machines and beg your parents for in the grocery store? Well, these are those, only a million times healthier. A cause for healthful indulgence? We think, yes.

Healthy Oatmeal Cookie Sandiches Recipe

These oatmeal cookie sandwiches are almost 100% vegan and made with healthful ingredients like rolled oats, grated carrots, whole wheat flour and banana. Though the inspiration for the recipe was pre-packaged oatmeal cream pies, these little guys take the treat to a whole new level and are even better than the original (we think).
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Girl Scout Troop Raises Money for Edible Garden Instead of Selling Cookies

Last month, we vocalized our distaste for Girl Scout Cookies in a highly read article, Why You Should Never Buy Girl Scout Cookies. It’s not that we don’t like the troops, many of us worked hard for those same badges. What we don’t like is the message these cookies send, the ingredients they’re stuffed with, and missed opportunity to do something so much more with these young minds.

When we were tipped off to what Girl Scout Troop 2753 is doing in California, we were thrilled. Why isn’t every troop doing this, we wondered.

One of the troop’s members, Alicia, dons her Daisy uniform and says, “My Girl Scout troop is not selling cookies but we are raising money for our fruit and vegetable garden at our school.”
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Raw Sunflower Butter Cookies Make a Healthy Take Along Snack

The first time I tried sunflower seed butter was at a farmers market in Portland, Oregon several years back. I had just passed by the third strawberry stand lining the market’s north side when I stumbled upon a tent with a middle-aged gentleman pedaling exotic-looking nut and seed butters. One of the butters was made of sunflower seeds. Despite my initial reservations I dipped my toothpick in, gave it a lick and walked away with a half pint.

That’s the kind of thing that happens when you visit a bustling farmers market. You try new exotic flavors and discover little gems of health like sunflower seed butter. Thanks Portland. I owe you my love of yet another nut butter for that one.

Since trying sunflower butter that first time I’ve experimented with making my own nut and seed butters at home in order to venture outside the peanut butter realm. Almond, cashew and chia seed nut butters are all delicious but I’d yet to try my hand at sunflower seeds. That is, until now.
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How to Cook with Persimmons

Persimmons are an odd fruit all around. Their shiny orange skin is unlike any other fruit and their flavor can be described as both spicy and sweet. Can you believe I’ve never tried one before? Like pomegranates this voluptuous fruit has mostly remained a mystery to me, until now. It’s time to crack the code. 

For starters, did you know there are two varieties of persimmons and each is best suited for certain types of dishes? Also, they’re an ideal autumn and winter fruit despite their summery appearance. I think it’s time to put our skepticism aside: Let’s dive in and get the full scoop on persimmons.

What do they taste like? It depends on the variety. According to Whole Foods there are two varieties of persimmons: astringent and non-astringent. The astringent (like the Hachiya) is likened to the consistency of jelly. Non-astringent varieties (like the Fuju) are more crunchy and sweet with a slightly spicy flavor.

Health benefits: Lucky for you and I persimmons not only taste delicious, they’re also extremely healthy. Like most fruits and vegetables they’re very high in fiber, meaning you fill up fast and stay that way for longer. According to FitSugar, just one persimmon contains nearly a quarter of your recommended daily fiber amount  – roughly 6 grams. That’s impressive for a pint-sized fruit. In addition, the fiber in persimmons called pectin helps regulate blood-sugar levels.

Persimmons are also high in vitamins A and C, as well as manganese and free radical-fighting antioxidants. Perhaps the coolest perk? Persimmons have stomach-soothing properties, which means eating one or two won’t leave you feeling bloated. That’s a win-win for fiber-loving ladies.
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