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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Sparkling lemonade

sparkling lemonade

When I was growing up, we had a lemon tree in my backyard and my mom used to frequently make lemonade from scratch when lemons were in season. Our tree would overflow with lemons onto the floor in summer. She has moved houses since, but this house has lemons too. I don’t think they have given much fruit off lately though.

I love making homemade lemonade in the summer, whether with extra lemons from a backyard tree or, as it happened recently, after realizing a bought a bag of lemons to use in savory dishes and I forgot to use them.

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Pineapple cotija salad

“pineapple

Surely you’ve heard of watermelon feta salad. Now meet pineapple cotija salad. It’s simple and refreshing, as any summer salad should be.

I was already buying pineapple for the pan grilled pork chops with pineapple salsa I was planning on making and I had been wanting cotija cheese for tacos this week, so I thought why not combine the extra from the two and make a salad? Of course, then the pork chop recipe used an entire pineapple, so I had to wait for the next week to make this salad.

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Pan grilled pork chops with roasted pineapple salsa

pork with pineapple salsa

One of my favorite summer meals is pork chops with pineapple salsa. I don’t make homemade salsa often, but I love this recipe. It’s straightforward and always tastes great.

The marinade for the pork makes it tender and flavorful. I love that both the marinade and the salsa are spicy and sweet.

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Coconut mango popsicles

coconut mango popsicles

I love homemade smoothies and popsicles in the summer time. They are such a special treat. I like that with homemade popsicles I can be sure that they are relatively low in added sugar, free of additives and full of fruits or veggies.

These mango coconut popsicles check all the boxes. Refreshing? Yes, definitely! But also full of fresh fruit and relatively low in added sugar. They are dairy-free and vegan too, if that matters to you.

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Lemon-herb chicken with blueberry balsamic sauce

Lately I have been making two more involved meals a week for dinner and everything else has been super easy. I only want to make things on the easy nights that don’t require a recipe. This lemon-herb chicken with blueberry sauce was a more involved recipe that felt like something I would get at a restaurant. In other words, it’s worth the effort.

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Zucchini cream cheese bread

Zucchini cream cheese bread

This recipe comes from my Grandma Donna’s collection. When we went through her cookbook collection several years ago to put together a family cookbook, I wanted to include a zucchini bread recipe because I remember her baking it at least a few times when I was growing up. I believe this recipe came from a church cookbook that she owned.

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Current favorite toddler toys and books

toddler toys and books

These are some of the toys and books my 18-month-old daughter has really been enjoying lately. If you have a toddler, especially a child between one and 3 years, I hope this list gives you some ideas on what toys he or she may enjoy.

  1. Bubbles – Maggie absolutely loves bubbles. I am pretty sure all one-year-olds are thrilled about bubbles. In the past few months, we have purchased this 6 pack of bubble solution, a big bottle of bubble solution and a mini bubble gun. We also do near-daily bubble baths.
  2. Wooden egg shakers – I got these for Maggie for Easter. They’re the easiest instrument for young kids.
  3. Food truck – It’s like a play kitchen, except it’s a food truck theme. I like that it came with fake food and a few utensils.
  4. Little People toys – We have the farm set and a few more small items. Target doesn’t have that many Little People toys listed online right now, but I think I have seen more in the store.
  5. Baby doll and accessories – Maggie loves to pretend to feed her baby. It’s a little funny to see because it hasn’t been all that long since she stopped drinking bottles, but it’s cute.
  6. Magnetic sketch board – This is recommended for 18 months and up, so we just recently gave it to her. She got it for her birthday, but I had it in storage.
  7. Baby Faces board book – Maggie has enjoyed this book since about 6 months old. It shows a variety of emotions, which I like.
  8. All are Welcome book – Toddlers tend to be very interested in books with photos or drawings of people. This book has a lot of pages, but it doesn’t have a lot of words. I also like that it has a poster included.
  9. My Best Book and Bashful Dino – This book features a dinosaur with a matching stuffed animal. This set is great for infants, as well as older babies and toddlers. Did you know books with matching objects may be able to help children learn the connection between photos and objects from as young as 9 months?
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