graham cracker sandwiches

I must be the last person to see this recipe for graham cracker sandwiches.  I think it has been around for a while and hundreds of variations are on Pinterest now.

Even though this is not a new one, I just had to share it, because it is just that fabulous.

Select any type of graham cracker that you like. I found so many different types now including chocolate, vanilla, and low-fat cinnamon in the store aisle.

Using one carton of Cool whip whipped topping, spread evenly about 1 inch thick on one 2-part graham cracker.  Add chopped strawberries lightly to the top of the whip and then cover with the second half of the graham cracker.  Wrap in waxed paper and cover with foil on a small cookie sheet. I wrapped the whole tray in one large piece of waxed paper. Freeze for at least two hours before serving.

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Since there are a variety  of Cool whip flavors, that selection will also personalize your graham cracker sandwiches.  These are many fewer calories than an ice cream sandwich and are really quite tasty.  Leave the fruit out, add different fruit, sprinkle in nuts, or whatever is desired.  This is a create your own frozen delight recipe.

Very inexpensive and so far, everyone who has tried one at my house loves them. Great for treats after a barbecue or grilling out.  Great for kids too.

Raspberry Brie grilled cheese

How do you make a summer grilled cheese sandwich?  How about changing up the flavors to include a summer fruit?  I found a recipe on Stonewall Kitchen’s website for a summer raspberry brie grilled cheese sandwich.  Even though I did not have their product, I tried my other brand raspberry jam for an equally tasty meal.

This is a great recipe for summer picnics.  No need to worry about any of these ingredients spoiling in the picnic basket. Very easy to prepare and actually tastes good either hot or cold. It seems very French to me –so very European.

Use  sturdy bread, like a ciabatta, and spread with jam.  Butter each side before cooking.  Slice the brie cheese and place over the jam.  I usually butter each side as I layer into the panini maker.  This sandwich can be baked in the oven, grilled in a panini press, or heated in a skillet until the cheese is just melted. Slice the sandwich and pack for a great meal outdoors.

Picnic planning: Product review


Snow flakes are coming down in flurries as I am dreaming about summer picnics.  My husband looks forward to planning out a place where we can take a small lunch and just have a fun meal outdoors.  Now, we have a nice deck and yard, so every summer night we could eat outdoors.  But, the fun of a picnic is having different scenery and the adventure of taking out the picnic blanket and enjoying the memories later.

I have some favorite picnic foods that I often pack for these types of meals.  Little tea sandwiches with cucumber and cream cheese filling; fresh sweet Michigan cherries; mini tortilla roll-up slices filled with lettuce, crispy bacon and sun-dried tomatoes; cheese and crackers, pickles, olives, celery sticks with fresh herb dip, banana bread or homemade granola bars, any homemade cookie, and Mason jars of homemade iced tea. I love to wrap my sandwiches in waxed paper for these outings.

Over the years I have collected various picnic baskets and blankets just for this purpose.  I love adding to my collection.  Recently, I was given the opportunity to review a set of Hango high density fabric lunch bags.  I love these bags.  Both could be packed for a picnic lunch.  I will use one to keep my vegetables and herbal dip cool with the thermal insulation interior. The smaller bag will also have room to include my fruit and cheese.  For the larger bag, I plan to pack my drinks, sandwiches, and cookies with napkins.  Compact and durable, these cooler bags are perfect for a picnic.  They came in a 100% cotton drawstring bag which is also nicely fashioned. They have a lifetime warranty. #hangobags

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For more information, please follow this link:  http://www.amazon.com/lunch-bag-hango-insulated-investment/dp/b00p2t2boc/ref=sr_1_1?ie=utf8&qid=1419375634&sr=8-1&keywords=lunch+bag

open faced tomato sandwiches

all of my summer tomatoes have ripened and for the past few weeks, i have been making a variety of recipes to take advantage of their delicious homegrown taste. this past week, i made open-faced tomato sandwiches. this process is really not even a recipe, but just a personal preference on how to make a tomato sandwich.
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one of the best steps of the sandwich, is to grow your own tomato. if it is an heirloom tomato, then the sandwich is even better. i toast my slice of bread, add a smear of low-fat mayonnaise, a bit of crumbled crispy bacon, some fresh lettuce leaves, and then the sliced tomato. sometimes i even top with some sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

served with a side salad, this is one of my favorite “end of the summer” meals to enjoy for lunch or dinner.

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bruschetta with strawberries

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summer outdoor potluck season is back. i made this easy recipe for an appetizer garden walk party this past week.  it was perfect.

strawberries and balsamic vinegar have been combined for years in Italy.  recipes similar to this one can be found in many cookbooks, and can be a wonderfully refreshing addition to any backyard party.

i used a coconut balsamic vinegar, Fustini’s, as it added just enough flavor to make the strawberries extra tasty.  as a suggestion for a pack and go appetizer tray, i used a disposable foil pie plate with lid.  it worked perfectly with a striped napkin.

to make the French bread toasts:  slice and brush with olive oil first, and then season with herbs. toast for about five minutes at 350 degrees, watching for just the correct amount of browning.

to make the strawberries:  chop one container of strawberries and add 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, and mix with fresh basil that has been thinly sliced and chopped.  toss and serve.  the strawberries could also be served over vanilla ice cream.

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meatball sliders

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are you tired of the traditional summer sloppy joe?  or maybe, you are looking for a smaller portion burger to serve to your guests.  this recipe is very tasty and has just the right ingredients to make mini sliders for a party of 12.

using one pound of ground round, add about 1/4 cup of panko breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup of milk, and minced garlic to taste.  season with salt and pepper as desired.  combine the mixture and using a meatball spoon, form into balls.  bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or longer until done.

in a large deep skillet, add one tablespoon olive oil and brown one chopped onion.  add 3/4 large jar of marinara sauce to warm.  when the meatballs are done in the oven, transfer to the stove top skillet.  combine and prepare to serve.

using small slider buns, open and add shredded mozzarella cheese as desired, and then top with a meatball to serve.  i added dill pickles as well.

a great idea for easy breezy summertime at its’ best.  this meal leaves more time to spend in the garden !   enjoy.

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grilled red onions

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these tasty grilled onions have become a summer addition.  i almost can’t wait until grilling season to make this easy treat.  slice one or many large red onions into 1/4 inch slices.  spray with olive oil and grill.  those are the directions.

however, something special happens to these onions when grilled over an open flame.  the sweetness of the onion emerges, while the strong onion flavor mellows. the onions transform into a smooth texture which complements many meats.  i like to serve them over grilled chicken breast. either served with chicken, steak or burgers, these onions will make the meal upscale.

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