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Welcome to the Fun in the Summer Sun event!

Each Monday until September 7th
Mama to 4 Blessings along with Harvest Moon By Hand,
Adventures of Mommydom, Sweet Diva, and Sweet Phenomena
will be hosting Fun in the Summer Fun link up events.

Here’s the line up:

1st Monday of each month: link up your “Kid-friendly summer activities”
2nd Monday of each month: link up your “Kid-friendly summer crafts”
3rd Monday of each month: link up your “Kid-friendly summer recipes”
4th Monday of each month: link up your “How to stay cool in the summer heat”

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Family Fun Backyard Fun Badge

In the July 2011 issue of Family Fun, the Backyard Fun Badge was presented. For ten months, there will be a monthly challenge for families to do. There are three options from which to choose.  By doing the activity, you earn a badge (either use the one in the magazine or download from the computer).

Then go online and tell them what you did and enter their sweepstakes for a chance to win prizes. 

One of the ideas that caught my eye for July was option #2 – Host a Campout.  Although they suggested sleeping out under the stars, we don’t have a tent so we opt to spread out a blanket and pillows and enjoy spending part of the day outside.

Fire by Lake Superior
A campfire I made on the
shore of Lake Superior.

One of the recipes I remember trying when I was in Girl Scouts and one that is easy to use with children is called Dough Boys. To make them, here’s a basic recipe:

Ingredients:

hot dog
biscuit mix
water

Directions:

Make biscuit dough mix according to the directions on the box or a recipe. Take a hot dog and wrap the biscuit dough around the hot dog (completely or just a center wrap).

Be careful not to put too much dough on or your hot dog will not cook. Toast your “dough boy” over hot coals until it is cooked through and golden brown on the outside. Serve with catsup or mustard.

When I directed a camp program for children, one of the meals that we taught the children to make was All in One Wrapped in Foil Dinner.

Ingredients:

ground beef
oil
sliced raw potatoes, carrots, and onion
seasoned salt
catsup
foil

Directions:

Fold aluminum so that there is a double layer. Put ground beef (about the size of a small hamburger) on foil, in the center. Drizzle a small about of oil on it (about 1/2 tsp).

Place carrots and potatoes (to your liking) and then onions. Fold over foil edges to make a flat packet. Be careful to fold over any edge so the package doesn’t leak. Use tongs and place right on the coals.

When you hear it “sizzle,” flip it. Flip it often and cook for 7-10 minutes. Open carefully (the foil will be hot!) and poke a potato with a fork. When it pierces it easily, supper is ready. Serve with seasoned salt and catsup.

The Girls and I  at William O'Brien Camping
Olivia, Sophia, and I at William O’Brien State Park
camping one year. It was so much fun!

A couple of years ago, Sophia, Olivia, and I went camping with my sister and her two sons. One of the things we made were Brown Bears.  All of us liked this easy dessert.

Ingredients:

refrigerator biscuits
spray margarine
cinnamon and sugar
wooden dowel for roasting stick

Directions:

Stretch biscuit dough and wrap around a wooden dowel and roast over coals until brown. Remove biscuit from dowel, spray with margarine and roll in cinnamon and sugar mixture. Fun to make and tasty too.

The Girls Making Cinnamon Rolls Over the Campfire
Olivia and Sophia trying 
Brown Bears for dessert.

For another dessert, there’s a special treat that reminds me of when I was growing up and took a kids cooking class. It’s a chocolate-banana melt dessert that was featured in the June/July 2011 issue of Family Fun

To make the dessert, cut a lengthwise slit in a peeled banana and place it on a sheet of alumninum foil. Stuff in as many chocolate chips and mini marshmallows as you can fit.

Wrap the foil around the banana and place it on a grill for about five minutes. The melt, once cooled, is best eaten with a spoon (and lots of napkins).

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For the August Badges of Fun, the theme was “Hit the Road.”  Out of the three activities, we chose to do “Pack Easy-to-Eat Snacks.”

One of the recipes on the Family Fun website is for homemade granola bars.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups crisp rice cereal
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup dried fruit bits
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Directions:

Heat the oven to 350º F. Coat a 9- by 13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

Melt the butter or margarine in a large pot over low heat. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the sugar, honey, flour, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Transfer the mixture to the baking pan. Using a sheet or waxed paper and the palms of your hands, press the granola firmly into the pan, packing it to a flat and even thickness.

Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Allow the granola to cool 1 hour in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before cutting into bars. Makes 16 to 24 rectangular bars.

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Now it’s your turn to share some of your kid-friendly summer activities!

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Even though I have multiple files filled with ideas for celebrating Christmas, I always enjoy looking at other ideas.

Last year, Sophia, Olivia, and I did a lot of cooking and baking.  We all enjoyed our time together in the kitchen trying new recipes – like these for chocolate cookies made in a waffle iron.

Calendar of Healthy Eating Ideas

This year, I’d like to incorporate some healthy foods into the Christmas season. One way to do this is by using the 25 Healthy Days to Christmas PDF from Nourish Interactive. The calendar has lots of great ideas that would appeal to both children and adults. 

Edible Christmas Tree

For a holiday gathering, this is a clever way to display fresh vegetables. The person who created the edible Christmas tree used a mix of cauliflower from the gardenia mix, broccoli, and boccoflower for a contrast of color.

Edible Christmas Tree.

She recommends quickly blanching the broccoli and broccoflower heads for a few seconds in salted boiling water and then chilling them to brighten the color.

To assemble the edible Christmas tree, you need a Styrofoam cone and toothpicks. I would cover the cone with saran/clear wrap so none of the Styrofoam gets on the vegetables. Serve with a healthy dip on the side.

Muffin Tin Meals
After a busy day, sometimes it’s nice just to have a simple dinner or light snack. One of the ways to do this is to serve a meal in a muffin tin.

160
Christmas theme Muffin Tin Meal.
Photo Source

The muffin tins can be lined with a cupcake paper liner. Not only does this add some color to the meal, but it helps reduce clean-up time.

There are a variety of cutters available – either for cookies, appetizers, or bento boxes. These help reinforce the theme of the meal.

Doing a muffin tin meal in a trio of colors (red, green, and white) or single color would be another option that would be fun for a child to look at and eat.

Photobucket

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With fresh tomatoes and basil ripe in the garden, it’s the perfect time to have a red, green, and white salad.  This recipe for Italian Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Salad is from Quick Free Recipes.

Italian Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Salad
(serves 3)

Ingredients

3 beefsteak red tomatoes
Approximately 3 ounces fresh sliced mozzarella
1 handful of shredded basil leaves
2 teaspoons olive oil
Cracked black pepper (if desired)
Crusty bread to serve

Directions

1. Slice tomatoes crosswise into 1/2 inch thick slices.

2. Arrange each sliced tomato on each salad plate. Sprinkle the mozzarella on top of each tomato, then put the fresh basil leaves on top each tomato also.

3. Drizzle olive oil over the tops and add a dash of pepper. Enjoy! Serve with crusty bread.

Photobucket

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Welcome to the Fun in the Summer Sun event!

Each Monday until September 7th
Mama to 4 Blessings along with Harvest Moon By Hand,
Adventures of Mommydom, Sweet Diva, and Sweet Phenomena
will be hosting Fun in the Summer Fun link up events.

Here’s the line up:

1st Monday of each month: link up your “Kid-friendly summer activities”
2nd Monday of each month: link up your “Kid-friendly summer crafts”
3rd Monday of each month: link up your “Kid-friendly summer recipes”
4th Monday of each month: link up your “How to stay cool in the summer heat”

