Summer CookingOur first summer holiday has come and gone. Memorial Day, too most of us, means the official kick off to the summer season, an extra day added on to our weekend, family gatherings, and grilling. Culminating in the honoring of our veterans who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms we have in this country.

Interestingly we don’t think much about the summer holidays- except for the fact that they give us extra time off from work and more reasons to eat! But for countless others, these holidays cause just as much stress as winter holidays. Why? Simply put- they need to plan each meal and what goes into each meal. Research shows an increase in individuals suffering from digestive sensitivities, like Celiac Disease, compared to just ten years ago. How hard it must be to carefully plan what to grill, what ingredients to add for flavoring, and how to separate that from what everyone else is eating. While the rest of us enjoy whatever we feel like throwing on the grill; the digestive sensitive need to look at ingredients and prep ahead of time.

This realization took on new depths for me, after watching a young woman ask the culinary chef at the local grocers, whether or not a particular burger grilling sauce was gluten free. It took over five minutes for him to find out, as she patiently stood there and watched several other people come and go with their potato salads, sausages, burgers and fried chicken. The look on her face is one I will remember.

While we continue to celebrate upcoming summer events here are some great ideas and resources for those of you who want to enjoy the holidays like the rest of us….

First, local grocery chain Wegman’s is a great resource for gluten free products. They recently developed a “No Gluten Ingredients Designation” in the prepared foods section, as well as a series of “Living Gluten Free Cooking Classes”. These classes were offered at various Wegman’s locations. Check their brochure for locations. Local grocery chain Tops Family Friendly Markets is another great resource for healthy eating and living in Western New York. They offer the “Savings for Health” wellness program. This program, tailored for those struggling with chronic diseases, like Celiac, Cardiovascular Disease, and Diabetes, can benefit anyone wanting a healthier lifestyle. Click here for more information: Savingsforhealth.

Enjoying the beautiful summer in Western New York is even more fun when cooking outdoors. Here are some fun and creative recipes for summer grilling:

Yellow Corn Chips served with Peach Salsa– Gluten free yellow corn tortilla chips (found in organic food aisle). To make the salsa- chop 5 peaches (de-pitted and skinned) in a food processor; transfer to mixing bowl. Add ½ a cup of red onion and 1 to 2 tbsp of lime juice to food processor. Mix well (do not puree) and transfer the mixture to the bowl. Combine 3 tbsp of cilantro and ¼ of a cup of Sweet Chili sauce to mixture. Add salt to taste and serve!

Healthy Mustard Potato Salad– Fill a stock pot 2/3 with cold water; bring to a boil. Peel 5 lbs of potatoes (ahead of time), cut into ½ inch cubes and toss into boiling water. Boil for roughly 14 minutes, until knife tender. Remove potatoes and reserve water. Reduce heat to medium/medium low and add 6 eggs. Cook for 15 minutes; shock in cold water, then peel. Dice the eggs and combine with potatoes. Add 6 to 8 ounces of celery (diced), 1 onion (chopped), and 2 ½ cups of low fat mayonnaise; salt and pepper to taste. Add ¼ of a cup of both regular yellow mustard and Dijon Mustard (these measurements vary according to your taste). Chill for a day and serve!

For grilling options try:

Gluten Free Black Bean Turkey Burger– Get your grill ready!!! Pre-heat grill, on high for 10 minutes. Combine 94% lean ground turkey, 1 ½ tbsp of cilantro, 1 cup of gluten free bread crumbs (Wegman’s offers a version of Panko gluten free), 1 jar of Santa Fe Black Bean and Corn Salsa, 1 can of black beans, and salt and pepper to taste. Fold together and form into burger patties. Coat each burger with basting oil and add to grill on medium heat. Cook until internal temperature reads 165 degrees. Serve with Gluten free white burger rolls, lettuce, mustard, mayo. Some stores offer gluten free turkey bacon; for variation, add this to the top of your burger.

At Freed Maxick, we want everyone to relish these Western New York summer holidays! With some planning and smart tips, eating healthy is eating enjoyed!

For more tips on eating healthy and great restaurants around Western New York, visit Shannon’s website at