Author: Stacie Billis

9 creative summer Sangria recipes to make you crave a trip to Barcelona

As much as we love margaritas, mojitos and skinny cocktail recipes, sometimes summer calls for a glass of wine. Not just any glass of wine, but a refreshing, chilled, fruit-filled glass of wine, better known as sangria. Check out these 9 unexpected, creative sangria recipes to find a version for every taste, mood and summer occasion, from laid back BBQs to elegant alfresco dinner parties, or even just a treat for a night in after a long, hot day. I can’t say that you’d actually find any of them on the menus of Madrid or Barcelona, but hey, you purists...

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5 phenomenal, boozy slushie recipes for grown up summer refreshment.

I grew up in New Jersey, where hanging in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven slipping on a Slurpee was, like, totally cool. So, yeah, I come by my love of slushies honestly, and now that I’m legally of age, I can drink boozy versions too. In fact,  I can think of no better way to cool down on a hot summer evening than with one of these grown-up slushie recipes, although these days I sip them on my stoop, Brooklyn style. Hope you enjoy!   How can I resist something called a Naughty Peach Slushie (above)? Well, I can’t. If you like the sound...

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The best ice cream recipes to help you celebrate National Ice Cream Day. Because we’re nice like that.

With my birthday coming up, I almost forgot to mention that July 20th is National Ice Cream Day. Thankfully I remembered in the nick of time, because the guilt of forgetting to tell you guys that eating tons of ice cream is your patriotic duty on National Ice Cream Day would have been crushing. Like, sitting on the couch, crying tears into my pint crushing. Instead, I can proudly make one of these fabulous ice cream recipes using our favorite ice cream finds or if you’re intrepid, homemade stuff you make yourselves. So many options. Just one day. It’s...

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The best cookbooks for summer, way beyond grilling.

Summer is whizzing by and before you know it, the peaches, tomatoes and corn will be gone. Before summer produce makes its sad exit, you’ll want to be sure to get in all the great summer cooking you can. The good news is that summer cooking is all about a light touch. It doesn’t get all that intense, except maybe when making homemade pie dough. (Though pssst, every single one of these summer pie recipes can be made with store bought dough). The even better news is that I’ve got five awesome cookbooks for summer that aren’t your typical summer cookbooks–no grilling books,...

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6 killer hot dog recipes to spice up summer: Move over, yellow mustard.

Hot dogs are a simple pleasure, I know, but even the classics can use a little jazzing up sometimes. Not that there’s anything wrong with yellow mustard (okay, there kind of is, but still…) but I suggest you ditch it for a moment and kick the grilling up a notch. You may never go back again. Hope you enjoy these six creative hot dog recipes, all the perfect kind of fun for your summer dinner table.   I’ve been seeing a lot of Asian-fusion hot dogs on menus lately and, having tried a few, I can tell you that this trend is a...

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5 spectacular summer Mojito recipes to celebrate National Mojito Day

Friday July 11th is National Mojito Day, which, if you ask me, is as good an excuse as any to whip up a batch and raise a glass to the classic Cuban cocktail. Traditional mojitos are excellent – you really can’t go wrong with white rum, sugar, lime, mint and club soda – but a celebration in July calls for summer flavors like those found in these five absolutely irresistible summer mojito recipes. Grab your favorite summer fruit and get drinking. I’ll be right behind you.   The Peach Mojito recipe  from Katie’s Cucina is perfect for right now thanks to peak season peaches. (And you...

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Phin and Phebes: Gourmet ice cream worth its salty caramel

The freezer aisle in even the most conventional market these days offers gourmet ice cream in every flavor imaginable. I’d started to think that this ice cream social was at maximum capacity until I tried Phin & Phebes, and oh boy am I glad that they’ve joined in. Phin & Phebes Ice Cream started as a weekend project between two friends in Brooklyn. Fueled by a belief that ice cream should be simple, fun, unpretentious and delicious for both kids and adults (yes!), they started churning out flavors so fabulous that they were able to sell their products at local markets. They...

