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Easy, Meatless Summer Meals

Its hot here.  Probably not as hot as where some of you live but hot enough. We’re humid too and after having been to a few places on the planet that are “hot” and not humid…. I can tell you, it really is the humidity.

We don’t eat a lot of meat and in the summer if I can keep from heating up the oven – I do. When we have meat I grill it or cook it in the slow cooker. But most days we have a meal completely out of the garden… or the freezer or mason jars where I’ve put up garden produce.

tomatoes 2011 005

Canning home-grown tomatoes


breaking beans

Breaking Beans

In all honesty, it was a new thing a few years ago for my husband to have a completely vegetable meal. He thought he had to have meat and potatoes at every meal for a while. Then money got tight and tighter and he was ok with it. Now he likes it.

A typical lunch might be: sliced tomato, pinto beans,(these I pressure-can so they are already cooked)corn bread in the form of pan-fried cakes, corn cut off the cob or sauteed eggplant and maybe a salad. That’s our big meal of the day. We have a little protein at breakfast as well in the form of eggs and/or bacon.

When the okra comes in we have a lot of it every day. I barely get any frozen because we eat so much of it! Everyone in the family loves it fried. I freeze as much as possible because we like gumbo in the winter. I also dehydrate a lot of it to use in soups and stews.

This year the squash is prolific so I’ve been making all kinds of dishes with it. One of our favorites is a Mock Crab Cake made with zucchini and Old Bay seasoning.

The biggest of our Cushaw squash

The biggest of our Cushaw squash

You know how a lot of people can food all summer to use all winter? In the winter-time I can lots of beans so that I can use them all summer! It keeps me from heating up the house in the summer. I can winter squash in the fall too so I can make quick pies or mast plain old mashed squash with some maple syrup and butter in the summer time. I also free chunks of winter squash to use in the summer on the grill.

Even if you don’t have a garden, you can eat this way. Check out your local farmer’s markets and grocery stores, choose fresh over pre-packaged and plan some easy summer meals.


  1. Shari

    Thank you so much.

    • Sylvia

      You’re welcome, Shari!

  2. Shari

    Could you tell us how you make fried okra? I have tried to make it from recipe books and it doesn’t taste like what we ate when we lived in the south.


    • Sylvia

      Yes, of course!
      First I wash the okra and drain it.
      I heat a large skillet with about 1 inch of oil. I use coconut oil or lard. Then I cut the okra into slices about 1/2 inch thick. Next, I toss the sliced okra, which is still a bit damp from the washing, with corn meal. Then I put the coated okra in to the hot oil and fry it til its golden brown. I season it with salt after I’ve taken it out of the oil and drained it on paper towels.

      There was a time when I used to make a batter with self rising flour and buttermilk and coat the okra in it before deep frying but I didn’t use that recipe very long, The corn meal is what I had as a child in the south and what I prepare now.