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Sesame Ginger Pasta Salad

It’s that time again, the Fourth of July weekend. Time for celebrating the many freedoms and privileges we’ve been afforded. Time for good food, tasty barbecues, fun times with friends and family, and plenty of fellowship whether it be around the picnic table or by the side of the pool. One of the staples at all of our Independence Day celebrations is pasta salad. And not necessarily the same pasta salad every year either.

 Sesame Ginger Pasta Salad

I recently decided to lighten things up, you know from our typically ‘heartier’ pasta sides, for the warmer weather of Spring & Summer. This new spin on a timeless classic is packed with fresh, crisp veggies, tossed with a ginger dressing laced with Asian flavor, and then topped with a generous sprinkle of fresh, sliced green onions and lightly toasted sesame seeds.

So if you’re looking for something a little bit bold, a little bit different, but totally fresh, consider bringing this to the potluck table this weekend. It pairs perfectly with just about anything a cookout can throw at you.

Sesame Ginger Pasta Salad

Sesame Ginger Pasta Salad 2

1 tbsp sesame seeds
4″ piece of ginger root, peeled
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp soy sauce
16 oz farfalle (bowtie) pasta, cooked according to the package directions, drained
8 oz snow peas, blanched
1 sweet red pepper, diced
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

Directions

1. In a small skillet, over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds, about two minutes or until they’ve turned a light brown. Set them aside.
2. Use a fine grater to grate the ginger into a fine sieve placed over a small bowl. Press out the liquid with the back of a spoon to get the juices out. Should yield about 1 1/2 tbsp worth of liquid. To the ginger juice, add the mustard, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, and soy sauce. Whisk all the ingredients together until the dressing is smooth.
3. In a large mixing bowl combine the cooked pasta, snow peas, diced pepper, chopped celery, and the dressing. Toss until everything is coated, and then put it in the refrigerator to chill. Serve cold, making sure to toss everything again right before hand.

Homemade Electrolyte Sports Drinks

It’s summer and the kids are soaking in every minute of it. There’s been fishing. Plenty of time spent at the pool. And of course bike riding, and any other outdoor activity you can possibly think of. Like running. So much running. And it’s great. Except then they come in soaking wet, clothes stuck to their bodies, dripping salty puddles everywhere and smelling like stinky little puppies. And while a good dunk in the tub solves most of this, it doesn’t help replace all that their losing in sweat alone. It doesn’t do much to re-hydrate them. Even if they do manage to swallow some bath water. Shoot, even the copious amounts of actual water their gulping down isn’t enough. And I’m not trying to keep them cooped up in the house, or have any kids keeling over from dehydration. So a good electrolyte drink is key to keeping the summer fun coming around here.

I’d seen this idea before, but have always been disappointed in my previous attempts at a good for you, and good tasting, homemade electrolyte cocktail. I’m glad I decided to give it yet another go after seeing Heather of Mommypotamus‘ recipe ideas. These drinks are perfect for hydration by replacing vital minerals and electrolytes they’ve lost. They’re also contain easily absorbed simple carbs that help boost energy, too. All of the ingredients contain key components that help during and after their exercise and recovery periods.

 Homemade Electrolyte Sports Drinks

Orange Twist Sports Drink

3-4 cups water (depending on the concentration you prefer)
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 2-3 oranges)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup, or more to taste
a few drops of Concentrace minerals drops (optional)

Homemade Electrolyte Sports Drinks 3

Herbal Cooler

4 cups herbal tea (citrus flavored teas work well, and we also like using berry flavored ones)
2 -4 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
a few drops of Concentrace minerals drops (optional)

Homemade Electrolyte Sports Drinks 2

Lemon Sports Drink

4 cups filtered water
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup raw honey, or more to taste
a few drops of Concentrace minerals drops (optional)

Directions

1. Mix all ingredients together and STORE in the fridge. Usually we make enough to consume at one time, but using honey (which is naturally antimicrobial) and keeping it cold in the fridge it has kept for up to a week..

