It’s late August and already the days are shortening. Mornings remain dark longer and daylight hours shrink as the sun sets earlier. There’s a cooler touch at night, hinting subtly at fall. I feel an urgency to squeeze in as much summer enjoyment as possible, before facing the all too real inevitability of snow. How can we squeeze out the last delicious drops of summer?
This has been a summer for the records. With temperatures soaring, the sun hot on your skin, kissing you with warmth, urging your gardens to explode, you can’t remember a better one. Every chance you got, you took yourself outside, whether that meant your workout or your meals. Now as you consider the approach of cooler seasons, you want to rush out and drink in the remaining goodness of summer and cross off a few more Bucket List items.
You’ll need a strategy.
Mine includes saying YES.
I recently heard this at the fabulous Women Who Influence luncheon, held at the World Fitness Expo. One of the speakers encouraged us to Say Yes at every opportunity. I remember a time, when I was much younger I admit, when Just Say No was more my anthem. But at this stage of my life, saying Yes feels right and I do.
When I was asked to join a group of ladies at a northern Ontario cottage for a few nights of fun and games, I said Yes. When my personal trainer suggested I begin training for triathlons again, I said Yes, albeit sprint distance. When my daughter asked to take her newborn, Great Grandma Tina, myself and other assorted family members to a remote, boat access only, cottage for a long weekend, I said Yes, and quickly began to study for my boating license. When my brother suggested I swim 2 kilometres instead of the usual 1, I said Yes. Why not? I can do it!! When my close friend suggested we drive up to a beautiful sandy strip of beach on Georgian Bay with cozy blankets, a thermos (are you curious what goes in the thermos?) and a good read, on a sunny but chilly day, I said Yes. You get the point, I’m saying yes.
Everyone wants to get the most out of those last, gorgeous days of summer. Try these hacks to squeeze out every drop.
7 HACKS TO SWEETEN THE LAST DAYS OF SUMMER:
1. Practice Gratitude:
You are here. Your feet are on this side of the dirt. No matter what life tosses at you, and we’ve all had to catch a few curve balls, you can find something to be grateful for. When you practice gratitude, every day feels like a good day, like a summer day. Write down 10 things you are grateful for right now. Then go out and spread gratitude. Your smile is a priceless gift someone badly needs.
2. Eat Clean® Picnic:
Pack a cooler with fresh, delicious clean foods and take a road trip to that local museum you haven’t visited. Or find a beach or riverside and settle in to enjoy. Your cooler can be filled with HBE’s (hard boiled eggs), in season fruit – peaches are to die for right now, fresh from the earth raw veggies like cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, sweet carrots and a tub of hummus, and hockey puck sized oatmeal cookies and enjoy. Slice avocados onto brown rice cakes or fermented sourdough rye bread and revel in the simplicity and flavour. Don’t forget to pack plenty of water and a fresh lemon or lime for zest.
3. Outdoor Sweat Session:
If the gym is the usual reference point for working out, say yes to an outdoor sweat session. Consider trails, open water and mountain hikes. I have moved my bench, weights, rebounder and skipping rope outside for inspirational, sun-soaked workouts that inspire me to lift heavier and stretch my abilities past what I thought I could do. The outdoors seems to do that to me. I love to do sprints up the hill at my house. I love to work out with others too, doing informal sessions with my friends. If you are in the neighbourhood, drop by. You are always welcome.
4. Farmer’s Market Fare:
Clean foods are always easy to prepare. You can’t beat Mother Nature’s touch for freshness, flavour and nutrients. Take yourself to a farmer’s market and get inspired by the offerings on hand. On a recent outing, I found purple beans, potatoes, onions, garlic, and basil. I let the ingredients direct the recipe and made a delicious Purple Summer Harvest Salad (see below) decorated with purple chive blossoms. Clean ingredients come together easily so you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen.
5. Think Local:
Your Bucket List may include a trip to exotic destinations 1000’s of miles away but consider local attractions as fair game too. After all, someone on the other side of the world probably thinks your Provincial Park is a Bucket List item! Visiting local offerings takes the stress and expense out of planning. I have found many people don’t consider their home towns as fun places to visit, and as a result, know very little about them. Take some time to explore what’s happening around you.
6. Make Memories:
There is no need to go to extremes to create memories. I remember one family trip we went on, where the girls asked us when the fun would start. We were sitting on lounge chairs on a shimmering white sand beach, enjoying the turquoise waters of the Caribbean while sipping ice cold fruit punch out of a coconut shell. I reminded them, that, that very moment was the memory. It’s not about doing. It’s about feeling. Be present, no matter where you, so you don’t miss the gum drops of life.
