Monthly Archives: July 2015

Summer Food Safety

With rising temperatures and outdoor dining events, food safety is a major concern this Summer (and all year around). Use the following tips to keep your next outdoor picnic, barbecue, or gathering safe for all!


  • The normal “two hour rule” changes to the “one hour rule” when temperatures creep up above 90 degrees F.
    • Hot temperatures are just right for allowing the bacteria in food to multiply to numbers that could make people sick. This includes foods on picnic tables, buffet lines at family reunions, and bag lunches.
    • If at home, serve the food inside the air conditioned house instead of outside in the heat.
    • Set an alarm on your phone to alert you when the food should be put away. It is easy to lose track of time when at a gathering with family and friends.
  • When carrying food to another location, keep it cold to minimize bacterial growth.
    • Use an insulated cooler with ice or ice packs to keep the food cold.
    • If traveling far, place the cooler inside air conditioned car, not the hot trunk.
    • Refrigerate all perishable foods immediately upon getting home.
  • When doing errands, make the grocery store your last stop.
    • Pick up frozen and refrigerated foods just before you hit the checkout lines, so it is not sitting in your cart for an extended period of time.
  • If you’re going to a farmers’ market, farm stand, or pick-your-own field, take a cooler along too. Don’t store fresh produce in the trunk of your car.
  • At an outdoor event (or any event), keep meat and poultry refrigerated until ready to use. Only take out the items that will be immediately placed on the grill.
  • When using a cooler outside, keep it out of the direct sun by placing it in the shade or under a shelter.
    • Pack beverages in one cooler and perishables in a separate cooler. This will help avoid warm air from getting in the cooler when the lid is opened and closed often.
  • Keep everything clean! If there is no running water, bring clean cloths or moist towelettes.
    • Don’t reuse ice used to keep food cold, could be a potential of contamination.
    • Don’t use the same plate or platter and utensils for raw and cooked food.
  • If you don’t finish your meal at a restaurant, make sure there’s a cooler in the car for any food you bring home. The “one hour rule” goes into effect here too!
  • Don’t get careless with picnics and other outdoor food events. Unless you are absolutely sure about the safety of the food, throw away any leftovers.

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Summer Vegetable Chowder

A quick one pot dinner perfect for using up fresh summer veggies! The “creaminess” comes from sautéed and puréed zucchini, onion, and celery which makes this soup creamy and flavorful but without a ton of calories and fat! My husband, who LOVES soup, approved of this meatless summer meal. A new weeknight staple! 


1 Tbsp canola oil
1 small sweet yellow onion, small diced
2 celery stalks, small diced
1 medium zucchini, small diced
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
salt & ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 – 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1/4 – 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional.. use as desired for a hint of spicy)
1 pound baby red or yellow potatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 red bell pepper, small diced
2 cups fresh corn kernels (or frozen)
2 Tbsp cream (optional.. adds a creamier texture to the soup)
green onions, for garnish Continue reading

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Filed under Carmen's Favorites, Nourish the Body