Now that the temperature is heating up outside, we need to think about staying hydrated more than ever. I have been reading a book called Superfoods by Tonia Reinhard, and she includes water in the top 200 superfoods, or healthiest foods on the planet. She reminds us that water is one of the six essential nutrients necessary not only for survival, but for good health as well. It is so easy to reach for some kind of sweetened drink when we are thirsty, but water delivers the best hydration without all the sugar and additives. Sometimes it can feel like work to drink enough water, so in the summer, I like to make my own version of herb-infused water. It is more fun than drinking plain water–it gives the water a delicate flavor and adds some extra health benefits as well. According to www.naturalnews.com/042942_lemon_balm_health_benefits_antioxidants.html, lemonbalm is a calming herb. It also contains antioxidants. Mint adds some assets to the water too. Besides a refreshing flavor, mint boosts our health. An article at www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-mint.html says that mint is soothing to our bodies. It can help with nausea and even boosts our mood, among other things. Both lemonbalm and mint are really easy to grow. In fact they are so easy to grow, that you need to either plant them in a pot, or plant them somewhere where they are contained somehow. Otherwise they will spread like crazy.
We grow our own herbs here at home, so in the summer, I love to just walk outside and pick a handful of lemonbalm and a handful of mint, and prepare to make what I like to call lemon-mint sunshine water. (You can also find lemonbalm and mint leaves in the herb section of many grocery stores). After you wash the herbs, just fill a glass container with water (I use a 3 quart glass jar) and place a handful of the herbs in the water. (You can experiment with the amount of herbs, depending on how much flavor you want.) Cover the jar and set it outside in direct sun. This water works best if it can steep out in the sun for the whole day, so I start it in the morning and pull it in when the sun gets lower, in the early evening. It tastes best cold, so refrigerate it and give your some true refreshment!
Although it is not a weekend, I made waffles for my kids this morning because we were home and had a little extra time. Usually, it is my husband who makes them for us on Saturday or Sunday mornings. And he really does a better job than I do at them. But this recipe, which I have posted below, is pretty solid, so even those who don’t make waffles very often (like me) can do it. Just remember to preheat and lightly oil your waffle maker before you pour the batter in. I learned that the hard way. There is no white flour to be found in this recipe, which I find very appealing. It’s full of fiber and all the other good things associated with whole wheat flour and oats. According to www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/reap-the-benefits-of-whole-grains, whole wheat and oats also contain protein, B vitamins, trace minerals, and antioxidants. And there’s only a teaspoon of sugar, yet the waffles are tasty and hearty. If you are looking to fuel up for an active day, these waffles are a great way to do it. Topped with peanut butter or maple syrup, and fresh fruit on the side, they taste even better.
What would June be without strawberry shortcake? When I was a kid, before we could get strawberries year-round from all over the world, my mother made strawberry shortcake almost every day that strawberries were in season. She and my dad really loved strawberries. I have cozy memories of eating strawberry shortcake with my parents and brothers out on the porch after baseball and softball games. And there really is a difference between strawberries grown halfway across the country or world and strawberries grown in a field within a few miles of where you live. You just can’t beat the freshness, or the bright red color. According to www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=32, strawberries have lots of good nutrients in them, especially vitamin C, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. And the longer the strawberries are stored, the less nutrients they retain. So it is most beneficial to eat them soon after they are picked. Strawberries are one of those foods that not only taste great, but are really good for you. So enjoy the local strawberries while you can! There are several farm stands and farmers markets around here that sell local fruit, and it’s even more fun to pick the berries if you get the chance. I have posted a recipe for shortcake that tastes really good topped with strawberries. I made some yesterday for my family, and we savored the rich, juicy strawberries on top of the mild shortcake. Though the calendar doesn’t say it’s officially summer yet, to me, strawberry season is the unofficial beginning of summer. I am going to try to savor it as much as possible this year.