As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. ~Joan Gussow

What to Cook When it’s Hotter than Death Valley

I haven’t really felt like doing much lately unless it takes place in air conditioning or involves submerging my body in water. This goes for cooking too. The thought of standing over the stove sounds downright terrible. In times like these, it would be so much easier to just grab a bite at sandwich joint or pop a TV dinner in the microwave. But alas, I still want to eat healthy and keep my food budget down. What to make? The past two weeks I’ve pretty much been living off sandwiches and wraps. That sounds pretty boring, but honestly, you can really get even more creative that I have here to make a healthy, refreshing, economical meal when it feels like Death Valley outside. Here are few suggestions:

Creamy White Bean Dip (adapted from Epicurious)


  • 1 15-ounce can any type of white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • Dash of salt and pepper


  1. Puree first 5 ingredients in processor until almost smooth.
  2. Transfer dip to small bowl or tupperware container. (Dip will keep for up to a week).
  3. Mix mint, dill, and lemon peel in small dish; sprinkle over dip.
  4. Spread on tortillas, bread, crackers, etc.

White Bean Dip wrap with jarred roasted red peppers and fresh avocado. Yes, sometimes even I eat at my desk at work.

Smokey Red Pepper Bean Spread


  • 1 roasted red pepper, freshly roasted or from a jar
  • 1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tsp mesquite olive oil
  • Dash of salt and pepper


  1. Place all ingredients in food processor and blend.
  2. Serve on bread, crackers, tortillas, etc.
  3. Dip will keep for up to one week in the fridge

Summer Salad (ingredients preferably from a farmers’ mkt as it will taste the best!)


  • Tomatoes, sliced or diced
  • Cucumbers, sliced thin (only peel if waxy kind from a grocery store)
  • Red onion, sliced thin
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Dash of salt and pepper


  1. Mix ingredients, eat and cool down!!

Smokey Red Pepper Bean Spread with Summer Salad (made with tomatoes and cukes from Finca Pura Vida)


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