Friday, July 30, 2010

TGIF Foods: Chipotle-Lime Peanuts

chipotle-lime peanuts

It's the weekend. Time to indulgence.

Whether you're sipping a minty mojito by the pool or chugging an icy cold beer by the grill, you're going to need something salty to munch on. I've got ya covered.

Meet chipotle-lime peanuts. They're everything a munchie food should be -- crunchy, salty, spicy, and sweet.


Chipotle-Lime Peanuts
Yields 2 cups
Print recipe only here.

2 cups unsalted peanuts
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
The juice of 1 lime (about 1 1/2-2 tablespoons)
1 heaping tablespoon chipotle powder
1 teaspoon sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.

2. In a small bowl, whisk all ingredients except peanuts. Add peanuts and toss until well coated. Transfer to baking sheet and spread out in a single layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until sauce begins to dry up and peanuts are fragrant. Note: Peanuts will be sticky because of the honey.

You might also enjoy these appetizers from Food Blogga:
Maple Walnut Popcorn
Spicy Black Bean Dip and Chips
Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Dressing

You might also enjoy recipe featuring peanuts:
Spicy Indian Slaw with Peanuts recipe from Nutrition Unplugged
Goi Coun with Peanut Hoison Dipping Sauce from Sunday Nite Dinner
Asian Cabbage Salad with Sesame Seeds and Peanuts Recipe from Kalyn's Kitchen

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

When Not To Roast Red Peppers


I woke up the other morning craving roasted red pepper soup. Not for breakfast -- that would be weird -- but for dinner.

Since I had recently purchased a dozen bright and shiny red bell peppers, I thought it would be a good idea to roast them first thing in the morning. So by 6:15 am, the peppers were sliced, drizzled with oil, and placed under the broiler.

roasted red peppers

Like wood-fired pizzas or chargrilled burgers, the smell of roasting peppers is utterly enticing. Except when it's not.

You see, that utterly enticing aroma becomes not-so-enticing by three o'clock in the afternoon. You can light vanilla scented candles (which I did) and spray air freshener (which I did). It won't matter. The smell will linger like an unwanted house guest.

So here's my advice: Make roasted peppers only after 12 noon. And then make this soup because it's too delicious to pass up. You could make it with jarred roasted peppers and canned corn, but don't. Roast the peppers. Cut the kernels off the sweet corn. Chop the fresh cilantro. Sure, it will take longer, but you'll be rewarded. This soup is wonderfully spicy, smoky, and sweet. Plus, it's topped with a crunchy, tangy corn salsa that's good enough to eat by the spoonful.

And if you're looking for something to sop up the last of the soup in your bowl, then make a loaf of this Jalapeno and Cheddar Cornbread. It works deliciously.

jalapeno, cheddar, and cilantro cornbread

Want to learn how to roast peppers on a grill? Then check out this blog post with step-by-step photos.

Southwest Roasted Red Pepper and Corn Soup
Makes 6-8 servings
Print recipe only here.

6 large red bell peppers
3 ears of sweet corn (reserve one for the salsa)
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoons chipotle powder
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 reserved ear of roasted corn
1 scallion, thinly sliced
A pinch of salt
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

1. Pre-heat oven broiler. Line one large or two small rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil. Slice peppers in half. Clean out the seeds. Place cut-side down on prepared baking sheet. Remove corn from husks, discarding all silk. Place on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle peppers and corn with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Place directly under broiler for 25-30 minutes, rotating the corn halfway through. Broil until the peppers are covered with black blisters and the corn has lightly browned kernels. Remove from oven and let corn cool. Wrap peppers tightly in aluminum foil, or place inside of a paper bag and close tightly. Place inside of a bowl to catch any juices that might spill out for about 10-15 minutes. The steam will help the skins peel off more easily. Remove one pepper at a time. Using a paper towel, rub the skins off and discard. If you have trouble removing the skins, then steam the peppers a bit longer. Chop peppers. Once corn is cooled, cut off kernels, reserving one ear for the salsa.

2. In a large, deep pot over medium-high heat, warm remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Saute onions and celery for 5-7 minutes until translucent and lightly browned. Add roasted peppers, corn kernels, vegetable broth, salt, and chipotle powder, and cook 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in cilantro. Allow to cool completely before pureeing.

