MyTake: What We Learned This Week—7/16 to 7/20

We shopped until we dropped. Sorta. 

As the clock struck 3 PM (EST) on Monday of this week, we were hoping to fill out baskets with the best Amazon kitchen finds; however, like the rest of the world, we were greeted with images of cartoon dogs and error messages at the onset of Prime Day. Despite the anticipation, the most amazing online shopping day of the summer turned out to be a bust for some. Here’s hoping that at least some eager shoppers eventually got their hands on that $65 Instant Pot. I was going to snatch up some doggy treats for Cario, my sister’s adorable new puppy, but after quickly losing patience on Amazon, I’m thinking I’ll just make him a batch of dog-friendly ice cream instead. The base of this pooch-perfect frozen treat is made with plain yogurt and it can be flavored with sugar-free peanut butter or carob—a dog-approved swap for chocolate. Doggy stomachs are sensitive to added sugar, so be sure to check ingredient labels before adding anything to a homemade treat for your pup. 

Another favorite food item that may warrant you giving a little more attention to the label is frozen shrimp. When shrimp are harvested, similarly to scallops, they’re immediately soaked in a saline solution for preservation. Writer Kimberly Holland explains that large amounts of sodium sneak into our shrimp as they're further processed to make the peels easier to remove. By the time that previously frozen, easy-peel shrimp arrives in your shopping cart, it could already have up to 730 milligrams of sodium per 4-ounce serving. Wowzers. If you have an eye on your sodium intake, the best thing you can do is to chat with your fishmonger if possible, learn where your shrimp comes from, and control the amount of salt that you add when cooking.

If you’re feeling a little salty towards shellfish after that truth bomb, no worries. Summer is the season to prioritize fresh produce over everything else anyhow. Let’s talk about the veggie everyone ends up having a boatload of right about now: zucchini. You’ve made the quick breads. You’ve thrown them on the grill. You’ve stuffed them silly. Now what? Now, my friends, you try one of our favorite preparations for zucchini—ribbons. Spiralizing is so 2017; you’ve gotta try ribboning your vegetables. It’s 10x easier than using a spiralizer and you won’t have to worry about a mushy result. I highly recommend that you whip out your peeler and start with this tortellini salad with zucchini and peas. Writer Arielle Weg has deemed it a “life changing salad,” meaning, it’s not a recipe you want to pass on. Of course, we can’t talk about summer squash without talking about getting your hands on a few squash blossoms to batter and fry. If you haven’t seen them in your grocery store, check out your local farmer’s market; you’ll likely have better luck. Select blossoms that are bright yellow-orange and not wilted. My suggestionstuff them with herbs and goat cheese before they hit the hot oil. 

WATCH: How to Make Tortellini Salad with Zucchini and Peas


Continuing on this meatless discussion, have you seen writer Gillie Houston’s master list of the best meat-free burgers to heat up on the grill? Brands like Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger are the trendiest veggie burgers on the market and have gained notoriety for their innovative and realistically meaty looks, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still get down with an OG Boca burger too. Whatever your preference, making a meat-free swap, even just every so often, is something to feel good about.

Beyond being a more environment-friendly lifestyle, following a vegetarian diet can boast major health benefits. By adding a few more veggies to your diet, you can easily incorporate more nutrients and minerals, especially if you regularly consume superfoods. Certain superfoods can be pricey, however, affordable items such as frozen berries, sweet potatoes, squash, and broccoli are absolutely packed with vitamins, earning them superfood status. By swapping out more processed items and less nutrient-dense ingredients for these familiar superfoods, you are well on your way to a more vibrant and healthy lifestyle. Easy, huh? Good thing you are cutting down on processed baked goods and carbs, because there seems to be a fresh recall on some inner aisle food item every other day. This week, the voluntary recall was on items manufactured by Flowers Foods due to salmonella contamination. Woof.

As you maintain a mindset of letting go of food items that aren’t contributing to your general wellness, take a good look around your kitchen. Is it cluttered with gadgets and appliances that have collected dust over the past year? Declutter your kitchen with these 7 simple steps to freeing up space, thus creating a positive, non-stressful cooking atmosphere. Each step will have a powerful impact, but consist of manageable tasks like clearing out old food from your refrigerator weekly, ditching extra dishware, and cleaning out those miscellaneous junk drawers. Oh, and when you begin to clean out your pantry, grab that bottle of distilled white vinegar and throw ½ cup in the rinse cycle the next time you wash clothes. Trust me on this one; right along with your diet and kitchen, your laundry life is about to change for the better.