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BBQ season is upon us and there are some habits and products that can make your backyard cue-ing experience that much more enjoyable … and nourishing! Scroll down for my tips on BBQ food safety, cookware essentials, bug proofing habits, and some menu ideas of what will be on my 4th of July Table!
You may not think this is a big ‘dill’, BUT check out these ‘chilling’ facts about foodborne illness – Sorry, I just couldn’t resist the puns. According to the FDA, there are 48 million cases of foodborne illness annually — the equivalent of sickening 1 in 6 Americans each year. And each year these illnesses result in an estimated 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. Here are some tips for helping to avoid these illnesses at your BBQ:
1. CLEAN your produce: It’s not just enough to run your produce under water. Instead, SOAK produce in a 4:1 water:vinegar solution for at least 15 minutes, SCRUB peels with a produce brush, and DRY produce with a paper towel to remove any residual debris and bacteria. Learn More. You may consider adding salt or baking soda to your water… two methods that have been reported to emulsify pesticides and other chemicals found on the produce better than just water vinegar alone. I add 1 tbsp of baking powder to my water mixture – carefully! It will bubble!
3. MIND THE DANGER ZONE! When food enters the ‘danger zone’ of 40-140 degrees fahrenheit, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. NEVER let food sit out for more than 2 hours at temps between 40-89F. In temps > 90F, food should only be left out for 1 hour. If you want to keep food out for a longer time period, use a cooling tray (see below). Try my DIY cooling tray hack. On the flip side, use hot trays or slow cookers to keep hot food hotter than 140F.
Unsure of your food temperatures? Use a FOOD THERMOMETERS. Because nothing ruins a BBQ like an upset stomach!
Broken Glass + Patio + Bare feet = NOT GOOD! Instead, while BBQ-ing, I opt for durable, shatter proof dining ware made from melamine, metals, or wood textiles. Here are a few of my favorites:
1. Platters: Melamine is a plastic-like material that is durable AND stylish. You can find a variety of styles and sizes. I like this large white tray with handles for carting items back and forth from my kitchen.
2. Impress guests or treat yourself to a cheese board with this wood charcuterie board that conveniently stores utensils inside for easy organization when not in use.
3. Reusable dinner plates as opposed to disposable can be and easy way to prevent build up in landfills and save money … check out these SUPER CUTE BBQ inspired melamine plates and sustainable wheat plates.
4. Drinkware: Once you hydrate with these shatter proof, textured glasses, it’s time to enjoy a summer cocktail with unbreakable wine glasses. P.S. They are both recyclable if you decide to switch your decor next season!
4. Ambiance: For any summer night to be complete, you’ve got to have music! Check out these neat, latern, bluetooth speakers.
6. Grill: We just bought this Breeo smokeless fire pit and grill and it is UN-BE-LIEV-ABLE.
Buggie Basics: Here are some safe, effective, and pesticide free ways to ensure you are the only one eating your bbq favorites.
1. Keep bugs out of your food by covering your food with this food tent lid.
2. Keep bugs away with:
Citronella Candles: I opt for for a soy wax rather than paraffin wax. I LOVE the Bug Off Candle from PUREHAVEN or this one from Amazon.
Plant Citronella Balm or LemonGrass around your patio and yard for bug repellant that lasts years – try planting it in this stylish planter set that will match any decor! More bug repellant plant ideas from Real Simple.
3. If you do get bit, try the “The Bug Bite Thing”a great little tool to use on mosquito bites, bee stings, wasps, ants and even splinters! This suction ‘thing’ extracts irritant venom of the bites and stings and helps alleviate itching, stinging and swelling that also occurs from bites and stings.
Just as with any get together – BALANCE IS KEY!
I drink as much water as I can before my meal, especially between adult beverages, as to not become dehydrated.
I fill half my plate with veggies and fruits no matter what! This allows the USDA guidelines and ensures I consume more vitamins, fiber, and water.
I opt for quality proteins instead of conventional ones, like pasture raised beef from Beaver Brook Ranch, wild caught fish instead of farm raised, and pasture raised poultry and eggs.
1. Veggie and Chicken Kabobs – I marinate cubes of chicken in Italian dressing overnight, then load them onto metal skewers and alternate with lemon slices, summer squash, zucchini, peppers, onions, or slices of corn on the cob. Skys the limit with your creative ‘juices’ here. Be sure to cut everything into small pieces as to ensure even cooking and properly cooked meat.
2. Salmon Burgers – Recipe Video
3. Coleslaw – Recipe
4. Sauerkraut – Recipe
5. Mango Ginger Salsa – Recipe
6. Deviled Eggs – Recipe
7. Italian Potato Salad – Boil 15 red bliss potatoes (cut in quarters) until they are fork tender and firm (about 15 mins). Drain and cool them by running cold water over them or plunging them into an ice bath to stop the cooking. In a large bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1 tbsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp salt, cracked black pepper to taste. Add potatoes and 1 shallot, minced. Toss together. Add more oil, vinegar, seasoning to taste.
8. Grilled & Steamed Mahi Mahi Packets – Perfect for delicate fish. Tear off large pieces of tin foil. In the center, drizzle 1 tsp of avocado oil. Place sliced veggies on top of the oil (I like peppers, onions, yellow squash), then place mahi on top of the veggies. Season the fish with salt, pepper, lemon juice, lemon slice. Wrap up the fish into a little pocket and place on the top shelf of the grill or low heat side if using coal grill. Cook 10-12 minutes until fish is cooked through.
9. Grilled Pineapple – Rub Pineapple slices with avocado oil and sprinkle with monkfruit and cinnamon. Grilled on either side until grill marks form. Eat with vanilla ice cream or yogurt on top! Try my dairy-free ice cream recipe from my show, ‘Eat Your Way to Wellness’ in the episode about Gut Health & Constipation (#4).