There are some morning aromas that just wake everyone up in the morning...fresh coffee, the sizzle of bacon cooking, and a pan of cinnamon rolls baking in the oven. Everyone came running to the kitchen when they smelled the bacon frying for this recipe, and even more so as this wonderful caramelized bacon and onion jam continued to cook.
When I told them I was making "Bacon Jam" they turned up their noses and made funny faces...but there was no laughing when I finally let them try this.
OMG - so fabulous! This recipe makes two cups (two half pints of fresh jam), but it never lasts long.
BARBEQUE ROASTED POTATOES
I love barbeque flavor! If you like barbeque potato chips, you will love these tender, buttery, creamy red potatoes.
When we camp, I make these with a simple barbeque seasoning and cook in our trusty camp skillet or foil packets. After a long day of white water rafting or hiking activity, these are easy and delicious to make, and everyone just gobbles them up!
SKILLET S'MORE COOKIE
What is a summer camping trip without S'Mores? This delicious twist on a S'More is not only easy to make, but will cause much conversation about which is better - this fabulous treat or the original?
These are delicious, melty, fabulous. They may become your new camping favorite!
SWEET ITALIAN SAUSAGE PASTA
It is so hard to believe that summer vacation is already coming to an end for the kids - I'm not sure who is more sad (or hiding their excitement) that school starts in a week. For the first time ever, we don't have any school supply lists available at all, so I'm running blind.
All the back to school sales are well under way, and supplies are starting to look picked over. I absolutely know that the first day of school will result in lists of "have to have" items that are required the next day (usually for a grade), so I try to be proactive and pick up the things that I think the kids will need.
I cleaned out and organized my school supply cabinet, and we're in luck if they need crayons (I think I found about 26 boxes). The smell of Crayola Crayons brings me right back to my childhood, and a new box of crayons just makes me happy! And a set of fresh colored pencils and a rainbow set of markers and sharpies....does it get any better?
One more week of summer vacation...sleeping in for the kids, and a week before the craziness starts up again. Some nights it's a mad dash to get supper on the table, and it's always hard to guess how many people will actually be pulling up a chair to join us.
This delicious pasta dish cooks in one pan. Yup - only one pan, so clean up is a breeze for whomever is lucky enough to have that chore for the evening!
BANANA BREAD COOKIES
It is so nice to wake up in the morning and know that we'll be heading out on the water for a day of sunshine and fun. First up - check the weather reports and water conditions. We can have storms and swells on Lake Erie, but a beautiful sunny day and water like glass on Chippewa Lake.
The kids are all pretty well trained to pack their own "go bags", so other than packing a picnic lunch or something to grill for dinner, we are usually ready and out the door in short order.
Peach Mango Barbeque Chicken
This wonderful barbeque chicken is so blasted easy to prepare, and absolutely delicious!
The combination of barbeque sauce and peach & mango preserves makes the most delicious glaze ever - you'll be licking your fingers!
This recipe can be prepared either in the oven or on the grill - either way you are in for a treat!
The chicken is tender and extremely flavorful. You can use your favorite homemade barbeque sauce or if you are in a hurry you can use ready-made. We really like the taste of Sweet Baby Ray's barbeque sauce in this recipe, and I use Smucker's Peach & Mango Preserves. The balance between savory and sweet is perfect in every way.
Everyone was fighting for seconds on this dish, and we make it real often in the summer. For a change of pace, you can also use this sauce for pork chops as well. Either way, let me know what you think!
Funfetti Pudding Cookies
Don't you just love birthdays and sprinkles?
So many of our family and friends have birthdays during the summer months and at holiday times, and they always talk about being sad that their birthday parties are not as well attended as other birthday parties throughout the year. I'm not so sure about that - seems like the summer is the perfect time to get everyone together for a celebration!
These are a perfect little cookie to make to surprise someone for a summer birthday picnic! If it's not too hot outside, you can also make ice cream sandwiches with these - slather some Funfetti Confetti Ice Cream between two cookies, roll in some more sprinkles, and freeze until you are ready to serve.
