An Old Fashioned 4th of July:  Summertime Classics Remodeled

Happy America Day! I must admit, I love seeing all the red, white, and blue, watching fireworks, and spending a long summer day with my family. Over our brief history, The USA has undergone many changes, and this week has left me a bit nastaglic about the pride, honor, and dedication of so many Americans in that history. We are so thankful for our military and their families, and so blessed to live in a country that offers so many freedoms and liberties. Let us never lose sight of that.

Speaking of patriotism, try this amazing cute & informative book out with the kids.

20140525-010213.jpg

Now…on to food. Cause we all know that’s most important. Wink, wink. Sometimes even the classics need a little tune up.

Blueberry Thyme Lemonade
My basic lemonade recipe with bouncing berries floating along side thyme sprigs.

Watermelon Cooler
Gather:
3 cups watermelon, puréed in blender and ran through seive
Bunch of clean mint, leaves torn from stems & stems discarded
2 large scoops of ice
optional: splash of ginger ale, sparkling water, your fave vodka or rum.
Blend, pour into glass & sip lazily.

Roasted Potato Salad With Crispy Garlic and Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
20140510-213334.jpgI fiddled with this version from The Cozy Apron and oh, goodness it’s good. In family of Germans, warm potato salad with a vinegary kick is nothing new, but the crispy garlic and lack of sometimes overpowering mustard make this version stellar.
Gather:
6 red skinned potatoes, medium dice
6 strips uncured bacon, ribboned, fried until crisp & 3T drippings reserved
1 medium red onion, quartered & thinly sliced
4 substantial cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 heaping Tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 Tablespoon finely chopped chives
Olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

20140525-005815.jpgRoasted Broccoli Salad

A healthy spin on a BBQ favorite.  Roasting the ingredients offers a super punch of taste in this simple recipe.
Gather:
1 bunch of seedless red grapes, removed from stem
1 large crown of broccoli, cleaned and trimmed into florets
4-6 slices of bacon
1/4 red onion, diced
2-4 cloves garlic, peeled
olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste
To Make:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line two sheet pans with foil.  On one, line up four to six slices of bacon.  On the other, mound broccoli and grapes, drizzle olive oil, salt & pepper. For extra flavor, toss on some garlic and chopped red onion to roast with broccoli.  Roast for about 20 min, turning bacon about halfway through cooking.  Remove bacon, drain, and crumble. Cool other components briefly on pan, toss all together, and add shards of sharp white cheddar or parmesan cheese.  Dress with additional oil and s&p if desired. Serve hot, cold, or at room temperature.20140525-005854.jpg

Macaroni Salad
A hold over from my younger days, this macaroni salad is made without mayonnaise — making it pleasing to almost everyone.
Gather:
1 # uncooked small elbow macaroni
3/4 cup small curd cottage cheese
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt and pepper grill seasoning
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1 1/2 cups whole kernel corn (if you have time, roast or grill for added flavor)
1 cup diced sharp cheddar cheese
3 whole green onions, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chiffonade
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
small bunch fresh chives, thinly sliced
plash spicy pickle juice
To Make:
Prepare macaroni according to package directions; drain and rinse briefly.
Puree the cottage cheese until smooth. Add in the vinegar, yogurt, oil, herbs (except basil), salt and pepper, and pickle juice and mix thoroughly.
In a large bowl, combine macaroni with dressing. Allow to refrigerate a couple of hours. Add in corn, tomatoes, green onion, basil, and cubed cheese before serving.

Round out the meal with a summer classic, the cherry pie. We made mini ones so everyone could grab & go.

  

Watermelon Smoothie!

Watermelon Smoothie

20130815-124641.jpg
© Zolwiks | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

So I’m a sucker for a watermelon on sale. We love them! I always know we can make one disappear in no time. Then, days pass and I have one very ripe half of a watermelon. Oops.
This refreshing smoothie is a great way to work some mommy magic and make a melon vanish.

2-3 cups ripe watermelon
1/2c frozen unsweetened peaches
1/2c frozen unsweetened strawberries
1-2T ground flax
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1T local honey

Why all the extra stuff you ask?
The 2T serving of flaxseed packs Omega-3 fatty acids, 4g fiber, 3g protein, iron, and trace amounts of B vitamins. Adding Omega-3 fats to your diet can help lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease. Plus, the one serving is all you need to meet your recommended daily dose of Omega-3. Local honey is said to improve allergies, and cinnamon is credited with reducing LDL cholesterol levels and helping the body regulate blood sugar levels.

SUMMER PRODUCE UPDATE

As June draws to a close, enjoy the last bit of the season for blueberries & strawberries.  People will tell you blackberries are ready, but I disagree, see ya next year!  The best time of year is here!  Tomatoes, zucchini , green beans and corn are coming into full swing.  Word to the wise:  the 4th is not complete without cherries & peaches! July finishes sweet with big ripe melons (Get your mind out of the gutter). For you smoothie makers & juicers – greens are always in fashion.

Great national link list for all your seasonal needs:  http://www.fieldtoplate.com/guide.php