Gardening is a wonderful way to stay active, relieve stress, and spend time outdoors. If you grow your own vegetables, you’ll enjoy the added benefit of saving money on food and having access to organically grown produce. Plus, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint and be less likely to waste food that you grew yourself.
However, not everyone has a backyard or enough green space on their property for a regular garden. Fortunately, many of the vegetables you might plant in your yard can thrive in pots on your balcony, deck or patio.
Here are just some of the many vegetables that can be grown in containers:
• Green onions
• Beans and peas
• Leafy greens
Once you’ve selected your vegetables, choose pots with good drainage and enough depth to accommodate the plant’s growth. You’ll also need to water your vegetables every day and ensure they get enough sunlight.
Finally, it’s best to use potting soil for your balcony garden, as it contains more nutrients than other types and can help prevent root rot.
Roasted tomato and goat cheese bruschetta
Are you having guests over for a casual meal? These cheesy starters are sure to be a hit.
• 20 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 8 slices of baguette bread
• 8 tablespoons goat cheese
• Fresh basil, coarsely chopped
• Salt and pepper, to taste
• Honey, for garnish (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. Toss the cherry tomatoes with olive oil and spread them into an oven-safe baking dish. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the tomatoes start to pucker.
3. Lay the bread slices on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until crisp.
4. Spread a tablespoon of goat cheese on each slice of bread.
5. Add some fresh basil and roasted tomatoes.
Drizzle some honey over the bruschetta before serving for a subtle sweetness.
Extra watermelon? Try these refreshing drinks
Forget broccoli and spinach for today — here’s the superfood everyone loves to eat!
The juicy pink smile of a watermelon slice (one cup diced) is actually a thirst quencher at 92 percent water. More than in a banana, its ample potassium also makes it a good preventative for heat stroke.
Additionally, it packs a giant dose of glutathione to deter free radicals and enhance the immune system.
Watermelon is second only to tomatoes as a key source of the cancer-fighting antioxidant lycopene, and it has a lot of vitamin C besides.
This superfood has as much fiber as a slice of whole-wheat bread and also features vitamin A, thiamine, and magnesium, and all of this for little more than 50 calories a cup.
Actually, it’s enough just to know you can eat this treat anytime and feel good about doing it.
Selecting: Look for one with a brown stem attached. Thump the center to see if it makes a nice thud. That means it’s ripe.
Storing: Uncut watermelons can be stored unrefrigerated for three to four days. After cutting, cover and refrigerate any leftover chunks.
For a refreshing thirst quencher, puree with apple and lemon juices, or freeze this puree for ice pops.
Though we don’t recommend eating them, watermelon seeds are a folk remedy for high blood pressure. The seeds contain the compound cucurbocitrin, which helps dilate capillaries and boost kidney function– key mechanisms to decrease blood pressure.
Is there anything more delicious than late summer watermelon, ripened in the hot sun until juicy and fragrant?
Not really, and when you find yourself wilting in the late summer heat, a cold watermelon agua fresca or icy watermelon slushie is perfect for helping you cool down and relax. Adults and kids alike will love them, and adding your own spin with extra flavorings or cantaloupe instead of watermelon is easy.
Watermelon agua fresca
4 cups cubed seeded watermelon
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar (or to taste)
24 fresh mint leaves
Combine watermelon and water in a blender and puree until smooth. Add sugar to taste. Slice lime into small wedges (you’ll need about 8), then place one wedge into each serving glass and three mint leaves. Crush with a cocktail muddler (a wooden spoon handle also works), then add ice. Pour the agua fresca over the ice, stir, then serve.
4 cups cubed seeded ripe watermelon (188 calories)
2 tablespoons sugar (32 calories)
1 tablespoon lime juice (30 calories)
About 3 cups of ice
Blend the fruit, melon, sugar, and juice until liquid. Add ice and continue to blend until the liquid reaches a slushie consistency.
In the whole blend, there are about 250 calories.
3 ways to make homemade ice cream
There are many ways to make delicious homemade ice cream. Here are three easy methods for making this delicious dessert.
1. In an ice cream maker
Combine egg yolks, sugar, milk, and cream in a large bowl. Then, place the mixture in the ice cream maker and turn it on. The machine will cool and mix everything together for about 30 to 45 minutes. After that, the ice cream is ready to eat.