It's true...you can never have too much funfetti, confetti or sprinkles!
The vanilla pudding mix in these cookies adds a little extra vanilla flavor, and the texture is smooth and rich. I just love teasing my baking testers with surprise ingredients and techniques. Nobody has ever been able to guess the mystery ingredient in these cookies - some experienced taste-testers have guessed if it is cream cheese. These cookies will stay fresh and moist for days, if they last that long!
I'm anxious to try this with chocolate instant pudding, or butterscotch, or pistachio. The possibilities are endless!
On our many trips down to Amish country, there are several places where you can purchase sprinkles in bulk. Bottles and bags, row after row, of colorful sprinkles of all shapes and colors. I always feel like a kid in a candy store when I try to pick something new to try, or to store for a special occasion.
When that isn't an option, another trick is to buy jimmy sprinkles in the ice cream topping section of your local grocery store. The sprinkles tend to be a little bit BIGGER than cake decorating sprinkles, and much more colorful. And a bonus - when you need a large amount for a recipe like this, they are also much less expensive.
Celebrate everything sprinkle with us!
GRANOLA with FRUIT & NUTS
A sunny summer morning is the perfect time to stir up a batch of fresh and flavorful Granola with Fruit & Nuts! This traditional homemade granola is so much better than anything you can buy at the store.
The maple flavor is delicate and the granola is perfectly chewy. Nuts and seeds add just the right toasted crunch, and the dried fruits add just a touch of texture and sweetness.
The great thing about this granola is that you can make it your favorite way, and include just the special add-ins that YOU want. Old fashioned oatmeal is joined by flax seeds or wheat germ. You can stir in sunflower or pumpkin seeds for an extra punch of texture and flavor. Choose your favorite nuts - almonds, pecans, cashews, walnuts....
And the fruits - where to start? For a camping or backpacking trip, its easier to add dried fruits than carry fresh fruits - raisins, craisins, dried cherries, dates, apricots, even dried mango. The possibilities are endless, and the taste is uniquely yours!
On a hot summer day, nothing screams relaxation more than a tall glass of fresh homemade, icy & slushy lemonade! And when you add some fresh raspberries, it is sublime...
This is so crazy easy to make, and MILE HIGH delicious! Great to serve as a wonderful finish to a great meal - and it always wows the crowd. Smooth, velvety chocolate, melt-in-your-mouth with English Toffee bits to tease your taste buds.
Four different chocolates combine lightly and wonderfully but don't overwhelm - delicate milk chocolate, deep semi-sweet chocolate, soft chewy chocolate cookie crust, and silky hot fudge drizzled over the top.
Now, you could go crazy and top with whipped cream as well, but I had to draw the line somewhere. This cool and smooth dessert is perfect on a hot summer night.
I shot a quick photo of this to Melissa and Noah in Missouri for the Fourth of July holiday, and they came back a day early just to make sure they could have a piece of this. Every bite was wonderful...and my guess is that we will be making this again before the summer nights are over!
FIREWORKS & FRUIT PANCAKES
BANG! What better way to start a Fourth of July weekend than with a breakfast of these beauties?
I have lots of smiles every morning that I make these. By this time each year, the summer fruits are at their peak - full of perfect sweetness.
We start with a base of our favorite homemade Buttermilk Pancakes - fluffy, light and tender. One, two or three, stack 'em up as high as you'd like.
I spread a layer of our favorite homemade jam on the top - Strawberry, Raspberry, or for today, our favorite Rhubarb Jam. Apricot preserves are also pretty tasty on these. (Which reminds me...they found my last stashed jar of Rhubarb Jam, so it's time to make another batch soon!)
Slice your strawberries, and layer a circle around the outside edge of the pancake. Add another layer or two of strawberries, filling in the empty spaces as you go. Top with some fresh juicy blueberries, and you are ready to go!
If you've got a banana lover, you can also start with a layer of banana slices before you start adding the strawberry slices.
And if you're really crazy, you could top with some fresh whipped cream. We prefer them without the whipped cream, but whatever floats your boat!
This was my favorite thing to make and EAT this weekend. Soooooo good!
