Category : Living

Fruity Cocktails for Hot August Nights
Take advantage of local flavors for summer cocktails

Fresh, seasonal fruit is one of the most fabulous parts of summer. Use your best farmer’s market finds to add a burst of flavor to your cocktails to cool you down on these end-of-summer hot August nights. Summer cocktails make the most of fruity recipes and frozen drinks. These recipes can turn any gathering into a party!

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Cocktails filled with fruity flavors

Sarah Hearts crafts a tasty cocktail with her Grapefruit Mint Granita Punch. Not only is this fruit cocktail refreshing and filled with citrus flavor, the color is gorgeous. It’s perfect for a brunch or afternoon party, when your guests can sip it in the sun.

Boysenberry Mojitos from The Devil Wears Parsley take a classic cocktail and add a fruity twist one doesn’t often find in cocktail recipes. The boysenberries can be replaced by any summer berry, but why would you want to do that when these are so delicious just as they are?

Cooks with Cocktails knows the only thing better than a delicious, fruity cocktail is a fruity cocktail that adds ice cream to the mix. The Raspberry Vodka Sparkling Wine Float needs to immediately go on your must-try list before the end of summer. With ice cream involved, you can consider it dessert, too!

The Drink Blog takes the quintessential souther summer fruit — the juicy peach — and puts its flavor to work in the Peach Lime Rickey. The fizzy cocktail works perfectly for days when you want something refreshing, bubbly, and not overly sweet or syrupy.

If you prefer your cocktails a little more savory than sweet, definitely try the Grilled Pineapple-Jalapeno Summer Cocktail from Chili Pepper Madness. Flavored vodka and rum mean this cocktail packs quite the punch, so proceed with caution and enjoy the flavor kick from the fresh jalapeno.

Chef Savvy mixes up the Mixed Berry Mojito in less than five minutes. The rum-based cocktail takes advantage of the abundance of summer berries, muddled together to create a cool beverage bursting with flavor. If you love mojitos, she has other variations to try, too.

Refreshing frozen cocktails

Maya from Treats and Eats describes the Strawberry Margarita Granita as part half cocktail and half dessert — a combination that sounds just about perfect to us! You can change the ingredients to make this frozen treat non-alcoholic, which makes it a fun option for a party where you’ll be serving kids or friends who prefer not to drink alcohol.

A Pineapple Margarita from Foxy Folksy helps cool off the summer heat. The frozen cocktail is adapted from the classic margarita and uses the fresh flavors of summer blended together for a sweet, icy concoction.

In It 4 the Long Run offers a Frozen Paloma that’s a truly refreshing frozen cocktail made with a burst of citrus flavor. It pairs perfectly with Mexican food, so serve it with your favorite guacamole and chips and enjoy the warmth of the summer evenings.

Busy Mommy knows sometimes you don’t have to leave the lemonade stands to the little ones. The Spiked Pink Lemonade Frozen Fruit Cups are a special summer treat for your pool party guests. With a little prep work, you can freeze these the night before — they’ll be slushy in no time if you’re outside in the sunshine.

No summer cocktail list would be complete without a watermelon-based beverage. The Tequila Lime Watermelon Ice Shots from Czech In the Kitchen make the most of summer’s iconic fruit. Whether you’re using watermelon you have left over from a summer barbecue or buying it specifically for these icy treats, you won’t be disappointed.

Please share your favorite fruity cocktail with us!
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Campfire meals make eating outdoors fun

11 Campfire Meals & Desserts

Roasting hot dogs is a traditional campfire favorite, but there are ways to add variety to your campfire meals. From s’mores with a twist to toasted sandwiches, cooking over a campfire can produce fun meals sure to please kids and adults.

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Campfire dinners for your hungry campers

Easy Campfire Pizza from The Culinary Camper is so simple even the most novice camping chefs can create it. With tips about how much charcoal to use and how to make sure all the ingredients make it safely to the campsite, the recipe will quickly become a camping favorite. Check out The Culinary Camper for even more delicious camping recipes.

