By Lynn LickersI’ve noticed since Alex has been away that I’ve been eating healthier. It could be coincidental with the abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables at the farmer’s markets, but I’m also not buying Doritos, chips and that stuff that he gobbles up and I can't resist when they're in the house. Another plus, I have 4 tomato plants in my front yard which are going gang busters right now. I love the smell of the plants - total summer time! Getting anyone, especially kids, to eat more veggies is hard. But there are quick, easy ways to do it. These recipes are some of Alex’s summer time favorites and they’re perfect right now. Quick Pickles These really are quick. A day or two in the fridge and you’ve got a real treat. Slice about 5 or 6 pickling cucumbers. Either in rounds or spears. Place in a shallow container. Mix together: 1 cup hot water, 1 tbsp. kosher salt, 2 tbsp honey, and 3 tbsp cider vinegar. Add about 1 tbsp dried dill and pour over pickles. Stir to combine, cover and refrigerate for a day or two. You can also add a sliced onion, sliced garlic and a sliced, seeded jalapeno. Gazpacho Coarsely chop about 5 large fresh home grown tomatoes, 2 - 3 cucumbers, 3 peppers (red and green), 1 small sweet onion and a clove or two of garlic. Soak 2 slices of bread in about 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar. Add all of the above in batches to food processor with a drizzle of olive oil, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Process just until smooth. If needed, add some V-8 juice. Chill for a few hours and yummy! Summertime Pea Soup In blender or food processor, place 4 cups frozen peas, slightly thawed; 2 cups low sodium chicken broth; 3 – 4 roughly chopped scallions, 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, 1 tsp. kosher salt and 1 tsp. sugar. Blend until smooth. Serve chilled with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt. Grilled Veggie Packets Coarsely chop your choice of zucchini, sweet onions, red or green peppers, mushrooms, garlic, tomatoes. Place in large pieces of aluminum foil and drizzle with Italian salad dressing. Fold up foil and pinch edges together (just so stuff doesn’t leak out) and place on grill. Grill for about 15 minutes over medium high heat, flipping packets every now and then. Any leftovers can be whirled in a blender with chicken broth for soup the next day. Grilled Vidalia or Sweet Onions Peel onions and cut out core. In the hole left from the core place some butter, salt and fresh ground pepper. Wrap tightly in foil and grill for about 15 - 20 minutes, until tender. These are really sweet because they caramelize while they’re grilling. Great along side steak or chicken or anything. All these are best done with local produce, of course. Palisade has a good downtown farmer's market on Sundays from 10 - 2. Also don't forget the one at the mall on Thursday evening in addition to the Main St. Grand Junction Market. If you have some ideas on how to get more fruits and veggies into your family meals I want to hear them!