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This week – with temperatures in the upper 90s and dewpoints in the 70s (like the tropics) – Sophia and Olivia will need some refreshing drinks and cold treats. 
One of the favorite drinks we recently made is Rhubarb Slush.  “Rhubarb…for kids?” you may be thinking. Surprisingly, the rhubarb is not the first flavor that you taste – it’s actually the strawberries.
Rhubarb Slush
This recipe isn’t, perhaps, the healthiest one since it contains sugar, gelatin, and ginger ale. However, it is refreshing and a special treat on incredibly hot days.
Rhubarb Slush
(Taste of Home magazine)
Ingredients:
8 cups diced fresh or frozen rhubarb
1 package (16 ounces) frozen unsweetened strawberries
3 cups sugar
8 cups water
1 package (3 ounces) strawberry gelatin
1/2 cup lemon juice
11 cups ginger ale, chilled
Directions:
In a Dutch oven or heavy pot, bring the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, and water to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5-8 minutes or until rhubarb is tender. Press through a sieve; discard pulp. Stir in gelatin and elmon juice until dissolved.
Transfer to a freezer container and freeze, stirring occasionally, until firm. May be frozen up to 3 months.
To use frozen rhubarb mixture: In a punch bowl or several pitchers, combine equal amount of rhubarb mixture and ginger ale. Or, for one serving, combine 1/2 cup rhubarb mixture and 1/2 cup ginger ale in a glass. Serve immediately.
Note:
I froze the mixture in a 9″x13″ pan. Once it was frozen, I took it out of the freezer and let it thaw just a bit so it could be easily cut into small pieces (each the equivalent of 1/2 cup). I placed all of the cubes of the frozen mixture on a cookie sheet and re-froze them.
Once frozen, I placed them in a gallon freezer storage bag. In that way, when the girls are thirsty or someone visits, a refreshing drink easily can be made.
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The next recipe is “Can’t Be Beat Banana Ice Cream Pops” from the book Sneaky Fitness: Fun, Foolproof Ways to Slip Fitness Into Your Child’s Everyday Life.
The book says that each banana pop has a serving of fruit and calcium. They’re a low-fat, low-calorie treat; and even appropriate for on-the-go-breakfasts.
The recipe calls for milk, yogurt, and chocolate chips. Since Sophia has a dairy allergy, I modified the recipe so that all dairy-free ingredients are used.
Can’t Be Beat Banana Ice Cream Pops
(Sneaky Fitness)
Ingredients:
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1/2 cup vanilla (or banana) yogurt
2 large bananas
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (ideally “mini”, optional)
Directions:
Blend all ingredients except chocolate chips in a blender until smooth. Pour equal amounts in popsicle molds, then drop about one tablespoon of chocolate chips into each pop, if desired (we used 1/2 tablespoon per pop). Insert stick, and freeze for at least three hours.
Olivia placing the dairy-free chocolate chips
in each banana ice cream pop.
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The final recipe is for Orange Creamsicle Smoothies that we made into popsicles.  The smoothies and popsicles are not overly sweet.
I was envisioning the sugary creamsicles that are sold in the freezer section at the grocery store which I fondly remember from childhood. The smoothies/popsicles do not taste like that. This recipe is a healthier versions.
Orange Creamsicle Smoothie
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups vanilla yogurt (we used dairy-free yogurt)
1/4 cup orange juice concentrate
1 banana
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Directions:
Blend ingredients until smooth and serve with a wedge of orange. You can also make the smoothies into popsicles by filling small cups and adding sticks or using popsicle holders. (I normally use these, but all the trays and holders are being used now.)
Orange Creamsicle Smoothie
Now it’s your turn!  What recipes do your children enjoy making and/or eating?

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During the summer, we’re participating in the Smart Summer Challenge and the second week focuses on government.  Doing a week-long government study has been a wonderful preview of what we will be doing in a couple of months when we begin our multi-year, multi-disciplinary study of each of the states in the U.S.A. 

On Thursday and Friday, we talked about coins, coin collecting, and some of the presidents represented on the coins. One of the presidents featured is Thomas Jefferson.

One of the things we learned is that several of kids’ favorite foods were introduced by Jefferson. Some historians believe that Jefferson introduced french fries and macaroni and cheese to the American colonies. It is written that Jefferson had “potatoes served in the French manner” served at a White House dinner in 1802.

Thomas Jefferson first served macaroni and cheese at the President’s House also in 1802. A recipe for macaroni and cheese is included in Mary Randolph’s popular 1824 cookbook, The Virginia Housewife.

Of course, the dish that Jefferson ate is nothing like the boxed version so common today. Rather, Jefferson’s cooks used pasta and parmesan cheese imported from Italy. They cooked the macaroni until it was soft, and then coated it with butter and added cheese. The mixture was then placed in a casserole dish, dotted with more butter and cheese, and baked until it was slightly brown with some crustiness on top.

I made a version like this last week for a friend and her children who were visiting. The kids – who have had the boxed macaroni and cheese over the baked version more often – weren’t huge fans of this “old fashioned” type of macaroni and cheese. Oh well.

In addition to french fries and macaroni and cheese, Jefferson helped encourage people to eat tomatoes. Many people in the colonies thought tomatoes were poisonous, so they wouldn’t eat them. Jefferson proved that tomatoes were not poisonous, so they became popular.