Frozen Berry Yogurt Parfaits
These are so easy to make – and so delicious and healthy! These layered treats are not just for the Fourth of July – we make layered smoothies all the time that mix up our favorite flavors and color combinations. You can add your favorite vegies or fruits to the blend as well.
We enjoy these different ways as well - as a cool smoothie, as a frosty slushy (simply by freezing for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the glass), or freeze deeply for a sherbet-like treat.
As with any smoothie recipe you can flavor to your liking – experiment with peaches, raspberries, key lime – whatever flavor and color combination that you like!
These also make wonderful homemade frozen pops for the little ones. You can make a single flavor, or layer their favorites for flavorful fun in the summertime! So much healthier and fresh than sugary popsicles.
Is there anything more classic than a Fourth of July picnic?
Hamburgers. Hot Dogs. Sweet Buttery Corn on the Cob and Baked Beans. An icy cold American Beer, Old-Fashioned Icy Lemonade and Watermelon Slices...they are all so simple, so wonderful, so easy.
Throw in some all-American brownies and these wonderful Fourth of July Swirly Confetti Cupcakes and you have a party! Bet you can't each just one!
We had such a blast making these, but even more fun eating them!
What is your favorite part of the Fourth of July?
Is it the hometown parades, the backyard barbeques, swimming with friends and family at the lake, watching fireworks from the deck of a sailboat?
Maybe it's the squeal of little ones when they experience the breathtaking fireworks for the first time all over again. Perhaps its the pride in the family and friends that have served our country and fought for our freedom...marching to cheers from the crowd with our stars and stripes in the morning parade, or an aging grandfather making sure that our flag is flying proudly from the front porch.
For me, its the memories of Fourth of July celebrations from the past - fireflies, sparklers and fireworks at the lake, the memories of my children enjoying the fun of celebrating with family and friends with fun-filled picnics and fun on the water, and the new memories we make each year. For the dogs in our lives, not so much....they hate the day.
But the memories of my Mom spinning on a hillside at the lake with her grandchildren, twirling sparklers like she was a little girl again, is the memory that will live with me forever.
Happy Birthday America!
Cooking School Tip: If you need to transport cupcakes to an event or serve them in the summertime, freeze them before taking them! This will help prevent the frosting from melting and running - they are much more stable for travel when frozen, and by the time you are ready to serve, they will have thawed. Voila - perfect party cupcakes!
Buttery Sweet Corn on the Cob
There is nothing like fresh corn on the cob, quickly cooked, spread with lots of sweet butter and sprinkled with salt.
We all go into a corn-eating frenzy when sweet corn is newly in season and freshly picked – especially good freshly-picked from the neighboring farm stand! Remember, sweet corn waits for no one,and it’s best served the same day it’s picked. With every hour and day that goes by, the sugars in the kernels get more starchy and the mouthwatering flavor starts to fade.
Steaming is our preferred method, as the sugars don’t break down and the kernels are soft and tender. Whether you like it buttery plain, sprinkled with Parmesan Cheese, or grilled with Coconut Glaze, this is a true summer treat!
Four Cheese Ravioli Stars
Oh say can you see! Warm, sumptuous and colorful red, white and blue ravioli pillows are filled with a blend of white cheddar, parmesan, mozzarella and ricotta cheeses.
Nuvo creates these wonderful ravioli stars especially for the Fourth of July, These cook up real fast - only three minutes and you are ready to go. My family loves these two different ways - actually three, if you count the little ones that just like to munch on them plain, with no sauce!
I make a simple butter and herb sauce by combining unsalted butter, chopped herbs (basil, parsley, chive), chopped garlic and grated parmesan cheese.
For those that prefer a "saucier" version, you can use your favorite marinara or meat sauce and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
By the star's golden light - what so proudly we hailed as a fast and delicious light supper! Hope that you can find these and enjoy them as much as we do!
I'm Mama V and I am so happy you stopped by to visit! This is the place to find family favorite and kitchen-tested quality recipes, along with photographs and tips to give you the confidence to cook and bake from scratch.
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