Summer Feed

Summer in a Glass

I wish I was fortunate enough to live where some of you are still referring to this season as "Spring"!!  Where I am, it has been reaching 90 degrees with 90% humidity everyday and will continue to climb.  So to me it is Summer! 

On a steamy day there is nothing better than an ice cold beer..... Well I thought there was nothing better until I found the Shandy.

Lemon Shandy

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Serves 4

Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • four 3-inch strips lemon zest, removed with a vegetable peeler
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 fresh mint sprigs
  • chilled beer, such as pale ale

Preparation

In a small saucepan bring sugar and 1 cup water to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved, and stir in zest. Cool sugar syrup to room temperature.

Transfer syrup to a small pitcher and stir in remaining 2 cups water, lemon juice, and mint. Chill lemonade until cold. (Makes about 4 1/2 cups lemonade.)

Pour 1/4 cup lemonade, or to taste, into each of 4 chilled beer glasses and top off with beer.

The combo of lemonade, mint and cold beer-you can't get anymore refreshing!


(photo and recipe from epicurious.com)


Summer Wine Tasting

I've been thinking about having a white wine tasting next month.  I would like to have it on our back deck.  Ladies only.  My inspiration came from a butterfly bottle stopper I bought for my shop.  The green jewels reminded me of green grapes which reminded me of white wine.  The butterfly is perfect for summer decorations.  I put together a little inspiration board for the occasion.

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I haven't decided if we should taste more specific wines this time like all Chardonnay or all from California.  Before everyone just brought a variety of reds.  We may do that again just with whites.  I will have a cheese tray again.  The cheeses from Whole Foods were delicious and the people were so helpful matching them up to the red wine.  My friend Bonnie has offered to make shrimp pasta which will go wonderfully.  She also found chocolates specifically to taste with certain types of wine. 

What am I forgetting?  Do you have any tips or ideas for a white wine tasting?  I'd love to hear them!



(Images:  green grapes from wikipedia, butterfly stopper coming soon to Hostess Jo, butterflies and moss centerpiece from hostessblog.com, white wine image from myrecipes.com, cheese tray fromwikipedia, shrimp pasta from myrecipes.com, bottlesfrom marthastewart.com, butterfly place card from marthastewart.com


The Well-Rounded Tomato

We have our very first vegetable garden this year!  I'm so excited to eat fresh vegetables grown in our own backyard.  We already have squash coming out of our ears and the tomatoes are right behind them.  I feel like Forest Gump when he and Bubba were talking about all of the different ways to cook shrimp, but for us its squash and tomatoes.  Squash casserole, fried squash, boiled squash, sauteed squash....... 

So I've been looking for new squash and tomato recipes.  Here are a few unique tomato recipes I've found.  I'll be sharing some squash ones soon.

Hot Tomato Grits

I cannot wait to try this one.  It sounds delicious.  I've had tomato gravy but never tomato grits.

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Tomato Watermelon Sorbet

This one is so unexpected.  Probably really good though.

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Fresh Peach Basil Vinaigrette

This one is different too.  Sounds tasty.  Perfect for summer.

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What do you think of these recipes?  I'd love to hear of your unique tomato recipes.


(photos and recipes from southernliving.com and myrecipes.com)


Lime Coolers

I stumbled upon these little lovelies and just had to share them with you. 

Lime Ice Cubes

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How perfect are these for summer?  Add refreshing citrus flavor to any beverage or cocktail and keep them cool.  I was thinking you could also use lemons, cucumber or oranges. 

RECIPE

Makes 42 ice cubes

  • 2  medium limes
  • 1  qt. cold water
  • 1/4  cup  fresh lime juice

1. Cut each lime into 1/4-inch-thick slices; cut each slice into 4 wedges.

2. Stir together 1 qt. cold water and 1/4 cup lime juice. Fill each compartment of 3 ice cube trays evenly with lime juice mixture. Place 1 lime wedge in each ice cube compartment. Freeze 8 hours or until firm.

(photo and recipe from myrecipes.com)


Reaching New Heights

I am constantly amazed by all of the different ways to arrange flowers.  Especially when they are arranged in easy to find, inexpensive containers like these little fishbowls.  I just love the simplicity of these arrangements.  Bonus-I have both zinnias and hosta in my yard.  If you don't have them in your yard they are available at most any nursery or hardware store.

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These fishbowls are filled 2/3 full of water.  A hosta leaf is then curled around the inside of the bowl.  Add any flowers you like.  They used three to five per bowl here.  Then stack at varying heights.  Now you have a bright summery floral display. 


(photo from myhomeideas.com)


Nifty Idea

Summer entertaining season is upon us!  As much as I like being outdoors this time of year, I hate BUGS!  Here is a way to at least keep them off of your food.   Pretty cute too.

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Fill single serving lidded jars with your favorite sides.  Lids keep the bugs off and all of the serving is done before your guests arrive!  Would look great on your table too.

Like the filling you see?  Get the recipe here.


(photo from countryliving.com)


Mystery Pops

Things are not always as they seem.  These "Watermelon Pops" are so cute and perfect for outdoor entertaining.  Oh wait...

Strawberry-Orange Pops

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Makes 12 pops

  • 2  cups  orange juice
  • 1/2  cup  low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1  cup  frozen whole strawberries, thawed

Stir together orange juice and yogurt.

Process berries in a blender or food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Stir into juice mixture.

Hollow out lime halves, leaving rinds intact. Spoon pop mixture into lime rinds. Sprinkle with semisweet chocolate mini morsels, and freeze 8 hours. Cut frozen lime halves in half with a bread knife to make wedges.

How cool is that?!?!  I bet kids would love these.  They are perfect for a backyard bbq and definitely a conversation starter.


Don't forget to enter our Fancy Flours giveaway!  Today is the last day!


(photo and recipe from myrecipes.com)


Patriotic Cocktail

Here is a cool cocktail to serve this weekend at your Memorial Day gatherings.  Also, great for the 4th of July.

The All-American

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Makes one drink

Ingredients:

3 tbsp pomegranate liqueur, such as Pama

1 tbsp bourbon

Splash of lemon juice

Ice

Club Soda

Lemon slice

1. Pour the pomegranate liqueur, bourbon and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake well. Pour into a rocks glass over ice and top off with club soda. Serve with a lemon slice.

(photo and recipe from Rachel Ray)