What are your plans this Memorial Day? Picnicking? Barbecuing? Beaching? Boating? I say yes to all of the above! The one thing I won’t be doing is slaving in the kitchen. In fact, these Mango Colada Popsicles are about all I can muster on a 90° day off with family and friends.
It’s apricot season! So instead of gnawing on those leathery dried wannabes in the raisin aisle, we can actually sink our teeth into the real deal! Apricots on their own are wonderfully tangy and aromatic, but stick them in a pastry shell with some sweet preserves and crunchy almonds and you’ve taken them to an entirely new level. This Apricot Almond Tart is jammy, rubbly and the perfect balance between puckery and sweet. Best of all, it’s so easy — I made two!
This post is sponsored by Absolut. If you’re looking to up your cocktail game? Find delicious inspiration at Absolut.
When I had the opportunity to work with Absolut Vodka, I thought — absolutely! They sent over photos and recipes for 8 gorgeous specialty drinks (with links to those recipes) for me to showcase here. After reading their descriptions, I realized I needed to step up my cocktail game. So today, not only do you get the secrets to their festive libations, I’m also including the recipe for my Absolut Melon Baller – a light and quenching alternative to the standard brunch-time Mimosa or Bloody!
I did an inventory of recipes on the blog and it turns out that I don’t have a lot (read: hardly any) pasta dishes here. I mean, yes there’s that lasagna, and that salad loaded with pepperoni and mozzarella, and several renditions of macaroni and cheese, but in the aggregate, my site is deficient in main course pasta. There’s a reason for that. Scott has requested — actually declared — that he doesn’t want to eat pasta. He likes it, but feels like it undoes all his hard work at the gym. I understand, but my craving for Cajun Meatballs and Pasta — overruled his directive!
About those strawberries… I can’t believe we had some leftover after that pie — but we did! So, as penance, and because I absolutely adore a farm fresh salad with sweet bites of juicy fruit, Emily and I used up the last of our roadside stand berries in this Summer Strawberry Poppyseed Salad. And did I mention the homemade buttermilk dressing? Hello?!!
Emily has just finished her sophomore year in college. Yay! After working hard all semester, getting through the last of her papers and final exams, she was officially brain-drained! It was time to come home. I got up early one morning to make the 4-hour drive to Tampa to collect her and her things. We loaded up the car so tight I couldn’t see out of the rearview mirror, got a quick bite for lunch and started our trek back across the state. About halfway through the drive, we ran into the reason for this Old-Fashioned Strawberry Rhubarb Pie.
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We all go through it. At one point or another, everyone needs to lose a few pounds. Emily, my college-age daughter, called me a few weeks ago and said that when she came home for the summer, she wanted to get “back in shape” and she wanted my help… Too many late night pizzas had taken their toll and she wanted healthier options… hence this Gluten-Free Banana Coconut Bread.
Her request actually came at an interesting time – because I had also been approached by Thrive Market to try some items from their vast catalogue of natural and organic products and post about it. Sounds like serendipity, right?
What are your plans for Memorial Day? It’s coming up, you know. My college roommate, Angie, will be here to celebrate her birthday! I haven’t seen her in years, but whenever we get together I turn into a 20-year old college kid again — some friends just do that to you, you know? While she’s here, there’s definitely going to be some barbecuing and picnicking and maybe a few adult libations! And a lot of Jimmy Buffett music. Angie is a huge Parrot Head! For these kinds of casual hang-outs, you need a casual menu. Throw some chicken on the grill and serve up some tasty, healthy sides with whole grains and lots of veg, like this Mediterranean Cracked Wheat Salad.
The inspiration for Tex-Mex Braised Pork Stew aside from a bounty of hatch chilies, is thrift and ease! Boston butt is a very economical cut of meat, especially at Costco. The retailer packages two 5-7 pound pork shoulders each into one package and they generally cost around $20-30. That’s 10-14 POUNDS of meat for very little money. I used to fix them only when I had a lot of people to cook for. I still do that, but I’ve also found that trimming them into smaller portions of two or three pounds makes ’em perfect for everyday cooking — even for just the two (or three) of us.
I’ve waited 20 years to make these Peanut Butter Chip Cookies. Actually, it’s been more like 21 because I didn’t know it was going to be an issue for the rest of my life, so I don’t think I made a batch the year before Emily was born… You see Emily is allergic, highly allergic to peanuts. We discovered this when she was just a toddler. We were having dinner at my grandmother’s house and Madou had purchased some bakery cookies, including peanut butter cookies, especially for Emily. What munchkin says “no” to a cookie?