Brazilian Strawberry Soup with Mint and a Coconut Cream Drizzle

Chilled Strawberry Soup is a perfect treat for any hot day. Matter of fact, it’s pretty dang spectacular. Just think of it as ‘slurpin up some Summer’. It’s smooth and creamy, and a perfect end to any meal, but also a totally excusable snack. We like ours rich and creamy so I opt for the full fat coconut, but if you’re looking for a lighter option, or counting calories, then you can use light coconut milk or even omit it altogether. You can add some extra yogurt to get the creamy effect, or more oj for a soupier effect, adjusting the sugar accordingly. Just taste as you go.

Brazilian Strawberry Soup

For us, as written, its perfectly sweetened, and however you end up tweaking it, it’s loaded with flavor from the strawberries. It’s cool and creamy, with just the right bit of texture from the puréed berries. The sons love theirs topped with a heavy-handed dollop of whipped cream, but for the hubs and I? It’s several fresh mint leaves and a drizzle of some cocnut cream. It’s so simple, yet so scrumptious. It’ll have you scraping every last drop out of your bowl and still licking the spoon.

and it doesn’t get any easier. Throw everything together, blend it all up, and voila! It takes 5minutes. Tops.

Brazilian Strawberry Soup

Brazilian Strawberry Soup

2 lbs fresh strawberries
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt (we’ve made this with plain Greek yogurt as well, but then added extra vanilla and sugar to taste)
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 -4 tbsp sugar
1/3 -1/2 cup coconut cream from can of full fat coconut milk, chilled overnight so the cream and water separate)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Garnish
mint leaves
orange zest
whipped cream or whipped coconut cream

Directions

1. Add all the soup ingredients to a food processor, or a blender. Blend everything together until the soup is smooth. We stop there, but if you want to avoid any seediness, you can go the extra step of straining the mixture through cheesecloth.

2. Serve as is, or chill for an hour or two. Garnish with a drizzle of coconut cream, or coconut whipped cream (whip the chilled coconut until soft peaks form), or a dollop of whipped cream, followed by a sprinkle of orange zest (optional), and a few fresh mint leaves.

Crab Rangoon Dip with Wonton Chips

No takeout order would be complete without a side of our favorite Chinese appetizer, Crab Rangoon. But I’m not always feeling fancy enough to spend the time to stuff and fold and seal an actual batch of the . So it really helps when I can scratch that itch by whipping up those same tastes into an easy, creamy, crabby dip instead.

crab rangoon dip with wonton chips

Love a good hot crab dip? well moms recipe needs to move on over and make some room I. The recipe binder. Here’s the hot crab dip of 2015.

And to up the ante, and to pay homage to the appetizer we love so much, this is ingeniously paired with wonton ‘chips’ instead of a freshly sliced baguette. But, if good bread is all you’ve got, by all means tear off a hunk and dig, or is it dip?, in!

Crab Rangoon Dip with Wonton Chips

crab rangoon dip with wonton chips 2

8 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 cans (6 oz) crab meat, drained, or the equivalent of imitation crab meat
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Wonton Chips
1 package wonton wrappers
cooking spray

Directions

1. Cut wontons in diagonally, and then cut again so you have 4 triangles from each wrapper. Spray with cooking spray and spread chips on a pan.
2. Bake at 350 degrees 7-8 minutes or until brown and crispy, set aside.
3. Combine all dip ingredients in a casserole dish reserving ½ cup mozzarella cheese for topping.
4. Top with remaining cheese. Bake, again at 350 degrees, for 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve with the wonton chips.

Sweet Corn & Cheddar Cheese Fritters

Every time the sons ask what’s for dinner and I rattle off the menu that includes fritters, I always get somebody asking exactly what’s a fritter (again) and whys it called a ‘fritter’ exactly. Like I tell the boys, I’m gonna have to be honest. I don’t really know. What I DO know is that for me, a good fritter is one where our favorite veggies are seasoned, battered, and fried up with love into a crispy, golden patty that begs to be eaten. They won’t be denied.

