Watermelon Lemonade

I can not even begin to explain how instantly obsessed I became with this drink! (Yes, I’m going back to the store for more lemons to make it again tonight.) It’s just the right combo of sweet and tart, and just so refreshing you’ll have a hard time not finishing your glass in all of 30 seconds – trust me! You will not be disappointed!

I would recommend making a double batch for any more than 2 people – we finished this serving size off no problem with 1 1/2 glasses each.

img_8282.jpg

IMG_8287.JPG

Watermelon Lemonade served with a Tuna Salad Cucumber Boat and Tzatziki Dip. A perfect summer meal!


Ingredients:

1/2 c. fresh-squeezed lemon, juice and pulp (about 3-5 lemons)
1/2 c. simple syrup
4 c. seedless watermelon
Ice for serving

Directions:

1. Using a juice reamer, juice lemons. Keep as much as the pulp as possible, but remove any seeds.
2. Add lemon juice and simple syrup to blender. (See link above or my Cold-Brewed Hibiscus Tea post for directions on simple syrup.)
3. Chop watermelon and add roughly 4 cups to blend. Blend together until pureed.
4. Pour over ice and enjoy!

(Recipe loved and found on Onion Rings and Things, via Yummly.)

Advertisements

Gazpacho Soup

This gazpacho soup is one of my favorite summer-time meals! My parents always made it during these hot and humid summer months when I was growing up. Not only are the ingredients in peak season and oh-so fresh, but it is a great meal to throw together when the last thing you wanted to do is cook with a hot oven or stove.

Our family actually made a few different types cold soups in the summers, including cantaloupe soup (a Dad speciality/favorite). Many people I talk to have never had or tried a cold soup and I’m here to say I encourage you to try them! It may seem like a weird concept at first, but trust me. When it’s a 90 degree summer day and you want to eat nothing but frozen popsicles, a yummy cold soup (again, no cooking or heating required!) might be exactly what you’re looking for.

IMG_8170.JPG


Ingredients:

2 c. V8 juice (low sodium)
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c. olive oil
2-4 T. vinegar
1 medium cucumber (about 1 1/4 c.), diced (small)
1 small green pepper (about 1/2 c.) , diced (small)
1 medium onion (about 1/2 c.), diced (small)
6 ripe tomatoes (I used tomatoes on-the-vine.)
pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, combine the V8 juice, garlic, olive oil, and vinegar. Set aside.
2. Dice the cucumbers, green pepper, and onions. Add to V8 mixture.
3. Blanch the tomatoes, remove skins, and chop. (Remove large sections of seeds if tomatoes are overly “juicy”.)
4. Add tomatoes to mixture and combine. Pepper to taste.
5. Cover and place bowl in the refrigerator. Let it sit for at least 2 hours before serving. Enjoy!

Zucchini Grilled Cheese

I really feel like this recipe doesn’t even need a description or back-story; it kind of speaks for itself. These sandwiches are a-ma-zing! Realistically, they probably aren’t much healthier than a regular bread-based grilled cheese, but if you’re looking for creative solutions to use up zucchini and you love grilled cheese (Who doesn’t love grilled cheese!?) then this recipe is for you.

Tony helped with making these since he was so excited to try it. We ended up making about 4 small (fist-sized) sandwiches with the recipe’s serving size, so for more than two people I would definitely double to recipe. My only final thoughts: easy and deliciously cheesy! Try it!

FullSizeRender 48.jpgFullSizeRender 49.jpg


Ingredients:

2 c. grated zucchini
1 egg
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 c. cornstarch
salt and pepper, to taste
Vegetable oil, for cooking
2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese (We used Sharp Cheddar – highly recommended!)

