Summer and the living is easy, or it can be with a bit of preparation. Whether you are planning a party for the Fourth of July or Labor Day is your day of summer fun, there are quick and fun ways that won't heat up your kitchen and will give you time to enjoy the festivities as well.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are at their peak and you won't find better flavor coming from a can or the freezer section. In fact, the ruby red strawberries, sweet juicy watermelons, sweet and tart cherries, and peaches that just run with golden goodness can be served just as they are. No cooking or prep work needed. They make up a beautiful centerpiece for your table and your guests can help themselves to healthy, luscious goodness.
If someone feels energetic, home-made ice cream just can't be beat. Add those just-picked raspberries or blueberries and you will not believe the great taste that your ice cream maker can produce. There are no additives or chemicals to worry about and freshness is spelled with an icy cold dessert that can be served with slices or cubes of simple pound cake, brownies, or angel food cake. You can even drizzle a bit of chocolate syrup over everything and a dream delight has just been created.
Salads are fine side dishes with little effort. A simple tossed salad with garden fresh greens, sweet red tomatoes, slices of tangy green or yellow peppers, and chopped pieces of fresh from the garden cucumbers and your work is done by Mother Nature. Serve with your favorite dressings, add that grilled to perfection steak or ribs, hamburger or hot dog and life just can't get any better than this.
Don't forget those throat quenching beverages. Iced tea with slices of sunshiny lemon or lime, iced coffee with a dab of fresh whipped cream, and fruit smoothies that can be prepared with a blender in a minute or two. Ice cream shakes or malts can be fun or cold bottles of just plain water are perfect drinks to round out any menu.
Whether it is just your family or a few friends, or maybe all the relatives are coming over this year, don't worry - think fresh and just picked and
your reputation as the chef of the hour will be remembered for years to come. Make your summer celebration a bright spot on everyone's calendar of things to do and places to go.
Arleen M. Kaptur has written numerous articles for magainzes and newspapers. She lives in Wisconsin and enjoys the natural beauty for inspiration. She believes that while this economy causes hardships for many, there are ways to weather the storm and enjoy each day - no matter the pressures, problems, and monetary setbacks.
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