Tag Archives: summer

Sun Pancakes

I don’t really like to trash talk on the internet. I try to to keep things fairly amicable around here. But today I’m going to trash talk. I’m going to trash talk someone that you all know and probably adore.

He’s the life of the party. Everyone loves him. He’s all bright and cheery, hanging around all cool-like, with his sunglasses and his giant smile. All he has to do is peek his little head out and people everywhere gravitate toward him. He’ll wrap you in a warm embrace or brighten your day with his cheery disposition.


Bela Lugosi as Dracula

Well, unless you’re this guy.

Or me.

I’m talking about the Sun. What I ever did to him, I’ll never know.  But he hates me.

The Heartbreak Kid

We just got back from a trip to the beach. The first day, I slathered myself in SPF 50, covered up head to toe, and sat on the beach for a mere 2 hours. I still managed to get a sunburn. Story of my life.

I get a sunburn if I even think about the sun too hard. In fact, I’m getting burnt right now.

Sure, everybody loves the sun. But what has it ever done for me?

Summer Rental

Oh, sure, energy and vitamin D and photosynthesis and all that. Whatever.

Whenever I talk about the weather with people, I always pretend I’m in the Sunshine Lover’s Club.

“Oh it’s supposed to rain tomorrow? Darn!”

“Yes, it is great that the sun is finally out!”

“Oh joy! You’re telling me that it’s going to be sunny for the rest of the week?!? Wowzers that makes me so GLAD!”

I sing Oh Mister Sun and You are My Sunshine to my kids, sometimes even with a ukulele. They know Here Comes the Sun and Let the Sunshine In. I can even muster up a hearty chuckle when those Jimmy Dean breakfast commercials come on tv.

But it’s all a lie. A big, fat, gray-skied, cloudy lie. Because warm weather and sunshine make me kind of grumpy. There, I said it.

2. Justin Bartha, The Hangover (2009)

The Hangover

But enough trash talk… how about some yummy Sun Pancakes?

This is the pancake recipe I use.

Sun pancake

The suns vary, depending on the ingredients I have on hand. I like to do strawberries for the rays, or canned mandarin oranges. But the faces are always different. Sometimes I use blueberries or raisins for the eyes, and dried cranberries for the mouth. Chocolate chips make a frequent appearance. This was a lucky day for the Critics because they got whipped cream!

The Critics love these. Usually Don Corleone is the pancake maker in our house. But occasionally the kids ask specifically for sun pancakes. And I’m happy to oblige, even though… you know. They represent my archenemy.

I try to enjoy the sun, I really do. But I’ve also come to terms with the fact that I am, at heart, a rainy day kind of girl. Clouds and rain in the forecast make me smile. That’s just the way it is.

And I’ll spend the rest of my life searching for SPF 5000 sunscreen.


Tortilla Fruit Pizzas

"Keep your eye on the fruit." -Caddyshack II

I’m thinking Dan Akroyd had it right- the proper way to cut open a watermelon is to blow it up with a golf ball. I mean, it can’t be any messier than the usual way, can it? You could just have the kids stand around the watermelon with their mouths open, waiting for pieces to fly in. It could work.

But this is perhaps a neater way to eat fruit.

I wrote this recipe out for 1 tortilla, but it is very easy to make as many as you like. I made six, one for each of us, for lunch. This is a great recipe for getting the kids involved. You can put the fruit out in bowls, and let everyone “decorate” their own pizza. I didn’t do that, though. I said, “Go away, I’m making lunch.”

But next time, I promise to let them help. Cross my heart.

Tortilla Fruit Pizzas

  • 1 small flour tortilla
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • cut up pieces of fruit
  • 1/2 tsp honey


  1. Preheat oven to 425˚
  2. Place tortilla on a cookie sheet. Spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon on top. Bake in preheated oven for 5-7 minutes, or until crispy and starting to turn light brown.
  3. Arrange fruit pieces on top. Drizzle with honey. Cut tortillas into pieces, pizza-style, and serve.

Click here for printable

Tortilla Fruit Pizza

Use any fruit you have available. I happened to have kiwi, nectarines, plums, and cherries that I was trying to use up. This would be good loaded with summer berries, and perhaps a dollop of whipped cream. Or in the fall, with different kinds of apples and more cinnamon sprinkled on top. Use your imagination!

The Critics really liked these sweet little pizzas. I made Sarah Crewe‘s without the honey, because she doesn’t like it. Everyone else gave me lots of “Mmmmm”s and “This is so good!” and asked for seconds, even though there weren’t any.