7. Say Yes!
Just say yes! Fear is a deal breaker. Yes is a game changer. Take life head on. Say Yes!
I’m off to LA to appear on a TV show called Lifestyle Magazine. I will say “Yes” to the privilege. When I get home, I will say Yes to each of you too. I’m here to help you with your wellness goals. Say yes! Join up for a membership – COMMIT, BOOST, or ENGAGE – and see what is possible for you. Fear is a deal breaker. Yes is a game changer. Say yes!
PS. – Please share you favourite late summer delights with me in the COMMENTS section below. Chances are you will inspire others to squeeze the last delightful drops of summer out of this week. Share it up!
Purple Late Salad
Yield: 4 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Ingredients for Salad:
- 1 pound small purple potatoes, skin on, scrubbed
- 1 pound purple beans, trimmed, left whole, well rinsed
- 1 purple onion, peeled, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup purple basil leaves, well rinsed (they are sandy) and torn
- 1/2 cup chives, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup purple chive or nasturtium blossoms (optional but boosts nutritional value)
Ingredients for Dressing:
- 2 Tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 tsp unrefined sea salt
- freshly grated
- 1/2 tsp red chili flakes (if you like it hot)
Line a large platter with kitchen towel. Set aside.
Prepare a large preparation bowl by filling with ice and cold water.
Boil potatoes in salted water until just tender.
Remove from hot water with a slotted spoon and let cool on a paper towel-lined platter.
Drop purple beans in boiling potato water and let cook until crisp tender. They will change colour but don’t worry.
Remove beans from hot water with slotted spoon and dunk in prepared bowl of ice water.
After 10 minutes, drain beans.
In large decorative salad bowl, combine potatoes, beans, chopped onion and basil leaves.
Meanwhile prepare dressing:
In medium Mason jar, combine all dressing ingredients.
Place lid on Mason jar and shake well.
Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat.
Garnish with blossoms if using.
Make it a full meal:
Grilled chicken breast or salmon goes nicely with this salad.
Add an Eat Clean® sweet treat:
Grandma’s Old Fashioned Amaranth Oatmeal Cookies
Yield: 24 very large cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
- 2 2/3 cup grass fed butter
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 3 large organic eggs
- 1 Tbsp vanilla
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 4 cups spelt, barley and brown rice flour mixture
- 7 cups large flake, gluten free oats
- 1 cup popped amaranth
- 1 tsp unrefined salt
- Optional additions:
- 1 cup chopped nuts of your liking
- 1 cup dried fruit – raisins or cranberries
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- (go crazy and add them all if you like – you will make more cookies)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Cream butter until smooth.
Add coconut sugar and cream again until sugar is well incorporated into the butter.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions.
Add vanilla, sea salt and cinnamon, and mix.
Incorporate flour and oats into batter.
Add dried ingredients, if using.
You will have to use your hands at this point as the batter gets very heavy.
Mix until all ingredients are well incorporated.
Using a 1/3 cup measure, scoop dough balls onto prepared baking sheets.
Press dough flatter with fork or hands.
Place cookies in oven to bake for 12 – 15 minutes or until golden on top.
Remove and let cool.
High Protein Amaranth Bars
Yield: 3 dozen bars
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup natural, organic, unsweetened peanut butter
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Add to mixer the following ingredients and mix well
- 3 cups fresh ground amaranth flour
- 1 cup popped Amaranth
- 2 cups steel cut oats
- 1 cup cacao nibs
- 2 cups raw unsalted walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup toasted sesame seeds
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 tsp unrefined sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In mixing bowl, mix together coconut oil, sugar and maple syrup until creamy.
Add remaining ingredients and combine with fingers to make a stiff dough.
Press into 9” x12” baking pan and pat down. Coat hands with coconut oil so batter doesn’t stick to your hands.
Bake for 30 minutes in hot oven.
Remove from heat and cut into bars.
Let cool and lift bars out.
Wrap each in parchment paper.
Hydrate in Style:
Basil Watermelon Refresher
Yield: 10 cups
Prep time: 10 minutes
- 2 cups chopped seedless watermelon, rinds removed
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, well rinsed
- 6 – 8 cups cold, filtered water
Place all ingredients in a pretty pitcher.
Refrigerate until ready to use.