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5 gorgeous summer pie recipes to make right now.

When I first started writing about food, seasonal eating was mostly a concept for food geeks. The idea of summer pies was laughable to all but those farmer’s market shoppers and serious gardeners. So I couldn’t be happier that only five years later, there is widespread interest in seasonal food. Especially in summer and with good reason – because even the coldest parts of the country are teeming with ripe, juicy blueberries, strawberries, cherries and (mmmm….) peaches. When nature gives us all of that good stuff, there’s only one thing to do: make seasonal pies. Immediately. As in now. I hope these five spectacular summer...

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July 4th party ideas: Easy red, white and blue recipes

I’m okay with the fact that most holidays involve a lot of cooking, but a party on the 4th of July should be easy and laid-back, summer style. Put out some sparklers, throw food on the grill, make lemonade—and maybe a pitcher of one of these skinny summer cocktails—and throw together one of these festive red, white and blue recipes. Then sit back and watch the fireworks–and I don’t mean the explosions coming from your kids.   Since I’ve already mentioned cocktails, why not start by serving up just one more. These Red, White, and Blue(berry) Margaritas  from Gimme Some Oven look gorgeous and sound delicious....

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10 camping recipes so good you may never go back to an oven again.

It probably comes as no surprise that my favorite part of camping is campfire cooking. There’s something satisfyingly primal about giving up my stove and cooking over an open fire in the great outdoors. And with the right camping recipes—like these 10 for every meal of the day—the results are incredibly tasty. Impressive, even. Too bad I can’t say the same about giving up my hairdryer.   A CAMPING BREAKFAST IDEA THAT’S NOT PANCAKES Pancakes breakfasts are easy enough to whip up while camping if you have a large griddle. However if you don’t, flipping flapjacks to order in a small cast...

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Cool umbrella stands: From modern to traditional, glam to just doing my job, ma’am.

I remember getting that last big piece of furniture for my house–years after moving in, of course–and thinking, “Finally, this is it!” It took no time to realize that a house truly comes together in the small, pretty details–at least the ones that the kids don’t destroy. My umbrella stand is one of the lovely accents that brings me a lot of joy and does an important job. Bonus: it doesn’t break easily. Check out these fab umbrella stands to add a touch of color, whimsy, or design to any size or style of entry way.   Traditional Umbrella...

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5 truly phenomenal milkshake recipes that will bring all the kids (and grownups) to the yard.

Popsicles and icies are good, but when you want something great you need to grab some ice cream, milk, and your favorite mix-ins to make a killer milkshake. This summer, if you want to make a frozen treat that will bring all the kids (and grownups!) to the yard, try one of these 5 milkshake recipes. I guarantee results. I can’t promise as much for your dancing. Key lime is one of my favorite flavors, and I’ve been curious about key lime-flavored marshmallows for a while now. I know that goes against all my natural food tendencies but, you know, everything in moderation....

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Vegetarian Father’s Day recipes for a bacon-free feast

This just in: Not all dads eat bacon. I mean, my own dad and the father of my kids do—like, they really eat bacon—but plenty of men are vegetarians and vegans. Or Kosher. Or they just don’t like it. So since all dads deserve to eat well on Father’s Day, I want to celebrate them too, with a menu complete with Vegetarian Father’s Day recipes. It’s even got hearty vegan recipes thrown in for good measure. Hearty Vegetarian/Vegan Mexican Dinner A Mexican feast for Father’s Day means tacos and I’m dying over these amazing vegetarian tacos at Wild Greens and Sardines. As the title...

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A whoopie pie recipe to die for, or a way to have them delivered if you’re not up to the task.