Directions:

1. After rinsing zucchini, chop into large pieces, and shred using a food processor. Place shredded zucchini on a clean kitchen/tea towel and squeeze out excess water by ringing the towel.
2. In a large bowl, combine zucchini, egg, Parmesan, green onions, and cornstarch. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Cover the base of a large skillet with vegetable oil and heat. Scoop about 1/4 c. of the mixture and place it on one side of the pan. Do again on the other side. Smooth out the two scoops so they form flat patties.
4. Cook until golden brown on both sides, about 4-6 minutes each. Remove the patties from pan and place them on a paper towel-covered plate to drain the oil. Repeat with remaining mixture.
5. Once done, turn off the heat and wipe the bottom of the pan clear.
6. Place two patties back into the pan. Top both with a handful of shredded Cheddar cheese and place another patty on top of each. Cook until heated-through and the cheese has completely melted (flipping as needed). Repeat with remaining patties. Serve warm!

(Recipe loved and found on Delish.)

Enchilada Zucchini Boats

I feel like I’ve done nothing but look at zucchini and cucumber recipes for the past month! I’ve been doing my best to keep up with the garden (on top of what we get from our CSA), but it’s always a struggle. That’s why zucchini boats were a no-brainer for me; a) they use up way more zucchinis than most other recipes and b) Tony enjoys “Mexican” dishes and while they aren’t my favorite, I enjoy cooking them so it’s a win-win.

I loosely based this dish off of B. Britnell‘s recipe, but kind of made it my own – especially with using the meat. All-in-all it was pretty easy to throw together and really a delicious dish. I just wish the kitchen wouldn’t get so hot when I use the oven! (I’m sure some of you can relate.)

img_8120.jpg


Ingredients:

2-3 medium zucchinis
1 T. cumin, divided
1 T. dried oregano, divided
1 T. paprika, divided
1 T. salt, divided
1 lb. ground venison or beef
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 10 oz. can Old El Paso red enchilada sauce
1-1 1/2 c. taco blend shredded cheese
1/4 c. green onions, chopped (optional)

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a baking dish (make sure your zucchinis fit in the pan).
2. Wash the zucchinis and cut the ends off. Prep by cutting them in half long-ways and removing the soft insides with a spoon. You want the shell to be about 1/4 inch thick all around.
3. In a small bowl, mix together half of the cumin, oregano, paprika, and salt (1 1/2 t each).
4. In a large skillet, heat the ground meat, with the dry mix from Step 3, until fully cooked. (If you’re using ground beef, you may need to drain some of fat before continuing.) Add onions, peppers, garlic, and the rest of the spices (1 1/2 t. each) and sauté for 5 minutes, or until onions appear translucent. Take off heat.
5. Spoon the mixture into the zucchini boats, dividing evenly. Place the boats in to baking dish.
6. Top the zucchinis with enchilada sauce, making sure to thoroughly coat them. Top with taco blend cheese.
8. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes. Let cool slightly before enjoying!

Blueberry Banana Bread

This bread was a quick and easy solution for using up some fresh ingredients (bananas and blueberries) that were near spoiling and wouldn’t last the weekend while we were away at camp.

I actually combined two separate elements from two different recipes. The bread I made following Dinner At The Zoo‘s recipe and I added the streusel based on The Baker Upstairsrecipe. Very glad I combined the two – I don’t think I’ll go back to a banana bread without streusel every again!

IMG_8146.JPG

Blueberry Banana Bread toasted with butter. NOM nom nom!

FullSizeRender 46.jpg

I forgot to take a picture of the loaf when it was full and right out of the oven. So this is just the last 2 inches of it, but I think you still get the picture… it’s yummy!


Ingredients:

For the bread:
2 c. flour
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. sea salt
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. butter, softened
1 c. mashed bananas (I used 2 medium bananas.)
2 eggs
1/3 c. vanilla (or plain) yogurt
1 t. vanilla extract
1 c. fresh blueberries
zest of one whole lemon

For the streusel:
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
3/4 t. cinnamon
2 T. butter, cut into small pieces

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
3. In another large bowl, combine the softened butter and sugar and mix until well blended. Add mashed bananas, eggs, yogurt, and vanilla extract. Beat on low-speed until well blended.
4. Slowly add dry mixture and beat until blended and moist. Gently fold in the blueberries and lemon zest.
5. Pour mixture into the coated loaf pan. (Note: I may split this into two loaves next time – adjusting cooking time as needed – since the bread rose quite a bit and made it a little harder to travel with.)
6. To make the streusel: In a small bowl, combine the sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Add the butter pieces by smashing them into the mixture until it resembles wet sand. Sprinkle the streusel on top of the loaf mixture.
7. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let the bread cool for 10 minutes in the pan before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
8. Enjoy plain, with a spread, or (as pictured above) cut a 1/2-inch slice, toast it until golden brown, and add butter. Yum… Enjoy!