So, even if exploding golf balls aren’t your preferred method of chopping fruit, you can still have a little fun with your fruit this summer. And make your Critics very happy 😀


This post is linked up at Designs by Gollum and Momtrends Friday Food.


It’s hot.

I woke up at 3 a.m. and the thermometer in my living room read 80˚. That’s just wrong.

Can someone please tell me if the period goes before or after the degree sign in the above sentence? It just doesn’t look right either way, and that’s the sort of thing that bothers me.

Sorry, I digress.

As far as I’m concerned, there’s only one thing appropriate to eat when it’s this hot.


Click on each image for the recipe.

I made this yesterday. Holy cow, is it good:

Watermelon Granita from The Pioneer Woman

This is so cute I can’t stand it:

Watermelon Lime Sorbet Slices from Food for My Family

I love when food is paired with the word ‘bombe:’

watermelon sorbet

Watermelon Ice Cream Bombe from Foodista

This looks interesting:

Grilled Watermelon "Burger" from The Nervous Cook

Watermelon and chicken is a refreshing summer combination:

Grilled Chicken with Watermelon Salsa from Kristine's Kitchen

This one’s for my sister:

vegan soul strawberry watermelon smoothie

Watermelon smoothie from Alisa Cooks

Or maybe you prefer:

Watermelon Smoothie Popsicles from One Ordinary Day

Watermelon is not just for kids:

Strawberry Watermelon Mojito from Baking with Basil

Or perhaps you prefer your watermelon with vodka:

Watermelon Martinis – Oh, sweet sugar baby!

Watermelon Martini from Bunkycooks

And of course, you could go old school:

Watermelon from God

Enjoy your watermelon, however you like it!

Sweet Iced Tea

I love sweet iced tea. So I never make it.

Do you have anything that you can’t make, or products you can’t buy, because you simply have no self-control around them?

For me, Nutella is one. I can’t buy it, because me + spoon + Nutella = regret. Although, I do have a Nutella recipe coming up soon… but I won’t buy the ingredients until the day I’m going to make it!

Oh, not just Nutella. No sir. Reese’s peanut butter cups. Or Reese’s pieces. Or pretty much anything with the chocolate/peanut butter combination.

Trader Joe’s version of the Oreo, in vanilla. So good. I can eat the whole package before you can say, “I love you, Trader Joe, run away with me!”

Soda. I don’t know why, I don’t even like it that much. But I can’t keep it in the house, because I will drink it all. You know what soda is? It’s a crappy reality show starring really annoying people that I can’t stand, that ends up on my t.v. no matter how hard I try to change the channel. I don’t like reality shows. I don’t want to watch them. But sometimes I get stuck on them, and I have to shamefully switch the channel, quick, before my husband walks into the room. At least Nutella is 30 Rock.

And sweet iced tea. I like unsweetened iced tea, too. But sweet iced tea is just so… summer. I love it. Sweet tea is no reality show.

Sweet Iced Tea

  1. Bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Pour over 10 tea bags in a gallon-sized pitcher. Let steep for 10 minutes.
  2. Squeeze out the tea bags with the back of a long spoon (be careful!). Stir in 1 cup sugar.
  3. Fill the rest of the pitcher with cold water. Chill.

Sweet Iced Tea

Do you know the Frog and Toad stories? My kids love Frog and Toad. There’s a story called “Cookies” that gets quoted around my house an awful lot. Frog and Toad struggle with a bowl of cookies:

“We must stop eating!” cried Toad as he ate another.

“Yes,” said Frog, reaching for a cookie, “we need will power.”

After eating too many cookies, they take the bowl outside to feed the birds.

“Now we have no more cookies to eat,” said Toad sadly. “Not even one.”

“Yes,” said Frog, “but we have lots and lots of will power.”

“You may keep it all, Frog,” said  Toad. “I am going home now to bake a cake.”

I love Toad.

Here’s to not having will power!


Tomato, Cucumber, and Onion Salad

Yesterday was Harrison Ford’s birthday. (It was my sister’s birthday, too, in case you are interested, but that doesn’t lead into my story). He turned 69. Am I the only one shocked by this? Do you think he is?

This is a conversation that I overheard in the backyard today, between two of my three Star Wars-obsessed children:

Batman: Do you think Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher are really in love?

Sarah Crewe: [laughing] Madly in love?

Batman: Yeah, do you think they’re ‘madly in love?’

Sarah Crewe: I don’t know. I guess so.

Batman: I wonder what it means to be ‘madly in love.’

Sarah Crewe: I think it means that you love love love someone.