2. In a dish
Use a hand or stand mixer to beat cream, eggs, and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Stir in frozen fruit and condensed milk with a spatula. Then, place the mixture in the freezer in an airtight dish for at least four hours.
3. In bags
You can make ice cream in 10 to 20 minutes with this easy method. Pour heavy cream and vanilla into a small plastic bag. Then, place the small bag into a larger bag containing ice cubes and salt. Vigorously shake the bags until you reach the right consistency.
If you’re craving ice cream but don’t have time to make it yourself, visit a local ice cream shop or creamery.
If you want to make vegan ice cream, you can replace the dairy products with coconut or soy milk, coconut butter, coconut oil, or soy cream.
Vegan poke bowl
This poke bowl is packed with tasty and nutritious ingredients and makes the perfect healthy summer treat.
• 2 sweet potatoes, diced
• 2 cups baby spinach
• 4 cups quinoa, cooked and cooled
• 20 cherry tomatoes, cut in half or quarters
• 2 cups arugula
• 1 can chickpeas, drained
• 2 ripe avocados
• 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
• 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
• 1/2 cup maple syrup
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1/4 cup soy sauce
• Salt and pepper, to taste
• 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce (optional)
1. 1Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet with a little bit of olive oil and bake for 30 minutes or until tender. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Place the baby spinach in the bottom of four serving bowls. Arrange the quinoa, cherry tomatoes, cooked sweet potatoes, arugula, and chickpeas in separate sections. Set aside in a cool place.
4. Cut the avocados in half length¬wise. Remove the pit and skin. Place one avocado half on a cutting board. Cut into thin slices crosswise, taking care to maintain the shape. Using your hands, fan out the slices. Make sure to keep them stuck together to create a straight line. Take one end́ of the line and roll it over itself until it becomes an avocado flower. Repeat with the other halves.
5. Gently lift each avocado flower and place one in the middle of each bowl. Sprinkle a quarter of the white and black sesame seeds over each bowl.
6. Combine the maple syrup, olive oil, and soy sauce in a separate bowl. Pour a quarter of the sauce over each bowl or serve separately.
Do you like spice? Give your recipe a kick by coating the chickpeas in sriracha.
6 ways to enjoy watermelon
Watermelon is a classic summer fruit. Here are six ways to enjoy this refreshing, juicy, and tasty treat.
1. In a salad. Toss together cubed watermelon with a salty cheese like halloumi, feta, or parmesan. You can include other tasty ingredients, such as tomatoes, olives, and leafy greens like baby spinach.
2. In soup. Create a refreshing cold soup by combining watermelon and basil in a blender.
3. In cocktails. Stir together watermelon juice and your favorite alcohol. Sparkling wine is a great choice! You can also try adding melon ice cubes to a summer cocktail.
4. As a popsicle. Blend together watermelon, sugar, and lemon or lime juice. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds for an irresistible snack.
5. In a slushie. It’s easy to make homemade slushies. Simply combine watermelon and other fruits like raspberries and strawberries with a small amount of sugar, a few mint leaves, and crushed ice in your blender.
6. In a muffin. The flesh and juice of watermelons are excellent for creating moist muffins. Complete the recipe with dried cherries or raisins, chocolate chips, or your other favorite ingredients.
Visit your local grocery store or farmers’ market to find the perfect watermelon for your recipes.
Indulge in summer street food
Many food trucks and family-run restaurants offer a variety of dishes and drinks that can be enjoyed on the go. Here are a few tips for enjoying local street food this summer.
Broaden your horizons
Step outside your comfort zone and sample a variety of trendy street foods like sandwiches, salads, hot dogs, kebabs, crepes, tacos, fish and chips, and hamburgers. No matter where you go, street food allows you to enjoy a wide variety of sweet, salty, and spicy delights.
Explore new places
Use apps and websites to find food trucks and small restaurants offering unique street food near you. You can also research outdoor events that gather several popular food trucks in one place. Additionally, find out if your favorite brick-and-mortar restaurant has a food truck. This way, you can enjoy their dishes in new and exciting places.
Organize an event
Instead of trying to track down food trucks and small restaurants offering street food in your neighborhood, hire a food truck for a private function, such as a birthday or wedding. Your guests will be thrilled to try something new.
Enjoy the simplicity and authenticity of street food this summer!