From the Vine

Kick off to Summer 2016!

The Urban Grape | Douglas Family

The Urban Grape | Douglas Family

Summer is upon us, which means three months of juggling work, kids, and fun has begun. I feel guilty for admitting it, but in years past I dreaded the start of summer. The kids were so little and exhausting, and for many years I would always have a flare of my Lyme Disease that coincided with their release from school (stress related, obviously). I often felt like I was crawling through the days and not really succeeding at anything.

This year, mostly because I’ve been feeling so well, I have been chomping at the bit for summer to get here. The kids will be in camp here and there, and we do have some time at my parents house on Martha’s Vineyard planned, but mostly I can’t wait to staycation with them. A little learning, a lot of adventures, and copious amounts of BBQing with rosé are what we’ve got planned for the next several months. Oh, with finishing writing a book thrown in for good measure. GULP! I just keep telling myself it will all happen.

Our educational adventures started yesterday with a bike ride down the Battle Road Trail in Concord. If you haven’t done this yet I cannot recommend it highly enough. It’s a beautiful and fairly easy ride, peppered throughout with historical facts about the start of the Revolutionary War and Paul Revere’s ride. We even stumbled upon a musket demonstration that showed the strategy the colonials employed against the British. We’re heading to the library today to gather books on the war, Paul Revere and the Midnight Riders (how has this not been used for a band name yet?), and the people who helped them along the way.

A huge part of keeping my energy up for the summer is eating correctly. I’m back on a Low FODMAP diet and honestly cannot overstate how much it helps my body to function normally after the toll Lyme took on me. I can’t say I’m 100% perfect on this diet, but what’s nice about Low FODMAP is that it really doesn’t demand perfection. I sampled everyone’s ice cream after our ride yesterday, and didn’t worry about it because I know I’ve eaten so well all week. Low FODMAP can be tricky, and it’s helpful to do it under the watchful eye of a nutritionist, but I find the Monash University app to be really helpful when you’re standing in the grocery aisle trying to remember what you can and cannot eat.

Here’s a salad that TJ and I have been particularly enamored with throughout the early summer. Last night we paired it with the 1998 Bruno Rocca Rabaja, one of TJ’s favorite bottles. The 1998 is drinking beautifully right now – flavorful but mellow, aged but not prune-ish. TJ thinks it is it’s last hurrah, however, so if you have any in your cellar (or any barbaresco of this age) start drinking them. We’ll be going through our last few bottles this year.

The Urban Grape | Thai Beef Salad

Thai Beef Salad – Low FODMAP

Mixed Greens – I use whatever is in our CSA
Shredded carrot
Roasted red pepper
Green beans – cooked until crisp/tender
Cilantro and Mint – tons chopped up
Rice Noodles (gluten free)
Flank Steak – generous salt and pepper and grilled

Assemble all of these, in the quantities that make you happy, in a large bowl.

Soy Sauce
Lime juice
Rice Wine Vinegar
Sesame Oil
Ginger (lots)

Just go by your taste buds here. I made about half a cup of dressing for our salad. Dress and mix!

Yes, I am the worst recipe writer ever, but just go by feel with this salad. You can’t go wrong, no matter your quantities in the salad or the dressing. You need less greens than you think because of all the other yummy things. (Recipe adapted from 21 Day Tummy Diet)

The kids ate – flank steak, carrots, green beans, cukes, a side of peanuts and some rice! It’s a perfect whole family meal.

What are your favorite staycation activities to do with your kids? We’re looking for adventures and would love to hear your thoughts!