With summer being so hot here in Seattle, and our house being a heat withholding wooden box, I have tried desperately to find recipes that don’t require the oven or the stove. It is also nice to find recipes that are easy to throw together for a picnic or even for camping. Another bonus is when it’s healthy and refreshing too!
In this family, we love nothing more than a fresh avocado. Summer here is known for a few tasty things, berries and avocados from California. Nothing…I tell you, nothing, is better than a fresh, ripe avocado. Combine that into a tasty dinner recipe and life couldn’t be better. (Sorry, avocado haters. More for me!) We really like recipes that have good flavor and a variety of fresh ingredients, so this summer salad is a big favorite for us now. It’s quick and easy to prepare, which is fantastic for me, my toddler doesn’t really like to watch me cook for hours. Can’t blame him though, I wouldn’t want to watch someone cook, that just sounds boring. He helps with basic cooking tasks, and he actually helped make the dressing for this salad, he’s a pro at stirring things together. All in all, if I had to rate this on the 5 star scale, it would definitely get a 5, for both taste and ease of preparation. So, here we go! Give it a try and let me know what you think of it!
Chicken Avocado Salad
Recipe adapted from various recipes, instructions taken in part from Kalyn’s Kitchen blog.
- 2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded. I find using a rotisserie chicken is great, speeds up the process, all you have to do is shred it!
- 2 medium, ripe avocados, diced into chunks.
- 2 tablespoons lime juice, separated
- salt, to taste
- 1/4 cup finely diced green onions
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, coarsely or finely chopped is fine, depends what your preference is.
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, or light mayonnaise
Serve right away or chill for a while before serving.
So I recently stumbled across a recipe I thought I would stick away for another time; I bookmarked it and went on with my day. Next on my list was grocery shopping, and ironically, the main ingredient, blueberries, was on a crazy sale that day. 2lbs of blueberries for $1.99. Can’t beat that! The recipe is a delicious, multipurpose Blueberry Lemon Honey syrup. I had fresh lemons at home already, as well as a jar of fresh honey from a local beekeeper. Needless to say, my plans changed and I decided to give this syrup a whirl.
The nice thing about the syrup is that it can be used in pretty much anything you can think of. It’s delicious in teas like chamomile, regular lipton, green tea, etc…and it gives a great antioxidant boost! I also tried it out on belgian waffles with a little butter, and it was absolutely tasty. My husband was drooling over my shoulder hoping I wouldn’t finish it all. I did. Sorry hubs, maybe next time. I also thought that it might make a good ice cream topping, or an addition to a mixed drink for adults. The possibilities could be endless with a little imagination! Maybe a topping for a fresh angel food cake, versus the classic strawberry? If anyone comes up with anything interesting, definitely share it here in the comments, I’m always open for new ideas and love learning new things!
Anyway, by now I’m sure you’re drooling and want me to just get down to business and share the recipe with you, huh?
Blueberry Syrup with Lemon and Honey
Recipe From Rachel @ Grow a Good Life
- 4 cups blueberries
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup of water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh is ideal, as you will need the zest from a lemon as well)
- Using a paring knife or vegetable peeler, peel five 1-inch strips of zest from the lemon then juice the lemon reserving 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Set aside.
- Extract the blueberry juice by combining blueberries and water in a saucepan over low heat. Gently mash the blueberries with a potato masher and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain the juice into a heatproof bowl, pressing hard on the solids. Discard the solids. **Tip from A Recipe to Life: Another way you can do this, especially if you’d like to leave a little of the blueberry solids in there for either decoration or flavor is to use an immersion blender and break down the berries to consistency that you want them. I did this before I heated them, but you could do either.
- Return the blueberry juice to the saucepan and add the lemon zest and honey. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of your spoon or registers 225° on a candy thermometer. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Continue stirring and boil over high heat for 1 minute. Remove from heat, discard lemon zest, and allow the blueberry syrup to cool. Pour into just-cleaned bottles. Seal and refrigerate for up to 3 months.
