I have a challenge for you out there for the rest of this Summer. It’s simple, it doesn’t cost any money and I guarantee it will improve your health and the way you feel. Ladies, I challenge you to drink 9 cups of water (that’s 2.2 litres) and gents I challenge you to drink 13 cups (that’s 3 litres) of water a day. You may need more if you are more active but the average person doesn’t get enough water. Summer is the best time of year to develop these habits because you want to stay hydrated when it’s warm out.
You are probably thinking, I get enough water each day, or close to it, but do you actually know how much you are drinking? Recently I was one of those people so I started tracking and realized I was falling short of a few cups a day. It doesn’t sound like a lot but increasing my water intake to the recommended amounts has given me more energy and helped me de-bloat while staying hydrated.
To add to your challenge, start your day off with 1-2 glasses of water with 1/2 juice of lemon (before coffee, tea or breakfast). It you are feeling really adventurous add a pinch of cayenne at aid in digestion. This will help flush out any toxins your body was working on expelling through the night, and ease your body into waking your digestive tract before breakfast. Drinking a glass or two of water before and between meals will help stop you from overeating, which may help you to lose weight without even changing your diet. To keep you interested in drinking water add sliced citrus fruit, or cucumber. Do not count tea, coffee or juice or soda as ‘water’ for this challenge. If you are wanting to improve your health and overall appearance and you are feeling overwhelmed this is the perfect place to start. Try it for a week and let me know how you are feeling in the comments section below!
If I had to pick one perfect summer food, it would be fresh spring rolls (also known as summer rolls). They are refreshing, filling and require only minimal amounts of heat to prepare (warm water anyone?). You can make them up a day in advance and continue snacking on them for a few days as long as they are stored well in the fridge. If not they could dry out and become hard around the edges. The best way to prevent this is to line the tray you are storing them in with lettuce and ensure the tray has a sealed cover or use plastic wrap to create and air tight seal.
Summer rolls are entirely versatile with fillings and dipping sauces ([I’ve made these before -> Cabbage Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce). This time, I really wanted to create a light and refreshing roll that didn’t require any cooking save the rehydration of the noodle sheets.
Shredded Tofu Summer Rolls
- 10-12 rice noodle sheets
marinated shredded tofu
- 1 package of tofu, rinsed drained and grated
- juice of one lemon
- 1 tbs sesame oil
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 sheet of nori or half a package of nori crisps cut into small slices
- 1 tbs old bay seasoning
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- pepper and salt to taste
- 1 + 1/2 cups of grated carrots
- 1/4 cup of cilantro
- 1 small pepper, diced small
- 1 stalk of celery, washed, peeled and diced
simple dipping sauce
- hoisin sauce
- vegetarian oyster sauce
- sriracha to taste
Rinse the block of tofu, pat dry and use a cheese grater to grate the entire block. Place in a – mixing bowl and blot with paper towel until most of the moisture is gone.
Using scissors, cut the nori sheet into four long strips, and then thin slices, add to tofu.
Add lemon juice, sesame and olive oils and toss gently until all of it is covered. Sprinkle in old bay seasoning, garlic powder salt and pepper.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. You can work on the vegetable preparation in the mean time to save time.
Wash, peel and grate carrots until you have about one and a half cups. Place in a bowl and toss with 1/4 cup of roughly chopped cilantro. Set aside.
Rinse, seed and de-pithe the red pepper and cut into a small dice. Add to a separate bowl.
Rinse and peel the outside of the celery. Slice lengthwise and then cut into a fine dice. Add to the bowl with the red pepper and toss. Set aside.
Clean and create your workstation. Lay out a cutting board large enough to accommodate the size of the rice noodle. Arrange the remaining ingredients around the cutting board along with a shallow pan filled with warm water. You will also need a casserole dish lined with lettuce to place completed rolls in.
Add one sheet of rice noodle at a time, rotating it gently with your hand until it has been rehydrated, about 10 seconds depending on how hot your water is.
Gently grab the edges with your fingers as if you were hanging out your laundry to dry on a clothesline and drape over the cutting board. If you have any bumps, or folds, carefully fix once it’s laid out.
Add 1.5-2 tablespoons of shredded tofu, grated carrot/cilantro mix and 1 tablespoon of red pepper/ celery mix to the centre of the roll, making a log shape.
Fold the bottom up to the middle, giving a little bit of pressure. Fold each side over to cover the ends.
Pull the middle down gently as you roll up to create a tighter roll. Place seam down in the dish and repeat.
Once you have used all the fillings, refrigerate rolls for at least 30 minutes before eating.
You can use just about anything to dip these in. Soy, plum, hoisin sauces are all great options. I generally prefer a peanut sauce to dip fresh spring rolls in but to keep things light and to not overpower the marinated tofu I chose to mix a few up together. I also prefer my sauce I little liquidy for easier dipping.
To make the simple sauce above, mix equal parts of hoisin, vegetarian oyster sauce and water and season with sriracha to taste. Serve cold.