Recipe Recap with Friends #1: Chilled Summer Salads

Hi everyone we are back from vacation and I must say it feels great to be home! We visited New Orleans, Louisiana, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, Nashville, Tennessee and had a one night stay at our new favorite lake in Hot Springs, Arkansas! It was a fantastic time for my little family, seriously we all had a blast! I will be sharing all about the interesting places and attractions we visited on our big family road trip (along with boatloads of pictures!) in an upcoming post.

While we were traveling, one of things we enjoyed the most was being out in the cool mountain air, but now we are happily back in our central Texas home and boy, is it humid and hot. So today I'm sharing links to a few of my previously-posted chilled salad recipes that I think are terrific dishes for extra warm August days. Also, this post is kind of a big deal because I've enlisted the help of some of my amazing blogger friends on this cool subject and today is my first official Recipe Recap with Friends post!

Pineapple Dream Poke Cake

It's almost August and my kids have been on summer break for seven weeks now with just three more weeks of summer fun to go. This summer has been a bit different for me as a mom, and it's been a little easier to get out and about now that the kids are getting bigger. My rug rats are now ages 11 and 5 and although they still passionately bicker over ridiculous things at times, overall they're much easier to reason with these days. They are also much more cooperative when it comes to packing up and getting out of the house compared to back when they were, as a pair, ages 6 and 1.

Dairy-Free Mornin' Sunshine (Cranberry-Apple) Muffins

Our breakfast ritual usually involves eggs, eggs and more eggs.  Literally, my kids eat scrambled eggs each and every morning like they are going out of style! Sure, I like my buttery, sunny-side up eggs with hash browns or a bacon-filled breakfast taco, but sometimes mama needs a little break from the ordinary.  I mean, it's no secret that I have a pretty raging sweet tooth and I have every intention of using it!

Leek, Mushroom & Bacon Tart

It's been a week since school's been out and we are finally settling into a slower pace around my house. During those last few weeks of school and all of the hectic-ness, we weren't planning our menus very well (okay, honestly we weren't planning any menu... at all!). We fell into a sort of food rut and we were depending heavily on our gas grill. We consumed all kinds of foods that are considered quick : pre-made burgers, store-bought, marinated chicken breasts or fajitas, sandwiches, spaghetti... anyhoo, you get the idea.

Nothing wrong with any of that, I know, but with no time to make dishes with a bit more detail and flavor, dinnertime can get a bit boring and repetitive. I know it's true for me, anyway, I get bored of certain foods. My hubs is content to eat a plateful of grilled meat, all day, everyday (seriously, no side dishes required for that complete carnivore!), but I'm just not happy with that. I like my veggies.

Vanilla Cake Doughnuts with Easy Milk Chocolate Frosting

Sunday mornings are the best at my house. You see, Sunday mornings are for big breakfasts!

Spicy Queso Blanco (White Cheese) Dip

I believe most people across the U.S. are familiar with some version the popular (dare I say 'famous'?) Tex-Mex cheese dip called chili con queso (translated: "peppers with cheese").  I'm also pretty confident that most Texans learned to make this dish with a (much-adored) tomato and green chili mixture that comes in a can (brand name sorta rhymes with 'mo-tel'). Like most folks in my home state, I also love this store-bought mixture of tomatoes and green chilies and I use it often to lend it's special flavor-magic to some of our most favorite family dishes.

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