On Simply Staying Hydrated: Watermelon-Avocado Salad + {Recipes for the Week of July 2}

by Julie

I am writing this entry during the hottest hours of the day, looking outside, grateful to be in. Last week the thermostat did not drop below 80 at night, with temperatures rising to above 105 throughout day. On top of this, the humidity hit last week, and if the heat hadn’t felt heavy enough, by Wednesday I was feeling as though I was carrying around an extra weight throughout the day. I would get up in the morning, then have to sit back down. I would run to my exercise class and run back, feeling completely drained. Getting on my bike to pedal to work felt like my muscles weren’t receiving any oxygen at all.  The funny thing is, I didn’t really think much about the way I knew my body to be feeling because, I told myself, “I’m not doing anything that’s out of the ordinary.”

But I failed to take into account that the environment around me had changed. Heat/humidity. The constant flux from hot to cold (outside to inside air-conditioned buildings). The barely-cool air that generates from a swamp cooler trying to operate in humid weather.

Then in the afternoon on Wednesday, the clouds did their usual dance: they moved in heavy over the sky and sat right above my work, dangling the carrot of showers directly overhead. Finally, and just for a pitiful five minutes time, we got a light sprinkling of rain. I’ve been thinking about that sprinkle ever since: so little water came out. For all that effort, after so much expended energy, just a little. The world and all its cogs and roots works so hard. We work so hard. And, if we don’t take the time to replenish and stay hydrated, we work ourselves to the point where we’re able to only squeeze out a few drops. It’s a pretty big production (the gathering of clouds, the lightning, the swell of life and sound) for so little payout.

So this week I’m focusing on the simple task of staying hydrated. And simplicity in general. In fact, all the recipes for this week claim to be “simple.” I would argue that simple shouldn’t be a substitute for “plain” or “easy-to-make.” Rather, I keep reading and coming back to this notion that simplicity allows the items (or persons) involved to be their best. Simple foods paired with other simple foods bring out the best in each other. Simple, everyday practices allow us to stay nourished and thrive.

Enough ruminating. Here’s a recipe I love to make during the summer months. It’s cool, refreshing, and oh-so-simple. Plus, watermelon’s chock full of, well, water. So there you go. Instant summer bliss.

Watermelon-Avocado Salad

Ingredients

1/2 watermelon, seeded and cut into bite-sized cubes

1/2 medium-sized avocado, cut into smaller cubes

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice

salt and pepper, to taste

agave syrup, to taste (optional)

**I’ve also added 1/2 a jalapeno to this mix before–it’s a lovely mixture of spicy/sweet

To make:

Mix watermelon, avocado and cilantro together in a large bowl. In a small bowl or cup, whisk together vinegar, lime/lemon juice, salt and pepper and agave. Pour dressing over fruit and stir gently to combine. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving (to allow the juices to soak in) or refrigerate for 1 hour and serve nice and chilled.

Recipes for the Week:

Monday, July 2: Simple Miso Soup (from Adrienneats)

Ingredients

2 tsp red  or yellow miso
1 c boiling water
1 large garlic clove, halved
Cilantro for garnish
1/2 tsp seaweed gomasio
1/2 tsp lime juice

Tuesday, July 3: Simple Pasta with Fresh Herbs (inspired by Not Without Salt)

Ingredients:

Gluten-free pasta, enough for one
2 tablespoons of fresh herbs, such as basil, tarragon, dill, chives, mint, thyme, parsley, etc.
1 garlic clove, smashed
olive oil, salt & pepper, to taste

Wednesday, July 4: Summer Corn Salad Recipe (from 101 Cookbooks)

Ingredients

6 ears of corn
1 large shallot, minced

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
very scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons sunflower oil

3/4 cup toasted pepitas
3/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano

Thursday, July 5: Thai Coconut Cucumber Salad (from Love and Lemons)

Ingredients

dressing:
1/3 cup coconut milk

1 teaspoon red curry paste
1 teaspoon soy sauce, plus more at end, to taste
juice from 1/2 lime (reserve the other 1/2 lime to squeeze juice on at the end)
1 teaspoon agave
1/4-1/2 teaspoons sriracha, to taste
1/4 – 1/3 cup water

salad components:
1/2 cup chopped cucumber

1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1/2 cup edamame, cooked
1/2 cup tofu, cubed, (baked, if you prefer, see method below)
1/4 cup scallions, sliced, white and green parts
1/2 cup basil leaves, chopped (thai basil if you have it, I just had regular basil)
4 or 5 mint leaves, chopped
1 cup arugula or other salad greens
1 cup rice noodles, cooked (optional)
1/4 cup cashews, toasted & chopped (optional)
1/4 cup toasted coconut flakes (optional)

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