I’m not sure why I do this, I tend to disappear off the map for a while and then pop back in and post a whole bunch. My goal is to keep this blog active with all sorts of neat information, DIY, recipes, and more! I love to write so I may as well put that love to use! Expect much more to come, especially now that I have a laptop.
This summer has been abnormally hot here in the Seattle area, we have been breaking temperature and heat streak records left and right, and we also haven’t had any significant rainfall in over 45 days. Yes, you heard right. Seattle hasn’t had rain in almost 2 months. Crazy, I know. We have been dealing with hotter than normal temperatures for us, between 85-90 most days, which most Seattleites aren’t used to. I’m sure some of you are shaking your heads, thinking, wow, they are wusses. Just remember what we are used to…grey, cloudy, and rainy. With that in mind, we have been doing everything we can to stay cool, which means finding alternative ways to cook or recipes that don’t require cooking. I’ve also been trying my hand at canning on the cooler days, as well as a number of DIY projects. I have also been gardening this year, and it’s wonderful. Since I last blogged, we have purchased our first house and have a decent sized yard with beautifully established trees and plants, and I tore out a weedy patch next to the house to turn it into a container garden area, which turned out decently successful despite not having full sun. My dream would be to have my own homestead, so I’m attempting to do that on a smaller scale. We have two Silkie chickens who lay us adorable and tasty little eggs frequently which helps combat the rising price of store bought eggs due to the avian flu. The photo below is of our new yard, in late Spring.
I have also been doing survival prep and emergency prep, just in case. All this talk of earthquakes here on the west coast makes one a bit uneasy, so I’d rather be ready than not ready. I’ll touch more on that later, and explain what we have been doing little by little to prepare.
For now, I have to get ready to head out to my job, in which I am a line cook, so I have plenty of recipe ideas and whatnot to share. Give me a follow, leave a comment, etc! 🙂
Still have a lot of fruit left over from the summer season? Don’t know what to do with it? Well, this is a quick and fun little drink that you can make, using some fresh left over fruit and your favorite rose wine. I personally am a fan of White Zinfandel for this particular drink, but any pink colored rose wine will work. I used Beringer Cellars White Zin last time I made this recipe and it turned out wonderful, everyone finished the pitcher by the end of the night.
It’s a particularly fun recipe because you can tweak it just how you like, and add different fruits for different taste. I will provide the base recipe, and you can try whatever you’d like to suit your taste buds. The recipe makes 1 gallon.
Fresh Fruit Sangria
16 ounces strawberries, chopped into small pieces ( you are able to use frozen as well, if needed)
1 (12oz) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed. (you can use pink lemonade or regular, both work great!)
1 bottle of Rose Wine (ex, White Zinfandel)
2 cups pineapple juice
1 liter of ginger ale
At this point, you may add additional cut fruit. I’ve added actual pineapple chunks in the past, I just grabbed a can of chopped pineapple and used that in substitution for the 2 cups of pineapple juice and it worked great, just make sure you include the liquid from the can. Raspberries can be great in this as well. You can garnish it with a lime or lemon wedge, and it just tastes and looks wonderful!
I’ve served this in all four seasons, and no matter when, it still gets great reviews. Use seasonal fruits, and whatever you think will appease your taste buds.
What CAN honey do for you? No no, I don’t mean that silly but adorable couch ornament some of us call our significant other (ahem, I promise, I really do love him!)…I mean the liquid gold that comes from those obnoxious summery bee friends that we are in fact lucky to have around. Honey is unique in the fact that there are lots of different types, some are lightly flavored and some are very rich flavored. Because there are many different bee types and the fact that the world’s geography is so different from place to place is how we are able to have these different varieties of honey. Honey isn’t just a fantastic sweetener or addition to a recipe though. It can be used in other ways as well. This particular post will share them with you, and I sure hope at least one or two ways might come in handy at some point!