3. Puree the soup in batches in a blender until smooth, or if you prefer, a little chunky. Taste it. Add more chipotle powder if you'd like some extra heat. Return soup to pot and heat on stovetop for 7-10 minutes before serving.

4. For the salsa, combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Garnish each bowl of soup with 1-2 tablespoons of salsa.

You might also enjoy these roasted red pepper recipes:
Farro with Grilled Vegetables Salad recipe from Food Blogga
Roasted Pepper, Olive, and Brie Bruschetta recipe from Food Blogga
Fennel Spiked Roasted Red Bell Pepper Soup recipe from Food Blogga
White Bean and Roasted Red Pepper Salad recipe from Kalyn's Kitchen
Chickpea Salad with Roasted Pepper Puree recipe from Sunday Nite Dinner
Pizza with Eggs, Roasted Peppers, Olives, and Arugula recipe from Love and Olive Oil

Monday, July 26, 2010

Summertime Smoothies: Blueberry, Oatmeal, and Honey Breakfast Smoothie

blueberry, oatmeal, and honey smoothie

When you're too rushed, too tired, or too lazy to make yourself a healthy, balanced breakfast, make this blueberry, oatmeal, and honey breakfast smoothie. It's got everything you need to kick start your day: fiber, protein, whole grains, vitamins, antioxidants, and frothy deliciousness. And it can be made in about two minutes.

Who said Mondays weren't happy?

fresh blueberries

Blueberry, Oatmeal, and Honey Breakfast Smoothie
Makes 1 serving
Print recipe only here.

This breakfast smoothie is also delicious with strawberries, blackberries, or raspberries.

1 cup milk of your choice (I prefer vanilla soy milk or almond milk)
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup blueberries
1/2-1 teaspoon honey
A couple of dashes of cinnamon
A few pieces of ice

1. Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth and frothy. Add more milk if you prefer it thinner.

This is the second smoothie in my Summertime Smoothies series. Don't forget last week's: Cinnamon-Spiked Cherry and Banana Smoothie.

You might also enjoy these blueberry dessert recipes from Food Blogga:
"Nude" Berry Tartlets
Mom's Blueberry Sweet Rolls
Peach and Blueberry Galette

You might also enjoy these blueberry drink recipes:
Blueberry Crush recipe by YumSugar
Blueberry Margarita recipe by The Arugula Files
Salted Blueberry Agave Milkshake recipe by Local Lemons

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Healthy Picnic Food: Eggplant, Asparagus, and Smoked Mozzarella Sandwich Wraps with Red Pepper Mayo


With our year-round temperate San Diego climate, we have picnicked in November, in March, and many months in between. But like chilled watermelon, slushy lemonade, and buttery ears of sweet corn, picnics taste best in the summer months.

That's why last weekend Jeff and I went on our first summertime picnic. I could tell you about the weather (grey skies) or the view (choppy ocean waters), but I think you'd be more interested in the food. I was. 

We brought a bottle of chilled pinot grigio, a salad of heirloom tomatoes, fresh corn kernels, basil, and olives, and eggplant, asparagus, and smoked mozzarella sandwich wraps with red pepper mayo. Dessert was simple: juicy, sweet fresh cherries from the farmers' market.  


When it comes to vegetarian sandwich wraps there's much more than just hummus, tomatoes, and sprouts. With creamy eggplant, crisp asparagus, and smoky mozzarella cheese, these healthy picnic wraps taste like warm rolled up pizzas but without all the fat and calories.

To reduce fat, I brushed the vegetables lightly with olive oil and broiled them and used soy mayo. I also used whole wheat wraps instead of flour for added fiber and protein. I did not, however, skimp on the smoked mozzarella, because to me, it's the star of this wrap. Each bite is permeated with its creamy texture and smoky flavor. Use less if you must, but please don't skip it.

So tell me, dear readers, what are you favorite picnic foods, healthy or not? Have you gone on a picnic yet this summer? Tell us about it!

Eggplant, Asparagus, and Smoked Mozzarella Sandwich Wraps with Red Pepper Mayo
Makes 4 servings
Print recipe only here.