To remember this, we had pizza for dinner (which had a tomato-base sauce). 

The girls having pizza while learning about Thomas Jefferson.

Historians are certain that Jefferson wrote the very first recipe for ice cream in the American colonies. In celebration of this, we tried a new recipe for Cookies & Cream Floats.

To make them, you put a couple of scoops of Cookies & Cream ice cream into a cup. Slowly add some cream soda until it’s at a consistency that you prefer (e.g., thicker malts need less soda; thinner malts need more soda).

Cookies and Cream
By learning about Thomas Jefferson, I came across an interesting blog called The History Chef! written by Suzy Evans. She has a Ph.D. in history from UC Berkeley, is a mother to four children, and writes the blog as she is writing a book about the presidents’ favorite foods. Her goal is to help parents and children learn how to cook together while learning about history; and hopefully help them create many great memories and meals together.
I know this will be a blog that I will be using during the upcoming study about the United States. As we study about each state, we will see if any presidents were born in the one we are studying. If so, we will visit The History Chef! and try a recipe to tie into the presidential-state connection.

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Welcome to the fourth week of our Fun in the Summer Sun event!

Each Monday until September 7th
Mama to 4 Blessings along with Harvest Moon By Hand,
Adventures of Mommydom, Sweet Diva, and Sweet Phenomena
will be hosting Fun in the Summer Fun link up events.

Here’s the line up:

1st Monday of each month: link up your “Kid-friendly summer activities”
2nd Monday of each month: link up your “Kid-friendly summer crafts”
3rd Monday of each month: link up your “Kid-friendly summer recipes”
4th Monday of each month: link up your “How to stay cool in the summer heat”

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During the past week we’ve had temperatures in the upper 50s and 60s – very unusual for this time of year…even for Minnesota.  Trying to stay cool this week wasn’t a problem…it was trying to stay dry with all the rain and thunderstorms. 
So, we ended up doing what we do on some of the hottest days of summer: we stayed inside where it was a comfortable 68-70 degrees.  Thinking of the traditional ways to stay cool on hot days (e.g., playing at the beach, running through the sprinkler) didn’t sound interesting to the girls when it was 59 degrees and overcast outside.
Here are some ways that we stay cool…even when the temperatures aren’t over 100 degrees like they were a few weeks ago:
Visited the zoo, conservatory, and Japanese gardens – alternating between being inside (with air conditioning) and outdoors (in the “heat”)
The day we visited the zoo, there were many volunteers who had hands-on learning stations and stations where there were small animals that you could see close up.  We were very excited to see the new area for the polar bears – 15 year old brothers. 
One of the polar bears enjoying being outside.
The zoo also is holding thee polar bears from the Minot zoo since there is flooding in the area.  They are quarantined for 30 days, and then they will see if the Minot zoo can take them back (if it isn’t damaged) or if the bears will be able to be let outside.  We’re going to check the zoo again in a few weeks and see if there will be more polar bears out. It’d be nice to see them.
Since I homeschool the girls year round (with a modified schedule during the summer), the zoo was a wonderful way to learn about animals and plants.
Olivia listening to a volunteer talk about the
gecko he was holding.
This was inside near the tropical exhibit.
After spending some time inside seeing a quail, tortoise, and other small animals, amphibians, and reptiles, we headed back outside to walk through the Japanese garden.

Then we finished the day by heading back inside to the conservatory and the summer flower display.  It was a spectacular ending to a wonderful day!

Overlooking the summer flowers in the conservatory
under the glass ceiling.  The fragrance from the flowers
could be smelled even before entering the room. 
The flowers were so beautiful – the lilies and roses were very fragrant, and seem to invite visitors in to enjoy the flowers.  Many of the flowers seemed to be so large for their type – particularly the lilies and hibiscus.
This hibiscus was at least 5-6″ wide. 
The plant was covered with beautiful flowers
just like this one.
Ate cool dishes (rather than hot ones)
Even though it hasn’t been particularly hot recently, one of the best ways to stay cool during the summer is by eating “lighter” or “cooler” dishes.  Making salads with fresh, organic vegetables from the garden is one of my favorite ways to cook on hot days. 