The Gunny Sack offers a Grilled Margherita Sandwich as your next must-have camping treat. The sandwich combines some of summer’s tastiest flavors — fresh basil and tomatoes are to-die-for — and presents them in a camping-friendly way. You won’t regret adding this sandwich to your camping meal rotation.

Grilled meat often rules the camping menu, but the Cilantro Lime Pulled Pork from Foods Of Our Lives is something a little different to prepare the next time you go camping. The greatest thing about this recipe is its versatility. Even picky campers will find a favorite way to eat this easily-prepared meal.

You don’t have to forego cheesy nachos just because you’re camping. Cooking with Janica knows nachos are a crowd pleaser, and the Campfire Pizza Nachos definitely need to make an appearance at your campfire by the time summer ends. Kids can help put the nacho toppings on the chips, giving them an opportunity to participate in meal prep for a camping dinner they’ll love.

Campfire side dishes

Campfire food doesn’t have to be monotonous. Try the Middle Eastern Spiced Campfire Chickpeas from Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary. While chickpeas might not seem like traditional camping food, they’re a fantastic, meatless alternative that shine when cooked over wood. You can make your own spice mix — included at Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary — and use it for any variety of meals.

Olga’s Flavor Factory knows classic side dishes can be even better on the grill, like Grilled Baked Potatoes. Campers can choose and customize their own toppings before letting the potatoes cook. After they’re assembled, these do best when left to cook on their own, which means more time for campfire stories!

S’mores with a twist

Not all s’mores need to be a decadent dessert. The Big Man’s World offers Campfire S’mores Granola for a healthier twist on the gooey classic. The granola can be grilled or roasted over a campfire, so it can be pre-made before your camping trip or put together when everyone else is roasting marshmallows on a stick.

Sweet Peas & Saffron combines flavor favorites in Grilled Caramel Bacon S’mores. The salty, sweet combination is unbeatable almost anytime, but the warm, toasted marshmallow elevates the flavor combination to another level. Make them on a barbecue or make them over the campfire, but definitely try this version of s’mores before summer ends.

The Grilled Banana Boat S’mores at Create-Celebrate-Explore are the most adorable version of s’mores you’ll make this year. Heavy on the fruit, with a little bit of sweetness sprinkled on top, they’re a campfire treat you won’t mind serving to your little ones after a long day of camping.

Sweet campfire desserts

Bakes in Slippers has a warm Apple Crunch that makes every campfire meal end sweetly. Don’t forget your cast iron skillet for this one, and you’ll be amazed at how simple it can be to bake while camping.

Easy Baked Camping Apples from The Cookie Writer are a delicious, fruity dessert with simple preparation and even simpler clean-up. Tossing these apples atop a campfire can’t get much easier, and the recipe can be easily adapted to make them vegan-friendly.

What are your favorite campfire meals?
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The best beach reads are a perfect summer treat

Best books to read on the beach

Beach reading takes on a different meaning when you have little ones to chase after at the beach. The days of completely losing yourself in your favorite beach read won’t be recreated for another couple of years — unless you have someone with you to watch the kids. Moms need books that move quickly, make you smile, and are easy to pick up and put down without losing your place in the plot. Toss one of our best beach reads in your bag this summer and grab it in between snack sessions and sandcastle beach reads

The Status of All Things by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke explores what would happen if you could literally use your Facebook statuses to change your life (Barnes & Noble, $11). The night of her rehearsal dinner, Kate’s fiancé, Max, breaks the news that he’s leaving her to be with her friend and co-worker. As Kate takes to her favorite social media platform to cope, she notices her world starts to mirror what she posts online. While trying to show her friends what’s happening, Kate notices changes, but every attempt to get back together with Max is foiled. Soon, she begins to ask herself if she truly wants the life she’s trying to shape one Facebook status at a time.

