Garlic and Herb Dipping Oil

Herb and Garlic Dipping Oil for bread #summer

When it's steamy hot out, I don't want to spend time in front of the stove unless I have to. And if it's over 85°F I don't want to fire up the stove at all. This is our fall-back plan, our fail-safe, our go-to for a fast meal that is still company ready. We make Garlic and Herb Dipping Oil and serve it with a crusty loaf of bread that we either slice or tear, some fruit, and some cheese. This hardly counts as a recipe. Really. It's more of a reminder, really. It's a call to action. Or inaction, as the case may be. It's hot here now. It took long enough to warm up, but once it did, it almost instantly became both hot AND humid. I've got plenty of "must do" cooking in the summer; jams, jellies, preserves, pickles, etc... Those are non-negotiable. Those line my shelves for the winter months and we count on them being there. At the end of the day, when I've put in my hours of canning and preserving, I am not even CLOSE to feeling like scrubbing the kitchen and starting another project in front of the stove. In those moments, I call on things like what I'm sharing today. Garlic and Herb Dipping Oil. This is the linchpin of many of our hot weather meals. We add a crusty loaf of bread that we either slice -when we're feeling civilized- or tear into hunks -when we've run out of patience and want to eat NOW- along with some soft cheese, some fruit, and we're done. That's it. That's our meal. We take our time with it. There's something a little magical about this … {Read on...}

Shaken Iced Tea {Starbucks Knockoff} + Iced Tea Concentrate

Shaken Iced Tea {Starbucks Knockoff} and Iced Tea Concentrate from

I'm grateful that unsweetened iced tea is available at many restaurants now, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't flinch a little when asked to fork over $3 and change for a single, tall glass of plain old black iced tea, no matter how badly I wanted it. It's so easy to make your own high-quality iced tea concentrate at home and shake up your own glass with some ice and a little water whenever you need to quench your thirst. Why concentrate? Well, for starters, it takes up less room in the refrigerator than a giant jug-o-tea, but stick with me and I'll give you some other great reasons including directions on how to make flavoured teas! Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to Spark Naturals Essential Oils. If you make a purchase using my coupon code or after clicking on a link, I receive a small commission which does not effect the cost of the items for you. I'm a sucker for a good, arctic cold, iced tea when the weather is hot. My mom used to make sun tea that was just about strong enough to melt the jar in which it brewed. She would stuff a quart jar with eight to ten Lipton tea bags, pour as much water in the jar as it would hold, tighten a lid on it, and stick it out in the hot sun to become sturdy stuff indeed. When it was roughly the colour of tar, mom would decant it over ice and drink it happily. I almost always had to water mine down not only because my mom is far tougher than me when it comes to caffeine tolerance, but because I found it more … {Read on...}

Build Your Own Milkshake Bar

Build Your Own Milkshake Bar on

Can you think of a better way to kick off summer than a Build Your Own Milkshake Bar? Make everyone smile for miles with this crowd-pleasing dessert idea. This is a guest post I wrote for Blendtec Blenders. This is NOT a sponsored post, but I did receive a Blendtec Blender for review.   We are officially just days away from the official start of summer. It’s time to get your sundresses out of the storage bins, your fishing poles dusted off, and your grill fired up. It’s time for outdoor activities, fresh produce, and entertaining family and friends. Entertaining doesn’t have to take on epic proportions of preparation work to be memorable. Some of the best parties I’ve ever attended or thrown were ones where the focus was on simple dishes that gave ample time for visiting with loved ones. I’m talking REALLY simple, folks. As in deli meats on a tray, sliced bread, condiments and a pickle tray… Baked potatoes with a plethora of toppings in bowls… Cheeses, fruits, crackers, and a variety of mustards and honeys… Fresh, crusty bread with several jars of jam… These are the get-togethers I remember fondly. Do you see the commonality in each of those parties I remember so fondly? It’s the build-your-own aspect! It’s truly a please them all scenario. The host or hostess puts some effort into providing options for everyone, lays them out, and lets everyone construct the dish the perfect dish for her or himself. It’s win/win. The sure-fire party maker … {Read on...}

Grilled Pineappple Relish

Grilled Pineapple Relish goes with pork, fish, chicken, and beef!

You know what's awesome? This stuff is. I'm a big fan of fruit relishes and salsas as a fast way to add big flavour to grilled fish, chicken, pork, beef, and vegetarian main dishes. It is a salty/sweet juggernaut of deliciousness in one little fast and furious side dish. Pineapple relish or salsa by itself is a delicious thing and will forever live in my recipe repertoire, but GRILLED PINEAPPLE RELISH? Oh baby. This relish has it all for the summer. Fresh pineapple can be tricky to find where I live (read: next to a cow pasture in the woods in the middle of nowhere), but canned pineapple rings in juice are pretty ubiquitous. Interesting factoid? I have not one, not two, but THREE friends who are unrelated and do not know each other that have allergies to fresh pineapple but can eat the canned stuff because of the heat and pressure of the canning process killing a certain histamine causing compound. Wild, huh? What makes this relish so special is a fast trip to the grill for the pineapple. It doesn't take long on the grill -you're just leaving it in place on one side until it gets grill marks, flipping and repeating- and it doesn't take much fussing, but what a difference that couple of minutes makes! The heat, brief as it is, caramelizes the natural sugars in the pineapple and concentrates the sweetness, the char marks add a little umami and smoky quality. The grilled pineapple combined with the mildness of Vidalia onion, heat of jalapeno, citrusy quality of fresh … {Read on...}

Crispy, Creamy Avocado Fries

Crispy, Creamy, pan-fried Avocado Fries from

Avocado lovers, take notice! Ripe avocados are sliced, breaded with spiced up panko bread crumbs, and shallow pan-fried until crispy on the outside and creamy, dreamy on the inside. This is eyes-roll-back-in-your-head good. Crispy, Creamy Avocado Fries are simple to make with a huge payoff. Pair with the dip of your choice: salsa, ketchup, or Smoked Paprika and Chipotle Sauce. My husband took one bite of these Crispy, Creamy Avocado Fries. His eyes rolled back into his head and he moaned à la Homer Simpson, "Where have you BEEN all my life?" It's understandable, really. What we're talking about here is the ULTIMATE in snack food. It's fried (in a pan in shallow oil, please don't panic!), it's super crisp on the outside, and it's wicked creamy on the inside and it's MADE OF PRIMAL GUACAMOLE. Yes. I think of avocados-in-the-raw as primal guacamole. When I asked my dearly beloved what he would say to people about these Crispy, Creamy Avocado Fries, he said, "Tell them they're surprisingly delicious!" then he sighed deeply. This deep sigh was because he's trying to restrict his calories for a couple of weeks and evidently fried Crispy, Creamy Avocado Fries don't fit into those plans. Sigh from me, too. Being a good wife, I won't tempt the poor guy, but I have a hankering for them. That hankering is so strong, in fact, that I'm about to alter my 15-years-standing birthday meal request of my husband's Extra Crispy Fried Chicken Fingers to include these. Hey, you only … {Read on...}