Today, August 10, is National S'mores Day! In case you don't know what a s'more is, it's a treat consisting of a graham cracker topped with square of milk chocolate (Hershey's is traditional), then topped with a warm toasted marshmallow and then another graham cracker. "S'more" is a contraction of "some more," which is what everyone says after they finish their first one.
If you don't have a campfire or fire pit handy today, try making these amazingly delicious s'mores cookies. They incorporate all the ingredients of a s'more in an easy to make and eat cookie form, so you can enjoy the deliciousness of s'mores anytime without having to wait to go on a camping trip. My son said these were the best cookies he ever tasted, and I'm inclined to agree with him.
11 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
When things get busy, especially at the start of a new school year, I place an order to Pernilla's Pantry, a mom-run business here in Marin that offers creative healthy meals for busy families. When your order arrives, you'll receive recipe cards and all the ingredients that you need to make three or four fantastic family meals for the week.
Pernilla's Pantry was created by Pernilla Sumner, a Marin mom and Swedish native who loves to share her passion for food and good cooking with others. Pernilla shared one of her most popular recipes with us: Deconstructed Cheeseburger Salad.
Most of us know that you can get fresh veggies delivered to your home or a local pick-up site through a farm CSA program, but did you know you can get fresh seafood delivered to your door as well? We had the opportunity to try out DailyFreshFish.com, a new service that does just that. It's easy, and takes the guesswork out of buying fish. Furthermore, since the fish is coming straight from the distributor, you know you're getting seafood that's absolutely fresh.
DailyFreshFish.com was created by Pucci Foods, which has been distributing seafood in the Bay Area for nearly a century. (You've probably seen their refrigerator trucks out on the highway.) Since Pucci supplies mainly to the restaurant industry, the seafood you get from DailyFreshFish.com is of the same quality. They're also committed to green practices and sustainability—packaging is 100% recyclable and they support the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch and the NOAA FishWatch programs, among others.
When the temperature rises in the summer, we like to make these frozen watermelon pops to help beat the heat. They're easy to make, delicious, healthy (they're all fruit, after all), and fun to eat on a hot summer day.
You don't need much to make these, just the watermelon, a little sugar (if needed), a blender or food processor, and ice pop molds. You can use other fruits to make these, too—fresh strawberries are particularly good—but the classic summer flavor of watermelon just seems to be perfect for a frozen treat like this.
The kids like to pitch in and help make these, too, although it can be hard for them to wait while the pops firm up in the freezer. Needless to say, grownups may want to take charge of the blending, for safety's sake.
Ice cream is one of those foods that's synonymous with summer, although it's pretty wonderful at any time of year! On a hot day, there's not much better than getting a big scoop of your favorite ice cream on a waffle cone. To help you find that summer joy, we've put together this guide to our favorite ice cream scoop shops in Marin County (and we've thrown in a couple of our Sonoma County favorites that are worth the trip, too).
When we're in Mill Valley and are in need a quick and healthy lunch, we often stop at Grilly's on Miller Avenue for fresh and tasty Cal-Mex fare. Grilly's has been a fixture in Mill Valley for over 24 years, and specializes in traditional Mexican-style favorites prepared with fresh and healthy ingredients.
Chili is one of those meals that can be on the hearty, heavy side and not something you necessarily want to serve for a summer dinner—except for this fresh and healthy version. For this summer chili, I lighten things up considerably and take advantage of fresh summer produce like the zucchini growing in our backyard garden and sweet corn.
Serve this chili with a variety of toppings and add-ons so each diner can customize it to his or her taste. You can make it vegetarian (or vegan) by omitting the ground turkey and doubling the amount of beans, corn, and squash. Either way, it's delicious! And our kids even eat it, too. There's probably no reason you couldn't make this year-round, either, although you'd have to substitute frozen corn for the fresh.
I love my slow cooker, but I really don't use it much during the summer, because, after all, who wants to eat hearty soups and stews on a hot day? Lately, however, I've been trying to think about how to use the slow cooker to make more warm-weather kinds of dishes. One of my successful recipes is for a slow-cooker version of chicken pho, that delicious Vietnamese noodle soup. Simmer the broth all day in the slow cooker, then prep the garnishes and noodles and dinner is ready!
Pho is usually associated with beef, but this chicken version is a little healthier and easier to make. It's probably not 100% authentic, but it tastes pretty darn close to the real thing, without the need to pay a visit to your favorite Vietnamese restaurant (and there aren't too many of them in Marin). One of the great things about pho is that you can vary the taste to your own liking by adding traditional garnishes like fresh herbs, bean sprouts, and chiles. If you (or your kids) like it plain, that's fine, too!
Now that summer is here and the weather is warm, it's the perfect time to not only enjoy a cold glass of iced tea, but to make your own sun tea, too. I've found myself drinking a lot of iced tea over the past few years (it probably has something to do with parental sleep deprivation). I usually buy bottles of Tejava tea, which I love because it's unsweeted and has a good strong tea flavor.
I decided to try making my own and maybe save a little money in the process. I remember my mom making sun tea way back when, and thought I'd give it a try. The results were really fantastic, so I thought I'd share them here. It's really easy to do, really inexpensive, and the kids actually had fun helping make it.
A two-quart sealable glass jar.
Four to six black tea bags
Sprigs of fresh mint (optional)
Place tea bags and mint (if using) in a clean glass jar. Fill the jar with water and seal.
These marinated and grilled short ribs are the perfect thing for a summer backyard BBQ. They only take a few minutes to make and cook (outside of the marinating time), and the sweet-salty soy sauce-based Hawaiian marinade delivers a taste of the islands without having to get on a plane.
You can serve these short ribs in classic Hawaiian plate lunch style, accompanied by two scoops of rice and macaroni salad, but we opted to be a little healthier and make an island-style sesame-cabbage slaw that has added texture from crumbled dry instant ramen noodles.
You'll want to get Hawaiian-style—also called Maui- or flanken-style—short ribs, which are cut in thin strips across the bone. These don't need to be marinated all that long, and only need to be grilled a few minutes on each side. The marinade works great with chicken or pork, too.