I love to eat. To me, cooking and eating are hobbies that I can’t get enough of. Because I am always trying new and exciting recipes, my hobbies can sometimes get expensive. One of the easiest ways to save money without sacrificing the quality of your food is to shop for produce that is in season. Not only is it lower in cost, but it is also bursting with flavor and freshness that you just can’t find in its out-of-season counterparts. Let’s start with taking a look at what’s in season during these ridiculously hot summer months:

Bell pepper
Green beans
Summer squash

Whoa…you mean I can find all of those delicious fruits and veggies in season right now?! Amazing. Let’s get to the good stuff…the recipes! Without even picking up a cookbook, you could always take some of these ingredients and toss them into a salad. Spice up your grilled meat with some cilantro, avocado and mango for a southwestern kick. Get some fresh blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries together in a bowl for a fresh fruit party! The possibilities are endless…There are a number of recipes that come to mind when I glance over this extensive list of summer goodies. Here are some of my favorites that I’d like to share with you:

-Feelin’ Peachy-
Recipe by: Sarah Fragoso, from “Everyday Paleo”

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 8

3 tablespoons water
4 Freestone peaches, halved with stone removed
½ cup sliced almonds
1 cup unsweetened dried apricots
½ cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon fresh grated ginger

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
2. Add the water to the bottom of a glass baking dish and place the peach halves, sliced-sides up, into the dish as well.
3. In a food processor, add the remaining ingredients and process until the mixture is finely chopped.
4. Spoon even amounts onto each peach half and bake uncovered for 25 minutes.

-Stuffed Eggplant-
Recipe by: Sarah Fragoso, from “Everyday Paleo”

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40-50 minutes
Serves: 6

3 small eggplants
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 small red onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ cups diced fresh basil
¾ cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes packed in extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. Remove green stems from the eggplants and cut in half lengthwise. Using a paring knife, gently cut out as much of the insides as possible. Set the insides aside, leaving an eggplant “shell”.
3. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil into the bottom of a 9 x 13 glass baking dish and add the eggplant.
4. Dice the insides of the eggplant that have been removed.
5. In a large skillet, add the five tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, diced eggplant, bell peppers, and onions. Sauté over medium heat for 7-10 minutes or until the veggies are tender.
6. Add the minced garlic, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Mix well and cook for another minute.
7. Pile the cooked vegetable mixture into the eggplant shells and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the eggplant shells are fork tender.

Happy (in-season) Eating!