best beach reads

Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave follows Georgia Ford, the daughter of California winemakers, as her perfect life begins to unravel in front of her eyes (Barnes & Noble, $17). Georgia’s life is filled with almost as many secrets as there are grapes in a bottle of wine — 800, as referenced by the title of the novel — and each of them threaten the relationships surrounding her. From a blistering truth about her fiancé to the inner workings of her parents’ marriage, Georgia is faced with how to move forward without sacrificing everything that’s been important to her in the past. This is the perfect read with a glass of wine — plastic if you’re actually at the beach while reading.

best beach reads

Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin generated considerable buzz for the jaw-dropping details revealed in Martin’s memoir about life on the Upper East Side (Barnes & Noble, $16). Tales of “wife bonuses” and cutthroat social maneuverings were fantastic enough to be true and entertaining enough to be fiction. Using a sociologist’s perspective, Martin, a Ph.D. “studied” the women living in one of America’s most prestigious neighborhoods. Later, the buzz turned to curiosity as fact-checking revealed some of the holes in Martin’s memoir seemed to be stitched with thread from her imagination. Either way, this is a part of society you’ll love to goggle over while digging your feet in the sand.

best beach reads

Oh! You Pretty Things by Shanna Mahin chronicles Jess Dunne’s climb toward fame in America’s west coast city of dreams — Hollywood (Barnes & Noble, $19). Jess thought she had no use for her estranged mother, but the failed actress might hold the key to a career upgrade for Jess. She bounces from barista to personal assistant for a film composer, where her cooking catches the eye of an almost-A-list actress. Climbing up another rung in the Hollywood status ladder is the only thing on Jess’s mind, until her mother’s secrets threaten to unseat everything she’s gained.

best beach reads

The Summer of Good Intentions by Wendy Francis shows how the chips in family traditions can threaten to splinter relationships (Barnes & Noble, $12). The Herington sisters are looking forward to a relaxing summer at their family’s Cape Cod beach house, and each of them has her own reasons for needing to recharge and reconnect with her family. Nothing’s the same as it was in the past, and when their mother decides to make a surprise visit with her new boyfriend, tension rises. Their father’s never gotten over their divorce, and old and new heartbreaks lurk on the shores of Cape Cod for the whole family.

best beach reads

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume blends nostalgia and unparalleled storytelling into this highly anticipated novel (Barnes & Noble, $17). The queen of coming-of-age young adult novels, Blume crafts a tale spanning three generations. The story begins in 1987, when Miri Ammerman returns to her hometown and begins to remember the worst year of her life. In 1952, air travel was new, exotic and filled with promise — until planes started dropping out of the sky. With her deft touch for poignant reality, Blume’s tale explores how each generation deals with technological change, how loss shapes families and how life, always, goes on.


What are you reading this summer?
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Brioche Pasquier is the no. 1 brioche bakery in France, established in 1936. They’re known for their authentic, specialized techniques and traditional family recipes.  As they’ve grown in popularity across Europe and now in the U.S., the baking process remains the same — with fresh artisan taste in each bite using natural ingredients. Their bread is created using a longer rising process that not only gives it a delicious and unique — it’s also the most natural way to raise dough and doesn’t require any added sugar!

We love Brioche Pasquier because it’s also free of trans fats, with no preservatives and made with non-GMO ingredients.They’re quickly becoming a favorite in the U.S., with products available in an expanding list of select retailers and local grocers, including Sprouts, Safeway, Super Target and Gelsons. You can search stores on their Facebook page.

Win a year of Brioche bread for your family

Kids love Brioche Pasquier for lunch

Kids love all their products, but the personal-sized Pitch is definitely a favorite! These delicious, individually-packaged brioche rolls are made with chocolate filling, or with chocolate chips, and are sure to satisfy any craving. They’re perfect for on-the-go bites, lunch boxes and mid-day snacks.

Win a Year of Brioche Pasquier

Or, you can win parent of the year by whipping up cool chocolate chip sandwiches using Brioche Pasquier’s Brioche Tressee (sliced brioche loaf) with Nutella and fresh strawberries, or even bananas and peanut butter!

