Summer Tomato Salad

Picture from Williams Sonoma Outdoor Entertaining Cookbook.
This is a beautiful simple summer salad!
3 avocados
Juice from 1 lemon
8 assorted heirloom tomatoes
1 small red onion, thinly slices
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
ground pepper
2 TBS coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley (or basil)

-Arrange sliced vegetables on platter.  Drizzle with oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and garnish with fresh herbs on top!


Caprese Salad

This picture is from the Williams Sonoma Outdoor Entertaining Cookbook.  I love the presentation of this Caprese salad!

Fresh Mozzarella
Fresh Basil Leaves
Extra Virgin Olive oil for drizzling
Balsamic GLAZE for drizzling (different from balsamic vinegar--glaze is thicker and sweeter)
Sea Salt and Ground Pepper for garnish


Plum and Nectarine Punch

Picture from Williams Sonoma Outdoor entertaining Cookbook.  This is a pretty summer drink recipe.  The recipe is also from the Sonoma Outdoor Entertaining Cookbook, but with alterations to make it alcohol free.

3 plums halved, pitted, and cut into thin wedges
2 nectarines, halved, pitted, and cut into thin wedges
1 can nectarine nectar
1 2-liter bottle ginger ale or sprite, chilled

-In large pitcher combine all ingredients (if pre-serving, add fruit into glasses first then add liquid drink to make pouring easier).


Baked Caramel Popcorn

This is very very addicting--hence my husband is requesting I make another batch as soon as we run out! You can use less popcorn if you want a more heavily coated popcorn...and you can also add extra things like nuts, drizzle with chocolate after baking etc. This is a PERFECT gift for friends and family. They'll love it!

1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup corn syrup

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 TBS maple syrup (optional)

6-8 quarts popped popcorn (24-30 cups)

-Preheat oven to 250. Place popcorn in a very large bowl.

-In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in soda and vanilla. Pour in a thin stream over popcorn, stirring to coat.

-Spread out onto 2 11x17 cookie sheets and bake in preheated oven, 45-50minutes (stirring 1/2 way through). Cool then breaking into pieces. For chewier popcorn bake only 25 minutes.


Buttermilk Syrup

This is hardly healthy, but we enjoy splurging once in awhile :)  My kids LOVE this syrup.  What's not to love with a lot of butter and sugar?  This is great over your favorite pancake, French Toast, or Breakfast Sundaes.  

Warning:  Make sure you use a LARGE saucepan.  The syrup really expands when you add the baking soda!

Bring to a boil in large saucepan:
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cube butter
-Bring to a boil and boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and immediately add:
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Stir well--warning the syrup will begin to expand! Serve over pancakes, waffles, or French toast, or Breakfast Sundaes.


Fruit Fish

This picture was on the front of a Target mailer I received.  I thought this was a cute fruit creation...when you have the extra time and need for a creative outlet :)


Quinoa Basil Salad

This is a recipe that doesn't have exact measurements.  Hopefully you won't hate me.  I just find every time I make it my ratios are a bit different depending on the supplies in my fridge.  Sometimes it doesn't have any brown rice, other times it is heavier on the rice.  Sometimes I don't have any feta, or other times I substitute tomatoes instead of peppers.  FRESH basil is a key ingredient that really adds to the fresh unique flavor.  Using the bottled dressing from Costco makes this recipe very simple, but it you can't find it I've given you a substitute recipe you can make!

Combine all ingredients in large bowl:
Quinoa, cooked (I like to use a combination of red and white quinoa)
Short Grain Brown Rice, cooked
chopped cucumbers
chopped bell red/orange/yellow peppers (or cherry tomatoes)
Shredded carrots
crumbled feta cheese
fresh basil, chopped
toasted pine nuts (optional)

Drizzle with:
**White Balsamic Citrus Basil Dressing (this is also good as a fish or chicken marinade)  Add dressing to taste!

-Garnish with some extra chopped basil and toasted pine nuts
-Serve cold or at room temperature
**If you can't find this dressing, you can make your own using 
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 tbsp fresh lemon juice 
1 TBS honey, sugar, or agave
1 teaspoon lemon zest 
1/4 cup basil leaves, chopped finely 
Salt and pepper, to taste 


Fruit Pizzas

 For a fun dessert buffet...have a "Make-Your-Own" Fruit Pizza Bar!

Cookies:Mix together
1 pkg white cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
-Form balls into desired size (regular or mini)
-Bake 350 for 10-12 minutes.
-Note: You can use your favorite sugar cookie recipe instead...this is just the easiest way!

Mix together:
1/2 of small carton cool whip
2 yoplait yogurts (I usually either do a berry or lemon/lime)
**(with whatever is left over, use it for a fruit salad or on top of pancakes/waffles!)

Decorate with:sliced strawberries
canned mandarine oranges
fresh blueberries
sliced kiwi


Saag Shorba Soup

12 oz spinach, fresh or frozen
2 medium onions finely chopped
5 cloves of garlic
2 tbs olive oil
3-4 inch piece of fresh ginger chopped
2 teaspoons of coriander
2 teaspoons of ground cumin 
1 teaspoon of turmeric
dash cayenne
dash cardamom
6 cups of chicken broth
4 cups of tomatoes diced (or 28 oz canned diced or crushed)
1 tbs of tomato paste
1 can coconut milk (or 1 c. cream)
juice from 1-2 limes
1/3 c. chopped cilantro (and more for garnish)
2 tsp salt (more to taste)
-In a large saucepan or pot, heat the oil on medium.  Add chopped onions. Saute for 5-10 minutes.  Add garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, and cardamom.  Saute for 3 minutes more.
-Add broth, spinach and tomatoes and bring back to a simmer boil.
-If desired you can blend 1/2 to all of soup to create a smoother/thicker soup (I used an immersion blender) Try not to make it into a puree.
-Add coconut milk, cilantro, and lime juice.  Add salt to taste and more cayenne and cumin if you wish.  Simmer for 10-20 minutes if you wish to enhance the flavor of the spices.
-Serve with cilantro as garnish.


Trudeau Measuring Cups

My mom gave me these measuring cups a long time ago.  I have loved the colors and the side pour spouts.  Here is a link to the product on Amazon, but you may also find them at your local grocery store!