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Monday
Jul092012

Strawberry lemonade

Reading all of your comments on my candles giveaway post has been SO MUCH FUN! Summer is wonderful, isn't it? We have had many high points ourselves so far this summer, and I love reading all about your high points, too. Thank you so much for sharing. Keep the comments coming!

My boys and I spent two nights at the dropzone this weekend. There are so many things we love about getting out of the city. Here is one of my personal favorite things..

Pure sunset peace!

Another item on my list of Favorite Summer Things is spending time outdoors with my boys. Being Minnesotans, we especially love the heat. We eat outside, we play outside and we drink delicious summery drinks outside.

Within 60 seconds of pulling this strawberry lemonade out of the refrigerator, my boys were begging for as much as I would offer them. Slurrrpppppp. 

Pour 4 cups of warm water into a large serving pitcher. Add 1 cup of granulated sugar and stir until it is dissolved.

Hull and slice 1 1/2 pints of strawberries. 

Put them through a juicer. If you don't own a juicer, throw them into a food processor or blender and strain. It will be a bit frothy.

Juice (and strain) 8 lemons.

Pour the strawberry and lemon juices into the pitcher and mix well.

Add a few lemon slices and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour. Serve over ice!

Woooo SUMMER! Enjoy it! Pretty soon we will be shivering and slipping on the ice. :)

Printable recipe: Strawberry lemonade

Thursday
Jul052012

Summer-scented candles: a giveaway!

Hello friends! It has been on my heart to be a generous blogger lately, and so I present you with an opportunity to receive some delicious-smelling loot in your mailbox.

Here is what I will send to one lucky winner!

One 22-oz. berry sorbet oval jar candle 

One 22-oz. mango salsa oval jar candle

Read on, there is more!

2 glass cube votive candle holders

2 cafe au lait votive candles

2 mango salsa votive candles

2 basil garden votive candles

2 golden pear votive candles

A better view of the candle holders. They are beautiful!

These scents are totally summery and fresh. You will LOVE them!

Retail value? $76!


To be entered to win, leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite thing about this summer has been so far.

For additional giveaway entries, leave separate comments for any or all of the following:

Follow me on Pinterest.

Follow me on Twitter.

Follow me on Facebook.

Follow my RSS Feed.

 

I will randomly select a winner on Thursday, July 12th at noon.

Good luck! Thank you for reading!

Tuesday
Jul032012

Healthy fish and chips

I have been loving this summer. Seriously. Loving. It. I spend a lot of time cleaning popsicle juice off of sticky fingers and spraying sunscreen on warm little bodies. I love every single second of it. 

I have also been spending time running through sprinklers. 

I have not experienced a summer without work since I was a teenager, and by "work" I mean sitting in an office for nine hours a day, five days a week. This summer my work is much different from what I have been used to, but work nonetheless. I adore my new job! Having fun with my beautiful boys is the best job in the entire world. 

And I get to run through sprinklers! 

Along with this hot summer weather comes my desire to eat light. I never have much of an appetite when it is blazin' hot outside. Dan gave me the idea of trying a light fish and chips recipe, and I was so happy for the suggestion. This was seriously delicious and easy.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.

Gather 4 medium-sized Russet potatoes. Scrub them so they are shiny and clean. 

Slice them lengthwise into 1/2-inch by 1/2-inch strips.

Finely chop one tablespoon of fresh flat-leaf parsley.

In a medium bowl, combine:

Potato slices

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Chopped parsley

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Toss until potatoes are coated.

Place in a single layer on a large baking sheet. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the fries are lightly browned and cooked all the way through. During the baking process, flip the fries around with a metal spatula every 5 minutes or so.

Serve warm with ketchup, or a dipping sauce of your choice.

While the fries are baking, prepare the fish.

Light a grill and set the heat to medium-low. 

Place a piece of foil on a cutting board or a flat baking sheet and fold the edges up. Brush the bottom of the foil with olive oil.

Coat 4 tilapia fillets with 2 tablespoons of chile-lime seasoning. Place on the foil.

Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the fillets and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese over top of that.

Place another piece of foil over the top, creating a tent to trap in the heat. Carefully slide the foil off of the cutting board and onto the heated grill.

Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the fillets are cooked all the way through. 

Remove from the grill and serve warm, with additional Parmesan cheese sprinkled over top.

