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summer



Pick a Peck of Homemade Sweet and Spicy English Cucumber Pickles

I will never buy pickles from the grocery store ever again.

I’ve seen the light.

I’ve tasted victory.

Why didn’t I figure this out sooner?

When I remember the summer of 2013, it will be the Summer of the Pickle!

homemade pickles

My grandfather planted a beautiful garden in his backyard this spring. We’ve been reaping the benefits of his hard work all season and I couldn’t be more thankful. My house doesn’t allow for a garden, so when he emailed and asked, “what would you like me to plant?”, I sent him a list that probably took him by surprise.

At the top of that list were English cucumbers. A thinner skin, sweeter taste, and fewer seeds, English cucumbers are a much better eating experience than the ‘ole standard cucumber. While not an issue when grown in the backyard, when bought at the store, English cucumbers typically come without the layer of wax found on regular cucumbers. And they’re prettier. For what that’s worth!

english cucumbers

Grandpa’s harvest has been good, which means we’ve had English cucumbers out the wazoo. A girl can only eat so many before she starts daydreaming about getting rid of cucumbers. So I asked my three-year-old sous chef, and pickle aficionado, if she’d like to spend a Saturday making pickles. She was delighted at the invitation and we set to slicing a heaping pile of cucs.
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Finish Summer with a Tabbouleh-Inspired Freekeh Salad Using Garden-Picked Ingredients

It’s very encouraging that we all continue to demand fresher, simpler, healthier recipes, and that they actually exist! Summer tends to inspire this more than other seasons, with the bounty of fruits and vegetables in season this time of year. As we stand to enjoy a few more sweltering weeks of summer sun before the first day of fall on September 22, we present a recipe that meets all of the aforementioned criteria.

freekeh taboulleh

This Tabbouleh-Inspired Freekeh Salad, crafted by guest chef Adriene Rathbun, is a fantastic way to use up the last of your summer garden harvest, as most of these ingredients could be plucked right out of your backyard (or even the farmers market).

We start with all-natural freekeh, pronounced free-kah, a roasted green wheat with a heartier, nuttier taste than bulgur with a texture and appearance similar to other whole grains like rice. It’s as easy to prepare as a pot of rice – you’ll just need a half-cup for this recipe boiled with water (or broth for more flavor) for about 20 minutes. We like ours on the chewier, al dente side, so we reduce the cooking time by a few minutes.

freekeh


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iCan Bike Lets Kids With Different Abilities Grab Life by the Handlebars

When the iCan Bike program rolled into the Wichita Ice Center last month, 40 youth with varying disabilities grabbed life by the handlebars. The week-long camp is designed to teach cycling to children with developmental disabilities to ride a bike. For many, riding a bike is entrenched as a youthful rite of passage, an expected childhood development filed in between learning to read and losing baby teeth. But even with all the worthwhile services provided to people with different abilities, the teaching of the most essential recreational activity was being overlooked. Learning to bike is a portal. It’s the intersection of sport and independence, it’s in the doorway of competition and confidence.

icanbike wichita 1

iCan Bike is under the larger iCan Shine umbrella, a national organization that “provides quality learning opportunities” for a host of recreational activities. iCan Shine sent two staffers, Donovan Bryan and John Reyes, and their custom designed bikes and equipment for the Wichita camp, hosted by the Independent Living Resource Center.
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Crazy for Caprese! 17 New Ways to Make a Classic Caprese Salad

Basil.

Mozzarella.

Tomatoes.

Are any three foods more perfect on their own? But then when combined can take the food center of your brain to a new euphoria? No. The answer is definitively no.

caprese sal

The caprese is so simple, effortless, satisfying, and a must-eat during the summer. You’re doing yourself a disservice if you skip this quintessential summer food. On those nights when you don’t want to cook, or it’s too hot to cook, but you don’t want to go out, and you want something healthy, and blah, blah blah, this is the answer. Appetizer, lunch, entree no matter how you slice that sweet mozz and those juicy fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes it’s perfection.

The ingredient colors reflect those in the Italian flag, the origin of this recipe. As with any classic, the variations are plentiful and all equally delicious or capable of taking your familiarity with this food to a new level. We’ll introduce you to a mere 20 that we were able to say we absolutely have to eat!

the peach caprese

For starters, our all new Peach Caprese Salad by Adriene Rathbun.
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Finish Summer Strong with a Beach Ball Workout by Patricia Friberg

Award winning fitness guru Patricia Friberg has shared a hot new beach workout for the home stretch of summer. The Beach Ball Workout strengthens the glutes, abs, thighs and arms, and all you need is a beach ball—a beach doesn’t hurt either.

You’ve gotta mix up your fitness regimen if you want to avoid the workout doldrums. So seek out a sunny spot and try this great new workout from Patricia.

Beach Ball Lateral Squat

Beach-Ball-Slide-1

Benefits: Tones the bottom, inner thigh, legs and waistline. This is a one stop shop for exercises.

Set up: Wide stance with legs, holding the ball in the hands. Draw the abdominals inward and upward.

Step 1: Hinge at the right hip and bend your right knee. Take the ball down to the ground by your right foot. Firm the right glute and keep your abdominals drawing in.

Step 2: With the strength of your right leg, push into the ground to straighten the leg and lift the ball up and side bend to the left. 12 reps each leg.
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