It was my dad who first introduced me to the beauty of really good gin cocktails. Late in my college career, I’d go home summers to work an internship at a local architecture firm. My dad and I would often meet on the back porch in the evening after work and he’d make us each a perfect gin and tonic. Perfectly refreshing. Perfectly summer. I’ve been a gin fan ever since. But today I’ve upped the game on the classic gin and tonic with these blueberry beet slushies made with Prairie Organic gin. They may just be the single tastiest cocktail I’ve ever concocted and with blueberries currently in season, you’re going to want to fire up that blender!
We’ve been eating copious amounts of pickled red onions lately. On tacos, on breakfast sandwiches, on salads piled high with watermelon and feta. The reason why is simple. I started playing around and realized just how insanely easy they are to make and how they make basically everything more delicious. They might not work on chocolate cake. But then again, maybe they would! I won’t tell you how to live your life or how to eat your pickled red onions, I just have to insist that you make a jar. Five ingredients, no cooking, no fancy processes. The result is a delightfully pink onion that even non-onion lovers will love – they don’t have any spice to them at all, but they have the best crunch!
When we’re entertaining, Bob and I start the same way every single time – by brainstorming the menu. We can have epically long discussions about what to serve for Thanksgiving dinner while sitting on a boat in the blazing hot sun in July. But right now, the earth is melting. It’s actually threatening to melt at any minute, at which point the floor will literally turn to lava and we’ll be undone. It is so hot this summer! While I’m loving it, I basically don’t want to cook. Ever. We’re living off sandwiches, salads, watermelon and big jars full of ice water in our house and I have no shame. Even standing over a grill sounds entirely unappealing. Short of ordering pizza delivery, which is an entirely valid option, this sandwich board is your answer for your next party! You don’t have to cook, you barely have to prep anything. It’s the very definition of life saving when you have a party coming up and the earth is melting.
When you live in the Northeast, you live every minute of summer to the fullest because while short, I’d argue that they’re some of the most beautiful summers of anywhere. It’s a season that brings me to life and rightfully so we make it a point to soak up every last second of the sunshine that we can. Hitting the weekly farmer’s market for freshly squeezed lemonade is one of my favorite summer traditions. They serve it up in big cups full of ice and you can sip it while you walk through the stalls collecting farm fresh produce for that night’s dinner. That farmer’s market lemonade is the inspiration behind this cocktail, made with the tastiest homemade strawberry lemonade and Prairie Organic vodka. Taking just a few minutes to make hand crafted cocktails is one of my favorite parts of a weekend happy hour. Fresh, farm grown ingredients totally elevate the cocktail sipping experience which is my way of saying, make this cocktail. Find the ripest local strawberries you can find, make them into lemonade and sip these Moscow mules all summer long.
With a little over a week left until one of my favorite days of the year (yes, we’re obviously talking about the 4th of July again), I’m starting to get the itch! The itch to blow off work, sit by the water, make lots of festive desserts and crafts, watch fireworks and generally soak up summer in full force. While I’m not typically one who is into themes when it comes to entertaining, I will gladly take all the red, white and blue you can throw at me come this time of year. Today I’m sharing 21 super festive red, white and blue ideas for desserts, decorations, cocktails and appetizers all perfect for your upcoming parties and picnics!
After Christmas, hands down my favorite holiday of all time is the 4th of July! I’m a sucker for all the summery nostalgia from the fireworks to the 4th of July desserts to the stars and stripes to the requisite ice cream cones and backyard picnics. I recently teamed up with Walmart to host the most festive modern Americana inspired 4th of July party and today I’m sharing all the details! I loaded the backyard with great finds from Walmart, created the prettiest spread of 4th of July decorations and loaded up on the appropriately themed menu items like red, white and blue desserts and watermelon cut into stars. My favorite part is that just about every single thing you see here, from the place settings to the decor to the food to the fashion selections, can all be found at Walmart!