1 medium eggplant, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds (about 10-12 slices)
16 asparagus spears, bottoms trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup reduced-fat or soy mayo
2 tablespoons minced roasted red peppers
4 (6-inch) whole wheat tortillas
4 ounces shredded smoked mozzarella or smoked gouda cheese
8 fresh basil leaves

1. Preheat oven broiler. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lay eggplant slices and asparagus on the sheet, not overlapping. Brush asparagus and both sides of the eggplant slices with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil for 7-8 minutes or until browned. Since asparagus cooks quickly, it may be cooked at this point and can be transferred to a plate. Flip eggplant slices, and broil another 4-5 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven.

2. In a small bowl whisk mayo and red peppers. Set aside.

3. In a medium dry skillet over medium-high heat, warm tortillas for 30-60 seconds on each side. To assemble wraps, place a tortilla on a flat working surface. Spread with 1/4 red pepper mayo. Top with 1 ounce cheese, 2-3 slices eggplant, 4 asparagus stalks, and 2 basil leaves. Roll up, and wrap tightly in aluminum foil before packing. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

You might also like these picnic friendly foods from Food Blogga:
4 Inspired Potato Salads
Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches
Farro with Grilled Vegetables Salad
Mediterranean Wheatberry Salad with Lentils and Chickpeas

Here are more tasty picnic foods:
Brie and Grape Tortilla Wraps recipe from Greedy Gourmet
Napa Cabbage Picnic Salad recipe from Simply Recipes
Italian Picnic Pasta Salad recipe from Thyme for Cooking
Roasted Vegetable and Goat Cheese Sandwich recipe from The Kitchen Sink

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Summertime Smoothies: Cinnamon-Spiked Cherry and Banana Smoothie

Cinnamon Spiked Cherry and Banana Smoothie

If someone said she wanted a "smoothie" back in the early 1930's, she wasn't talking about the frosty, blended drink made with fresh or frozen fruit. She was talking about body-shaping undergarments, like bras and girdles, that would "smooth" out her figure.

Nowadays, girdles are out, but smoothies are in. Whether it's a simple strawberry-banana breakfast smoothie made in your own kitchen or a $7 acai berry and juice concoction that promises eternal youth, smoothies are everywhere.

Though some of the earliest blended fruit drinks surfaced in the late 1930's and early 1940's, smoothies as we know them, emerged in the 1960's. According to Wikipedia, Stephen Kuhnau, the owner of the chain Smoothie King admits that he didn't create the word "smoothie;" he credits hippies from the late 1960's with coining the term. No matter who came up with the name, it's now synonymous with healthy, fun, and refreshing drinks.

fresh cherries

Smoothies are generally made with fresh or frozen fruit and a liquid such as water, juice, or milk. Yogurt makes thicker smoothies. Sometimes sweeteners like agave nectar or honey are added. There are even green smoothies made from green vegetables such as spinach and kale. As for flavor combinations, let your imagination soar. But if you need some ideas, then please back here. Over the next several weeks I'll be sharing some of my favorite summertime smoothie recipes with you.

And ladies, in case you didn't catch the moral of the story, here it is: Drink more smoothies so you don't have to wear a smoothie.

Cinnamon-Spiked Cherry and Banana Smoothie
Makes 1 serving
Print recipe only here.

1/2 cup pitted fresh cherries (or unthawed frozen)
1/2 frozen banana
1 cup vanilla soy milk (or milk of your choice)
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and frothy. Add more milk if you like it thinner.

You might also enjoy these cherry dessert recipes from Food Blogga:
Cherry and Blackberry Clafoutis 
Almond Panna Cotta with Glazed Cherries
Quick Chocolate Cinnamon Mousse with Cherries

You might also enjoy these cherry drink recipes: 
Cherry Mojito recipe at YumSugar
Cherry Limeade recipe at What Geeks Eat
Blue Lagoon Margarita recipe at Recipe Girl

Monday, July 19, 2010

Let's Feed the Kids with San Diego's 2nd Annual Food 4 Kids Backpack Program Fundraiser

If you’re reading this blog, then you’re probably like me. You’ve eaten a good breakfast this morning. You have a fridge full of food. You worry about over-eating. You never worry about going hungry.