Below is a recipe that I made this week that we all enjoyed (except Olivia who doesn’t like spicy food).  It is from Ross Turnbull, Executive Chef at the Princeville Resort (on the island of Kauai in Hawaii).  It isn’t a salad, but it reminded me of a place that gets hot (Hawaii) and the lighter, “cooler” fare they serve during the hot months.

Pineapple Salsa.
Pineapple Salsa

Ingredients

2 Cups diced fresh Maui gold pineapple
1/2 Cup fine diced red bell pepper
1/2 Cup fine diced red onion
1/2 Cup fine sliced scallions
Pinch fine chopped habanero pepper
2 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 Tsp fresh chopped mint leaves
Hawaiian sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a plastic bowl and allow to marinate one hour before serving.

Drink lots of water and fresh lemonade to stay hydrated
I’ve made quite a few beverages during the past week – all with lemon in them:  honey gingered lemonade; cranberry lemonade; watermelon lemonade; and rhubarb strawberry slush. 

Out of the beverages, the favorite one was rhubarb strawberry slush that used rhubarb from the garden and strawberries that we picked at a local berry patch. 

Below is a picture and recipe for the Rhubarb Strawberry Slush that we enjoyed. What I like about this is that the frozen rhubarb-strawberry juice can be frozen and used anytime throughout the summer – particularly the very hot days when a refreshing beverage would be needed.

Rhubarb Strawberry Slush

(Taste of Home magazine)
Makes 22 Servings/Prep: 40 minutes + freezing

Ingredients

8 cups diced fresh or frozen rhubarb
1 package (16 ounces) frozen unsweetened strawberries
3 cups sugar
8 cups water
1 package (3 ounces) strawberry gelatin
1/2 cup lemon juice
11 cups ginger ale, chilled
Rhubarb curls, optional

Directions

In a Dutch oven, bring the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar,and water to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5-8 minutes or until rhubarb is tender. Press through a sieve; discard pulp. Stir in gelatin and lemon juice until dissolved. Transfer to a freezer container and freeze, stirring occasionally, until firm. May be frozen for up to 3 months.

Note: I froze the liquid in a 9″x13″ pan.  After it froze, I took it out of the freezer and let it thaw a bit.  Then,  I cut it into 24 pieces.  Next, I placed the pieces onto a cookie sheet and re-freeze.  At this point, they were placed into plastic bags and kept in the freezer to use for individual servings.

To use frozen rhubarb mixture: In a punch bowl or several pitchers, combine equal amounts of rhubarb mixture and ginger ale. Or for one serving, combine 1/2 cup rhubarb mixture and 1/2 cup ginger ale in a glass. Garnish with rhubarb curls if desired. Serve immediately. Yield: 22 servings (1 cup each).

Note: If using frozen rhubarb, measure rhubarb while still frozen, then thaw completely. Drain in a colander, but do not press liquid out.

Set up a birdbath

Birds enjoy taking a quick dip on a warm day just as children do.  Either use a birdbath that’s available at a local store or make your own by inverting a garbage can lid in a base of flat stones or bricks.  Fill it with some water and a few small rocks (for a landing place).

The birdbath is near a birdfeeder (with seed) and hummingbird feeder.
There’s a bird drinking water from the birdbath, and
a robin in the background in the flower garden (it has a small pond in it).

The birdbath is near the hummingbird feeder and birdhouse that the wrens are using, so we can watch and hear the birds.  The baby wrens were born within the past couple of weeks, and both wren parents are flying back and forth non-stop to find tiny insects and worms to feed the babies. 

Now it’s your turn!  What are some ways that your family stays cool during the summer?

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Welcome to the third time of our Fun in the Summer Sun event!

Each Monday until September 7th
Mama to 4 Blessings along with Harvest Moon By Hand,
Adventures of Mommydom, Sweet Diva, and Sweet Phenomena
will be hosting Fun in the Summer Fun link up events.

Here’s the line up:
1st Monday of each month: link up your “Kid-friendly summer activities”
2nd Monday of each month: link up your “Kid-friendly summer crafts”
3rd Monday of each month: link up your “Kid-friendly summer recipes”
4th Monday of each month: link up your “How to stay cool in the summer heat”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The girls and I enjoy cooking and baking; trying new recipes; and making up our own recipes.  During June, we’ve been making food using herbs and fruit from the garden. 

Homemade Pizza Using Fresh Herbs from the Garden

One of our favorite dinners during the summer is homemade pizza.  Each person gets some dough to make their own individual pizza using their preferred toppings. 