Serve with the baked fries and a vegetable side dish such as this one. Enjoy this healthy version of fish and chips!

Happy Fourth of July and happy summer! ENJOY!

Printable recipe: Parmesan tilapia filets

Printable recipe: Baked parmesan fries

Friday
Jun292012

My McCormick Gourmet "Longest Dinner Party Chain" dinner party!

Earlier this week I hosted a dinner party at my house as a part of McCormick Gourmet's Longest Dinner Party Chain. It was so much fun! I was so happy McCormick asked me to be a part of this dinner party chain. I have always loved to entertain, and as I have gotten older it has only become more fun. Creating good food is awesome, but creating it for others and watching others enjoy it is way more awesome.

Here is a photo of the many incredible items McCormick sent to me as a part of my dinner party kit! 

Spices, too! 16, to be exact.

YOU can be entered to win a similar kit. More on that in a bit.

First, please allow me to tell you about my dinner party!

I invited four friends over to make six adults, including my husband and myself. It was the absolute perfect mix of people because they were easy to please and they were great company. Thank you so much for being a part of my evening, Jesse, Jody, Jess, Trev and Dan! (Benji, Esme, Elijah and Sammy, too, of course, even though graham crackers and milk were more your style.)

My first course was a warm, creamy crab and artichoke dip, served with baked pita wedges and crackers. I loved the combination of McCormick thyme leaves and fresh parsley in this one. Also, artichokes and jumbo lump crab meat are two of my absolute favorites!

Printable recipe: Warm crab & artichoke dip

Dan and I love starting parties out with warm, gooey dips. Even on a hot summer day, it seemed fitting to keep with the trend. 

My second course was perhaps my favorite of the night, a fried tomato and and 2 fried scallops served over leafy greens. It was light, super tasty and perfect for summer. I love scallops, and I don't get the chance to eat them often enough. 

Printable recipe: Fried tomato & scallop salad

My third and fourth courses were served together. The main dish, sweet basil & oregano bruschetta chicken, was a recipe I borrowed from McCormick. It was delicious! The McCormick seasoning packet made this dish. I served along with it a side of grilled broccoli with McCormick crushed rosemary & feta cheese. (Please forgive me for forgetting the feta in the photos.) I am a huge broccoli lover and I think it is always such a delicious and pretty side dish.  

Printable recipe: Sweet basil & oregano bruschetta chicken

Printable recipe: Grilled broccoli with rosemary & feta

I had a very happy tummy at the end of the evening. 

And the dessert, oh the dessert. It didn't turn out exactly as I had wished because apparently I am not a skilled maker of caramel. I tried it twice with the same result. 

So here, friends, is a photo of a delicious salted caramel brownie that I wish had been a little more caramel-y and less sugary. I will say that the McCormick Sicilian Sea Salt I sprinkled on the top added just the perfect twist of salty that I was hoping for. 

I'm not going to post this one until I perfect the caramel layer, so check back!

And now for a few party pics! Jesse and Dan were responsible for these creative shots. Thanks for helping, guys. 

Food aside, it was great to bring friends together for an evening. Our children enjoyed running around outside in the heat, eating ice cream sandwiches, splashing in the blow-up pool and enjoying a show together. It was a perfect summer evening!

Would you like to have a chance to win a McCormick dinner kit? Visit the McCormick Gourmet Facebook page and submit an idea for what your dream dinner party would be! You will be entered to win a similar kit, but themed to a holiday of your choice. 

Good luck! And thanks for reading! 

Wednesday
Jun272012

Easy sautéed zucchini and mushrooms

It is the perfect day to post an easy recipe. My boys and I have been enjoying the Minnesota heat, so we have not had time for much else! I have so many wonderful recipes to share with you all, and they will come in the next few days. For now, here are some easy peasy delicious veggies!

I am the only person in my home who enjoys side dishes such as this one. Yay for me! 

Slice 1 large zucchini (ends removed) into 1/4-inch slices. 

Heat 4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.

Add the sliced zucchini plus an 8-oz. package of sliced mushrooms (yum).

Cook, tossing occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the veggies begin to soften. I tend to like them on the slightly crunchy side, but the amount of cooking time is up to you.

Add salt and pepper and toss. Serve warm! Enjoy this heat!

Printable recipe: Easy sauteed zucchini and mushrooms