Grape blueberry milk

Have you ever heard of a grape smoothie? I don’t think I had until last December. Maggie got a food truck toy for Christmas last year and it came with three toy smoothies that are labeled as banana, strawberry and grape. I have wondered time and time again who was on the team that came up with this toy and why they didn’t have a blueberry or mango smoothie instead.

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Individual meat loaves

Individual meat loaves dinner

This recipe for individual meat loaves is made with ground beef, egg, oats, onion and spices. The sweet and slightly tangy sauce is made with ketchup, mustard and brown sugar.

My mom used to make this when I was growing up and it was always one of my favorite meals. Serve it with mashed potatoes, broccoli or green beans, and fresh fruit for a delicious dinner.

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8 dinners to eat in this heat (no oven!)

 Steak salad with cucumbers and tomatoes

A lot of days this summer, we have some kind of tacos for dinner. Well, actually that’s all year. We don’t have a grill and don’t plan on getting one for our small patio, so we rely heavily on the stovetop and try to avoid turning on the oven, especially on weeks when the temperature rarely drops below 75.

There’s nothing wrong with having tacos often, but I enjoy a bit more variety so I don’t get bored of not only eating the same thing all the time, but making the same thing. So, I thought I would share some tried and true recipes that are refreshing and delicious, perfect for summer.

Keep reading for 8 summer dinners that don’t require you to turn on your oven.

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Banana coffee cake

Banana Coffee Cake

First posted on August 31, 2016. Updated on August 12, 2020.

Last weekend, I had company over and took that as a good reason to try out a new recipe. I wanted to make a coffee cake because it’s delicious and perfect for a relaxing brunch.

(If you’re reading this and thinking, you had company over? During this Covid thing? Well, my mom did visit briefly, but that’s not what I was talking about. This was originally posted in 2016. That was pre-pandemic, and pre-baby. I think this was the second and last year I went to FYF, a music festival in Los Angeles. We had Paul’s sister and her boyfriend staying over since we lived closer to it than them. Or maybe it was the year they went and I didn’t feel like it. Any way, back to the recipe.)

I like reading recipes and then combining them to get the outcome I’m looking for, and this banana coffee cake creation is a direct result of that. It’s made from combining three different recipes on three different websites to get exactly what I was picturing in my head when I started searching for recipes.

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Fish tacos with chili-lime dressed cabbage slaw

Fish tacos with chili-lime dressed slaw

When Maggie first started eating, I wrote a note on my phone with meals I wanted her to try fairly early on so she would get used to them. In that long note of hopes and dreams (kidding) I included the 10 meals Paul and I eat the most. Fish tacos was on that list.

Maggie seemed to really like cod and salmon early on, but now that she is a toddler, of course she is getting more particular and also unpredictable. She doesn’t eat fish much any more when I serve it, even if it’s in the form of fish sticks or nuggets. I make fish tacos any way though. She eats the sides of fruit and vegetables and torn up pieces of tortilla. Surprisingly, she didn’t even want the sweet potato fries I served the tacos with. I’m hoping she will get back to loving fish sometime. In the meantime, Paul and I enjoy eating fish tacos.

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California Pizza Kitchen inspired Thai chicken pizza

California Pizza Kitchen inspired Thai chicken pizza

People usually debate that either New York or Chicago has the best pizza in the United States. Outside of the United States of course there is Italy and I have heard good things about Japanese pizza. Personally, I love California pizza. Full disclosure, I have never been to any of the places listed above except California, where I have lived my whole life. So I guess I’m pretty biased. In California, we’re not afraid to put off the wall toppings on our pizza. One of my favorites at a place in Santa Monica was salad pizza. Yes, really.

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Corn cookie and mixed berry ice cream sandwiches

Two of my favorite summer flavors are sweet corn and fresh mixed berries. You don’t typically see them together, but corn and berries actually go really well together in a dessert.

For the Trader Joe’s ice cream sandwich last week, I made corn cookie and mixed berry ice cream sandwiches. For the contest, I named these “Berry Corny Ice Cream sandwiches.”

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