Brioche for Breakfast

Brioche for breakfast

Of course, breakfast is always better with Brioche! Generously sliced Brioche Tressee is the perfect way to raise the bar on Eggs in a Basket, or a breakfast sandwiches. Or, one-up your favorite French Toast recipe with Chocolate Chip Brioche Tressee!

The Brioche Pasquier line includes:
Pain au Lait: Soft, light, sweet milk brioche rolls and slider buns.
Brioche Tressee: A delicious sliced brioche loaf made with butter and eggs; sliced for (French) toast, sandwiches or an anytime treat.
Brioche Tressee Chocolate Chip: A delicious braided brioche loaf filled European chocolate chips, and generously sliced.
Pitch: Individually wrapped and perfect for on-the-go bites, lunch boxes and snacks!

Enter below to win an entire year of brioche

Want to try all of them and see what you think is #BetterWithBrioche?
Giveaway ends 7/5/2015.



Rafflecopter giveaway

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Strawberry recipes are summer perfection

13 Summer Strawberry Recipes

Strawberry season means you can pick loads of berries, which is a fun activity even young children can enjoy. After you’ve filled up several flats with berries, you’ll need to figure out what to do with them, and we’re here to help. We’ve rounded up strawberry recipes to help you savor summer berries — from cocktails and appetizers to salads and sweet desserts.

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Strawberry recipes to start your party

Strawberry Shortcake Moonshine from Pink Heels Pink Truck will quickly become your go-to summer cocktail. After some trial and error, she found the perfect recipe to balance the tartness and sweetness naturally found in her favorite summer berry.

My Wife Can Cook offers a simple combination of ingredients for Coconut Rum Strawberry Daiquiris. Frozen cocktails are always a hit during sweltering summer days, and the coconut rum brings a tropical twist to a traditional daiquiri.

Eat Healthy, Eat Simple put together the delicious Super Simple Strawberry Peach Smoothie for an easy way to add some summer fruit to your meals. Whether you’re starting your day with the smoothie or using it as an afternoon snack, you’ll love the way it tastes exactly like summer.

Strawberry Overnight French Toast from Eat, Live, and Play is one of those breakfasts filled with flavor that you sometimes save for holidays or birthdays. Since you can do the prep work the night before, you can add this to your summer vacation rotation for a special start to any brunch.

The Banana Split Stuffed Strawberries from Spend with Pennies would make a tasty dessert, but they’re also an unexpected appetizer for summer parties. These can be prepped in advance, so you can make them the day before a barbecue and pull them out when needed.

Sensational strawberry salads

Blackened Chicken with Strawberry Salad from Paleo Leap combines two summer favorites — grilled chicken and sweet summer strawberries. The entire recipe is paleo-friendly, including the vinaigrette, making it a lovely entree salad for summer dinners.

Healthy Liv put together a Strawberry Salad with Poppyseed Dressing you’ll want to make for every lunch this summer. The sweetness of the berries and the dressing balances the salty pecans and feta cheese, providing enough flavor to complete a vegetarian meal.

Sweet desserts burst with strawberries

Grilled Strawberry and Nutella Quesadillas from Garnish With Lemon are a simple treat that seem more complicated than they are. Basically, they’re the perfect way to make your kids — or picnic guests — think you’re a grill master, while delivering a unique dessert.

Healthy Sweet Eats offers the Easy 5-Ingredient Chocolate Chunk Strawberry Frozen Yogurt that’s ideal for hot summer afternoons. While this treat looks decadent, many people will have each of the five ingredients readily available, which means you can make this anytime you’d like!

If you can’t get enough strawberries, then the Fresh Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Frosting is the dessert for you. Read Chop Eat created a cake bursting with berries — the frosting itself looks so delicious you might have to make a double batch just for dipping extra berries!

The Strawberry Rhubarb and Ginger Crumble Bars from Baking the Goods make me wish I had rhubarb growing in my backyard, because I would absolutely whip these up today. Strawberry and rhubarb pair beautifully, and the inclusion of the ginger adds a little snap to the recipe.

