Summer Recipe:: Fire and Ice S’mores

While summer doesn’t technically start for a few more weeks, I always think of Memorial Day as the unofficial launch of the summer season. Is there anything more quintessentially summer than s’mores? S’mores are one of those gooey foods that are as fun as they are messy. Seriously. Have you ever NOT had fun making s’mores? I didn’t think so.

These fire and ice s’mores are a twist on the traditional. I’m adding homemade vanilla ice cream to mix things up. Of course, you can stick with the original ingredients, or you can give this one a try. No matter what, make s’mores a part of your Memorial Day Weekend gatherings.

Fire and Ice S’mores

You will need:

– Marshmallows
– Quality chocolate (try dark chocolate for extra indulgence)
– Healthy graham crackers – available at specialty markets like Whole Foods
– Sea Salt
– Olive Oil
– Vanilla Ice Cream (recipe below!)

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
You will need:
– 2 cups heavy cream
– 1 cup whole milk
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 1/8 teaspoon salt
– 3 vanilla beans – split lengthwise
– 2 large eggs
To prepare ice cream:

Combine cream, milk, sugar, and salt in a heavy saucepan. With the tip of a knife, scrape seeds from vanilla beans into cream mixture, then drop in pods. Heat cream mixture just to a boil. Whisk eggs in a large bowl, then add hot cream mixture in a slow stream, while whisking. Pour mixture into saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened and registers 170°F on thermometer (do not let boil). Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean metal bowl, then cool, stirring occasionally. Chill, covered, until cold, at least 3 hours. Freeze custard in an ice cream maker. Transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer.

To Prepare S’mores:

Have guests assemble their S’mores outside by the fire.

In the meantime prepare individual bowls or glasses with a scoop of vanilla ice cream drizzled with a teaspoon on Olive Oil and sprinkled with sea salt.

Have guests grab a bowl and dip their s’more into the ice cream.

*Cooks’ notes: ·To cool custard quickly after straining, set bowl in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and stir until chilled. ·Custard can be chilled up to 24 hours.

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4th of July Recipe Round Up

Hi Everyone! I’m Nicole, Annette’s web manager and friend, and today, I’m bringing you a 4th of July recipe round up. I’ll say it once, and I’ll say it again, the fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. For the past eight years, we’ve spent the holiday at the beach with my husband’s family, and we’re here again having a great time. It’s always so much fun.

Since we’re at the beach to celebrate, we’re always looking for easy recipes that we can recreate without much effort. We’re on vacation after all! Thank goodness for the power of Pinterest. I don’t know about you, but I always find some of the best ideas there, and 9 times out of 10, they’re easy to execute.

Here are some of my favorite 4th of July recipes that I found this year. On our menu? Patriotic ice cream sandwiches. And of course, we wouldn’t skip the sparkling sangria!

Photo by Pizzazzerie.

Photo by Pizzazzerie.

Kick off your holiday with an appetizer for a crowd. This cheese and onion dip with festive accruements had me at hello. It’s such a clever idea to cut tortillas into star shapes with cookie cutters. Then all you need to do is add stripes of red pepper for dipping, too and voila!

Photo by Gimme Some Oven

Photo by Gimme Some Oven

Don’t put away the cookie cutters just yet. Instead, use them again to make festive star shapes out of fruit for a sparkling sangria. This recipe sounds yummy and fresh. Add some red, white, and blue straws or cocktail napkins to really celebrate.

Photo by Just a Taste

Photo by Just a Taste

Photo by Freutcake

Photo by Freutcake

Of course, no celebration is complete without an easy dessert. We’ve got our eyes on these patriotic ice cream sandwiches, but this easy ice cream cake looks amazing, too! And if you decided to make both, I’d be okay with that too. It is a celebration after all!

Have a wonderful 4th of July!

xo, Nicole

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Epic Summer Grilling Menu

Hi Everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web manager and friend, and I’m back with one epic summer grilling menu. Like most of you, one of the things that I love turning to Annette for is a recipe. She just has a knack for creating something gorgeous and delicious. It’s so inspiring!

