Appetizers

The Balanced Platter in July

TBP July

 July has come to an end. It seems as if the summer is passing all too quickly. This past month, we had some tremendous recipes full of summer flavor here at The Balanced Platter. In case you were busy having fun in the sun and missed a post or two, here’s what we had from our wonderful contributors in July:

Appetizers & Beverages

Desserts

Side Dishes

Have you tried any of the recipes from TBP this month? Have a favorite?

Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini Bites

This is a guest post from Beth at Tasty Yummies:

We have a lot of zucchini over here. As a whole, my vegetable garden has been doing very well, but the zucchini has been doing exceptional. I feel like it’s all we eat lately and I have even given away so much.  I have been taking 1 or 2 zucchini to give away every time I see friends. Thankfully zucchini is my most favorite vegetable.

I have been trying to be as creative as I can be with all the zucchini, I’ve made a raw zucchini appetizer, I baked chocolate zuccini muffins, I have made more zucchini “pasta” than I would like to admit and the rest have been getting grilled.

Last weekend we had dinner plans with Meg and Todd from Beard & Bonnet, who live just around the corner from us and I offered to make something with my homegrown zucchini. Besides being insanely excited to have another food blogger nearby, one who I happen to have a ton in common with, I was also super excited to eat at another gluten-free household where I could be certain everything was 100% safe to eat! Really made for an extra special night.

Get this tasty recipe!

Dip Into Summer

When warm weather hits, it’s always picnic fare that epitomizes “simple summer food” to me.  True, I rarely go on actual picnics (don’t take it personally, bees and ants), but I do love the culinary offerings. Picnic foods are easy to make, keep well without refrigeration, and are usually great finger foods, too.

One of the best things to bring on a picnic is a large container of fresh cut, bite-sized veggies and some kind of dip. With celery sticks, baby carrots, pepper strips and even snap peas as your base, you can scoop up any number of creamy, spicy, chunky dips for a great snack.  Add some hearty bread or crackers, and call it a meal.

Or take along some type of bite-sized appetizer and allow each person to grab a nibble between swimming and volleyball games on the beach. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect way to spend a day outdoors this summer?

Here are some of my favorite dippers and spreads for dining al fresco.  With a few of these dishes on the menu, you’ll have the perfect picnic all ready to go.  Of course, they work well indoors, too!
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Strawberry, Blueberry & Radish Salsa

The phrase “eating clean” has become wildly popular in the last few years, and as such it’s taken on many different definitions. For some, eating clean is simply eating whole and natural foods most of the time, while occasionally splurging on indulgences like chocolate cake and red wine. Others “eat clean” by eating five small meals throughout the day, emphasizing lean protein and fruits or vegetables at each, with fitness goals as the primary reason for their specific food choices.

I hesitate to say that I “eat clean,” mostly because I just don’t like labels, but also because “eating clean” kind of sounds to me like “eating boring.” I love flavorful, colorful, life-giving food—all of which can be “clean” while also being vibrant and delicious at the same time! While there’s nothing wrong with a simple meal of chicken and broccoli, eating that more than once a week would send me down into the dumps lickety split.

I believe that when we have plenty of variety in our diets along with room for creativity, we are far more likely to stick with “clean” eating for the long haul and not feel bored or deprived.
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