I've shared a couple of posts in the Summertime series so far and in each I have mentioned the fun food we always enjoyed during our summer adventures. Today I thought I would share some of those quick, easy, cooler-kitchen-in-the-hot-weather recipes!
Lemonade the Healthier Way
We should have bought a cow when my kids were growing up, they drank soooooo much milk. But, when summertime sauntered in, stock in Kool-aid would have been more like it. I was troubled, though, by the lack of nutritional value in the nostalgic little packets mixed with an insane amount of sugar.... it was really flavored, colored, sugar water! Then, one day I stumbled upon this insane fact: Making homemade lemonade is crazy easy!! Are you ready for this?
1 cup lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1/2 gallon water
Bada-bing, bada-boom, and Bob's your uncle! I buy lemon juice and organic sugar in bulk at Costco and, I will admit, Kool-aid and regular white sugar is much cheaper... however... when the pennies stretch and allow, this concoction allows me to say "yes" to my kids guzzling back a few icy glasses full with less stress. As a matter of fact, it is loaded with vitamin C!!
Lemonade with a Twist
Take the above recipe and throw in a few cups of your favorite frozen fruit. We love raspberries and when you add blueberries as well, it has an almost Kool-aid-ish taste, only it's healthy! We had company this past week and my youngest daughter loaded our 2 gallon mason jar drink dispenser and threw a mixture of raspberries and blueberries into the insertable diffuser and our guests couldn't get enough of the sweet drink!!
Use the above lemonade with or without the fruit and pour into cleaned out plastic pudding, jello or yogurt cups. Cover with plastic wrap and poke a Popsicle stick through the center of the wrap (the wrap will keep the stick upright). Place in freezer overnight. To remove the Popsicle, place the cup in warm water or under a warm running faucet for a few seconds and the Popsicle should slide right out. When we first did these I didn't know about the plastic wrap trick, we simply laid our Popsicle sticks in the cups so that once the Popsicle was removed the stick was at a slant and this worked fine as well.
PB&J Trail Mix
I invented this fun snack on a sheer spark of pre-beach-visit kitchen adventure while trying to dream up a healthy and interesting treat!
Popcorn (plain or lightly buttered/salted)
Plain peanuts (no shell)
Raisins or Cran-raisins (or other favorite dried fruit)
I usually made my popcorn in a popper and, taking approximately 8 cups, I would add a couple handfuls each (equal parts) peanuts and dried fruit and toss. I would store in a bag or container and the kids always looked forward to snacking while resting between daring dives and splash-abouts!
(for bigger families/crowds, Costco has great deals on all of these ingredients)
Peanut Butter Balls
These keep best in the fridge and don't travel as well as other snacks. However, they are a great summer snack for the back yard and require 0 kitchen heating to make!
1/2 cup powdered milk
1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup finely crushed graham crackers
Mix well and then form bite-size balls. Place on wax paper covered baking sheet and refrigerate just until chilled (1-2 hours). Kids love helping with this recipe. I modified it from an edible play-dough recipe which calls for 1/2 cup oats instead of graham crackers! Once set, keep PB balls stored in airtight container in refrigerator.
**WARNING** It is not safe to give children honey when they are under the age of 1. If you have children around under the age of 1 I do not recommend this recipe in the event they could accidentally ingest the honey.
Cream Cheese Tortilla Rolls
The first time I had these was at a baby shower and they were served to adults!! The adult recipe calls for chopped green onions but I am omitting that to make this more kid-friendly:
1 package cream cheese, softened
16 oz. container sour cream
1-2 cups grated cheddar or mexi-mix cheese
1 package flour tortillas (any size)
Mix the cheeses and sour cream well. Using a rubber spatula, spread a thick layer on one tortilla. Roll tortilla and cut into thirds (for smaller tortillas) or fourths (for larger tortillas) and serve! Older kids might like these dipped in some salsa!
As my Summertime series progresses I may think of a few more recipes worth sharing. These are the ones I have alluded to so far. Our summers were host to not only my 4 kiddos, but often their friends from around the neighborhood. It seemed more cost-effective to find easy, stretchable recipes for feeding the 'crowd' and having fun. I would love to hear some of your great summertime recipes as well!
I pray your summer is blessed with good times right-where-you-are, good food with what your pantry holds, and great memories to last a lifetime!
By the way.....
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