First it was cupcakes, then Rice Krispies treats and donuts, too. Next up on my approved-dessert-trends roster: whoopie pies. Father’s Day is the perfect excuse to get in on this trend and Batter & Cream, an online specialty whoopie pie bakery, makes it easy with this whoopie pie recipe that Cool Mom Picks has got exclusively for you. And this is no ordinary whoopie pie recipe my friends–this is their Chocolate Stout Ganache Whoopie Pie with Peanuts, which sounds perfect for Father’s Day, don’t you think? Or you know, any day.   Chocolate Stout Whoopie Pie with Peanuts (printed with permission) Makes 12-14...

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Here come more healthy kids snacks, if the Goodkid Kickstarter takes off.

We’re always searching for new delicious and healthy kids snacks, and we found another snack bar to add to the list. Goodkid bars are made with a short list of simple ingredients and I like that they have only 6 grams of natural sugar. For perspective, that’s nearly half of what you’ll find in other popular snack or energy bars. (Because kids totally need more energy—ha!) With a little Kickstarter help from us, these better bars can hit supermarket shelves, giving us much-needed better options in the snack aisle. Like with so many great family products, Goodkid bars were invented in the Mitchell family kitchen...

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Gourmet gifts for dad: 2014 Father’s Day Gift Guide

If your dad and baby daddy are anything like my dad and baby daddy, they love food. I can skip the clothes, tech, and even the cute pics of the kids and make their Father’s Day gifts deliciously edible. Which is why we present some awesome Gourmet Gifts for Dad in today’s installation of our 2014 Father’s Day Gift Guide series. Also, don’t miss our insanely awesome Father’s Day giveaway below, valued at more than $900! It’s filled with some of our very favorite Father’s Day gifts that we hand curated just for you. Or your dad. Or your grandpa....

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Sweet Loren’s: Frozen natural cookie dough as delicious as the so-not-natural at all stuff.

Hold onto your baking sheets, cookie lovers.  Sweet Loren’s all-natural cookie dough for ready-to-bake cookies has arrived and will make eating your favorite sweet treats way easier and with less guilt. Packed with 100% whole grains, natural sweeteners, and [edited to clarify] fewer processed and refined ingredients than similar products from other brands, these cookie doughs wait ready in your freezer and bake up in minutes whenever you–uh, I mean the kids–are craving a treat. Sweet Loren’s award-winning cookie dough was created by Loren Brill, a long time sweets lover and cancer survivor who committed to clean eating after her recovery. She...

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MOUTH introduces a new online liquor store for indie wine and spirits. Cheers to that.

By now it’s no surprise that we’re huge fans of MOUTH, a rocking online indie food marketplace where you can get anything from an edible gold chocolate Jesus to a gourmet food subscription filled with artisanal goodies like pickles or cookies. And now—praise that gold chocolate Jesus—they’ve launched an online liquor store just for indie spirits, wine and gifts for the imbibing set. We can’t decide if we love MOUTH more because they find the most delicious small-batch food products, or for their dedication to supporting indie food makers in growing their businesses. In true form, the curators at MOUTH are on the cutting edge of the indie spirits...

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7 delicious skinny cocktails for your summer drinking pleasure

I’m not one for dieting, but sweet summer cocktails can be surprisingly high in sugar and calories. It’s hard to resist the idea of skinny cocktails that are just as delicious as the original versions, only with a fraction of the calories–especially since it means I can have two for the price (so to speak) of one. Here are just a few that look like they might make my personal cocktail list for the summer when we’re entertaining, or just enjoying a little grownup time after the kids are in bed.   The Skinny Honey Bee Martini (above) from Family Fresh Cooking...

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How to make ice cream without a machine: Our favorite easy ice cream recipes

This weekend marks the unofficial start of summer (whoo!), which is also the official start of ice cream season (double whoo!) So break out the cones, whip up some homemade magic shell, and start making ice cream. No worries if you don’t have an ice cream maker, because we’re going to teach you how to make ice cream without a machine. And, of course, we’ve got lots of easy ice cream recipes so you can give one—or all—of these three methods a try and see what works best for you. Oh, the drudgery…   If we’re going to make ice...

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