Crave: Chill out with these cold dishes

photo by: Mother Earth News

Cool Blender Soup.

When the mercury rises, hot food is probably the last thing you crave. Beat the heat with these cool dishes, both sweet and savory.

PearFreezer Pops

Yields 4 freezer pops.

Ingredients:

1⁄2 teaspoon lemon juice

1⁄2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 ripe pears, peeled and quartered

Directions:

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

Pour mixture into freezer pop molds and place in freezer until frozen.

Note: The pears can be swapped for many different fruits, like peaches or apples. Some fruits, such as berries, might require an extra base like Greek yogurt or almond milk to get the proper consistency. Or try a combination of several fruits. Try different extracts and flavorings too, or leave out flavorings altogether and just enjoy the pure taste of fresh fruits. You can also add some diced or sliced fruit into the molds before pouring in the blended mixture so there are fruit bits in your freezer pops. Experiment with what is available to you.

Cool Blender Soup

Yields 2 servings.

Ingredients:

1⁄2 cup water or almond milk

Juice of half a lemon (about 11⁄2 tablespoons)

1 large cucumber, peeled and seeded

1 large or 2 medium zucchini, peeled, and seeded

1 avocado, seeded

2 tablespoons chopped onion

11⁄2 cups fresh broccoli florets

1 small tart apple, cored and sliced

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄2 teaspoon dill weed

1 carrot, grated

Handful of pumpkin seeds

Directions:

Place water, lemon juice and cucumber in blender. One at a time, add zucchini, avocado, onion, broccoli and apple, blending after each addition, until mixture is smooth. Add salt and dill, and blend for a few more seconds.

Serve in individual bowls, garnished with grated carrot and pumpkin seeds.

Stuffed Tomatoes

Yields 4 to 6 servings.

Ingredients:

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature

1⁄4 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1⁄2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄8 teaspoon black pepper

11⁄2 teaspoons fresh dill

3 tablespoons minced dried onion

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives

11⁄2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano

11⁄2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh basil

1⁄4 teaspoon smoked paprika

4 large or 6 medium tomatoes, variety of your choice, flesh spooned out

2 tablespoons chopped green onions, optional

Directions:

In medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, sour cream and lemon juice using hand mixer. Stir in Parmesan, salt, pepper, dill, dried onion, chives, oregano, basil and paprika.

Fill tomatoes with cream cheese mixture. Garnish with green onions.

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