Sunday, August 7, 2011

My Summer of No Cooking

Last week, my friend Lara wrote about food preparation vs. cooking. Her post reminded me of the fact that I hadn’t cooked anything in weeks. Sure, I had prepared a lot of food, but I surely hadn’t cooked anything. And I hadn’t even prepared anything new. My summer of no cooking has been “documented” by the lack of photos… Hubby has been asking me, “Don’t you want to take photos?” And I keep on saying, “No. It’s really nothing (new).”

Instead of cooking, I keep preparing old staples over and over. Not that I mind as I love summer foods, which to me are mostly lots and lots of tomatoes as well as “interesting” fruits, such as cherries, watermelon, and figs. Our tomato plants have been very good to us, and we have been enjoying homegrown tomatoes daily. The toddler is still insisting that the cherry tomatoes are all his…

Our CSA boxes consist of a lot more fruits as well. Plus some lettuce. Again, not much to cook.

So what exactly have we been eating you ask? Here are some of our recent “nothing new meals.”

Probably my favorite summer food: Caprese salad. I never get tired of it, and we eat this a LOT.

Real pasta as well as "zucchini pasta" with tomato/basil/almond pesto. I almost always have tomato/basil/almond pesto in the fridge. It’s so easy to make, and it makes a great pasta sauce, sandwich topping, or dipping sauce for veggies. To make simply put the following in the food processor: tomatoes, basil, almonds, a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. So simple. Yet so good. It’s summer at its best for me.

Salmon, salad, and corn. We have a variation of this meal at least once a week.

Super easy pasta dishes: sautéed veggies, some protein, and fresh herbs.

Easy Pasta 01
Lots and lots of Greek-inspired salads. They all look something like this…

Sprouted grain toast with avocado, cheese, and tomatoes. Yes, I know. Lots of tomatoes… Smile In my book this can be breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Tomato/Lentil/Cilantro (TLC) Salads:

And bowls and bowls of “summer salad:” Well, what would summer be without summer salads? Right!?!

In addition to simple food preparation, I have also relied on my friend (Trader) Joe a bit more. Here is one of my favorite salads he prepares for me (click on pictures to make them bigger, if you’d like).

I also love his lentil wrap. It’s an easy lunch or picnic food.

As I commented on Lara’s post, I tend to go through phases when it comes to cooking. I also (attempt to) cook a lot more in the fall and winter. In fact, I’m looking forward to fall afternoons spent in my kitchen, with a nice veggie stew or soup bubbling on the stove. But for now, I’m fully enjoying my summer of no cooking.
Questions:  Do you tend to cook less in the summer? What’s the last thing you cooked and/or prepared? What’s your favorite summer food?
Be well,


  1. Your pictures are lovely and make me want to travel out there and sit at your table! We, too, eat simply for the most part during the summer. While winter meals may be made up of salad or soup, a casserole or meat, and a starch along with a vegetable or two, our summer meals are often just fish or a small piece of meat grilled outside with a salad or an ear of corn. And tomatoes from the garden.

  2. I think your summer meals look PERFECT! And I love the photo of the Toddler chowing down!! So cute. Have a good Sunday Andrea!

  3. The food looks amazing. There isn't one dish you've made that I wouldn't be happy eating every day. The Greek salad would be my favorite. Have a good week!

  4. wow! looks like tons of great meals!

  5. god i haven't really cooked at all in months!!! it's a combo of being too busy and too lazy.

  6. Love the picture of your son eating that sammie! That definitely looks lie a summer sandwich!

    I grill a lot in the summer, but do think I spend more time in the kitchen when its cold outside. :D

  7. Anonymous8/07/2011

    Light and healthy "no cooking" meals like this are just perfect for the summer. Yep, I totally do that too!

  8. I am just loving your summer foods! These look amazing. I just love caprese salads. Mozzarella is super cheap in Italy so when I studied abroad, we would eat caprese salads all the time. :)

  9. I love your summer foods too!

    I still cook during Summer but usually plates that don't take a lot of time to prepare. The stews and other plates will be back during Fall and Winter. For now it has to be light and easy to prepare. I love a salad with some bread on a hot summer's day.

  10. Um, with staples like those who needs to reinvent the (healthy) wheel? Slight aside, the photo of your son with the avocado toast should be handed to every mom who says their children will not enthusiastically eat healthy food. My kids are away and it's been fish, fish, fish. My husband is planning a red meat rebellion. Ceviche, tuna burgers, arctic char (a new favorite) and Old Bay with everything.

  11. You are right, there definitely is a different between cooking and preparing food. That being said, I never cook!! EVER! I mean, I always just throw things together. Sometimes they are based on recipes, but most of the time they are just combinations of my favorite foods (like many of the summer foods in this post!).
    The last thing I "prepared" was a pasta dish with a peanut and soy sauce. It had grilled shrimp, whole wheat noodles, PB, soy sauce, and lots of great spices. We both loved it.

  12. oh my gosh everything looks amazing to me!

    and I wish JJ would nibble on tomatoes. I keep trying, and our are SO SWEET.

    good for the Toddler!
    Happy not cooking!

  13. The toddler knows a good open-face sammy when he sees one. That's one of my fave summer eats, too. Tomatoes and avocado were made for one another.

  14. Anonymous8/08/2011

    Greta sagt.....

    Das Sommeressen sieht wirklich sehr excellent aus.
    guten Appetit!

  15. So everything looks delicious...except all those raw tomatoes ;)

    The salmon dish especially pops out to me. It has been way too long since I've cooked (prepared?) salmon, and it's finally starting to sound good again.

    Thanks for the shout-out. I'm flattered that you're reading my little blog :) Miss you mucho...really!

  16. The toddler has good taste! Sprouted grain toast with avocado is one of my favorite snacks!

  17. Ah, actually I've been cooking MORe since I have the time! I never have to time to cook when I'm in school. :-)

    I just had a simple poached salmon with brown rice and chili oil and broth.

  18. I have been cooking less. I want a slice of toast with avocado and tomato now...YUM! Looks so good! We are doing quite a few salads and lots of whole grain salads. Caprese too...there's no going wrong!

  19. Andrea, they all look so yummie, absolutely perfect Summer food :-)
    Hope you are having a great week!

  20. Anonymous12/14/2011

    This food look great! I actually just bought that Trader Joe's vegetable and grain country salad yesterday for the first time and it is delicious!! I think it's a new favorite :) And I had a piece of toast today with cheese and yummy!!

    But I wanted to add the salad to my friend's Best of Trader Joe's list and I wanted to let you know that I linked to this post because I wanted to use your photo :)