Little Broken gives a classic dessert a fun twist with her Strawberry Shortcake Cake. The cake is simple but delicious, and the brightness of the strawberries against the white, whipped topping will look beautiful on your table.

Strawberry Raspberry Yogurt Popsicles from Fine, Fresh & Food satisfy summer popsicle cravings while providing a bit of nutrition. The creamy, frozen treats combine tartness with sweet flavors to create a refreshing, satisfying dessert.

What’s your favorite way to use summer strawberries?
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Great Father’s Day gifts for dads

Father’s Day doesn’t garner the same sort of attention as Mother’s Day, but the fabulous dads in our lives deserve special treatment, too. Gifts for dads don’t have to be expensive — though we’re not saying you shouldn’t splurge if there’s something out there you know he’ll love. We’ve unburied five Father’s Day finds to make your favorite dad feel special.

Personalize his gift by including one of these adorable — and simple — Father’s Day crafts.

great Father's Day gifts

Dad will flip for this perfect Father’s Day gift

Whether he’s an expert on the grill or in the kitchen, this Hand Stamped Spatula will remind him of how much the family loves his meal time contributions (Etsy, $24). The stainless steel spatula can be personalized with up to two lines of text. We adore the play on words suggested with “We flippin’ love you,” but you can add names or another special message for Dad.

great Father's Day gifts

Common sense advice for dads — from a dad

In Raising Children That Other People Like to Be Around, Richard E. Greenberg takes the common sense hanging out in a dad’s brain and heart and creates practical tips for raising kids (Amazon, $15). Greenberg, the father of four children, knows dads — and moms, if we’re being honest — often question their parenting instincts. Are we doing the “right” things for our kids? Greenberg’s tips for helping children develop into people other people actually like draws upon the common sense and instinct he knows dads already have. With Greenberg’s guidance, dads will be able to put that common sense to use and realize they’ve always had the tools to parent their (amazing) kids.

great Father's Day gifts

House projects are more fun with the right tools

There’s always a house project waiting for dad’s expertise, and this sweet Personalized Hammer will make those projects seem a little less like work (Etsy, $18). The hammer can be used for years to come when dad and the kids need to work on something together — or he can preserve it as a keepsake. Personalized tools are a great addition to every tool collection, and there’s something extra special about being reminded of his fab dad status each time he opens the toolbox.

Father's Day gifts

A DIY project dad will love

DIY projects sound Pinterest-y and complicated, but the Texas Chipolte Amber Beer Brewing Kit is the sort of project dads will love to try (Uncommon Goods, $45). The kit comes with the ingredients for a full gallon of Amber brew, or ten 12-ounce bottles. We think the Texas Chipolte Amber will pair beautifully with grilled summer burgers and s’mores. Refills are available, as are other types of beer if he falls in love with brewing after his first attempt.

Father's Day gifts

Let him take the kids golfing — without taking the kids golfing

Even the most devoted dads need some time to themselves, and the golf course is the perfect setting for dads to hang out with each other. He’ll never question which ball is his with these Photo Perfect Personalized Golf Ball Set from Callaway (Personalization Mall, $43). They’re a fun way to give him a break while keeping his mind on the adorable faces waiting to welcome him home.


Have you thought about how to spoil the dad in your life this year?
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Nearly every mom jokes around that shopping is her therapy — that it’s what she does to find happiness after a way-too-long day with her kids or to revive herself after a crazy work week. But, what if we told you that shopping, and more specifically saving when you shop, is scientifically proven to make you happy?

Shop with Plenti, save more, feel happier

How to Save with Plenti

According to Dr. Paul Zak, Founding Director of the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, when measuring neurochemicals affecting happiness and stress, happiness levels rise and stress levels decrease when shoppers receive a monetary reward while shopping, just like the ones they receive when using Plenti, the new rewards program.

In fact, not only did shoppers feel happy when they received monetary rewards for shopping, but they were actually shown to be happier than if they’d received a chocolate bar instead! According to the study, shoppers who received a modest monetary reward after shopping had elevated oxytocin levels of 67%, compared to a 12% elevated level for shoppers who received chocolate instead.

