Well, well, well. Here we are. It’s officially summer and while I’m still recovering from the end of school and the beginning of our new laid-back kinda schedule, I am allowing myself to indulge in some summer celebration! …And how else do I do that but with food, of course.
We don’t typically do summer camps in the Steele household because A) We have a lot of kids and B) It can be expensive and C) I’m just lazy enough to never get on top of that in February. Also, I love having NO schedule but the one we make up each day. Every morning over a leisurely (leisurely, did I say leisurely? I meant messy & chaotic) breakfast we decide what to do that day: a bit of garden work, feeding and tending to the ducks and chickens, some grocery shopping or errand-running and our requisite pool visit. This is one of the reasons why I love summer so much. I am a summer -no rules- girl at heart. Nothing to do…nowhere to be. Sounds nice, but for most of you I think that would be torture. Of course, for those of you dear readers who work, you have no choice but to send your kiddos to camp. I get it!
So then there’s the decision making process: which camp? Charlottesville is chock-full of camp choices. Yoga, Adventure, Cooking—all are awesome themes that suit many different personalities. We have a lot of great options which is why I said we typically don’t do camps. Because this year, we are choosing ONLY ONE! Our good family friend, Scott Williams, runs an amazing camp called Camp4Real. He’s been steadily building this camp from the ground up for a few years and let me say it is super popular now! Scott is the Phys Ed teacher at Meriwether Lewis Elementary, which just happens to be the elementary school in our district. We’ve known Scott for years, so it goes without saying that we have been waiting for the day for Gabe to finally get to have him in school. Scott (or Mr. Williams) is a beloved part of the MLS community, and he even visits the local middle school to see students of his who have graduated.
Scott also practices a plant-based diet, and teaches his students every chance he gets about eating healthy fruits and veggies. Gabe even comes home and scolds me sometimes for eating foods with too much sugar–ha! That’s what he gets having a pastry chef as a mom.
What I love about Camp4Real is that there is a big focus on healthy eating. The kids enjoy snacks each day at camp that Scott and his team prepare. If you think your kid won’t eat veg, throw him/her into the mix with 50 other kids and watch the peer pressure work—in the best way. Better yet, exchange that sports drink or soda with “Dubs” (water) and round out that nourishing meal. The kids are taught that healthy, clean eating is cool. This is 4Real folks!
Together, to celebrate the start of summer and more importantly the start of Camp4Real, which has sessions throughout the summer at local elementary schools -and is still taking campers-, Scott and I decided to work on a collaborative recipe that we could carry through each session for the kids to enjoy. He knows a lot about food, but he trusts me thankfully enough to come up with this recipe on my own! Here it is:
Camp4Real’s Summer Salad
This recipe is perfect for kids and summer because it combines what’s in season with what kids really like to eat. I tried to incorporate a lot of naturally sweet and high water content fruits and vegetables so that kids both enjoy what they are eating and stay hydrated at the same time, especially when they’re running around and exercising at Camp4Real. Make this at home and make sure to enjoy with a nice big bottle of “Dubs”!
Combine in a large bowl:
1 English cucumber, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch rounds, then quartered
2 large slices watermelon, cubed
1/2 cup sugar snaps, sliced
1 cob of corn, kernels cut off in strips (to make this easier, boil the corn the day before and refrigerate—this helps it hydrate just enough in the fridge to keep the kernels together in pretty strips
4 mint leaves, cut into ribbons
2 large basil leaves, cut into ribbons
the juice of 1 lime and 1 orange to add that little something extra!
Serve cold and often. This is a delicious salad that happens to be kid-friendly and Vegan. Feta, however, would also be a nice touch.
**TIP: keep the pieces nice and big so little fingers can grab as they need. Nice little mom tip for ya there…0