Let’s face it. Summer goes by fast.
I can already hear the chorus of ”Can you believe it’s already August??” as we tuck away July. In Canada, summer is so appreciated because it is limited. It would not be so sweet without the contrast of those solid six months of bundled up briskness we call Winter. But there’s nothing we can do, so rather than fight the passing time, we might as well hop on a metaphorical inner tube and float with the steady flow of summer.
I’ve been spending as much of my time as possible outside. Under the sun, I eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, squeeze in an early morning bike ride along the Don river when I can, walk or bike everywhere feasible, and will even set up my computer on my front balcony when I have desk work to do (hey! that’s where I am now!). Summer is flying for me too, but I am sucking as much summer sweetness as possible out of it.
Javier and I have a picnic planned for his birthday (!) tomorrow. Since giving up gluten, I confess I have yet to find a really reliable sandwich bread that doesn’t fall apart in transit. Sandwiches after all, are one of the most portable of all meals, and portable meals are essential if your idea of paradise involves stretching out on the grass under the trees with your favourite newly minted 31 year old.
The good thing is, I’ve found so many delicious alternatives to sandwiches that I rarely miss my bread days of the past. Quinoa salad, collard wraps with veggie pâté, fresh rolls, and hearty dips with veggies are all perfectly portable and arguably a billion times more delicious (and nutritious) than a floppy old PB & J. And here is another picnic-worthy recipe to add to the roster!
A Note on Soaking Nuts
Did you know that all types of raw nuts and seeds are best consumed after being soaked for 2-8 hours, depending on the size of the nut? The reason for this is that when nuts and seeds are soaked in water, they come alive. Literally. The water starts the germination process and the nut begins to change composition. Enzymes become activated, protein content increases, b vitamins are formed, and phytic acid (a naturally occurring compound that inhibits the absorption of minerals) is reduced or eliminated. In short, soaked nuts and seeds are more nutrient dense and more digestible! In this particular recipe, the soaking step is essential to getting the right texture, but it also makes the recipe that much healthier!
This recipe is also grain-free, for all you paleo buffs out there. And you know what else is paleo? Eating with your butt on the earth! Bonus!
Grain-free Paleo Tabouli
1 cup almonds, soaked in water for 4-8 hours, drained & rinsed
2 cups fresh parsley, finely minced
1 cup fresh mint, finely minced
1 large ripe tomato, cut into small cubes
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice from 1 lemon (about 2 Tbsp)
1/2 tsp sea salt
-Add soaked nuts and juice of 1 lemon to a food processor and pulse until a coarse meal is formed. It should resemble cooked grains somewhat.
-Add almond meal to a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Give it a good stir, and it is ready to serve!
Celebrate second half of your summer, park your bum in the grass under a tree and eat up!