Honey can be used on the skin, as it makes a fantastic moisturizer. You can add it in to your lotions or soaps. It’s fantastic because honey is what is called a humectant. It draws moisture out from the air and then binds to it. If you are making soap, a little goes a long way. Because of this fact, it can cause soap recipes to not “set up” properly. You can also apply honey directly to your face! Leave it on for about 20 minutes and then rinse. Your face will feel fabulous after! Careful though, if you have pets, they might decide your face is rather tasty while you’re basking in your mask. 😉
Surprisingly, honey can be used internally as well, not just as an addition to your biscuits or to a recipe. It can be used to combat allergies that are local to your region. Because honey is made from pollen, the pollen is present inside the honey in small amounts. Your body can then build up an immunity to the pollen. For example, if you are allergic to fireweed, if you eat fireweed honey, it will not cause an allergic reaction, but it will begin the immunity process. I can’t promise you it will work for sure, each human’s body is different but it’s worth a shot!
You can also use honey on wounds, it is an antibacterial and because of it’s consistency, it can be used to seal out other moisture and germs. Use it just like you would use neosporin, put a bit on your band-aid and you’re all set. Honey will also act as a hydrogen peroxide because of it’s enzymes, you can also use it to disinfect wounds and it will also reduce swelling.
Now that you know all this, where can you find some good honey, you ask?
The best place to look for local, farm produced honey is at your area Farmer’s Market. You can also call around to farms in your area and ask if they know of any honey producers. A fantastic website is http://www.localharvest.com , you can find out what is produced in your locale and where to find it. Stay away from store bought honey if possible, it has added preservatives and has typically been refined or pasteurized, as well as some are loaded with extra sugars.
And remember, cooking with honey is fun too. You can add a little bit of honey in place of refined sugars in some recipes as well. There are so many options out there! Be creative!
This is definitely a fun little twist on your classic S’mores dessert. Super easy and super fun to make, especially for the kiddos! It’s definitely not the healthiest choice out there for a dessert, but hey, sometimes you just have to splurge a little. Got a campfire? Make a campfire cone! The alternative is to make these on a barbeque grill as well, both charcoal and propane grills work too.
- Waffle Cones
- Peanut Butter
- Banana slices
- Mini Marshmallows
- Chocolate Chips (I prefer semi-sweet, but the kids usually like milk chocolate chips)
- Aluminum Foil
- Spread peanut butter inside of waffle cone, fill with banana slices, mini marshmallows and chocolate chips.
- Wrap in Aluminum Foil and pop over hot coals (or on BBQ grill) for 5-10 minutes, turning occasionally.
- Unwrap foil, make sure everything is gooey and melted, and ENJOY. 🙂
Well, what did I say? Super simple and fun, huh? Something you can throw together as a surprise for your little ones one of these nights in the upcoming Summer! Sure to please them!
(recipe idea courtesy of http://www.cometogetherkids.com)
One of my favorite things about summer are the many varieties of salads and slaws there are. From fruit salads, to macaroni salad, potato salad…all sorts! But my favorite…it just has to be coleslaw. I don’t know why but I just love the flavor and how well it pairs with the many entrees of summer like fried chicken or even steak. This coleslaw recipe that I want to share is actually one straight from Kraft. It’s wonderful! Something to be said about making your own versus just buying the pre-made kits or a tub from the Deli. This slaw is wonderful because it features fresh fruit, crunchy apples and tart cranberries.
Creamy Apple Cranberry Coleslaw
1 cup Kraft MIRACLE WHIP Dressing
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1-1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 pkg. (16 oz.) coleslaw blend (cabbage slaw mix)
1 medium crisp apple (such as Granny Smith, Braeburn or Fuji), chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries (I used Craisins)
Whisk salad dressing, milk, vinegar and sugar together in a small bowl until well blended. In a large bowl, add coleslaw blend, chopped apple and cranberries. Pour prepared dressing over top and mix together until well combined. Refrigerate until serving, approximately one hour.
(The direct link for this recipe on the Kraft page is here: http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/creamy-apple-cranberry-coleslaw-148466.aspx?cm_mmc=social-_-facebook-_-timeline-_-recipe . They have a lot of other amazing recipes so I figured I would include it for anyone interested.)
And there you go! A tasty coleslaw that’s sure to please even the little ones! Happy grilling!