More Healthy Snacking

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Dates.

I’m talking about the fruit, not the activity here.

Why buy dates to keep in your pantry?

These Chocolate Peanut Date Bars are a pretty great reason.

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Dates are a natural sweetener and have a great sticky texture to help keep snacks together. They’re also a nice snack on their own.

These bars are kind of like a cousin to these 5-ingredient bars but with peanuts instead of almonds and the addition of chocolate.

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If you’re looking for a satisfying healthy snack that you can take to work, eat as a healthy dessert or anything else, these are a great option.

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Also, since I made these, I have been snacking on the leftover bag of peanuts, which are also delicious.

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 *Click on recipe card to enlarge or right click to save.

Simple Saturday: Boozy Mint Melon

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It’s been quite a while since I’ve put a cocktail up on the blog…and it’s been quite a while since we’ve had liquor in our cabinet.

We’ve been enjoying the local beer scene (Fullsteam, Big Boss, Wicked Weed) and inexpensive but delicious Trader Joe’s wines so much that I haven’t really thought about homemade cocktails in a while.

But, we finally bought a little bit of gin the other day, and I had watermelon in the fridge and mint in the backyard, so I started there.

This Boozy Mint Melon drink is super refreshing, smooth and light (but with a little kick, of course).

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Soup for Summer

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It’s no secret around here that I love to eat soup, no matter the weather.

But it’s also no secret that it is getting HOT where I live.

I thought since I moved north from Arkansas to North Carolina that I would leave the humidity behind and be enjoying 75-degree summers. I was mistaken.

It is heck-a humid here and very toasty. Nineties is kind of the norm right now.

So, this makes a bowl of hot soup sound a little less appealing. But what if that soup was chilled and refreshing?

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Simple Saturday: Summer Fruit Recipes

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I hope all of you have been enjoying the bounty of summer fruits as much as I have.

Unless you’ve got stained fingers and juice running down your face, you’re just not doing it right.

What a blessing it is to have more than three fresh seasonal fruits in my kitchen at one time!

Lately, I’ve been eating up peaches, watermelon, blueberries and blackberries especially. And I just got some cherries!

While it’s wonderful eating these things just as they are, I also do love to bake with them. There’s really nothing like the combination of warm, sweet fruit, some sort of crunchy topping or pie crust topped with cold vanilla ice cream.

Here are some of the simple summer fruit recipes that I’m thinking about trying:

-This Cherry Almond Crumb Cake combines some of my favorite flavors: almond and fruit and crumble!

-Some of the same flavors as above but with a custard AND a crust! Oh my!

-Roasted stone fruit + rosemary + shortcakes. Sounds like a win!

-If you’re not in the mood for baking, make a Watermelon Wine Sparkler or a Watermelon Ginger Mint Slush.

-Ok, it’s now clear that I have a serious thing for almond and fruit. Here’s all of that in a dutch baby. Breakfast, anyone?

-I’ve never thought of putting almonds in my crisp topping- genius!

-And then, there are clafoutis. My mom used to make ones like this for us with summer fruit.

Well, I hope that list has your wheels turning about getting in the kitchen this weekend! Happy cooking, baking and enjoying the best fruits that summer has to offer!

Summer Remix

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Summer is a time to enjoy family, friends and lots and lots of fresh, delicious food!

This summer, I’ve found myself making a lot of the blog recipes that I’ve shared with you in the past.

It’s interesting how each time you re-try (or remix, if you will) a dish, you find new tastes and enjoy the meal in new ways.

Kind of like those amazing, electronic remixes that I keep finding on Spotify (Imogen Heap, Bon Iver…I love them!)

Here are some of the think fruitful recipes that I have been loving lately (click on the name to go to the recipe page):

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A Gluten-Free Dessert

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Last week, I shared these delicious gluten-free Quinoa Stuffed Peppers with you and talked about being flexible with cooking styles.

Well, when I got the chance to make a gluten-free meal, I decided we definitely needed a dessert that we could all enjoy.

I googled “gluten free desserts” and was happy to find Healther’s Dish (an Arkansas blogger who I got to hear speak at my first blogger conference at AWBU) had a killer g-f Blueberry Cobbler recipe.

If I can still get a delicious, bubbly cobbler or crumble without the gluten, I’m in!

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Front Porch Fireworks

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This was the scene that I ended the evening on last night, sitting on my sister and brother-in-law’s porch, watching the neighbors’ colorful fireworks (and hearing their kids ooh and aah over them).

I was also eating Peanut Butter Ice Cream Pie and drinking a Prairie Bomb (if you know what I’m talking about, then you know).

I often find that some of my best reflections occur when I’m outside in nature or eating something delicious. You know what I mean?

As I sat there enjoying the rare cool night breeze, I was thinking that I have so much.

I have been given so much to live this life with…and I’m not just talking about possessions.

I’m saying God has given me (and all of you) so much to work with in this life. He has given me incredible relationships, friendships, my husband, my peaceful home, work to do and a chance to make a difference in so many ways.

Sitting on the porch was a good chance to think about how I’m using those things to make the world more beautiful, more live-able, more friendly.

I am a believer that every day makes a difference. Like one of my favorite bands, Switchfoot, says, “Is this the world you want? You’re making it. Every day you’re alive.”

I’m definitely not always the best at doing this, but I would like to try.

How do you find ways to make the world a better place? I would love to hear!

A Gluten-Free Meal

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It’s always good to be challenged and to escape from the norm, right?!

For the past year or so I’ve been trying to invite more people over for dinner. I love hosting and having people in my home…I just need to work on getting over the whole perfectionist hosting thing.

Challenging myself to cook for more people and get out of my sometime stir fry and pizza rut helps me get used to having people around and not worrying about every second they’re there.

I’m getting a lot better at this, and it really helps having a husband who’s happy to help cooking/entertaining.

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N.C. One Bite at a Time (Part 5)

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Hello out there!

How are all of you doing? I hope very well.

Believe it or not, it’s been another month since I highlighted what’s been going on with me and N.C., so here we go!

Guasaca

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I finally got to try out the fast casual arepas at Guasaca in Raleigh. I was not disappointed with the inexpensive little meat/veggie pockets (I tried the veggie and pork) that were full of flavor and spice. If you go, you’ve got to try the “guasaca” guacamole!

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