Enjoy the Summer without the Burn

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The dog days of summer are here. For me, that means I’m soaking up as much sunshine and happiness as possible! I really do mean sunshine AND happiness—we get Vitamin D from the sun, and that increases our serotonin levels. Increased serotonin levels means increased happiness.

The flip side of getting your Vitamin D from sunshine is that you’re also getting an increased amount of harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Those are the rays that give you sunburns and are the main cause of non-melanoma skin cancers.

In order to enjoy the sunshine without the guilt and fear of getting sunburns, wrinkles, and potentially cancer, I follow these steps:

  • Wear sunglasses with UV protection.
  • Enjoy the sun, but bask in the shade.
  • Pretend that every day is derby day, and enjoy wide-brimmed hats.
  • Slather on 50 SPF sun screen ever two hours.
  • Hide behind protective clothing when I can’t find shade—like when I’m gardening or working in my yard.
  • Try to limit my time outside during the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., since this is when UV levels are highest.

For more ways to enjoy the sun without the burn, check out this infographic.

 

What We Eat: Fiery Beef Satay Skewers

Marinades are great as they add tons of flavor without a bunch of unwanted calories typically included with cream sauces, butter, or oil. Also, there are many different marinades out there to keep your dinners different through the weeks.

The below marinade we included in the recipe for fiery beef satay skewers is one we really enjoy. The sweet heat and fresh lime make this a perfect summer day meal, but good enough to enjoy any time of the year. I made the dish  with peppers and turnips. The green peppers really complemented the beef nicely. I’m still working out the kinks with the turnips! And please use any veggie you prefer, or have left over in the fridge.

Fiery Beef Satay Skewers

Serves 4

Ingredients
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  • 1-1/2 lbs top sirloin steak
  • 5-6 green onions, cut into 1” pieces
  • 1/2 cup Dijon-style mustard
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 Tbs fresh lime juice
  • 4 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbs ground Cayenne

Instructions

  • In large bowl, combine mustard, soy sauce, honey, lime juice, garlic and cayenne.
  • Remove and reserve 1/2-cup of this marinade mixture for basting.
  • Trim fat from beef steak. Cut into 1-1/2” cubes.
  • Add beef to remaining marinade in bowl. Toss to coat.
  • Cover and marinate in refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  • Remove beef from marinade. Discard marinade.
  • Alternately thread an equal amount of beef and green onion onto each of four 12” metal or bamboo skewers.
  • Place skewers on grill over medium ash-covered coals.
  • Grill, uncovered, 10-12 minutes for medium-rare to medium, basting frequently with reserved 1/2-cup marinade and turning occasionally.
  • Let sit for 3-5 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information (per serving)

Calories: 264
% Calories from fat: 27
Fat (gm): 8
Saturated fat (gm): 3
Cholesterol (mg): 85
Sodium (mg): 1011
Protein (gm): 30
Carbohydrate (gm): 16

 

Need a Flavor Boost?

 

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I am far from being a culinary queen.  When I’m hungry and force myself to cook, my default is baking a chicken breast seasoned with garlic salt… a lot of garlic salt. Since I’m baking a chicken breast, I think I’m being healthy. In actuality, I’m adding a ton of unneeded sodium because I want my healthy baked chicken to have some flavor. I mean, let’s face it, who wants to eat anything if it doesn’t taste good?

Thankfully, the theme of National Nutrition Month is “Savor the Flavor.” We decided to support this theme and created this “Give Your Food a Flavor Boost” infographic. Here, we highlight some basic ways to enhance the flavor of your food with herbs and spice and cooking techniques. Goodbye boring baked chicken, and hello yummy seared chicken with caramelized apples, carrots, and onions!

Check out this infographic if you want to enjoy the benefits of using flavor-boosting cooking methods and flavoring with herbs and spices.