Pork & Veggie Spring Rolls

Tony & I had a free Friday night a few weeks ago, so we decided to have a little “date night in” and cook up something together that I/we typically wouldn’t make.

To my surprise, spring rolls were not that hard to make! Now maybe it’s because there were four hands working on them instead of two, but really the process was much easier than I expected. The two things I would change if we ever made them again would be: 1) make a different filling (Not that this filling wasn’t good, but it was a little too meat-heavy for my liking.), and b) use a thermometer for the oil. I feel like our oil was too hot, which is why the rolls came out a bit “bubbly” looking.

If anything, we had fun making them! If you’re looking for a fun “date night” idea, but don’t want to go out, try making something new together at home! We have a long list of kitchen “date nights” just waiting to happen. If you’d like to steal from our list, here are just a few things we’ve agreed would be fun to try: baking bread, making pasta, canning jams/jellies, etc.

IMG_8044

Prep: pre-frying

img_8056.jpg


Ingredients:

1 lb. ground pork
1 garlic clove, minced
1 oz. ginger, chopped (I used Spice World’s Squeeze Ginger for convince.)
2 bunch spring onions, chopped
4 oz. carrots, shredded
6 oz. bean sprouts
2 T. vegetable oil
4 T. soy sauce
1 T. rice wine vinegar
1/2 T. sesame oil
12 spring roll wrappers
Oil for frying (I used Wesson’s Canola Oil.)

Directions:

1. Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet; add ground pork, garlic, ginger, and spring onions. Heat until port is cooked and no longer pink.
2. Remove from heat. Add carrots and bean sprouts.
3. Mix together the soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil and add to skillet. Mix well.
4. Pour the mixture into a colander and leave it to cool and drain excess liquid.
5. Prepare the spring roll wrappers by placing the wrappers (one at a time) into water until soft and pliable (about 15-20 seconds). Gently remove the wrapper and lay it on a wet tea towel.
6. Place the filling in the middle of the wrapper and gently fold over the edges and roll. Repeat with a second wrapper to form a double layer on each roll. Continue with remaining rolls. Let them dry – not touching one another – for 5 minutes.
7. Heat oil for frying in a large pot. Gently drop 2-3 rolls in at one time. Leave in, turning occasionally, for 3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and drain on a paper towel.
8. Serve with Duck, soy, or sweet-n-sour sauce. Enjoy!

(This recipe came straight off the packaging for the spring roll wrappers.)

Potato & Vegetable Grill Medley

Very happy I got to throw together this side dish for an impromptu cook-out with friends last week. There’s just nothing better than sharing a meal with friends & family!

I think this will definitely be a grill favorite from now on; it tastes delicious and I love how easy it was! I just mixed it up, handed it off to the boys to throw on the grill with the steaks, and wa-la! My original goal was actually to use the zucchini that has been taking over my kitchen recently, but the all-star of this dish was definitely the potato medley. Try it – you won’t be disappointed!

IMG_8093.JPG


Ingredients:

1-1.5 lbs. Creamer potatoes
1-2 lg. zucchini, sliced or chopped
1-2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 med. onion, chopped
3-6 garlic cloves, minced
2 T. olive oil (& possibly more for later)
3 T. balsamic vinegar (& possibly more for later)

Directions:

1. After washing, cut the potatoes in half. Put them on a plate and microwave for 7 mins.
2. Let the potatoes cool for 1-2 minutes. Put all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss to coat. Salt and pepper generously.
3. Heat grill on high. Put veggie mixture on a grill plate or in a tin foil “boat”. Cook, covered, for about 20 mins, or until crisp. Add a little more olive oil & balsamic if mixture starts to get dry. Enjoy!

(Original recipe found on The Cookie Writer‘s website.)