If the weather where you are is anything like the weather we’re having, it’s HOT. Hot, humid, sunny, full-on summer — which means it’s the perfect time to be enjoying the most refreshing, cooling beverages. And this Blueberry Lemonade is definitely my favorite hot-weather drink lately. Since I first made it three weeks ago, from the blueberries I picked from the berry farm with Fearless Toddler, I have been drinking it (and making more batches) non-stop. In fact, I’m enjoying another glass of it right now, as I type this up. Really!
This Blueberry Lemonade has all the qualities of a perfect summertime beverage — it’s refreshing, tangy, citrusy, and sweet without being too sweet. The easy-to-make blueberry simple syrup has a delicious sweet + tangy flavor that marries perfectly and balances wonderfully with the tart, citrusy lemon juice. And how gorgeous is that bright berry color?! Poured over a tall glass of ice, garnished with extra fresh berries, lemon slices, and a sprig of mint, it’s as easy on the eyes as it is on the taste buds. A simple, delicious, lovely drink to showcase those beautiful in-season fresh blueberries. I hope y’all give this fantastic Blueberry Lemonade a try — I know you will love it!
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One of our local Nashville restaurants serves a coconut-crusted chicken that is hugely popular, and for good reason: it’s delicious. So, when I was looking for something new to do with chicken breasts for dinner recently, I decided to use that coconut chicken as inspiration, and make a version of my own at home. I found a recipe that looked somewhat similar to our restaurant’s chicken, made a few small changes, and voila! Amazing coconut chicken that is perfect for weeknight meals, ready in less than 30 minutes from start to finish.
And most importantly, it is scrumptious. The coconut/panko crust is wonderfully crunchy and crispy, and provides an intriguing sweetness that works really well with the tender, savory chicken inside. The original recipe served these like an appetizer, cut in small strips and served with a dipping sauce, but I wanted it to feel more entree-ish, so I kept the chicken breasts whole, omitted the dipping sauce, and served it with rice and a fresh green salad. The secret to the awesomeness of this chicken lies in the flash-frying it gets before being baked in the oven — that gives it that wonderfully crunchy, perfect crust. And this is a recipe where I encourage you to be generous with the salt. The crispy coconut crust is quite sweet, and a good pinch of kosher salt over the chicken when it comes out of the oven provides a delightful sweet/salty balance.
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Last week, Fearless Baby and I went on an adventure – we went blueberry picking! I was apprehensive, as we had never been to this farm before (and had never been blueberry picking, period) and it was a 45-minute drive away. If you’re familiar with toddlers, you know that combining a new activity with a fairly-lengthy drive is risky. Will it be a fantastic adventure? Or a catastrophe? In our case, it turned out wonderful. It was a weekday morning, and the farm was quiet, which made our berry-picking delightfully leisurely. The overcast skies kept the temperature from getting too high (and made for excellent lighting for taking pictures). And my daughter had SO much fun. She quickly figured out which berries to pick (the plump, dark blue ones), and which ones to leave behind (the green and pink unripe ones). After an hour of picking, our baskets were full.
Lemon and blueberry is one of my favorite flavor combinations, so I knew I wanted to make a lemon/berry dessert straightaway, and settled on this Lemon-Blueberry Cream Pie. And heavens, it turned out amazing. It has a sweet graham cracker crust, topped with a tart no-bake lemon cream cheese/pudding layer, topped with fresh blueberries + jam, then more lemon cream cheese/pudding, and fresh whipped cream. The combination of the crumbly crust, the smooth / creamy lemon layer, and bright pops of fresh blueberries is divine. We all loved it so much that we’ve decided this should be a summertime tradition: A mama/daughter trip to the farm for fresh berries, followed by making this delicious pie for the whole family to share.
And Nashville friends, I can’t recommend Kelley’s Berry Farm highly enough. Warm, welcoming employees, easy to find, and delicious berries. Take a look at their Facebook page for more information/hours if you want to visit, too!
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The 4th of July is this Saturday, which means that if you’re in the USA, you’re seeing lots of red, white, and blue this week — In flying American flags, in party decorations, in patriotic outfits .. and on your favorite food blogs. =) I couldn’t resist the excuse to post a red, white, and blue treat, and I specifically wanted to challenge myself to make something that was naturally colorful, rather than using artificial food coloring. Thank goodness that beautiful red and blue berries are perfectly in season here! These popsicles have three layers — a pureed blueberry layer, a sweetened Greek yogurt layer, and a pureed cherry layer (strawberries or raspberries would also be fantastic, but I couldn’t pass up some gorgeous fresh cherries on sale).
And y’all, these popsicles turned out just as I hoped they would – absolutely delicious, refreshing, and patriotically pretty. Two things worth noting: 1) The popsicles do have added sugar to each of the layers, which makes them delightfully sweet. However, you can absolutely omit (or reduce) the added sugar, which will make for a more-tart, but still scrumptious frozen treat. Adjust the sugar accordingly based on your needs and taste. 2) The original (Martha Stewart) recipe called for the three layers to be swirled together, but I chose to keep them as three distinct layers, mostly for visual reasons. The next time I make these, I will definitely swirl the layers together. Why? Because that sweetened yogurt layer is SO insanely, addictively amazing. I wished I had a little of that creamy, sweet yogurt in every bite, rather than just in the middle layer. Lesson learned — next time, I’ll just do as Martha says. =)
Happy Independence Day, Americans — I hope you all have a wonderful time celebrating this weekend!
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Summer has arrived in Tennessee — it’s sunny, it’s humid, and it’s predicted to be over 90 degrees every day for the foreseeable future. Even though lots of people loathe hot weather like this, I actually don’t mind it. As long as I have access to plenty of shade, some air conditioning, and cool beverages, I feel pretty comfortable. And steamy weather like this always inspires me to try out some new refreshing drink recipes — like this spritzer, with pineapple juice, lime juice, coconut water, + sparkling water.
This drink was super delicious, incredibly refreshing, and so easy to make. A little tart, a little citrusy, a little sweet, and unbelievably satisfying on a hot day. It’s definitely going to be my go-to drink for summer parties and cookouts this year! I love that it has a slightly fancy taste + look that makes it perfect for parties, but it truly is no more difficult to make than a pitcher of lemonade. It is fantastic just as written, and it would be excellent with a splash of rum added, if you’re wanting something a little more decadent. So, if you’re looking to jazz up the drink menu at your next summer cookout, give this simple, wonderful spritzer a try!
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