Embrace the Easy Senior Living of Summer: Serve No-Cook Meals

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Embrace the Easy Senior Living of Summer: Serve No-Cook Meals

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senior couple eating on patio in summerCultivating a comfortable senior lifestyle sometimes means embracing a new routine or a more casual approach, and summer is the perfect time for easier living– for fresh from the garden flavors in salads and simple fare that requires little or no cooking and minimal preparation. It is a time for simplifying your daily routine and for unapologetically taking it easy.

In the spirit of the season, here are three recipes for nutrition-packed cold meals that will satisfy even the most discerning palates. Pair each with a crusty French baguette or a hearty specialty loaf and some fresh fruit, and you'll wonder why you ever have to turn on the oven.

Pinto Beans, Fresh Tomatoes and Avocados

This recipe, courtesy of Kalyn's Kitchen, has a slightly South-of-the-Border personality, but it's packed full of good ingredients, has a low glycemic index, and can be prepared in just minutes.

You'll want to put it together just before serving because of the fresh avocados, but you can certainly have all the other ingredients chilled and prepared in advance. The dressing is light and refreshing, with just a hint of "bite," and the red onion adds a nice crunch.

With bread and fruit, this would be a delightful lunch salad. Or, as another option, you could serve it with smoked salmon as a light dinner. Substitute black beans for the pintos if you prefer. With a dollop of sour cream, and some rolled tortillas, you might even be tempted to play some mariachi music.

Classic Italian Panzanella Bread Salad

This one lends itself to any number of situations and is perfectly suited for carefree senior life. It's also a great way to use day-old (or older) bread, and it will win you raves from guests who have never tasted anything so unexpectedly good!

There are a number of variations online and in Italian cookbooks for this spectacularly simple peasant salad. You will need to pick the best ripe tomatoes you can find— either great red ones or a combination of colorful heirloom varieties. Just make sure they are juicy and delicious. This particular recipe also calls for cucumber and onion, adding another layer of texture and flavor.

This is a great salad to serve with a variety of cold cuts— try thinly sliced rare roast beef and honey-baked ham or peppered turkey— and a variety of black and green marinated olives from the local deli. You don't need much more, but you could either bring out some cold berries or dish up small scoops of sorbet or gelato to stay true to the Italian theme.

Prawn and Watermelon Salad

Jamie Oliver, the inventive advocate of fresh ingredients and easy cooking skills, shares this one.

To be sure, this one requires a few minutes with the burner on— just to sauté the prawns and toast some nuts and sesame seeds. But, it's so painless and delicious that you'll want to share the recipe with all your friends.

Try it for its textural goodness, its sophisticated blending of flavors, and its all-around good taste.

It would be great for enjoying with a loaf of fresh bread and a glass of white wine. Then splurge on a brownie for dessert since you had the fruit as part of the salad! You'll agree that this is senior life the way it is meant to be lived.

In Cincinnati retirement communities, summer offers a great opportunity to let go of normal routines, to plan impromptu potluck gatherings, or to take lunch or dinner to the patio or garden. All of these salads are suitable for that kind of informality, and clean up couldn't be simpler.

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Bryan Reynolds
June 14, 2014
Bryan Reynolds is the Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS). Bryan is responsible for developing and implementing ERS' digital marketing strategy, and overseeing the website, social media outlets, audio and video content and online advertising. After originally attending The Ohio State University, he graduated from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, where he earned a Bachelor of fine arts focused on electronic media. Bryan loves to share his passion for technology by assisting older adults with their computer and mobile devices. He has taught several classes within ERS communities as well as at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute run by the University of Cincinnati. He also participates on the Technology Team at ERS to help provide direction. Bryan and his wife Krista currently reside in Lebanon, Ohio with their 5 children.

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