picnic food · salad · summertime

Picnic Salad

With Memorial Day coming, picnic season is in full swing!  I love a refreshing salad that removes the fear of food poison!  A salad dressed with a vinaigrette is the perfect recipe!

I’ve been making a fruited green salad for several years from Cooking Light, but in my Taste of Home magazine, I found basically the same recipe, only substituting the blueberries or pears with Watermelon!  I was excited to try this.  I love the presentation; it’s served on a wedge of watermelon.

 

Refreshing Watermelon Salad

4 cups cubed watermelon
2 Cups spinach
1/2  Cup red onion, sliced
1/3 Cup Blue cheese
Almonds or cashews

To make the salad, cube up watermelon and add slices of red onion and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  At serving time, add chopped greens (I used leaf lettuce).  Place the mixture on a wedge of watermelon and top with blue cheese and almonds or cashews.

 

For the dressing, I used my recipe for  another salad I make:

Dressing:

1/2 cup canned whole-berry cranberry sauce

3/4 cup orange juice (about one orange)

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger (I didn’t have this and it was still good)

1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients in a small jar. Pour over salad just before serving.

This will be a popular salad at your house this summer while watermelon is in season.  We LOVE it!

What is your favorite summer salad recipe?

denise a

Home decor · refreshment at home · Refreshment in marriage · seasonal decor · summertime

Decorate Your Home To Show Your Love

Refreshing the decor in my home seasonally is one way I show my love for my husband.  Does that seem strange?  What I mean is I want our home to be inviting – not just to our guests, but to HIM!  I want him to feel that happy sigh when he walks in the door and finds things welcoming and comfortable.  It’s never going to be perfect, and we don’t strive for that standard.  We just want it to be a place that draws us and others in, has a cozy warmth, and extends the love of Christ to any who walk in our doors.

Continue reading “Decorate Your Home To Show Your Love”

home · hospitality · refreshment at home · summertime · Uncategorized

Full Home ~ Full Heart

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This has been a full summer, and I’m not necessarily talking about how busy it’s been.  I’m referring to the fullness  in my home and my heart.  You see, we have had the joy of hosting many people here.  We have had our church family here in small and large groups.  We hosted prayer meeting, after service fellowship, children’s Bible Club and women’s Bible study.  I’ll share the events via some pictures and explanations.

Continue reading “Full Home ~ Full Heart”

Priorities · summertime

Time to Slow Down

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My favorite season is here – summertime!  I’m not especially a fan of the heat, but I love the long hours of daylight, being outside when it’s cool and/or shady, eating on our covered patio, working in the yard, growing tomatoes and herbs, and so many other things that include warm, sunny days!

I want to make the most of these summer months and enjoy them to the fullest.  I’ll be Continue reading “Time to Slow Down”

Dates · Refreshment in marriage · summertime

Family Friday – My Favorite Summertime Dates

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The sand drawing above is an annual event that my husband started doing years ago when we first started taking vacations to the beach.  He draws our initials in the sand, dates it, draws a heart around it and then we get a picture.  It always makes a memory and I think it also speaks to other people, too.  As a matter of fact, when this one was taken, several people, including a child, walked towards it, then nearly stumbled when they saw the drawing, not wanting to trample through it.  Of course it would have been fine, but it was like they felt were desecrating soemthing sacred and they wanted to help us preserve it. But I wonder, do we as couples trample over and desecrate our marriage relationship by not stopping to consider what we need to do to preserve it?

Right at the top of that list is making sure that we spend time together…we continue to date our spouse.  There are lots of fun things to do on dates in the summertime, and many of them cost very little! Here are some of our favorites:

  • Drives.  Whether we drive through the country, or an ocean city while on vacation, we love to drive through subdivisions or streets and look at homes and landscaping.  We turn on some music, roll down the windows and drive slowly.  It’s fun to see what others have done to their homes and also dream about what we might do because of ideas gleaned on our drive.
  • Back porch dates – Those cool patio lights make the perfect setting for a movie on your laptop or tablet out there, accompanied by popcorn or a treat!
  • Backyard dates – We pull out the  croquet, badminton or other yard game and enjoy some friendly competition.
  • Bike rides – So many places offer great trails.  Sometimes we even pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the ride and lunch along the path!
  • Ice Cream Dates – The only thing we ever order from McDonald’s is their soft serve ice cream.  We also love Chick-fil-A’s cones.  Often we’ll buy a half gallon when it’s marked down, and enjoy a cone outside on the swing.
  • Yard sales – We like to make a mental list of things we’ll look for – a piece of furniture for the patio, books, or antiques for decorating.  We load up on quarters and $1 bills and head out, newspaper in hand and scavange for the best deals on those items.

Don’t trample over your marriage this summer; make time to create favorite dates and times with your spouse!

Do you and your spouse have any traditions like our drawing in the sand that you do? What  fun plans are you making for this summer? 

Refresh your marriage,

Denise Signature 150 px

Appetizer · hospitality · summertime

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My dream of being a gardener is happening slowly, but at the steady pace of a novice.  I really have not much of an idea what I’m doing.  My husband is becoming quite the green thumb, too, as he helps plant, water and harvest our little raised beds. We have three now, and I was so excited to receive my newest edition of Southern Living this weekend and find an article about raised bed gardening! I really want to expand each year.  There’s just something so special about growing herbs, flowers and vegetables that you get the pleasure of using in your home and cooking!

One plant that was producing quite well last week was our Banana pepper plant.  I like them pickled, but I wondered how I could use them fresh.  Wellllll, I found a special appetizer that was A.Maz.Ing!

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These sweet peppers got filled with a little cream cheese mixture that had sweet red pepper, red onion, Cheddar Cheese, diced cherry tomatoes and a little salt and pepper.  I kept it mild.  There are some recipes that call for hot peppers, but we aren’t crazy about those spicy varieties.  So for our tastes, we kept it on the sweet and savory side, and it was wonderful!  I forgot to mention that the pepper gets wrapped in a little blanket of bacon before it’s popped under the broiler for a few minutes!  If you need a killer appetizer for a summer party, this is it!  Here’s the recipe and a little tip as to how I put mine together.

Cheese-Stuffed, Bacon-Wrapped Banana Peppers

  • 6 large banana peppers
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 3 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes – I used cherry tomatoes for sweetness!
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • ½ small sweet red bell pepper, diced
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 thick cut bacon slices, cut in half – I found that 1/2 slice of bacon was plenty for each pepper,but if you want to go crazy with the bacon, use a slice for each pepper.
Directions:
  1. Cut tops off banana peppers. Remove seeds.
  2. Combine cheddar cheese, cream cheese, tomato, onion, bell pepper, salt and pepper. Mix well.
  3. Fill a small plastic bag with the cheese mixture.  Cut a hole, about 1/2 inch in one corner.  Squeeze the cheese mixture into the peppers. (See picture below)
  4. Wrap with bacon slice. Secure with a toothpick. Place on a rack with broiler pan. Broil for 4-5 minutes per side until golden and oozing.

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If you have access to banana peppers, you need to try these appetizers.  They’re so good you might want to make them the main course!

Who else is gardening this summer?  What are you growing?

With love from my country kitchen,

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