Sumner is here and so is the juicy and sweet  watermelon.  It is  absolutley wonderful straight from the fruit stand, however, when you want a special treat,  watermelon can be frozen and then whirled into a great low sugar, low fat, high nutrient  summer treat.

     Watermelon has  some surprising  nutrients.  It is high is Vitamin C, A, and B 6.  It has more of the cancer fighting  antioxidant lycopene than tomatoes, in fact more lycopene thatn any other fruit or vegetable.  Watermelon is also a great source of potassium   which helps in maintaining blood pressure.  

     This frosty literally takes only a few minutes to make and is a guilt free dairy free, allergy free treat!

Watermelon Frosty
2 1/4 cups watermelon cubes, frozen
1/2+ cup water
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 large lemon, squeezed (lime juice also works very well! use 2 limes)
1  banana, very ripe

     The night before, cube 2 1/2 cups of watermelon and lay the cubes  on a cookie sheet and place the watermelon ladden cookie sheet in the freezer.  Leave the watermelon cubes in the freezer  overnight or until frozen.  Place all the ingredients in a Vita-Mix or blender and whirl away for a few minutes. Pour into two glasses and garnish with a few slices of frozen watermelon.  Serves 2.   This is absolutely wonderful! Enjoy!

     Recipe source: Healthy Happy Bunch  by Kathy from  http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com/2011/05/watermelon-frosty-or-margarita.html.  You can go to the website  and enjoy her How to Vdeo as well.

Watermelon Frosty
Granola is such a wonderful, nutritious and hearty breakfast food or snack with just a hint of sweetness, but commercial granolas are laden with high fructose corn syrup and other additives.  It is so easy and more cost effective to make your own granola, and it only takes a little time to make your own healthy version!  I’m sure if you give it a try, you will love it as much as we do. Granola can not only be enjoyed with the milk of your choice for a yummy and satisfying cereal breakfast, it is also great mixed in with yogurt and fruit, as a topping for ice cream or as an easy snack on the go.

Granola is a good alternative for a quick and easy gluten free breakfast or snack.  In the past, oats have been labeled as one of the grains to stay away from due to their gluten content. Oat grains do not themselves contain gluten, but because they are grown next to and in fields of wheat they are often cross-contaminated.  Oat and wheat grains are similar in size and the same equipment is often used to produce both grains.  Additionally, wheat and oat fields are often planted in the same area, allowing the seeds to become intermingled so that when the seeds are harvested and then replanted you will often find wheat growing in oat fields.  Thankfully, there are now dedicated farmers who are willing to go to the extra effort to guarantee that the oats are pure and do not contain any contamination from wheat.  The seed, the harvest and the oats are tested at each stage of production to ensure that there is no gluten in the oats.  Bob's Red Mill carries Gluten Free Rolled Oats and Steel Cut Oats.  You can buy one or both of these products locally at Whole Foods, Publix, and Wal-Mart, as well as on line at Amazon.  

Enjoy this delicious, frugal, and easy recipe!

Nutty Granola with Raisins (mostly raw)

5 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup sesame seeds, soaked and dried
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, soaked and dried
1/2 cup chopped almonds, soaked and dried
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, soaked and dried
1/4 cup chia seeds or flaxseed
1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup raw honey
2 tsp. vanilla
2 apples, finely chopped
1 cup raisins (or more to taste!) (reserve)

Mix the oats, nuts, seeds, coconut and cinnamon and salt together in a large mixing bowl of a stand mixer.

In a separate bowl, mix the liquid ingredients together thoroughly.

Combine the liquid ingredients with the dry mixture, and blend until well integrated. Add the chopped apples and blend into the oat mixture.  

Spread the granola on several dehydrator trays (I used 4), and put in the dehydrator overnight or for 12 hours on 112 °F.  When the granola is crispy, add the raisins evenly and store in a tightly covered glass jar.

If you prefer, you can use your oven. Simply spread the granola on the bottom of the largest pan you have as evenly as possible.  Bake at 325 °F for 45 minutes, or until lightly browned. Stir every 15 minutes so that it bakes evenly and does not burn. The granola will crisp up as it cools. Allow to cool before adding in the raisins. 

Special Notes: Any desired combination of nuts and seeds can be used.  I like using my dehydrator so that the oven doesn't heat up the house (I live in Florida) and I don't have to watch the granola as carefully. Plus, the seeds and nuts  are still raw, even though (technically) the oats are not. 

Note:   To find out information on soaking and drying seeds see this article on The Benefits of Soaking Grains.

 Omnivore's Dilemma. although a book about food and nutrition and the sourcing of food was highly entertaining and a fun read.  I ran across this quote from the book today and I remember when I read it in the book.  It caused me to think about how different our food is  these days.  Even innocent fruits and veggies come in a bag with added preservatives to help them stay fresh longer.    My best advice which I'm sure you have heard is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store which is where the fresh food is located and buy minimally from the central isles which is where the processed food is.   Eat fresh and whole foods.