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Create a summer memory

Published 7:08pm Saturday, July 27, 2013

Have you ever created a bucket list?  I mean, a summer bucket list, with your family?  It’s like a shortened, more here-and-now type list you can focus on to create fun and memorable times as a family together.

It’s something we try to do by the end of school in June. Writing down the top three things each family member wants to do/experience/accomplish while the weather is nice outside. Our summers are short and we must make the most of them by being intentional with our choices and how we spend our time.

In fact, right now is the best time to plan for August by surveying family members on one thing they want to do before Labor Day to finish out the summer with great memories.

One thing that is always on my list is entertaining outside. It’s the perfect place to host a few friends, neighbors or family members by enjoying a meal together full of fresh, in season, fruits and vegetables. And you can do it in an economical way.  Here are a few tips:

Impromptu Gatherings: It doesn’t have to be a glorious dinner party that takes a month to plan, all you need are a few guests (and by a few, I mean one, two, three or four.) that happen to have the time available for a quick gathering.  By keeping it small, there is less stress for you as the host/hostess and you are able to focus more on connecting with your guests.

Quick Theme: Who says the host/hostess has to do all the cooking?  Encourage each guest to bring their favorite recipe using garden-fresh foods.  The food doesn’t have to match or fit together perfectly.  Just celebrate the harvest.

Pick a Spot: When the weather is so nice, it’s hard not to want to be outside.  Pick a spot outside: your deck, your patio, your backyard with a table.  Throw on a piece of fabric over the table and you’ve created yourself a space to relax.

Set the Table:  Mix and match dishes are more fun and appealing to the eye.  An easy solution is to have every guest bring their own colorful plate to set at the table.  Along with a plate usually comes a story to share during the meal.

Gathering in the summer does not need to be complicated and overwhelming.  With these tips, you too can create a fun summer memory.  Now cross that off your summer bucket list.

Alaska cod with greek walnut salad

Serves 6 Source: welovefish.com/cod4.htm

All you need

•6 (6 oz. each) Alaska cod fillets, thawed

•Salt and pepper, to taste

•Olive oil, as needed

•Greek walnut salsa (recipe below)

 All you do

Season cod fillets with salt and pepper. Sauté in oil in a non-stick or heavy sauté pan over medium-high heat until fish just flakes when tested with a fork. To serve, divide cod among serving plates and top evenly with salsa.

 Greek Walnut Salsa

All you need

•1-1/4 cups finely chopped tomatoes

•1/2 cup finely chopped cucumbers

•2 tbsp. finely chopped olives

•2 tbsp. finely chopped red onions

•1 tbsp. lemon juice

•1 tsp. olive oil

•1 tsp. chopped parsley

•1/4 tsp. minced garlic

•pinch dried oregano

•Salt and pepper, to taste

•1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts

 All you do

Mix together all ingredients except salt, pepper and walnuts until well-combined. Season with salt and pepper; stir in walnuts just before serving.

Follow Jen Haugen’s blog at jen haugenrd.wordpress.com


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