4th of July Healthy Eating Ideas


By Nancy Smorch

Yesterday (the 4th of July) was an absolutely gorgeously perfect day here in West Michigan!  I could easily take about a year of those kinds of days (aside from a few days of rain added in for all of the crops!).

Frankie helped me let the horses out of the barn in the morning (made sure we brought them in overnight so they wouldn't freak over all of the fireworks going off).  When she went to fill one of the water buckets in the pasture, she noticed one of the baby barn swallows stuck in the water.  She's always rescuing animals, and this morning was no exception.  She took the bird out of the water bucket and climbed the stalls in the barn to put it back in the "family nest," until it warmed up a bit and was ready to fly out again.  Every year the swallows come back and lay their eggs in our barn - they keep the horses company when we have to bring them in (or annoy them, I'm not sure which).  It's fun to watch!

We came in for breakfast after that and, and given the additional "restrictions" on what I can eat, unfortunately, eggs were out of the question for breakfast.  I keep reminding myself it's only for 6 weeks, but eggs were always an easy go-to and this time of year, with all of the delicious, fresh produce, eggs are so good as an omelet or a "scramble."

So what was I going to have for breakfast now?  The creativity wasn't flowing this morning, but I did look at what I had to work with.  I had a ton of gorgeous lettuce from the raised beds, some juicy kale from the garden, and the season's first pickling cucumbers.  So I decided to make a salad.  I added in some macadamia nuts and some crumbled Sami's Bakery Millet and Flax crackers, sprinkled it with Maldon's Sea Salt and drizzled it with Casa Fabbrini's olive oil and I was good to go.  Although it certainly wasn't the same as eggs (I have some amazing Crane Dance Farm Eggs staring at me every time I open the refrigerator), it was good in it's own, special way.

What else was I going to eat, though?  As good as salads are, I can't eat them for every meal.  I did make a pretty good chicken dish the other night with coconut milk and Chinese Five Spice (I'll share this recipe soon).  But I knew I was going to have to shift my thinking a bit and make an extra effort to make sure I was eating enough and still enjoying all the wonderful food we have here.

So, while scrolling through Facebook, I came upon a recommendation for 5 easy mason jar recipes, from Well and Good NYC (I know I don't live in New York, but I love to tap into their creative energy and also their innovation in foods, cafes, restaurants, fitness ideas, and juice bars).  Here's the link to that article.

One of the recipes led me to "Clean Wellness," a blog about plant-based foods and clean living.  She had some really great recipes and inspiration, and this is where I found the recipe for the "cookie dough balls" above.  As soon as I saw that recipe, I took my laptop to the kitchen and started making them.

I did have to make a couple of adjustments.  Here's what I did:

I didn't have a pear, as was called for in the recipe, so I substituted an apple.  I wanted a little more of a nutty taste, so I added an extra tablespoon of almond butter.  Then I ended up putting ginger in only half of the balls, as I knew Frankie wouldn't eat them with ginger.  And, finally, I only put chocolate in the half without the ginger, as I'm not supposed to eat chocolate for a bit.  I almost left the ginger out all together.  I couldn't imagine ginger working in a recipe like this, but I'm glad I went ahead and included it.  It added a really refreshing taste.  It wasn't too overpowering, I actually loved it.  It shouldn't have surprised me.  I do like ginger, and one of my favorite chocolate bars has ginger in it.

So anyway, I just wanted to share the link to this recipe for you to try as well and for you to check out the rest of her recipes - if you're looking for some healthier alternatives for this holiday weekend. Enjoy your weekend, and if you happen to be in West Michigan, check out all of our wonderful farmers markets, restaurants, beaches, and fireworks (did I ever tell you how much I love West Michigan?)!