This Summer’s Favorite Recipes

The other day, one of the trail runners in the Tuesday night group posed a question: “What’s your go-to post-run snack, especially if you just want something small?”

Women runners on hilly trail.
The women who make up Trailhead Running’s Tuesday Night group aren’t afraid of a little dirt, heat, or hill. Photo Credit: Trailhead Running

Evening runs pose problems when it comes to a meal. Most people head straight to the workout from their job. By the time we’re done traipsing around that night’s selection of one of Austin’s many trails, it’s 8 p.m. Add on drive time home, and those hot, hungry runners are walking in the door late, thinking about something to eat. Oh…and don’t forget actual meal preparation.

The hassle at the end of the day is enough to encourage picking up fast food on the way home or skipping dinner altogether.

I’m all for quick and liquid, whenever possible. The heat squelches my appetite, but I know my body needs some fuel. The time means I want something nutritious fast.

So here are two of my favorite go-to recipes for this summer. The smoothie is sweetly refreshing without being heavy. And the beets/plum/arugula combination is an interesting mix of rich, sweet, and spicy flavors.

Some Tips: Chop the dates in advance and pre-mix your spices to streamline smoothie preparation.

For the arugula salad, do your roasting ahead of time. When I get my summer CSA box with its beaucoup of beets, I immediately pop them all in the oven. When they’re done roasting, I keep the foil-wrapped, cooled beets in a plastic bag in the fridge. They’re ready to pull out whenever needed; they’ll stay good for up to two weeks.

Suggestion: Need a dish for a pot luck supper? The arugula salad is very filling plus it’s beautiful. Smoothie can also serve as quick on-the-go breakfast in the car.

Chai Tai Smoothie

1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other nut, grain, or seed milk)

1 cup coconut water

1/4 cup pitted dates, chopped (soaked, if using a conventional blender)

1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon each of ground nutmeg, ground cardamom

pinch ground cloves

pinch salt (optional, to bring out flavors)

2 medium bananas, frozen and sliced

1 cup iced cubes

Combine all ingredients in blender. Puree on high for 30 to 60 seconds, until smooth and creamy. Makes two servings.

~Tess Masters, The Blender Girl, from June 2015 issue of Family Circle

Farmers’ Market Beet and Arugula Salad

Roasted beets, arugula, and other ingredients for a summer salad.
You really don’t need much to put together this delicious salad. When finished, it’s a really pretty addition to any summer meal.

2 bunches heirloom beets (red and gold)

5 tablespoons organic olive oil, divided

6 ounces wild arugula, rinsed and patted dry

2 large red plums, pitted and chopped

4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

2 tablespoons organic balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Trim beets, moisten with 2 tablespoons oil, wrap in aluminum foil, and roast until cooked through (about 1 hour). Cool to room temperature. Peel and cut into thick slices.

Spread arugula in wide, shallow bowl. Arrange beets over arugula, then add plums. Sprinkle feta and walnuts over all. Drizzle remaining oil and vinegar over salad.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes six servings.

~Better Nutrition Magazine, Sept. 2009

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Published by Leah Nyfeler

I'm a writer, editor, runner, and adventurer who is always looking for the next new story, exciting adventure, and good meal/book/movie. My focus is on helping people find their best, healthiest self through sharing what I know and how I've come to learn it. In addition to my blog "Enjoying the Journey: Observations on the Fit Life" at, my articles have appeared in a variety of print and online magazines. You can hear me as part of the 2015 Austin cast of Listen To Your Mother.

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