Grilled Shrimp Scampi

Grilled Shrimp Scampi: a twist on the classic-fresh shrimp grilled basted in rich, buttery-garlic white wine sauce, topped with fresh mixed herb gremolata.

A couple of weeks ago I ooohed and aaahed at the adorable baby rabbits small enough to fit in a cereal bowl romping around my yard. Sometimes they’d come right up to the patio door. That was then. Now those little darlings have munched their way through my perennials and moved on to the vegetables like it’s their own private product market. Thankfully they don’t seem to have an interest in my herbs. Yet. So while I still have herbs left, it’s time to make Grilled Shrimp Scampi ~ a twist on the classic ~ fresh shrimp grilled and basted in a rich, buttery-garlic white wine sauce, topped with fresh mixed herb gremolata. This meal is quick enough to enjoy on a weeknight, but if you’re entertaining this summer, this is your meal. As light as white summer wine and loaded with flavor.

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Raspberry Mojito

Raspberry Mojito ~ a refreshing twist on the classic Mojito ~ tangy lime, a blast of cool, refresthing mint, a little sugar + fresh summer berries.

I’m usually a wine drinker but there’s something about summertime and the over abundance of everything from sunshine to fresh produce that practically begs for a cold, fruity cocktail like this Raspberry Mojito. I tasted my first classic Mojito ~ which isn’t fruity at all, but a citrusy combination of rum blended with a blast of cool, refreshing mint, tangy lime and a little sugar (stay with me, I’ll get there) ~ on a gorgeous sunny day in Mallory Square , a place in Key West where vacationers and islanders alike gather to watch the sunset. Some say Mallory Square is one of the best places to see a sunset anywhere. I can’t argue. It was breathtaking and that’s not the Mojitos talking. This Raspberry Mojito is a rum-based burst of summer fruit flavor with a twist of citrus and if you’d prefer a mocktail, skip the rum without sacrificing taste a bit.

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Garlic Butter Scallops Appetizer

This Garlic Butter Scallops Appetizer shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older. #Chardonnation #NotableSummer #CollectiveBias

Garlic Butter Scallops Appetizer: tender, pan-seared scallops in a light, lemony garlic butter sauce. Serve alone or nestled in risotto.

Summer is probably my favorite time to entertain. Fresh ingredients, beautiful weather ~ it automatically puts everyone in a good mood and entertaining in the summer is about as easy as it gets. What more do you need for a fun evening than family or a few friends, tasty food, some good wine and music to set the tone? I like to keep the food simple, yet special like this Garlic Butter Scallops Appetizer and while I used to find the wine aisle a confusing place, that’s no longer so. Read on and see what I’ve discovered.  

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Basil Spinach Pesto

Basil Spinach Pesto ~ a simple no-cook sauce delicious on pasta, pizza or as an appetizer, made completely in a food processor or blender.

I’m an accidental gardener ~ if I plant it and grows, it’s an accident. My oldest daughter has a green thumb that I’m pretty sure she got it from my husband. Every year we plant tomatoes, a variety of peppers and some other veggies that my husband meticulously cares for. They yield more tomatoes than two people could ever go through. I’m in charge of flowers and herbs. Every year flowers die off and need to be replaced and the herbs do okay, but the basil usually flourishes into a big, beautiful plant with the most amazing aroma and taste. There’s plenty for daily use in sauces, pizzas and caprese salads and a surplus that practically begs to be turned into Basil Spinach Pesto. If you aren’t growing basil you can still buy it practically everywhere and this recipe is spoon-licking good.

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Chai Tea Latte Milkshake

This Chai Tea Latte Milkshake shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CraftYourCool  #CollectiveBias

Chai Tea Latte Milkshake: 3 ingredients: Tazo® Chai Tea Latte Concentrate, ice cream & milk. Optional: top with whipped cream for a delicious summer treat.

As a child I logged a lot of miles on a bike I named Purple Haze. It was the 70’s; what can I say? Hopping on that white banana seat, hands tightly gripping the curled handlebars, streamers flying was pure, unadulterated summer fun. I could ride all over my neighborhood until the streetlights came on including a stop for my favorite treat – a chocolate cone dipped in crushed peanuts. That may have been the start of my lifelong love of ice cream. I’m all grown up now (most days) and though I didn’t drink coffee then, I can’t imagine starting my day without it now. I’m also a fan of Starbucks® Chai Latte so when I was asked to create a summer beverage to relax with at home, it was an easy ride to a Chai Tea Latte MilkshakeTazo® Chai Tea Latte and coffee flavored ice cream.