I’m madly in love with my crazy kids. I’m madly in love with my husband. And if “love love love” is the true definition of “madly in love,” then I am madly in love with summer tomatoes.

My favorite way of eating a ripe summer tomato is sliced, on toast, with just a little mayo, salt and pepper. I also like eating them with fresh mozzarella cheese, basil, and a little olive oil. I like to just pick up a tomato and eat it like an apple, although it is pretty messy.

Yesterday I made this salad:

Tomato, Cucumber, and Onion Salad

  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 medium cucumbers, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small or 1/2 large onion, sliced thinly and separated into rings
  • handful fresh basil, chopped
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp crumbled feta cheese, optional
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


  1. Combine tomato, cucumber, and onion in a large bowl. Sprinkle with basil, salt, and pepper. Add cheese.
  2. Whisk oil and vinegar together in a small bowl. Pour over salad. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tomato, Cucumber, and Onion Salad

This is such a great summer salad. I often make a smaller version of this, with just cucumbers and onions, but this time the tomatoes were calling my name, and if you read this blog regularly, you know that I always listen when food talks to me.

My Critics liked it, for the most part.

Elmo: Some more? Please?

Batman: This is the best salad I ever had in my life!

Sarah Crewe: This is really good!

Don Corleone doesn’t like cucumbers, so he was excused from today’s tasting.

Curious George: It’s good. I think it’s the best salad I ever had in my life, too, but… I just don’t want any more.

I call that a success!

Since I am also madly in love with sleep, I think I’ll go start the bedtime ritual now! Good night 🙂

More Summer Crock Pot Meals

I promised more summer slow cooker recipes, and I never break a promise. Unless I promise you we can get a dog when you turn seven. Then all bets are off.

I haven’t tried any of these recipes yet, but I’m adding them to the list, and I’ll be trying them soon! If you try one, let me know how it turns out. Or if you have a great summer crockpot recipe to share, please do so!

Here’s a slow cooker classic…

Grandma’s Sloppy Joe’s from Finding Joy in My Kitchen

or, for something a little different…

Sloppy Chicken Joes

Sloppy Chicken Joes from Better Homes and Gardens

I really want to try this…

Cedar Planked Salmon from A Year of Slow Cooking

I’m making this one tomorrow…

Chile Lime Chicken Tostadas from Real Mom Kitchen

or maybe this one (isn’t the picture fantastic?)…

Pineapple and Green Chili Pork Tacos also from Real Mom Kitchen

and of course, we mustn’t forget dessert…

Step 7, 369

Black and Blue Cobbler from Fix-It and Forget-It

and another summer fruit cobbler…

Slow Cooker Peach Cobbler from 4 Hats and Frugal

I love using the crockpot in the summer because it’s less heat in the kitchen. And you know what they say… “If you can’t stand the heat, have someone else make dinner.”

Yeah, that doesn’t work at my house, either. So I stick to my slow cooker!

Happy Summer Cooking!

The Don’s Chili Rubbed Barbecue Chicken

My husband, known here as Don Vito Corleone, will be sharing the next few recipes, as they are for the grill, and I know nothing about the grill.

One of his favorite things to make in the summer is chicken drumsticks. He varies the seasonings each time, but a particularly good combination is:

The Don’s Chili Rubbed Barbecue Chicken

  • 2 tbsp  chili powder
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 12 chicken drumsticks (or other parts)
  • barbecue sauce


Hmmm… he didn’t really give me directions. So I will take my best guess.

  1. Combine the spices in a small bowl. Rub all over chicken. Let sit for at least an hour. Cook chicken on the grill and brush with barbecue sauce in the last five minutes.


The Don's Chili Rubbed Barbecue Chicken

The plate is kind of a mess, because we were so excited to eat this that I forgot to take a picture until we were halfway through with dinner.

The Critics had some chicken without the spices on it, because Vito thought it might be too spicy. As it turns out, it wasn’t quite as spicy as we thought it would be, but if you’re making this for kids, I think reducing the amount of cayenne pepper to 1/4 tsp is probably a good idea.

The kids may have had plain chicken, but I sure didn’t, and whoa, baby. This chicken is Good with a capital “Guh.” I had to restrain myself from pushing everyone out of the way to get to the plate.

I will be sharing more of The Don‘s recipes over the next few days. I’m so grateful he can cook!

Here are some other rubs I’m excited to try:
Jerry’s Texas Barbecue Rub Recipe
Jay’s Asian Spice Rub
Spicy Seafood Rub
Meditterranean Spice Rub Recipe
Linked up with Finding Joy in My Kitchen and Designs by Gollum