picnic

Cucumber, Tomato Salad

2 medium cucumbers, chopped into1/4 in pieces

2 c grape tomatoes (I like the sweeter taste of grape over slight tart flavor of cherry tomatoes).

1/2 c minced radishes

5 oz fresh Basil leaves

2 Tbsp minced red onion

3 tsp Extra Virgin Olive oil

2 tsp Red Wine Vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp minced garlic

  1. Mince radishes and onion.
  2. Wash cucumbers and dice into about 1/4 inch bite size pieces. I find it easiest to slice into 1/8″ slices and cut into quarters or eighths.
  3. Slice grape tomatoes in half.
  4. Combine cucumbers,tomatoes, radishes, and chopped basil in large salad bowl.
  5. Mix Olive oil and vinegar, and garlic.
  6. Drizzle liquid over salad and salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Mix well to coat and enjoy.

Serves 9-10 easily.

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We paired this with hamburgers and fries. Kids and adults loved it. It was a great low-carb side dish for my husbands birthday party.

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The dog days of summer must be here. It’s so hot here we try to stay indoors as much as possible. We live in northwest Florida and it’s been hitting temps here of 110 degrees. So here are some cool, refreshing meal ideas.

With the 4th of July over I just have to mention something. It was missed at the event in DC. The Blue Angel’s are from right here in Pensacola, Florida. We take great pride in our World famous Blue Angels. Their home base is NAS Pensacola.

While it may be warm here we have some of the highest rated beaches. When planning your next vacation or getaway, this is a fantastic place to have some fun. Steeped in history, with our eye on the future, our beaches compete with shopping, shows, art, food, music and fun.

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Is your July 4th exploding with fun?

Every year in America on July 4th, we celebrate our freedoms. Most of are looking forward to great food friends and family, and a great show of fireworks to finish it off.

In cities and towns large and small people gather for bbqs, potato salad, swimming and maybe some yard games. Those more inclined to rest spend time in the shade, surrounded by good conversations and a chance to catch up. Sip refreshing libations for children and adults. Watch the children expend their energies. Or simply enjoy you peace and quiet in red, white, and blue. On this day Americans happily fly the flag of our nation with pride. You see, this flag represents the sacrifices that have been made both here at home and abroad to give us what we enjoy today. It is unique to this country even though lots of others have done the same. Each independent nation on this world we call earth has a symbol like this. Whether born here, or not we stay here for the unique chance to make our own American dream.

Our traditionally consists of grilled hamburgers, hotdogs, ribs, and or chicken. On occasion, we have even done t-bone steaks. Of course deviled eggs, potato salad, fresh veggie tray, baked beans, chips, flag cake, fruit salad, and watermelon, make for a filling meal.

Our family follows the tradition of fireworks, for the evenings entertainment. We leave it to the professionals to display an awe filled pyrotechnic show. Ours are usually choreographed to music played on a local station.

As I’ve grown older and faced health challenges, I’ve grown to appreciate my father’s stance of watching our local display on tv….in air conditioning, with volume control. My dad’s favorite movie the last 10 years he was with us was Independece Day. He would pull it out every July 4th to watch again. I wish he had been here to see the sequel he wanted.

Will Smith (Actor), & 2 more

As I look at the goings on in our world today, I’m reminded of the speech given in the movie. Is something like that going to be what it takes for humanity to put aside the characteristics I see dominating the news? I truly hope not.

As we prepare for our nation’s birthday this, July 4th, the love, patriotism, and family traditions continue to shape our future generations. From our family to your have a happy and safe 4th of July.

One of my favorite movies.

Deviled Eggs

12 hard boiled eggs, peeled

1 tsp yellow mustard

1 tsp white vinegar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp garlic powder

4 Tbsp Mayo

1 1/2 tsp Paprika

Slice eggs in half. Empty yolks into small bowl. Place white halves face up. To bowl of yolks add mustard, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, and mayo. Mix well. Place in piping bag with star tip. Pipe yolks mixture into white halves. Sprinkle with paprika. Chill until served. I’ve had lots of versions of these over the years. Some add things like sweet relish, avocado, bacon and others. I prefer mine in this classic recipe. It’s what I grew up with. I’ve also seen the whites dyed different colors. I still like mine this way.

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Summer Sun

It’s summer, and this time of year we all like to spend time in the great outdoors. With the sun shining high, we vibrate with anticipation to get outdoors. Be it camping, hiking, backyard bbq, the pool or the beach, please remember, with the warmer temperatures, to drink plenty of water, use protection from the harmful effects of the sun, and avoid the possibly deadly consequences of heat and/or sun stroke.

  • The daily recommended amount of water is 8 – 16 oz glasses a day. That increases dramatically the longer you play in the sun. As you sweat, that fluid must be replaced. Sodas, alcoholic drinks, and energy drinks won’t do the job. In fact, some can do more harm than good. They provide sugary, empty calories without the electrolytes that fuel your boby. Cocktails and beer deplete your fluids, making you even more dehydrated. Pure waters, sparkling waters, and sports drinks, help to replace the electrolytes your bodies needs. Make sure you drink at least half again as much as you normally would while having your fun in the sun. Get a great recipe here.

