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Rosé, White & Blue

4th of july sangria

If you live in Arizona, you try to get out-of-town over the 4th of July weekend. If you are one of the unlucky few who are stuck here – welcome to the exclusive, yet unhappy, club.

We are in-town because we leave for a European river cruise in two weeks.  I know, I have nothing to complain about, except the heat!

Anyhow, I decided to make the best of it and host a Pot-Luck Pool Party. I invite 48 adults and their families. All but 12 of the aforementioned adults (along with two toddlers) are escaping the heat. Those lucky dogs!

That’s okay, the 12 of us are going to endure as we float in the pool, sip on this light and lovely rosé sangria and indulge Tram’s twins, Zak & Zoey, with all sorts of love and attention.

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July 1, 2016   2 Comments

Housecooling

the crew

Steve and Tram are building a new home. Their house recently sold and they have to be out in a month. They love to entertain but haven’t been in the position to do so for months now. The reason? Well, many of us know how difficult it is to keep our homes clean and ready to show at the drop of a hat. Imagine trying to do that with two full-time jobs and 2-year old twins. Talk about stressful!

last supper

Saturday night, the overachieving duo hosted an intimate dinner party. Steve was the stellar chef and pitmaster and Tram was the dessert queen.

a toast

It’s bittersweet to sell the house you brought your babies home to, so Tram lovingly called the evening The Last Supper. I call it a Housecooling, you know, the opposite of a Housewarming.

garnish picks

I created a new cocktail for the occasion, so in honor of Zak and Zoey’s first home, I’m attaching that moniker to the drink.

I’m already looking forward to the Housewarming Party!

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June 20, 2016   7 Comments

Watermelon Crawl

Kim sent me a video on Instagram from The Food Network. The video showed how to make a Watermelon Tiki Drink. Since Marissa was in town over the weekend for her best friend’s wedding shower, I thought it would be the perfect time to give the cocktail a try.

Watermelon Cooler

I’m calling it The Watermelon Crawl Cooler and I call it absolutely adorable and perfect for a summer pool party! I’ve even made a little movie for you. It’s at the end of the post. Oh, and be sure to turn on your volume – the song is awesome!

hand blender

You’ll need an immersion blender. The one in the video from Kim was fancier than mine. The edge was wavy and sharp and it cut into the watermelon.

press to score

Mine doesn’t have that ability, so I just pressed the hand blender hard onto the center of the watermelon to score it.

cut out

Next, I used a paring knife to cut around the score ….

remove top

… and cut out the top of the watermelon.

cut to level

Oh, and before you do any of that, check to see if your watermelon will stand or roll. If it rolls, slice a little off the bottom so that it will stand and be steady.

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June 13, 2016   5 Comments

LindaLand mocktail … or cocktail

When I entertain, I want everyone to feel special and loved. That means not only taking dietary restrictions and food preferences into consideration but also thinking of those who don’t imbibe. Often people think that individuals “of age” don’t drink because they have been through AA. But there are many reasons your guests may choose not to drink. A guest could be pregnant or trying to become pregnant (fun!) or it may be they’ve given up alcohol for Lent or for a diet. Or they are could just be taking a break from it after one of those, “I’ll never drink again!” weekends.

LindaLand Grapefruit & Rosemary Spritzer

No matter the reason, you want to offer them something more special than water, tea, coffee, Coke or soda water. You want them to feel like they are part of the party … because … they are!

Rosemary & Grapefruit Spritzer

I created this mocktail for just such an occasion. The best way to make all feel included is to create a full-flavored and well-rounded drink that tastes just as fabulous without alcohol as it does with it.

Not all cocktails can be turned into a mocktail. For instance, a dirty martini doesn’t make the cut. Your non-drinkers would basically be drinking olive juice with a couple of olives on a pick. That’s not going to happen!

LindaLand

This drink makes the cut and then some. I’ve named it after the nickname that Steve and Tram gave to my backyard because the main ingredients, pink grapefruit and rosemary, come from there. I’m calling the virgin recipe a Spritzer and the alcoholic version a Gin Fizz. Oh, and please don’t be intimidated by the length of the recipe. It is not at all difficult or time-consuming, it’s just my rambling instructions.