And, even more importantly, this happiness lasts. Dr. Zak’s study also showed that receiving monetary rewards has a lasting effect on shoppers, with reports of a 20% sustained happiness level one week after receiving the monetary reward.

How you can use Plenti to shop… and be happy!

Does shopping make you happier?

Here’s what you probably want to know… How can you use the Plenti to earn rewards and be happier when you shop?

Start by signing up on the Plenti website. You can join for free and you’ll receive membership rewards immediately, just for joining!

You can also simply download the Plenti app on your smartphone or tablet to sign-up and start earning rewards on the go as you shop. Your Plenti card is accessible on the app — just pull it up when you’re checking out and the retailer will scan the barcode on your phone to add your Plenti points to your account.

Once you have your Plenti rewards card — either via mail if you signed up online or on your phone if you’re using the app — look through their partner retailers and brands to start shopping and earning! Current partners include Macy’s, AT&T, Exxon Mobil, Nationwide Insurance, Rite Aid, Direct Energy, Enterprise and Hulu.

Want to see how we shopped with Plenti? See how we used Plenti to shop for our summer BBQ.

Remember that you can also earn rewards on Plenti when you pay your bills at Plenti partners and then use the rewards to shop. For example, use Plenti the next time you pay your Nationwide bill, and then use the rewards you earned to shop at Rite Aid.

A little extra dose of happiness when we shop? Yes, please.

This was a sponsored post as part of a brand ambassador program for Plenti, operated by American Express.

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Summer appetizers and dessert recipes you’ll adore

13 Delicious BBQ Side Dishes

Once you’ve determined your favorite BBQ recipe, you need to find your perfect picnic side dishes. Whether you’ve volunteered to make an appetizer, bring a salad or wow your friends with an amazing dessert, our picnic dishes roundup is your go-to recipe source for the whole summer.

In case you missed them, we shared our 13 favorite, fabulous barbecue recipes!
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Simple sides for your summer cookout

Stuffed mushrooms can be tweaked to match a variety of menus, and the BBQ Chicken Pepper Jack Stuffed Mushrooms from Life as a Strawberry are the perfect fit for your picnic menu. With only five ingredients, these don’t take long to prep at all, but the flavorful appetizer makes you seem like a gourmet in the kitchen.

Grilled Artichokes are simple, amazing and something special when you pop them on the grill. Haaps and Barley shares her tips for making sure you get them right every time — veggies have never been so in-demand.

Homemade Barbecue Potato Chips are easier to make than you would expect — and a delicious alternative to any barbecue chip you can find in the store. Chocolate Moosey offers both baked and fried versions of the tasty treats, so you can decide on the cooking method that works best for you.

No picnic is complete without baked beans, and Spoonshine will help yours shine with her recipe for Pork Belly Baked Beans. The hearty version of a picnic classic uses crisp pork belly— and you can vary the beans you use to tailor the recipe to your tastes.

Simply Sated offers another alternative to traditional baked beans. Her Apple Brown Sugar Baked Beans are filled with flavor — and bacon — without veering too far from a traditional recipe. Simple to prepare, these special beans will become a barbecue staple this summer.

Summer side salads you’ll love

An Easy Bean Salad is the perfect dish if you need to toss something together at the last minute. Food Fanatic‘s vinaigrette makes this salad special — and you can add feta cheese if you want another layer of flavor at your barbecue.

Black Bean and Mango Quinoa Salad from Chelsea’s Healthy Kitchen combines sweet and savory in a lovely summer salad. The quinoa pumps up the filling factor of the salad, so it can work as a side dish or a complete meal for your vegetarian friends at your summer cookout.

The Orzo Cucumber Salad from Where is My Spoon? is a light — but filling — summer pasta salad that pairs well with anything you’re grilling. Using orzo is a fun twist on traditional pasta salads, and this one pops with summer flavor.