  • Wear protective clothing. That sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? With the heat of the summer most of are thinking about how little we can wear to stay cool. Things like sunglasses that block uv rays protect your eyes. A large brim hat protects the top of your head from sunburn. It also provides shade to your face, neck and sometimes shoulders.
  • Adequate sunscreen will help block the damaging effects of the sun. Children especially need to wear sunblock. I’m a redhead, so I learned about the damaging effects of the sun at a young age. I don’t tan. I go from extremely pale to lobster red in a very short amount of time. Like babies, I have to use a sunscreen with spf 40 or higher. I blister easily and you can easily see where I did damage in my younger days trying to keep up with my friends who tan. Take it from me, the worst places to sunburn are under your hair, and the backs of your knees.
  • Avoid the most dangerous times of the day. The suns rays are the most dangerous for anyone between the hours of 10am and 3pm. If you’re heading for some fun in the sun, you’re get less direct sun before 10am or after 3pm. It’s best to avoid doing yard work or gardening during these peak sun times. If you must perform these activities during these times take care to protect yourself and know the warning signs of things like heatstroke.
  • Don’t be deceived by shade. I would give my mother the excuse of our pool being in the shade, to get out of wearing sunscreen. Trust me when I tell you, shade from a tree or other porous material will not protect you from the sun. You still need sunscreen!

  • Water reflects the suns rays. We’ve all seen people in movies who use those reflective panels to direct the rays. Like most, I thought, hey, I’m under the water, it will help protect me from the suns rays. While water does help diffuse the suns rays, it also reflects it back. So, if you wear the hat in the water, it’s directing those rays right back onto your shaded face and shoulders. Same rules here, make sure you wear the sunscreen. That tan is great when you’re young, but, as you age, that damaged skin begins to look like leather. The potential of developing skin cancer from those areas is also very high. The bandages and/or scars after having cancers removed from a place like your face are not attractive later. Indeed, if not caught, it can become something much worse than skin cancer.

  • Back to the fun. You celebrate family and holidays with a backyard bbq. Again, heavy hydration, will keep you healthier and cooler. Take frequent breaks from the heat and sun, on a patio, a porch, a pavillion, or in the house. Not only does taking such a break provide a temporary resbite, from the sun and heat, but keeps you from the overheating, that leads to sun stroke or heat stroke.

Stay safe and enjoy the summer fun and make memories you’ll cherish for years to come. I would love to hear how you spend your summer time. Drop us a comment letting us know. Don’t forget to like and share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pintrest.

Refreshing Summer Drinks

1 cucumber, sliced

1 lemon sliced

1 lime sliced

1/4 c chia seeds (optional)

Optional herbs I use mint with citrus or basil with berries. Just press to help release the oils contained in the leaves before adding to your favorite. Lavender lemonade is really good as well.

4 liters tonic or sparkling water

I love this style as it fits in the refrigerator door.

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I like this as it fits in the refrigerator door.

Mix all ingredients together in large gallon pitcher. Stir let sit several hours to infuse flavors. Add more tonic or sparkling water if needed. Serve over ice for a crisp, refreshing, and long hydrating summer cooler. The cucumber gives a fresh crisp flavor to citrus infused flavors. The optional chia seeds will soak up and release fluids as they digest. You can vary this recipe by adding different fruits. I like kiwifruit and honeydew melon as well as the cucumber. Intresting fact cucumber is already 70% water so adding some slices as editable garnish is a great way to add to the hydration in your glass.

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Bonus tip: If you forgot to chill the wine or taking it onto the patio, keep some grapes in the freezer. Green or red can then be added to your glass to keep it cool, without watering it down like regular ice.

Turkey Bacon wraps

These are a great lunch or dinner. They are easy on carbs and will have you begging for more. Best of all they are easy and not to pricy for a family meal. I made 13 and they fed 8 people and we had leftovers.

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Turkey Bacon Wrap

16 oz Spinach Artichoke dip

1 small red bell pepper (cut into small strips)

1 small bag tri-color slaw mix (I got my stuff at Walmart so we just had to pick it up).

1 pkg bacon

1 8oz pkg cream cheese

1 pkg fresh chives (I minced mine)

1 16 oz pkg extra sharp cheddar cheese

1 32oz pkg lean turkey breast sliced

1 10 CT pkg tortillas (we had 3 leftover from an open pkg that o used first)

Place about 1 1/2 Tbsp spinach Artichoke dip and smooth over totilla. We discovered they are easier to roll if you plce ingredients to one side. Next sprinkle with 1/8 cup shredded tricolor mix. Add 3 to 4 slices of turkey (o use deli thin slices). 3 or 4 slices of red bell pepper, add cream cheese. (I used 1/8th thick slices from the boxed pkg). Sprinkle with fresh chopped chives. Add handful of extra sharp shredded cheese then place single cooked slice of bacon. Roll tortilla like a taco tucking in the ends. They are even better if made a little ahead and allowed to sit in refrigerator for 45 minutes to an hour. The flavors meld making them taste even better. We served our with fresh veggie platter with leftover Spinach dip. We added fries for the kids involved but you can just as easily add veggie tots instead. We feed a mixed dietary family. These are a great easy meal. Easy and cool on the taste buds as the thermometer outside continues to climb.

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Don’t forget Father’s day is this Sunday. Show him how much you care with a great gift. Find some great ones here.

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