Tag Archives: summer

Make S’more Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting to Survive Six S’more Weeks of Winter

Has this been the longest winter ever? It’s starting to feel like it. Currently it’s a -21 wind chill outside and I’m starting to convince myself the sun may never come back; summer will always be a distant fond memory.

Like S’mores. That little campfire treat is one time I put my guard all the way down and say screw it! Gooey marshmallows, melty chocolate (I always splurge and use dark chocolate), and that crispy little graham cracker turn any dull summer night in to an instant memory maker. And right now, as I watch another winter storm swirl around the backyard, I’m clinging to those sweet memories of last summer to keep me warm.

cupcakes chevron

Another way to keep warm? Baking, duh! All that batter beating and pre-heating turns the kitchen in to a little den of coziness. A den of coziness with cupcakes!

And not just any cupcakes, but big, fat S’more cupcakes.

smores cupcake

And not frosted with just any frosting, but big dollops of homemade chocolate cream cheese frosting.

chocolate cream cheese frosting

Winter just became manageable, folks. (more…)

Blood Orange and Raspberry Sorbetto Mimosas Make Waiting for Spring a Little Easier

Well friends, we’ve thawed out from the polar vortex and now my attention is firmly fixed 21 days from now. Groundhog Day. Please don’t see the shadow little guy; this girl is ready for spring!

An early, warm spring filled with brunches on patios and showers with friends and mimosas.

sorbet mimosas

These won’t be any ordinary mimosas, though. Oh, no sir! Or ma’am!

These will be fizzy, bubbling flutes of Sorbetto Mimosas.

Leave your juice behind. Even fresh-squeezed has nothing on creamy Talenti sorbetto floating around in that suspended little bubble dance.

You can use any flavor you like. In fact, a few flavor options — like Talenti’s mango, lemon, or even strawberry gelato — at a baby or wedding shower will make your mimosa bar the most memorable of the season!

raspberries and raspberry sorbet

We can’t get enough of Talenti’s Roman Raspberry – tart and sensual. The color is unlike anything you’ve ever seen, which is pretty appetizing if you eat with your eyes. (more…)

Your Seasonal Depression is Real and it’s Easier to Deal with SAD Than You Think

I’m not afraid to admit I get a little bummed out as summer transitions to autumn, and then to winter. The perfectly named Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is an affliction of which I’ve always suffered, but for the longest time I thought I was being an overly sensitive wimp. After a mild and jovial summer, the cool air that gusts melancholy over the Midwest in early September had me wondering if I was about to get SAD again, if it was a legitimate condition, and if so, what I could do fight it.

SAD

I shot our resident mental health expert, Brooke Randolph, LMHC an email asking her about SAD, and she revealed that after two decades of speculation, SAD had officially been classified as a common disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). In 2008—before SAD was an official diagnosis—Brooke wrote, “Our natural response to the seasonal changes only becomes a disorder when the distress is in excess of what would be expected from the stressor (seasonal change) and/or when it interferes with functioning in more than one key life area.” For example, if seasonal change begins to negatively impact your responsibilities as an employee, student, or partner, you probably have SAD. (more…)

Summer’s Final Fling: Our 13 Most Popular Recipes of the Season

The results are in. We have our top 13 spectacular recipes for the 13 weeks of summer. From standards like pickles and sandwiches to more adventurous fare like caprese salad and quinoa donuts, we’ve taken existing recipes to a healthy new level. For years, we’ve proved that the robust qualities of some of our nation’s most beloved dishes don’t have to suffer when made healthy.

These 13 recipes have been our most popular this summer, but they’re only the tip of our recipe iceberg. With only days remaining before autumn, try to fit a couple of these delicious recipes into your weekend cooking schedule, they’ll surely surprise and delight your friends and family as you toast the end of the sunshine season.

best club sandwich

13. The Best Club Sandwich Ever

The best part about a club sandwich is that you don’t have to be a member to enjoy its delicious crunch and juicy mouthfeel. Whether you’re at a deli, brunch spot, or gastropub, if you see a club sandwich on the menu, you know it’s a solid choice. But you also know it will probably have ungodly sodium levels and contain meat from who knows where. That’s why our recipe uses humanely sourced meat from Applegate that’s organic, low in sodium, and hormone free. Once we subbed in fresh avocado slices for the usual mayo and stuck it all between two pieces of sourdough, this sandwich reached enlightenment.

rainbow smoothie prep

12. Rainbow Smoothie 

The CDC says only 14 percent of adults get their daily recommended dose of fruits and vegetables. Reality makes participating in a plant based diet quite a challenge, that’s why our Rainbow Smoothie is such a gem. The concept is simple: choose one fruit or vegetable from each color family—ROYGBIV—combine with yogurt in a blender and BAM, you’ve got seven servings of fruits and veggies in your cup. It’s fun, easy, and healthier way to taste the rainbow! (more…)

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. (more…)

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

(more…)

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. (more…)

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. (more…)

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. (more…)

The Best Club Sandwich Ever is Made with Cleaner, Fresher Ingredients You Can Feel Good About

If I see a club sandwich on a menu, I’m ordering it. End of story. No matter how you stack it, I rarely find a sandwich that has a better combination of ingredients that meld so perfectly together. That first bite through the crisp lettuce, juicy tomato, sweet ham, and salty bacon sends the endorphin center of my brain to the realm of utter satisfaction.

best club sandwich

Eating these sandwiches at a restaurant is anyone’s gamble. It’s all pretty processed, and I know that. The salt is higher than it should be, the meat came from God knows where, and all in all it’s never quite as good as anything I make at home. So I try to take my own sandwich makings to the office to build my own for lunch. It’s always a far better option than what the corner deli is dishing up.

club sandwich cut

That better option, for me, is Applegate. I’ve been a long-time consumer and fan of their cleaner approach to meat products. How could anyone not be? They source humanely-raised animals to craft quality meat products that are organic and hormone free. The sandwich meats are tender,  juicy, and never overwhelmingly salty. For pre-cut sandwich meat, it’s truly as good as it gets. (more…)