How to Stay Cool When the Weather Heats Up

Chef Seamus Mullen is back to give us some advice on a common struggle many of us face this time of year – how do we stay cool when the weather heats up? After joining us for a hot and humid (yet nonetheless fantastic) Taste of Chicago a few weeks back, Seamus is sharing his favorite ways to keep cool when the sun is at its hottest.  Read on for his advice!   


I’m a sucker for the summer – it’s definitely my favorite time of the year. All the produce is so vibrant and flavorful in its peak season, and the warm weather makes me want to spend as much time outside as I can. Despite how much I love summer, the heat and humidity can make cooking a chore. I tend to gravitate towards simple, flavorful dishes that highlight the summer produce and don’t require too much prep and production.

One of my favorite things to do for a day at the beach or a picnic in the park is to prepare a chilled summer soup and some flavorful salads that I can take along with me. Lifeway Kefir is a no-brainer ingredient to work with in the summer: it’s tangy, refreshing and the perfect base for chilled soups. Here’s one of my favorite chilled soups, it’s super simple to pack up in a cooler and have on the go.


Tomato and Watermelon Gazpacho with Lifeway Kefir

  • 2 cups Lifeway Lowfat Plain Kefir
  • 4 cups vine ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups seedless watermelon, peeled and roughly chopped
  • ¾ Tbsp of garlic, smashed
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, seeded
  • 1 cup English cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Diced avocado, to garnish
  • Diced watermelon, to garnish
  • Basil, to garnish


Combine all the ingredients except the olive oil, avocado, basil and additional watermelon in a large mixing bowl. Cover and all to marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Add the contents of the mixing bowl into the blender and process until smooth. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. (If you cannot run your blender’s motor with the lid off, add the olive oil in batches, blending thoroughly each time.)

Serve in a glass, garnished with diced avocado, diced watermelon, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprig of torn basil.

– Seamus Mullen