The Wright Family Table brings you a Carmelized Leek, Bacon, and Goat Cheese Potato Salad. While potato salad is definitely a picnic staple, traditional versions with mayonnaise can seem heavy during sweltering days. This version is light and packed with flavor, making it a healthier — and delicious — alternative to your classic recipe.

Picnic desserts to satisfy any sweet tooth

Sugar Apron shares her Strawberry Shortcake Kabobs, and they are going to be a dessert you make over and over again. The light dessert can be prepped ahead of time, which is key in the summer when you find your schedule interrupted by impromptu games outside or trips to the park.

Blackberry Cornmeal Shortcakes from Ashley Marie’s Kitchen take full advantage of mouth-watering summer blackberries.The cornmeal adds a bit of crunch to traditional shortcakes, which takes the simple dessert to a new level of deliciousness.

Glazed Orange Poppy Seed Bars from Sally’s Baking Addiction boast an unbeatable combination of white chocolate and fruit flavor. A cross between a blondie and a cake, these delectable bars will disappear quickly — make a double batch so everyone can try them.

Every summer cookout needs cupcakes, and the Lemon Lime Refresher Cupcakes from Virtually Yours are a refreshing take on a super sweet cupcake. The tartness of the lemon and lime flavors keep these cupcakes from being overly sweet, so they’re an ideal dessert for hot summer days.

Orange Infused Sweet Ricotta Peach Cookies from Mitzy at Home are a little more complicated than your basic chocolate chip cookie, but the end result is definitely worth it. Peaches conjure up the essence of summer, and everyone will want this recipe the first time you bring them to a picnic.

Do you have a favorite barbecue side dish? We’d love to try it!
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Save with the new Plenti rewards program

There’s something so sweet about the start of summer — the weather is getting warmer, but it’s not too hot yet, the bustle of the school year is behind you and your grill is ready for BBQ season. This year, for your summer BBQs and celebrations, use Plenti, a brand-new loyalty program, to help you earn back some of what you spend in points that you can redeem with some of your favorite brands.

How to use Plenti to save money

Here’s how Plenti works: Start by downloading the app onto your phone, by visiting one of their partner locations or by simply enrolling on the Plenti website. It only takes a few minutes before you’re ready to start racking up the rewards points.

The best part about Plenti is that it brings multiple brands together into one program — no more carrying around dozens of reward cards in your wallet or having a keychain full of mini-cards. Just pull up your app or take out your single membership card when you’re making purchases at stores such as RiteAid or Macy’s, when buying your gas at Exxon Mobil or renting a car at Enterprise, or even when you’re paying your AT&T or Nationwide bill.

Shop with Pleni at Rite Aid locations to save

Some rewards are collected simply by making purchases and some rewards are earned by purchasing specific items as you shop. You can see on the Plenti app that there is a special reward for purchasing Banana Boat products at Rite Aid, as well as on signage in the store when you’re shopping. They really make it as easy as possible!

What we might love most of all about Plenti is that not only can you use it to earn points paying bills with their partners, but you can also redeem your rewards at your favorite participating stores! Paying your AT&T bill using Plenti suddenly earns you discounts at Macy’s, for example. Trust us, paying those bills or filling up at Exxon Mobil is going to feel that much better when you’ll be able to redeem them for that pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing.

Another cool feature is that with certain partners, your Plenti rewards are even better when you also use your existing customer rewards program or in-store credit card. At Macy’s, for example, you earn extra Macy’s reward points when you use your Plenti card alongside your Macy’s card. Remember that just because Plenti is from the American Express family, doesn’t mean you have to use an American Express credit card to earn rewards — it works with any form of payment you choose, even your other credit or debit cards or cash.. And, signing up for Plenti is free.

Plenti- Receipt

We used Plenti to purchase all of our summer BBQ necessities — from beach towels for aprées sprinkler sessions with the neighborhood kids to BBQ sauces that will be perfect for the grill to copper mugs for cocktails made just for a long evenings enjoying your backyard. Between our purchases at Macy’s and Rite Aid, we earned 700 Plenti points that we can use on our next purchase!

