The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming --- what am I doing inside? I should be dining al fresco every single day! Oh yeah - it's 110 degrees on my back porch at dinner time. 😅 Whoever declared August as National Picnic Month obviously doesn't live in Atlanta.
Why is it that everything just tastes better when it's eaten outside? The great thing about a picnic is that you can make it super simple by picking up a pizza or a bucket of chicken and lay down a blanket down in the back yard. Or you can go to an exotic location, find a fancy tablecloth and create a picnic that's Pottery Barn catalog worthy. I like both kinds - and everything in between.
It's no mistake that we have more outdoor seating space at our house than we do indoor eating space. That's the reason that I've hosted Thanksgiving picnics, Easter dinner picnics and even birthday party picnics. I have to sit people where ever I have the most seats and on most occasions, that's outside on the patio. The only problem is that bad weather can really throw a kink in our outdoor dining plans. ⛈
If you're looking for a great thing to serve at your next picnic, consider this Turkey Picnic Sandwich. It's fancier than a plain old turkey sandwich on white bread but it's not so pretentious that it's going to discourage picky eaters from diving in. I made my turkey picnic sandwich half kid friendly (cheese and turkey only) and half as the recipe is written. I ate the half with the yummy sun-dried tomato tapenade, roasted red peppers and fresh basil and it was amazing. I served the turkey and cheese only half to my child and she LOVED it.
Turkey Picnic Sandwich
1 pizza dough
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 ounces provolone Cheese
8 ounces thinly sliced deli turkey
1/4 cup fresh basil
1 1/4 cups roasted red peppers, drained and patted dry
3/4 cup olive oil packed sun dried tomatoes, drained and patted dry
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 Tablespoons olive oil
In the interest of full disclaimer, we ate this Turkey Picnic Sandwich at the kitchen table. Technically, I guess that doesn't constitute a picnic but it beat the alternative of sweating over my sandwich while battling this oppressive summer heat wave that we're currently experiencing. I do plan to make this sandwich again in a month or so when we can actually take it outside and enjoy it in true picnic fashion.
Fried chicken and beer - it's a match made in heaven, right? There's only one problem - I don't like beer. 🍺🍗 (Please don't judge me.) It actually looks very appealing with it's frothy, golden color but unfortunately - I've really just never acquired a taste for it.
But before you start sending me your beer suggestions, I should tell you that I've sampled a lot of beer. Dark beers, pilsners, craft beer, fruity beers, pale ales, stouts and lagers - I've yet to find one that appeals to me. At the risk of offending beer drinkers all over the internet - I have to say that I just don't like any of it. I apologize to all of my beer loving followers. 🤷🏻♀️ Please don't unfollow me.
I may never be a girl who drinks a beer with her fried chicken but that doesn't mean that I can't be a girl who GRILLS her chicken with a beer glaze. Turns out, this non-beer drinker is a big fan of grilled chicken smothered in a drunken beer glaze. Who knew?
Something magical happens to a beer when you add spice, sugar and garlic. It transforms it from a hoppy, bitter brew to a flavor rich, full bodied, spicy glaze that pairs perfectly with grilled chicken. Maybe I should just order my beer with sugar and spice from the bartender from now on. 🍻🌶🥣
In case you're curious, I did taste the Mexican beer that I added to the recipe - and.... I'm still not a fan. I'll leave it at that.
Beer Glazed Chicken with Summer Vegetables
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
3/4 cup dark Mexican beer
6 cloves garlic
3 Tablespoons piloncillo (or brown sugar)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 chicken leg quarters
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4" slices
1 red onion, cut into 1/4" rounds
2 ears corn, husked and halved
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Serve vegetables with chicken.
This grilled chicken was a big hit with my family. What better way to celebrate the end of summer and the start of a new school year?
Around here, summer is an all out sprint. In our house, there's nothing leisurely or remotely relaxing about summer. What can I say? It's so fleeting that I feel compelled to make the most out of every single moment. Fall is a time for rest and rejuvenation but right now, I'm trying to soak in all that this beautiful season has to offer. I'm running into August at full velocity --- and wearing myself out in the process. 😂
I thought that my summer pace would slow down when my kids got older and I didn't have to worry about keeping them occupied and stimulated while they were out of school for the summer. I planned all sorts of fun activities for the kids but I always seemed to tire myself out long before they ever showed any signs of fatigue. 😂 Even when they were responsible for occupying their own time - I always had to keep my eyes and ears open. 😳 (If you've got curious, inquisitive kids - you know what I mean.) 😂 Supervising kids isn't always a physical task but no parent would disagree that raising kids is the most mentally challenging job in the world.
