August in Oklahoma is when the summer doldrums can be at their worst. The heat and humidity make the idea of slaving over a hot stove a nonstarter, which means that getting ready for dinner involves heading for the family car or dialing up the local delivery service.

It doesn’t need to be that way because all it takes is a little time and some Made in Oklahoma ingredients to make meals and snacks that require minimum effort but supply maximum flavor and nutrition.

For information on MIO Coalition participants, go online to miocoalition.com.

Nut-Free Energy Bites

1 cup rolled oats

¼ cup ground flax meal

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of sea salt

1 cup mini chocolate chips

½ cup sunflower seed butter

¼ cup Andrew’s Honey Bees raw honey

1 teaspoon Griffin’s vanilla

1. In a medium-size bowl, stir together oats, flax, cinnamon and salt. Stir in chocolate chips. Add sunflower seed butter, honey and vanilla. Using clean hands or a spoon, mix until ingredients are combined. If batter seems dry, add more honey.

2. Form into 1-inch balls, then place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place in freezer for 20 minutes or until firm, then store in the refrigerator or freezer. Recipe should make approximately 25 balls.

Note: If nut allergies aren’t an issue, use your favorite nut butter in place of the sunflower seed butter.

Apple Slow-Cooked Chicken

2½ pounds boneless chicken breasts or thighs

1 jar Gina’s Southern Style Gourmet Apple Spread

1 (12-ounce) can COOP Spare Rib Pale Ale, American Pale Ale (APA)

2 tablespoons minced garlic

3 tablespoons Scissortail Farms fresh chopped thyme

¼ cup chopped onion

Juice of ½ lemon

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Steamed white or brown rice, for serving.

1. Add chicken to slow cooker.

2. Combine the Gina’s Southern Style Apple Spread, COOP Pale Ale beer, garlic, thyme, onion, lemon, salt and pepper, then pour over the chicken. Cook on low setting for 6 to 8 hours.

3. Serve over steamed white or brown rice.

Lunchbox Applesauce Muffins

1½ cups Shawnee Mills

all-purpose flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

⅛ teaspoon grated nutmeg

¼ teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 stick plus 3 tablespoons Braum’s

unsalted butter, melted

¾ cup unsweetened

applesauce

¼ cup Gina’s Southern Style Apple Spread

1 cup Miller Pecan Co.

pecans, coarsely chopped

For topping:

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon

cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line regular-size muffin pan or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and brown sugar, then add butter, whisking until thoroughly combined. Stir in applesauce and apple spread. Gently fold in flour mixture. Fold in pecans. Pour batter into muffin cups.

4. Combine topping ingredients, then sprinkle on top of each muffin. Bake muffins until golden, about 20 minutes. Cool 5 minutes, then remove from pan.

Watermelon Agua Fresca

1 medium Triple S Farms seedless watermelon

1 tablespoon lime juice

2-3 tablespoons Andrew’s Honey Bees pure honey

Ice cubes, for serving

1. Cut watermelon in half and remove the meat from the center. Cut into 2-inch pieces.

2. In a blender, combine half of the watermelon and 1 cup cold water, and blend until smooth. Pour through a strainer into a pitcher; discard solids. Repeat with remaining watermelon and 1 cup cold water. You should have about 8-12 cups juice. Stir in lime juice and honey, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Serve well chilled over ice.


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James D. Watts Jr.

918-581-8478

james.watts@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: watzworld

Scene Writer

James writes primarily about the visual, performing and literary arts. Phone: 918-581-8478