Find these products at Macy’s for your summer BBQs

Throw a summer BBQ

Mikasa Moscow Mule Mug Collection, $30 each
Martha Stewart Collection Biscayne Stripe Cool Beach Towel, $40 each
Martha Stewart Collection Bamboo Paddle Cutting Board, $50
Martha Stewart Collection Enamel on Steel White Colander, $25
Martha Stewart Collection Basket Weave Kitchen Towels, $17 for a set of three
The Cellar Whiteware Lasagna Baker, $43
Martha Stewart Collection Gingham Spatula, $10, available in stores only
Stonewall Kitchen Sauces, $8 each, available in stores only

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This was a sponsored post as part of the ambassador program for Plenti from American Express. All opinions are my own.

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The best BBQ recipe is a matter of opinion — and taste testing!

13 Best BBQ Recipes to Impress Your Guests

May is National BBQ month, and we know you’re going to love the recipes we’ve rounded up. From different BBQ styles to a variety of sauces, everyone has their favorites — so you’re going to want to try each of these and let us know which one you consider the best BBQ recipe!

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Barbecue pork recipes to impress your guests
Barbecue recipes with a twist
  • Bourbon Barbecue Sliders with Bleu Cheese from Saucy Pear is a delectable twist on the classic slider. The bourbon adds the perfect amount of flavor to the sauce, and you’ll love the bleu cheese spread so much you’ll be looking around for other uses for your new favorite condiment.
  • Barbecue Pulled Pork Taquitos from Life Tastes Good are a fantastic way to stretch your menu and use leftover pork. Leftovers on their own might not seem special, but rolling them into these taquitos makes an entirely new — and delicious — meal.
  • Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Quesadillas from Belle of the Kitchen are simple and delicious. The meat is prepared in your slow cooker, so the cleanup is minimal, and quesadillas are a fun way to incorporate BBQ recipes into your weekly menu.
  • BBQ Chicken Pizza from The Optimalist Kitchen makes use of the perfect pizza dough for a recipe you’ll use long after National BBQ Month is finished. The pizza is great for summer months, and you can whip up a new batch of chicken or use leftovers from a meal made earlier in the week.
  • Smoked Chicken Wings with Turmeric Honey Mustard Glaze from Droolworthy are, in fact, drool worthy. Smoked wings really bring out the flavor in the chicken, and the turmeric honey mustard is the perfect balance of tangy and sweet to coat the crispy meat.
  • Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs from Garnish & Glaze are sure to be a crowd pleaser during your next outdoor party. Easy to make — and simple to adapt for kids who might not be open to experimenting with new foods — they can be popped on the grill and topped however you’d like.
  • Coconut-Harissa Grilled Shrimp Skewers from Floating Kitchen allow you to indulge your love for seafood while grilling this summer. The prep work is minimal, and a light meal is lovely as the weather starts to get warmer.
Find your signature barbecue sauce
  • Blueberry Chipotle Barbecue Sauce from The Suburban Soapbox is a fun twist on your classic barbecue sauce for summer grilling. Ready in just 30 minutes, this sauce will make all of your tried-and-true grilled meals taste even better.
  • Carolina Bold Gold from Patio Daddio is a mouth-watering interpretation of a classic South Carolina mustard sauce. The sauce is bold enough to make your pork shine but mellow enough for kids to enjoy, too, making it a true crowd favorite.
  • Pineapple Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce from The Recipe Rebel blends sweet and sour together perfectly for a tangy sauce with just a bit of spice. You’ll want to try it on all of your meats this summer — pork, chicken and seafood all work well with the balanced flavors.
Follow our fabulous BBQ recipe gurus on social media!

Belle of the KitchenDroolworthyFloating KitchenGarnish & GlazeI Will Not Eat OystersLife Tastes GoodPatio DaddioSelf Proclaimed FoodieSaucy PearThe Optimalist KitchenThe Recipe RebelThe Spice TrainThe Suburban Soapbox

Do you have a favorite go-to barbecue recipe to share with us?
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