The pizza dough recipe came from the June 2006 issue of Better Homes and Gardens and is the easiest one I’ve found.  There are extra steps in the original recipe (like letting the dough rest), but I skip them just to save some time.

Pizza Dough

2 3/4- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water (120-130 degrees F)
2 tablespoons oil or olive oil

In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 1/4 cups of the flour, yeast, and salt.  Add warm water and oil.  Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping the bowl constantly.  Beat on high for 3 minutes.  Using a wooden spoon stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can. 

Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface.  Knead in remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6-8 minutes total).  Divide dough into 8 pieces.  Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.  Makes 8 mini-pizzas. 

(Note: I mix everything by hand; and do not cover and let it rest for 10 minutes.)

The girls pressing out the dough.

Add whatever topping you prefer.  On this night, we had onions, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh herbs from the garden (rosemary, oregano, and basil) as well as cheese (regular and dairy-free).

Some other ideas from Better Homes and Gardens
Meats: precooked ground beef or Italian sausage, sliced pepperoni, chopped or shredded chicken, sliced or chopped ham
 Vegetables: fresh tomatoes, sweet peppers, olives
Cheeses:  mozzarella cheese (shredded or fresh), shredded or grated Parmesan cheese, crumbled feta cheese
Garlic:  minced or coarsely chopped

Bake in a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes.

The recipe makes a lot of pizza –
enough for dinner with leftovers for another meal.

One of these nights, I’m going to try making the pizza on the grill and see what that tastes like. Perhaps the next time we make the pizza we’ll do this…along with adding vegetables that are ripe from our garden (like tomatoes, peppers, and onions).

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Strawberry Patch Float

The girls adding sprinkles to the top of their floats.

This recipe comes from the Taste of Home June/July 2011 issue. 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons strawberry jam (we used homemade jam we made last year)
1 teaspoon water
Strawberry ice cream (we used both strawberry and vanilla ice cream)
Sliced strawberries (we used frozen strawberries that we picked last year since local ones aren’t quite ready to be harvested yet)
1/4 cup cream (we didn’t include this)
Strawberry or raspberry sparkling water
Whipped cream
Sprinkles

Directions

Spoon the jam mixed with water into a tall glass.  Top with ice cream, strawberries, cream, sparkling water, whipped cream, and sprinkles.  Enjoy! 

They enjoyed their floats and
wanted to know if they could have another one tomorrow.
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Pretty Herbal and Fruit Ice Cubes

In an issue of Better Homes & Gardens, there was an idea for making pretty ice cubes.  Simply place cleaned whole mint leaves or lemon rind curls (or both) inside each compartment of your ice cub tray.  Fill with water, then freeze until solid (about two hours). 

Olivia Making Mint Ice Cubes
Olivia placing part of a mint leaf
in each ice cube compartment.

To use, drop a few of the flavored cubes into a beverage of your choice (e.g., lemonade, iced tea).  As the cubes melt, the drink gets a bit more flavor from the herbs or citrus fruits.

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Orange-Ade

Fresh Orange-ade
Orange-ade

Oranges and lemons don’t grow in Minnesota, so this doesn’t quite fit with making food from our garden.  However, this is a recipe Sophia and I created based on the one that my grandma use to make when I visited her as a child. I remember her hand-squeezing the lemons and oranges, and sitting on her porch relaxing while the breeze came through the windows. 

This is what Sophia and I made, and it is as close to my grandma’s recipe as I remember:

3 cups freshly-squeezed orange juice
1 1/2 cups freshly-squeezed lemon juice
4 cups of cold water
1 cup of sugar (start at 1/2 cup and continue adding sugar until you like the taste)

Squeeze the juice out of the oranges and lemons (we used about six each, and had enough leftover juice to make another batch of orange-ade).

Sophia Juicing Lemons
Sophia getting the juice out of a lemon.

Measure the juices and then pour them into a pitcher.

Measuring Orange Juice
Measuring the freshly-squeezed orange juice.

Add the water to the pitcher.  Gradually add sugar and stir until it is dissolved.  Refrigerate and serve chilled…or use the pretty ice cubes you made (see recipe above) to add a hint of mint to the orange-ade. 

Now it’s your turn!
What are some of your favorite recipes for summer?

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