• 26Jun

    Today’s post in the series “What are your Favorite Summer Fruits and Veggies?” was contributed by David Rogers.

    Summer-eating season is one of my favorite times of the year! Living in suburban Atlanta, I have a wealth of fresh local produce (including my own and my neighbors’ gardens) to choose from.

    This season’s recipes and fare are lighter and easier to prepare, and are on the menu as much as possible at my house.

    Since my family stays pretty active outdoors during the longer daylight hours, there are a few go-to items that I keep handy in my own kitchen for quick preparation: tomatoes, fresh basil and mozzarella, cilantro, garlic and nuts are the types of ingredients we like to eat on a regular basis. These can be prepared in simple, hearty meals with little-to-no prep time.

    farm fresh veggiesOne of my all-time favorites is a Beefsteak or Big Boy tomato. Slice up one of these and pair it with light mayo, Greek yogurt, or just enjoy it as a plain tomato sandwich, and you’ll have a wonderful picnic meal or after-swim snack! Make the tomato into a fresh summer salad by pairing it with fresh basil, spinach or mixed greens, parmesan cheese, and your favorite nut like almonds, walnuts, or pecans. Nuts like thsese are packed with nutritional value and help balance out the meal. I like to dress a salad like this with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette, a light dressing that brings out the fresh, natural flavors of the salad.

    I also like to serve easy tapas like these Pesto-Stuffed Peppers. They are a perfect complement to a salad or to something fresh from the grill like veggies, chicken, beef or fish.

    I hope you enjoy your summer eating, and remember to keep it simple and fresh!

    Fresh Pesto
    Ingredients
    • 2 cups fresh cilantro
    • 2 small garlic cloves
    • 3/4 cup toasted walnuts
    • Small pinch of sea salt
    • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
    • 1 cup olive oil
    • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice

    Instructions
    Put all of the above ingredients in a blender or a food processor and puree.

    Pesto-stuffed Peppers

    Pesto-stuffed Peppers

    Pesto-Stuffed Peppers
    Ingredients
    • Pesto (see recipe above)
    • 30 red, yellow, orange Sweet Mini Peppers
    • 18 ounces cream cheese or goat cheese

    Instructions
    Preheat oven to 350. Leaving stem on the peppers, slice peppers and remove the seeds. Fill each pepper with cheese. Arrange peppers on a baking sheet, drizzle with a touch of olive oil and bake for about 8-10 minutes until peppers are tender and a touch crispy. Remove from oven and arrange on a platter & spoon pesto on top of each pepper. Save left over pesto — it’s great on grilled chicken or warm veggies!
    Balsamic Dressing
    Ingredients
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    • Italian spice blend to taste

    Instructions
    Mix ingredients in cruet. Shake and enjoy!

  • 22May

    Today’s Blog Post in the “What is Your Favorite Warm-Weather Form of Exercise” Series was contributed by GMM Business Development Representative, David Rogers.

    My favorite warm-weather exercise is either outdoor walking or bike riding. I grew up doing these activities with my parents and siblings after dinner to help us after our meals to promote good health, family time and better sleep.

    photo 2_2These days, I am very fortunate to live in a great walking and biking neighborhood. The rolling landscape of my route provides not only moderate resistance for raising my heart rate, but also a visually beautiful area to help reduce stress. Plus, it’s always nice to catch the smell of the flowers just before you need a burst of energy to stride up a hill (and build some muscle!).

    It’s also just nice to be able to chat with and catch up with any of the neighbors that might be out along the way, and to even bring my dog along for the walk. Having a community network is proven to be a key to good health and happiness, so taking a walk or bike ride around the neighborhood and speaking with the neighbors checks two health-promoting boxes at once!

    photo 1To mix things up, my town has also created a 5-mile trail system that has pedestrian- and bike-friendly lanes. I often step out of my usual routine and even enlist my friends and family to join me for a 30-45 minute trek along these trails. Most communities offer a similar set-up or have local parks nearby with wellness challenge stations to help improve your strength, flexibility, and stamina, so I usually look for these for an added challenge along the way.

    For me, exercising during the warm summer months is all about having the right shoes, bringing along proper hydration, and most importantly having good company to encourage me to get outside to keep promoting my good health and reduce my stress.