Since Wednesday marks the official first day of summer, we’re about to be in the thick of grilling season. We have a Big Green Egg, so we spend a lot of our summer evenings outdoors near the grill. Not only is it a quintessential summer activity, but it also means I don’t have to turn on the oven. Win win.

I thought I’d round-up a few of Annette’s summer grilling recipes from over the years. Not only are these recipes stand-alone favorites, but put them together, and they make up one heck of a summer menu. Invite your friends and family over for an evening of fun and food on the grill!

grilled-veggies

Awesome Appetizer: Grilled Veggie Antipasto

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Main Course: Lamb Burger

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Sensational Side: Watermelon Salad  

As always, I’d love to hear if you give any of these recipes a try! What are some of your favorite summer recipes?

xo, Nicole

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The Perfect Cookout Recipe:: Watermelon Salad

photo

Labor Day is just around the corner which means cookouts abound. This watermelon salad is the perfect last minute recipe for cookouts. I have been craving watermelon lately, in fact I have been using it with all sorts of salads and appetizers. I’ve found that it works beautifully with salt and Saba.

I use watermelon as I would tomatoes, and surprisingly, it’s a perfect substitute. Give it a whirl. This is the perfect summer salad to serve with grilled meat or to take along to a cookout.

Watermelon Salad with Feta with Saba
Serves 6
You will need:

– 4 cups cold cubed watermelon
– 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves cut in chiffonade
– 1/2 cup of crumbled feta cheese
– 4 tablespoons Saba
– 2 tablespoons of olive oil
– 1/2 teaspoon salt

To prepare:

Arrange the cubed cold watermelon in a shallow platter. Sprinkle with basil, feta, saba, salt and olive oil. Serve immediately.

I prepare this salad right before we sit down to eat so it stays cold, crisp, and fresh. If you’re taking it as a side dish, be sure to keep it chilled until ready to serve.

Enjoy xx

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Easy 4th of July Table Ideas

Hi Everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s blog manager. I am bringing you today’s post from lovely Seaside, Florida. Every year, my husband’s family ventures to 30A to spend a week at the beach, and we always celebrate the Fourth here and in style.

The Fourth of July happens to be my second favorite holiday (behind Halloween), and I like to decorate our beach rental’s table as best as I can for the event. Since we’re on vacation and away from our own bevy of vases, plates, napkins, and props, we have to improvise a little when it comes to planning a spectacular tablescape for the Fourth. And improvise we do.

Today, I’ve got a round-up of some of my favorite easy Fourth of July table decor ideas from some of my favorite go-to entertaining magazines. Search your own homes (and yards) for festive items you already own. Be sure to think out of the box and keep it simple. A little goes a long way!

Paper straws add just the right amount of pizzazz to your every day drinks. I have a stash of paper straws in my kitchen in just about every color. If you’re feeling extra DIY-ish, add a paper flag or pompom to each one.

hm_296843050c42196c_spcms

photo by Laurey W. Glenn via Southern Living

A centerpiece doesn’t have to be complicated. Round up bottles and vases in patriotic colors and add punchy red flowers for a bit of pop. Or, head to your own garden and snip a few hydrangeas in white or blue. Hydrangeas are in full bloom right now which is perfect for festive decor!

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photo via Better Homes and Gardens

rope vase centerpiece

rope vase centerpiece

photo by Laurey W. Glenn via Southern Living

Don’t discount found items in your home for a pretty place setting. Your red linens from Christmas do double-duty for holidays like Fourth of July. Pull them out & put them to use. I love the idea of tying flatware together for quick grab and go at a cookout, too.

place setting

place setting

photo by Laurey W. Glenn via Southern Living

Finally, a zhush-up a store bought cake with colorful summertime berries. Blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries take a typical cake from the market from drab to fab in no time. Guests will never know the difference, especially if you put it on a beautiful cake plate ahead of time.

vanilla-cake_gal

Photo by Nicole Hill Gerulat; Styling: One Charming Party via Real Simple

Any other table decor tricks I should know? Share them in the comments, and happy 4th of July!

xo, Nicole

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