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June 9, 2016   10 Comments

the goat, the chicken and the fig

Here is a recipe that I forgot to post from a few weeks ago when Kim generously gifted me with fresh Mission figs.

junefigs

I have a beautiful fig tree of my own but I adore Mission figs and unfortunately mine is a Kadota fig tree. So Kim’s figs were a real treat. Thank you, Kim! xoxo

fig stuff

You’ll need only a handful of ingredients for this delicious and quick “anytime of the week” dinner.

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June 8, 2016   2 Comments

eggs in avocado

The peaches are all picked, given away or eaten. Makes me somewhat sad but also relieved. I can write about something else now! Plus, peach season continues at farmers’ markets, so I can always get my fix if needed.

avocado brunch eggs

How about a little something for breakfast or brunch?

avocado baked eggs

Avocado Baked Eggs

  • 2 large ripe firm avocados
  • 4 medium to large eggs
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Mama Mai’s S&P
  • Linda’s Southwest Seasoning
  • 1 medium ripe tomato, diced
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Plain non-fat yogurt
  • Hot sauce
  • Additional lime for garnish

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June 7, 2016   3 Comments

Peach pies with figs, cherries, apricots, blueberries…

peach cherry fig

It would be nearly impossible to have a “summer fresh fruit week” without a pie or two…or three.

peachy fruit pies

I’m so into the refrigerated pie crust that Connor turned me onto, that I bought a half-dozen boxes when I found them on sale at Safeway.

purchased pie crust

They are in the freezer and I’m “pie-ready” for the summer!

cherry pitter

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June 3, 2016   No Comments

grill pan dinner – fresh fruit week day 3

Kim gifted me with fresh Mission figs and sweet little plums. I know, it’s like a darn fruit stand over here!

figs and plums

I ate all the plums straight away and then worked the figs and all those peaches, ripening and being picked each and every day, into our meals.

grill pan chicken peaches figs

What follows is one of the quickest and easiest of the bunch.

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June 2, 2016   No Comments

Fresh Fruit Week – Day 2

The parade of peaches continues. Yesterday the peach salsa had the extra benefit of mango and strawberry.

Today’s salad gets an extra fruity punch from apricot.

almond crusted cheese salad

Dave is the salad lover in our family. I love soup. But I will admit, I do love this salad.

Oh, and I used the sliced honey roasted almonds from Trader Joe’s but plain sliced or silvered almonds, or any nut of your choice for that matter, would work perfectly fine. I would just toast them in a dry skillet or in the oven first. Enjoy!

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June 1, 2016   2 Comments

“Fresh Fruit Week” – Day 1

perfect peach

I have a peach tree in my backyard and boy do I love it! So much so, that I’ll be using the ripe juicy peaches and other fresh summer fruits in every recipe for the rest of the week. I really have no choice. The season is fast and furious and it’s a “use it or lose it” situation.

peaches

The peach tree I have now is a sweet little dwarf tree.

PKL peach picking

But back when we bought the house in 1999, I planted a full-size peach tree and was that ever a mistake!

Peggy picks peaches

By May 2003, the tree got so big and produced so much fruit that I could not keep up.

PALK peaches

The previous three photos were taken at a “Peach Pickin’ Dinner” where I begged my friends to come over and help me pick and eat peaches. We picked enough peaches to cover the entire kitchen island, and those were just the ones that were ripe that night!

2003 island of peaches

By 2005, the tree could not keep up either.

to the ground 2005

It produced so many peaches that the limbs broke under the weight of the fruit.

sad tree 2005

A couple of years later, we remodeled the entire backyard, so the damaged and sad big peach tree was out and the dwarf peach was in.

2016 dwarf

The dwarf is in the same place and it must be the perfect local for such a tree because it produces like crazy too.

cutting board peaches

Thankfully, not a kitchen island-full of peaches, but a cutting board-full every few days of the short season. Much more manageable!

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May 31, 2016   2 Comments