4th of July DIY Tips & Tricks King 5 New Day NW

by Mindy Lockard on June 29, 2015

Today my sidekicks (Elle & Maggie) and I will be swinging by King 5 New Day Northwest to share our favorite Fourth of July DIY tips!  Here is a sneak peek…

Watermelon basket..

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Burger bundles and firework corn holders…

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to freezer cocktails!

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Come back tomorrow for the video and step-by-step details on how we make these fun ideas and don’t forget to join us for more #4thofJuly with #FamilyRecipe on Wednesday!

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#FamilyRecipe | #BurgerArt

by Mindy Lockard on June 12, 2015

Can you smell it?

Summer, that is. Fresh cut grass, sun screen and burgers on the grill. That’s right ladies and gentleman summer grilling season is here. Raise your hand if you’re ready!

I’d raise both hands, but I need one free for that burger.

So, with burgers on our mind it’s only appropriate that this week’s #FamilyRecipe topic be #BurgerArt with the fabulous Dave’s Killer Bread and their Million Dollar Buns. So as our partner for next week’s twitter chat focusing on the art of building burgers, @KillerBread challenged me to a #BurgerArt throw down. . .

And of course I gladly and graciously accepted!

{ # + amazing burger goodness = #BurgerArt }

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But who wants to burger alone? Of course I had to invited some of our favorite people to join us at the lake for a #BurgerArt extravaganza creating a burger bar with every fixin’ I could get my hands on. From the classic staples of lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, avocados, onions and bacon, to artesian cheeses, spicy peppers, wacky relishes, and of course ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce with a kick and my own pesto mayo, we had it all.

There are only a few rules at the #BurgerArt bar and they are, you must grab a bun…

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and let your imagination and tastebuds run wild!

There was a little something for everyone at a #BurgerArt bar, from the non beef eating tween…

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to her all beef burger father…

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no guest’s meat or fixing preference was left behind. Burger bars are a great way to entertain your guests, let them totally customize their dinner and even challenge their tastebuds… or set them on fire!

But this wouldn’t be a Gracious Girl post without me sharing my #BurgerArt ideas! Let me introduce to you…

the “Graveyard BBQ Burger” … because it has everything on the picnic table

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  • burger
  • baked beans
  • cheddar cheese
  • spicy potato salad
  • raw broccoli slaw
  • traditional potato chips for crunch

or something a bit more sophisticated with the “Caprese Burger” 

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  • Burger
  • Homemade Pesto
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Melted Fresh Mozzarella
  • Chefinade Basil

and who doesn’t love a classic “B L T A B Burger”

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You know…

  • Burger
  • Bacon
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Avocado
  • Blue Cheese

And something I like to call the “Run for the Border Burger”

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  • Burger
  • Guacamole
  • Salsa
  • Mexican Cheese Blend
  • Cotija cheese
  • Green Chile Hot
  • Cheddar
  • Red onion
  • Tortilla chips for crunch

So there you have it! My #BurgerArt challenge accepted. Now how about you? What wild and crazy burger fixing are you dreaming about this burger season? Join us for #FamilyRecipe on Wednesday, June 17 @ Noon ET and tell us all your big burger ideas.

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#FamilyRecipe |Gluten Free Grilled Pizza

by Mindy Lockard on June 4, 2015

Homemade pizza is a favorite at our family table. For the last year I’ve been using my favorite #GlutenFree pizza crust from Bob’s Red Mill. It was love at first bite. So I jumped at the chance to work with them {Bob’s Red Mill} as a #FamilyRecipe sponsors {chat June 10 noon-1:00 on twitter} and celebrate all things #GrilledPizza!

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Here’s a few of our favorite ways to grill and top pizzas!

Whip up the pizza dough and pat out individual pies. Dusting each with gluten free flour. You can make perfect circles, but if you ask me perfect is, well, a little boring. Don’t you think?

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Heat up the grill and brush the grates with olive oil. Lightly brush one side of the dough with olive oil and toss it onto the grate on the olive oil side. Grill for 5 to 10 minutes until the side is browned. Brush the top of the crust with olive oil and flip to sear the other side. You want the crust to be cooked through.

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Now for the pizza pizzazz! Top the grilled crust with your favorite toppings, traditional or a little outside of the box… or grill. Cook the pies until the cheese melts. To get a golden color to the cheese put the pizzas on the top rack and grill until golden.

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Here are a few of our most favorite ways to dress our grilled pizza crust!

Classic Hawaiian

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- favorite red sauce

- all natural applewood smoked ham sliced thin

- Organic pineapple cut into chunks

- Fresh mozzarella

Spread red sauce all over the crust, generously arrange ham and pineapple, and top with the mozzarella.

Pesto Margarita 

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- homemade pesto

- 2 sliced heirloom tomatoes

- fresh organic mozzarella

- Chiffonade basil

Spread the pesto all of the way to the edges of the crust, top with heirloom tomatoes and mozzarella. After the pizza is finished grilling add the chiffonade basil. Mmmmm so good! 