For many of San Diego’s schoolchildren, going hungry is a stark reality. That’s why in 2007 the San Diego Food Bank created the Food 4 Kids Backpack Program which provides chronically hungry elementary school students with food-filled backpacks for the weekend.

Today, I’m asking you to help the San Diego Food Bank and their Food 4 Kids Backpack Program.

Here’s how the program works: Although qualifying children receive free or reduced-cost school lunches, many of them don’t have enough food to eat over weekends and school holidays. So every Friday, these students are given a backpack filled with non-perishable child-friendly foods.

During the 2008-2009 school year, the program served just 200 children in eight schools throughout San Diego County. They are now serving 550 children in 19 schools and are looking to expand that to 850 children this year.

Last year, San Diego food writer, Caron Golden (San Diego Food Stuff), and food blogger, Alice Robertson (Alice Q. Foodie), launched a fundraiser for the Food 4 Kids Backpack Program. They collected over $6,000 and 1,200 pounds of food, plus scores of backpacks.

It's time for the second fundraiser, and I’m happy to be on this year's committee. We’re holding the fundraiser over the summer (August 21st) so that the money, food, and backpacks we collect can help enroll more students and schools at the beginning of the school year.

In addition to Caron, Alice, and me, our wonderful committee includes local chefs Diane Stopford and Amiko Gubbins, PR maven Peyton Robertson of Bay Bird PR, and NBC San Diego anchor/reporter Catherine Garcia.

The fundraiser has three parts and three ways you can help:

1. Monetary donations: We've set up a fundraising page at You can make donations here, add comments, and keep track of our progress. This page runs through the end of August. And, thanks to NBC San Diego for contributing the 7 percent cut takes of the total raised on the site so we don't lose any money you give!

2. Backpack and food donations: We are encouraging people to collect neutral backpacks (preferably logo-free, black or red one since those are the kids’ favorite colors) and kid-friendly non-perishable foods such as applesauce, cereal, fruit and pudding cups, juice boxes, soup, and macaroni and cheese. The collection for this food and backpack drive will be at the Little Italy Mercato on Saturday, August 21.

3. Dining out donations: A “dollar-a-dish” event throughout the month of August. Over 40 San Diego restaurants will select one of their best selling dishes and for the month of August will contribute $1 for every dish sold.

As an added incentive, those who contribute to the page and food/backpacks at the Little Italy Mercato collection event will be entered into a drawing for raffle prizes. Winners will be announced at the Mercato on August 21.

Dine at these San Diego eateries during the month of August, and support the Food 4 Kids Backpack Program. Here's the current list of participating restaurants. I’ll tell you more about them next week and include any newcomers.

Cafe Chloe
Case de Bandini
Casa de Pico
Casa Guadalajara
Cosmopolitan Restaurants
Cowboy Star
Cucina Urbana
Dining Details (caterer)
Flippin Pizza
Gaglione Brothers
George's at the Cove
Kensington Grill
Lotsa Pasta
Pizza Fusion
Playa Grill
Ritual Tavern
Royal India
Sessions Public
Soleluna Cafe
So No Trading Company
The Red Door
Urban Solace
Wine Steals

Please help us spread the word!

Twitter: #Food4KidsSD
Our Facebook page is Take a moment to “like” us.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lemony Raspberry Muffins and Hungry Days

Lemony Raspberry Muffins with Ginger and Almonds

There are days when you shouldn't bake. Not because it's too humid or because you're running low on flour, but because you're too hungry. I had one of those days recently. The day I made these Lemony Raspberry Muffins with Ginger and Almonds.

These raspberry muffins are not low-fat or low-carb. They're made with real butter, white flour, and coconut milk. And despite the fact that it's bikini season, I ate them hot-out-of-the-oven, grilled with butter, dabbed with apricot jam, and cold straight from the fridge.

Why? Because after my My Mom's Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins, these may be the best muffins I have ever eaten. When they bake, the honey, ginger, and almond mingle to emit a sweet yet earthy fragrance. Then when you bite into the crunchy almond-dotted muffin top, you discover big, juicy raspberries that burst with flavor.

