Yes, I officially have Spring Fever! It’s my favorite time of year here in the Central California Valley, and I try not to take a moment for granted. As I write this I am basking in the sunshine on my back patio-enjoying the chatter of the birds and the fragrance of rose bushes in bloom. Summer will quickly be upon us, when those precious moments will be confined to early mornings and my schedule will become much more deliberate–otherwise the sweltering heat can easily deplete my enthusiasm!
We do our batch-cooking very early during the hot weather, and we plan fun summer foods that can be prepared in advance-wonderful salads with delicious healthy dressings, grilled veggie kabobs and marinated portabella mushrooms, carrot dogs, veggie burgers, fruit salad, homemade salsa and chips, corn on the cob, and yummy desserts with in-season fruit.
We love to take impromptu picnics, or invite friends to enjoy our plant-based fare. We never discourage our guests or family from bringing their own favorites, nor do we judge or shame others for their food choices. More often than not these days we find that our dishes are the ones that disappear the quickest, and our guests leave encouraged that making some changes for the sake of their health might not be as daunting as they imagined before they shared a meal with us. It’s especially rewarding to see the favorable response of our son-in-laws and grandkids, and to know that our family traditions have not been lost, only modified to include new versions of our old favorites. And the grandkids still love baking with gram – we just have new delicious recipes that don’t include eggs, dairy, and oil.
We love to whip up Dr. Fuhrman’s Creamy Peach Pie, or Summer Fruit Pie (no baking necessary), or Happy Herbivore’s mouth-watering Carrot Cake Cupcakes.
Summer Fruit Pie
Creamy Peach Pie
When it’s time to top the dessert, traditional ice cream is replaced with our new favorite “nice cream”-amazing frozen treats made with frozen fruit. Our Yonana machine gets a workout when summer rolls around!
Happy Herbivore’s Carrot Cake CupcakesRecipe
Summer Fruit Pie RecipeRecipe
Creamy Peach PieRecipe
If you haven’t enjoyed a carrot dog, you are in for a big treat! Top it with Chuck’s “best damn vegan chili”, some chopped red onion, and a drizzle of mrsplantintexas “quick cashew queso”, again miss your favorite chili cheese dog. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it my friends–you sure won’t miss the heartburn and health consequences of eating processed weiners (and we all know what’s in those things). Or just top it with your favorite condiments and you’ll be singing “take me out to the ball game” in no time.
Chuck’s Best Damn Vegan ChiliRecipe
Quick Cashew QuesoRecipe
If you’re more of a burger fan, sink your teeth into one of Chef AJ’s Chipotle Bean Burgers with a few air “fried” french fries, and you will definitely become a believer!
We have essentially found a recipe to replace every unhealthy comfort food that we thought we could never live without. So when my neighbor fires up his barbie and the aroma of tri-tip assaults my senses (one of the few former smells that still makes me salivate),
I plug in my my Cuisinart Grill and the fragrant scent of our garlic infused marinades on our veggies and carrot dogs soon overpower my momentary longing, and instead is replaced with the joy of knowing we will enjoy this celebration without guilt or fear of clogged arteries or acid reflux after we have indulged.
Our guests are pleasantly surprised at our barbecues!
Chef AJ’s Chipotle Bean BurgersRecipe
I have come to realize that it is no longer the meat I crave when I inhale that barbecue fragrance, but the warm memories of family gathering from days gone by. Whether it be in someone’s backyard, on the beach, or at the park, the day usually revolved around sunshine, laughter and good food. Of course we were unaware at the time how much of that food contributed to our health and weight issues. Now we know we can still create those wonderful moments–enjoying time with family and friends, only now we do it with delicious health-promoting fare.
If plant-based eating is a new concept for your family, I hope you will be inspired by what our family has accomplished. If superior health and weight loss is your goal, there is no better way to achieve it. Start by checking out the links that I have provided for you today-you will find tons of tantalizing recipes to get you started. And be encouraged that your tastebuds will adapt and actually crave these healthy foods within a matter of weeks. Before you know it, you too will be proclaiming: “Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels!”