Summer is also the time when I channel my inner Clark Griswold and plan epic road trips with my family. After all, summer wouldn't be complete without our annual 15 hour car ride to Ohio. 🚗 #forcedfamilybondingtime
We've actually spent a considerable part of our summer on the road and away from the house this summer. It's been a great way for me to soak up all that summer has to offer but it hasn't been a great way for me to maintain healthy eating habits. Why couldn't I just crave celery like I do twizzlers in the car? Now that we're back home for at least a few weeks, it's time for this family to get back on track with our healthy eating.
This Pasta Salad with Chicken is a perfect summer dish because I can make it in the morning and it's ready whenever I'm hungry. It's also a perfect meal to pack up and take to the beach or the park. It's not the normal mayonnaise based gloppy, supermarket pasta salad that you're used to. This is a fresh, healthy protein packed pasta salad that your whole family will love. Even my daughter, who is adamantly opposed to olives, gobbled up her entire bowl of pasta salad.
Pasta Salad with Chicken
3 boneless chicken breasts
5 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon anchovy paste
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
10 ounces grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
1/2 cup pepperocini, chopped
6 ounces penne or fusilli
8 ounces green beans, cut into 2" lengths
2 cups baby spinach (optional)
Add spinach and season with salt and pepper. (I completely forgot to add the spinach.) 😬
The kids in my neighborhood went back to school last week but I'm in complete denial about the fact that we've reached the end of our summer. My youngest child has one more week at home before she moves back to her apartment at college so here's to making the most of the next 168 hours!!
If serving corn salsa for dinner is wrong - I don't want to be right. It's so stinking hot outside that salsa really seems like the best option for dinner. You know it's a scorcher when it's too hot to even stand on the deck and grill something for dinner. (I'm determined to try and fry an egg on my back deck one day -- I'll keep you posted on that little experiment. ) 🍳 Wouldn't we all just prefer to eat salsa and chips for dinner anyway?
This roasted corn salsa is delicious as a meal. It's equally delicious on a taco and a burrito. It's delicious on a salad and and over a bowl of grits. I would eat it in the air, I would eat it in a chair. I would eat it in the car and in a bar. I couldn't resist. 😂
This scrumptious roasted corn salsa is refreshing and hearty and the sweet corn just steals the show. You know how much I love a good pan of roasted vegetables and adding just a few fresh herbs and spices really brings out their flavor beautifully. Stock up on the chips friends - you're going to eat a lot of them while you devour this salsa.
Roasted Corn Salsa
1 pound plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
2 ears corn, halved lengthwise
2 onion, sliced into 1/2" rings
1 poblano chile, seeded and halved
2 jalapeno, seeded and halved
2 Tablespoon canola oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
12 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Process lime juice, cayenne, tomatoes, garlic and 1/2 t. salt until smooth. Add to corn mixture along with cilantro. Let sit for 1 hour.
Sometimes I add a half and avocado to my corn salsa because I'm obsessed with avocados and because they make everything better. I'd love to hear from any of you who make this salsa with modifications. Let me know what kinds of peppers, seasonings, and spices do you add to make it unique. 🌶
Are bundtinis stores popping up in your neighborhood as quickly as they are in my neck of the woods? I'm starting to think that bundtinis are taking over the food world as the new cupcake. Bundtinis have their own speciality shops, a huge cult-like following and a frosting to cake ratio that appeals to cake lovers everywhere.
Our local bundt cake and bundtini store has a big variety of flavors. Everything from raspberry lemon and pecan praline to chocolate, chocolate chip and red velvet. As a true critic of all things cake - I have to say - they're pretty amazing. I'm kind of obsessed with the confetti buntini personally.
When I set out to create my own bundtini, I wanted to make something a little different from the miniature cakes that I can pick up at my local bundt cake store. I wanted to distinguish my bundtinis from those that are mass produced. I chose to use less icing than the signature snowy, white, thick glaze that dances down the sides of a bakery bought bundtini. I wanted a delicate, airy cake that felt light and tender as you ate it.
Introducing the Strawberry Lemonade Bundtini. The (not so) secret ingredient that makes these cake absolutely burst with flavor in your mouth ............... JELLO!!! Genius, I know. What could be more refreshing than a strawberry lemonade bundtini on a hot summer day?
Strawberry Lemonade Bundtinis
2 c. cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
4 T. unsalted butter softened
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 oz. package Strawberry Jello
1/4 c. canola oil
3 eggs room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
16 oz. frozen strawberries well drained and blended
2 c. cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
6 T. unsalted butter softened
11/2 c. sugar
3 oz. package Lemon Jello
6 T. canola oil
4 eggs room temperature
1 1/2 tsp. lemon extract
2 c. powdered sugar
4 T. fresh lemon juice
1 T. butter melted
1 tsp. lemon extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Drizzle over cooled cake.
One of my blog followers asked me for a strawberry lemonade bundt cake recipe. (Ask and you shall receive.) 😂 Just in case bundtinis aren't your cup of tea, you can pour this batter into a regular sized bundt pan and bake this cake for 40-50 minutes. You might even have a little extra batter leftover for some bundtinis too.
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