If you’re a long time reader, you probably know that I don’t sew. It’s one of the few domestic skills I haven’t at least attempted to master, even though I always swear that I’m going to learn. (Technically I learned how to sew back in 8th grade home ec class and did quite well, but I haven’t sewed since!) For that reason I love a good no-sew project! When you tell me I can make something really cool and I don’t have to sew? I’m so into that life. Over the years I’ve learned a few tricks! Namely, that E6000 or Fabric Fusion will hold just about any fabrics together and that iron-on hem tape is my best friend! Today we’re putting some of my go-to hacks to work by making these super colorful and summery DIY no-sew picnic blankets! I’m also calling them pool blankets, because they’re as perfect for lounging by the pool as they would be for picnics, cozying up for fireworks at the park or snuggling up around a campfire.
Now that it’s unofficially summer, I think we can officially call it sangria season! It’s likely that sangria season is my favorite time of year. Fruity, boozy, winey, super refreshing and perfectly party-ready! Sangria is made for front porch sipping, slow and easy back patio happy hours, and prepping in advance for all of your summer parties. This kiwi limi mint sangria recipe might just be my favorite one I’ve whipped up yet! It’s made with fresh kiwi purée (which is a cinch to make) and loaded with refreshing lime and mint so it’s basically summer’s new best cocktail recipe. Don’t be intimidated by the kiwi purée, friends, please! The addition of simple but fresh ingredients like that make a cocktail recipe come alive and it’s really easy to do. Scout’s honor! (Ooo! Do we think I could earn a badge in cocktail mixing?!) I’ll toast to a long, hot awesome summer with a glass of this one, pals, I hope you do the same!
I may or may not have mentioned before that breakfast is hands down, no contest, my favorite meal of the day! If it came down to it, I would gladly eat breakfast foods every meal every day for the rest of my life. No shame! I think that’s why I love these adorable breakfast to-go jars so much. They’re perfect for prepping at the beginning of the week to bring with you to work, sending along in a kid’s lunchbox or for offering overnight houseguests in the morning before they hit the road. You can spoon yogurt (I prefer plain Greek yogurt, but obviously any flavor will work) into the jars on Sunday and bag up all the granola at the same time. I used simple, inexpensive cello bags from the candy aisle Michaels and sealed them with a piece of washi tape. For the kids or guests, you can write cute little sayings on tags and tie them on with baker’s twine for an extra sweet touch. Add fruit, cute spoons and napkins from Sugar & Cloth, and you have hands down the easiest, yummiest breakfast for on the go or on the road!
Does anyone else have a family of dippers? Between Bob and I and the kids, seemingly none of us has met a veggie or chip we didn’t want to dip! When the folks at Deep River Snacks sent along some of their delicious kettle chips to team up for a post, I instantly knew that I was making a huge spread of over the top party dip recipes. And make all the dips I did! These dips are totally party-worthy, especially when paired with a spread of Deep River kettle chips. Buffalo bean dip, everything bagel dip, spring pea hummus and loaded ranch dip! All of them are crazy delicious, pretty darn simple to make and loaded with flavor. Serve them on a board surrounded by chips and you’ve got a snack spread your family and friends are sure to love!
With Cinco de Mayo in just a few days, shouldn’t we be talking about margaritas? Well, you’re in luck! These raspberry swirl pineapple mango margaritas are everything you’ve been waiting for and more. I am such a fan of frozen cocktails in the spring and summer months, especially when I’m trying to channel those tropical vibes that we so desperately need here in our neck of the woods about now. (Although it’s finally warm this week! Hooray!)
I’ve never been a huge fan of traditional jalapeño poppers. You know the kind. They’re usually stuffed with cream cheese, sometimes they’re breaded, and in any case they’ve always just been a little meh for my palate. The exception to that is our buddy James’s homemade poppers! Now those are delicious. What’s even more delicious? Mac and cheese stuffed jalapeño poppers! They’re basically exactly what they sound like – jalapeño peppers stuffed with homemade mac and cheese and baked until golden around the edges. I like to sprinkle them with chives or parsley when they’re done, but cilantro would also be great if you’re a cilantro kind of person! (Does anyone else find it fascinating how polarizing cilantro is? Ha!) In my book of “sure bet crowd-pleasing not to be missed” appetizers, this poppers certainly rank right up there at the top of the list! They’re basically the very best kind of comfort food of all.