So make these raspberry muffins. Just don't make them on a hungry day.

san diego farmers' market raspberries and strawberries

Lemony Raspberry Muffins with Ginger and Almonds
Makes 12 regular size muffins
Print recipe only here.

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup regular or light coconut milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large egg, lightly beaten
The zest of 1 lemon (about 1 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons pure almond extract
A (1-inch) piece of fresh ginger, minced
3/4 cup fresh raspberries (or unthawed frozen berries)
2 tablespoons sliced almonds

1. Plack rack in center of oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Spray a 12-mold muffin pan with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. In a separate bowl, combine coconut milk, butter, and egg. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, honey, almond extract, and ginger, and whisk until just combined. Add to the flour mixture, and stir quickly until well combined. Fold in the raspberries. Spoon batter evenly into the 12 molds. Sprinkle tops of muffins with sliced almonds.

4. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for 5 minutes before removing each muffin and placing on a wire rack to cool.

You might also enjoy these muffin recipes from Food Blogga:
Peach Pie Muffins
Sweet Wine and Red Grape Muffins
My Mom's Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins

Here are more raspberry recipes you might enjoy:
Raspberry Tart recipe from The Kitchn
Coconut Raspberry Cake recipe from Culinary Cory
Raspberry Tiramisu recipe from More Than Burnt Toast

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Today's Guest Blogga: Lia Huber of The Nourish Network

I'm happy to introduce you to Lia Huber, the founder and CEO of the rich-content website, Nourish Network, and its companion small-group coaching program, My Nourish Mentor.

Lia is also a widely published food writer and recipe developer, and a rising presence both on-screen and in-person. In any format she tackles, Lia brings passion—and fun—to her message of nourishing body and soul with every bite.

Today she is sharing a personal story, "A Nourishing Journey" with Food Blogga readers. I have had the pleasure of meeting Lia who is impossibly friendly, talented, and inspirational. I hope you enjoying getting to know her as well.

By Lia Huber

It’s hard to say where or when a journey really begins. Is it when you board a plane or buy your tickets? Is it when the first notion of moving ahead settles in your mind or on first glimpse of your destination?

In defining the starting line for my nourishing journey, I’m tempted to point to the year I spent in France and Greece in my early 20’s. The freshness of everything—at the open markets of Paris, on the family farms of Corfu—was an epiphany for me, as was the way a meal became the centerpiece of the day rather than something to be consumed quickly, illicitly, with as little fat or pleasure as possible. That journey planted a seed of how life could be … and, eventually, it took root.

Or I could cite the extended road trip my husband and I took in 2000, driving from San Francisco to Costa Rica, hot on the heels of a one-two punch health crisis: first a lupus diagnosis, then a cancer scare and hysterectomy … tough year for us newlyweds.

But really, I think my nourishing journey began even earlier. When, as early as high school, I was perpetually exhausted and so stiff I couldn’t get the toothpaste cap off in the morning. When I always felt out of balance and uncomfortable in my skin, carrying “twenty-too-many” despite feeling like I was constantly depriving myself (I came of age during America’s low-fat craze, after all).

Whether those events were the start to my journey or just preludes to the movement, I can’t say. But I do know that when we returned from Costa Rica and put down roots in California’s wine country, I was ready to change … but I didn’t know how.

So I set out to learn.

I began seeking out nutrition-focused assignments to learn what healthy eating really meant and found it looked nothing like what I’d thought it did. I challenged myself, an avowed vegetable detester, to explore the bounty of my new home in wine country; going to farmers markets, shopping from local purveyors and even planting a garden of my own. I found that the more connected I grew to food, the more passionate I became about protecting its source. And the research I was doing on what I should be eating was all pointing back to the foods that I’d come to adore through my explorations.

During those few years, something incredible happened—a few incredible things, actually—almost without effort. The lupus diagnosis was reversed (changed, actually, to fibromyalgia … which I still cope with), I went off medication for good and my blood counts returned to normal. I lost those pesky twenty and they’ve stayed away ever since. And, whether this is the catalyst or the consequence of those other changes is hard to say, I learned to enjoy eating and appreciate my body for the first time in my life. And as I gained more and more energy and strength in the years that followed, I realized I wanted to help other people learn to nourish themselves too.