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Strawberry Peach Sangria

Strawberry Peach Sangria with Rosé : ideal summer beverage. Pairs with barbecue, spicy dishes, chicken, pork, seafood, charcuterie or grilled pizza.

How is it that we’re already into June? Temperatures here have thrown me off ~ upper 60’s during the day, some nights dipping into the 40’s. Finally this weekend we’re supposed to see temps in the 80’s and possibly 90’s, so this Strawberry Peach Sangria will definitely be on the menu. You’ve probably figured out by now that I like a nice glass of wine. No worries, nothing has changed. But there’s something special about sangria that makes it seem celebratory even though it’s as simple to make as Kool-Aid. Outdoor entertaining under a blue sky begs for summer beverages like Strawberry Peach Sangria and it’s not a coincidence that it contains my two favorite summer fruits.

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Layered Taco Dip

Layered Taco Dip: WARNING: it's too good to stop eating. Refried beans, spicy Greek yogurt, avocado, cheese, peppers. Just add tortilla chips.

Do you have a signature dish you’re always asked to bring to parties? My sister-in-law has had a few over the years: a Harvey Wallbanger Cake (definitely dating myself), a creamy chocolate layered dessert called Chocolate Olsen, then came her Dill Dip with fresh cut vegetables and her ridiculously delicious Cheesy Potatoes that she gave me the recipe for but mine never turns out as tasty as hers – it’s probably the love she adds to every dish. I don’t really have a signature dish, but anytime my youngest daughter comes over she: (a) is hungry and (b) asks “do you have stuff to make The Dip?”. I know exactly which dip she’s craving. It’s this Layered Taco Dip that made so many times I’ve lost count. The dip we devour it like wild dogs. 

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Mini Crab Cake Appetizer

This Mini Crab Cake Appetizer shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older. #Chardonnation #SpringWine #CollectiveBias

Mini Crab Cake Appetizer ~ gently golden crisp outside, lumps of tasty crab inside with a little dollop of Horseradish sauce on top.

How do you choose a bottle of wine? A cute label may catch my eye but I’ve gotten zapped on that method because cute doesn’t always translate into the flavor I have in mind. And labels say may where the wine is from, but they don’t describe the flavor. Until now. Notable Wines  launched this spring the first ~ and only ~ wines that highlight their flavor profiles on the front of the bottle so you know what’s inside even before the first sip. I love a good white wine ~ especially going into the summer season so I was anxious to try both the California and Australia varieties. They didn’t disappoint and both paired really well with this Mini Crab Cake Appetizer ~ gently crisp outside, lumps of tasty crabmeat inside with a little dollop of horseradish mayo sauce on top. You might say everything hit just the right note.  

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Spicy New Orleans Style Shrimp

Spicy New Orleans Style Shrimp: easy, baked shrimp in a rich, spicy buttery Cajun sauce. Serve over rice or with crusty bread.

We spent  few days this winter in New Orleans and though personally, I wouldn’t recommend going during Mardi Gras like we did, my only real regret is not staying long enough to taste more of all the amazing food. I guess that means a return trip is in order. It doesn’t have to be Mardi Gras to enjoy Cajun New Orleans cooking, like this Spicy New Orleans Style Shrimp. It’s a great one-pan, any-night meal and if you’re a follower, you know I’m a fan of Uncle Ben’s 90 second rice which gets dinner to the table even faster.

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Chickpea Tomato Cucumber Salad

Chickpea Tomato Cucumber Salad whips up in under 10 minutes with tasty flavors and a light lemon dressing! Great side dish or lunch.
  1. Dorothy was right. There really is no place like home. We just got back Saturday after a lazy month in Florida eating way too much delicious but not-so-good-for-us food, cocktails *may* have been served mid-afternoon, binge reading (list down below), kayaking, shark tooth hunting and toes in the sand most days. The trip was made even better with visits from our good friends and when our kids all came down for a week. Arriving home, there were all sorts of big girl stuff that needed attention like laundry, sorting through mail, unpacking and trying to get back on a smarter eating path starting with this Chickpea Tomato Cucumber Salad.

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