We’ve shared our famous zucchini fritters, and now we’re back with another equally tried and tasty version. Sweet corn kernels and cheddar cheese are the stars. They’re backed up with some green peppers and a handful of spices for a show stealing side dish.

 Cheddar Corn Fritters

Sweet Corn & Cheddar Cheese Fritters

2 cups corn kernels
3/4 cup flour
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper, to taste
3 tbsp diced green bell pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, grated
2 tbsp butter, melted
Vegetable oil for pan frying

Directions

1. If using fresh corn, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the shucked and cleaned corn to the water and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from water. Cut the kernels from ears of corn and then scrape the cobs with a table knife to release all the milk. Catch this milk in a bowl and add to the batter. In a large bowl, use a fork to stir together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, chili powder, if using, salt, and pepper) until evenly incorporated, and set aside.
2. In another bowl,  stir together the corn, corn milk, bell pepper, eggs, water and cheese. Add the wet ingredients into the dry bowl, all at once. Stir just until batter is evenly moistened. Stir in the melted butter.
3.Pour the oil into a large skillet, up to about a 1/4 inch deep. Heat the skillet over medium heat until it registers 350 degrees on a deep-frying thermometer. Using a serving spoon and working in batches to avoid crowding, drop spoonfuls of batter into the hot oil. This will make about 16 fritters total. Pan fry on the first side until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes. Turn once and fry until golden brown on the second side, about 2 minutes more. Remove cooked fritters from the pan and set on stacked paper towels to drain off excess oil. Season the fritters with salt, to taste.
4. If needed, you can keep the first batches of fritters warm in an oven at 200 degrees while you finish frying the rest. Serve all the cooked fritters warm, at once.

recipe adapted from Taste And Tell

Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce

Happy wife, happy life, right? Well even though it may be true in our house that if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy I have found over the years that if daddy isn’t happy, then we aren’t all that happy either. And the daddy in our house loves him some Thai food, even if mama does not.

This recipe though is a mutual favorite, which a badly stained page in the family cookbook can attest to. This mama doesn’t even like coconut (the only definite exception to that rule being a Girl Scouts somoa cookie) and I love this dish.

Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce

Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce

3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 medium red onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 14-oz can coconut milk, light or full fat
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp dried basil
1/2 tsp ginger powder
3 cups hot cooked rice

Directions

1. Cut the chicken into roughly 1 inch cubes. Place the cut chicken into a large bowl and set it aside. In a small bowl, stir together the curry, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, pepper and chili powder. Once they’re evenly combined, sprinkle the spice mix over the chicken, then toss together until the chicken is nice and coated. Cover the chicken and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour, but no more than two.
2. In a large skillet stir together the onion, basil, garlic and peppers in the olive oil heated over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Add in the chicken and then stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
3. In a separate bowl, stir the coconut milk and cornstarch together until evenly combined. Slowly pour the mixture into the skillet, stirring constantly until evenly incorporated. Continue to cook, stirring, until the sauce has slightly thickened and is gently bubbling. now stir in the ginger and let the mixture bubble for another minute or so, again stirring vigorously. Remove the skillet from heat and Serve over hot rice.

recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Grill Master Card for Father’s Day

Still struggling to find the perfect card for Dad or Grandpa tomorrow? This card is perfect for the grill master in your life on Father’s Day. It would also make an adorable birthday card. Super simple, and how fun are those Mike & Ike ‘hot dogs’?

 fathers day card 2

black/orange/yellow marker
paper or card stock
glue
red Mike & Ike candies

To Assemble

1. Fold and/or cut your card stock into your preferred card size.
2. Draw a black circle on the paper and color in the middle with orange and yellow to make ‘fire’. After that color some charcoal dots over top the fire with the black marker.
3. Use a ruler, a book, or some other object with a firm straight edge and draw diagonal lines across the circle to make the grill rack. Draw three lines on top of each of the candies for grill marks. Glue them down on top of the grill.
4. Write ‘Dad … The Grill Master’ at the top of the card and then your message on the inside. Done!

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