Everyone has their own stories, their own set of circumstances. That’s what makes life so terribly interesting. Maybe you’ve sat across from your doctor receiving crappy news like I did. Maybe you’re tired of carrying around those extra pounds or exhausted from battling your conscience every time you put food on the table. Maybe it’s a little voice inside you saying, “this isn’t how I want to live,” but you don’t know how to change.

So I ask you … where does your journey begin?

Here are two healthy and delicious recipes that I hope you enjoy:

Roasted Cauliflower with Meyer Lemon Fauxaioli
This recipe embodies my transformation. I wouldn’t touch cauliflower when I was younger, but then I discovered how delicious it can be when coaxed along by a toss of olive oil and high heat. And as much as I love making food from scratch, and occasionally do, I find life doesn’t always allow time. So this “fauxaioli” makes a convenient stand in for the real deal.

Zucchini Fritters
These Zucchini Fritters, inspired by the salt cod fritters I so loved in Greece, would never have never made it past my guilt/deprivation police. The zucchini and bulgur would have turned me off as “too healthy” and the fact that they were pan fried in oil to yummy, crunchy goodness would have made me feel way too guilty. Now, I can enjoy them with abandon (I often do close my eyes and hum when I eat these) and know I’m doing my body good too.

More about Lia's Nourish Network and My Nourish Mentor: 
The Nourish Network is a website and conversational hub that promotes sustainable change with bite-sized articles on sound nutrition, “eco-clean” eating and being mindful around meals along with tempting recipes that put the principles into practice. Nourish Network recipes are rooted in seasonal ingredients while drawing on flavors from around the globe, most are doable in a weeknight, and all fall below the 500 calorie mark. Short Kitchen Tips Video Clips teach viewers time-saving techniques to help them get more comfortable in the kitchen, and a social media aspect—like Facebook for foodies—lets members connect, make friends, create profiles, and dig into richer conversation to foster community both online and off.

My Nourish Mentor is a six-month small group coaching program centering on the same core areas as Nourish Network: sound nutrition, eco-clean eating, being mindful around meals and getting comfortable in the kitchen. The approach—with online delivery and weekly group calls to make it accessible to anyone anywhere—uses a combination of learning, experience and personal guidance to help people change their relationship with food for good. Coming soon … mini courses that lead you, a taste at a time, towards sustainable change.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Festive Recipes For Your Fourth of July Cook-Out, Or Cook-In

watermelon striped mat

I'm on my way to the market to buy some watermelon and other goodies for our Fourth of July cook-in. Yup. Cook-in.

Sure, I could do a cook-out. We have two grills in our condo unit. But I and 218 other people will be vying for them all weekend. So I'm skipping the cook-out and doing a cook-in.

We'll still have the usual Fourth of July suspects -- sweet corn, potato salad, watermelon -- just no hot dogs and hamburgers. A grill pan, no matter how good, is no substitute for the real thing.

I'm also making homemade limoncello with my dad, which should make us feel better about not having char-grilled hamburgers. Limoncello always makes us feel better.

Whether you celebrate this Fourth of July indoors or outdoors, here are some recipes that will no doubt make you feel better. So will watching the fireworks lighting up the nighttime sky. Happy Fourth of July!

chili lime fruit salad 4

Chili-Lime Fruit Salad

chipotle bbq bean and corn salad

Chipotle Barbecue Bean and Corn Salad

Mexican grilled corn

Elote, or Mexican Grilled Corn

patriotic potato salad 1

Patriotic Potato Salad

a Southwest hamburger

The Southwest Hamburger

grilled steak tacos with watermelon-mango-jicama salsa

Grilled Steak Tacos with Watermelon-Mango-Jicama Salsa 

strawberry pie slice

Summertime Strawberry Pie

triple berry rhubarb crumble

Triple Berry Rhubarb Crisp

Wait! There's more! 
For more inventive potato salad recipes, check out this blog post about my featured piece, "Light Potato Salad" in the June 2010 issue of "Cooking Light." It includes recipes for three different potato salads:

Farmers' Market Potato Salad: This salad was selected as one the "Greatest Hits: 2010" by Cooking Light staff.

Lemon-Arugula Potato Salad

Lemongrass and Ginger Potato Salad