Barbecue Chicken

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- BBQ sauce

- chicken

- 1 onion chopped

- mozzarella

Cook chicken in a slow cooker with sliced onion and BBQ sauce until chicken shreds. Allow to cool spread on top of cooked crust and add mozzarella.

Caramelized Onion and Pistachio Pizza 

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- Caramelized sweet onions

- Pistachos

- Parmesan cheese

Sauté onion in olive oil. Top the cooked crust with olive oil, sautéed onion, pistachios and parmesan cheese. Grill until cheese is melted.

Arugula Salmon with Crème Fraîche and Dill

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- 1 cup crème fraîche

- 3 tbs Dill

- 1 tbs Lemon zest

- 1 pound salmon

- Organic Arugula

In a mason jar add 1 cup of Crème fraîche, dill and lemon zest.  Bake salmon with the juice of one lemon, salt and pepper, on 350 degrees until cooked through approximately 20 minutes. Pull off one of the crusts from the grill and allow to cool. Spread on the crème fraîche, top with salmon and arugula. 

Slice up the pizzas, pour a glass of wine and Bon Appetite friends!

For more on #GrilledPizza join us for #FamilyRecipe on Wednesday, June 10th at Noon ET!

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Our #StockUpForSummer series with Dr. Praegers continues! Last week we were cleaning out the freezer…

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and this week we are filling it with items that fit our summer lifestyles! For our family, I love to stock the freezer with summer soups, smoothies, frozen entrees {that I trust}, popsicles, pesto and cocktails. Each of these items is specific to our summer lifestyle. For our #StockUpForSummer, I spent a morning shopping, an afternoon cooking and a few minutes stocking our freezer shelves. Have I mentioned I love stocking shelves? Straight rows? Same foods? TYPE A? Or should I say Type G for should be working at a Grocery store. I digress…

thanks to Dr. Praeger’s Super Greens and Littles, we have a great supply of gluten free, organic, non GMO entree solutions too. I’m proud to say, operation #StockUpForSummer was a huge success.

Just take a look…

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from top…

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to bottom.

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And side to side.

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What exactly do we have in here? Let me show you…

{Gazpacho}

I love this summer soup and so do my girls. Trust me, I know that not all kids are going to like a summer soup. But if your kids don’t, adults do. And this is a perfect lite lunch to have on hand for those impromptu picnics, drop in guest or just too hot to cook. Pull it out the night before or morning of and it’s a perfect cold savory lunch or dinner side.

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 Recipe:

6 cups veggie juice
32 ounces of creamy tomato soup (I use Pacific)
The juice of two limes
4 cloves of garlic pressed
2 tablespoons of Italian dressing
2 cucumbers peeled and diced
2 green peppers diced
2 red peppers diced
1 sweet onion diced
1 cup of cherry tomatoes halved
sea salt to taste

Mix it all together and refrigerate over night. Spoon into canning jars and freeze.

{PESTO}

This is a staple in our freezer and one that we replenish throughout the summer with fresh basil and garlic from the Farmers’ Market. It’s easy to melt, make into dips, toss in pasta or add a dolap into gazpacho. Mmmmmm.

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Recipe

  •  3 cups of extra virgin olive oil (good quality)
  • Juice of three limes (have four just in case)
  • 6 cloves of pressed garlic
  • 5 ounces of freshly graded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup of roasted pumpkin seeds or favorite nuts. We like to experiment with different flavors.
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil (4-5 cups)
  • Sea salt to taste

Combine all of the ingredients into a food processor and blend until the desired consistency. My girls like their pesto to have some texture. Taste as you blend to ensure a balance of salty to acid. If it’s too salty add more basil, lime and olive oil. The beauty of pesto is that it’s rustic and can be made to desired tastes, those who like bland and those who like bold. Different strokes for different folks, I say!  Fill (jars) and freeze!

 {Berry Bowls}

I don’t know about you, but at our house we are always looking for a little something sweet. These berry jars are the perfect sweet frozen treat in the summer. They make great breakfasts that my girls can make on their own by adding yogurt and granola or milk over the top. And are perfect with a scoop of homemade vanilla bean ice-cream on top!

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Recipe:

  • Berries washed and air dried
  • Canning Jar

This is the easiest of them all. Simply wash the berries and let them air dry. Once they are dry, fill a canning jar and pop them in the freezer.

{Popsicles}

This is one of my favorite tricks. In the summer we have smoothies for breakfast and then I take the left over smoothie in the blender and fill our frozen popsicle containers. Breakfast in the morning, snack in the afternoon. 

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Recipe:

  • Berries
  • Flax Seed
  • Spinach or Kale
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Banana
  • Coconut
  • Almond /Coconut Milk
  • Ice

There is no science to our smoothies. I love to involve the girls and get them taste testing. Trying flavors and filling their cup with fabulous healthy flavors.

{Frozen Entrees}

Typically you’ll find Dr Praeger’s California Veggie Burgers in our freezer! But since we were introduced to the “Littles”  and even though my girls aren’t littles any more, they do love any chance to dip.

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Recipe:

This recipe is rather simple. It looks a lot like this…

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For me whether it’s the California burger or Super Greens  I eat my veggie burgers  toasted and like a bun free burger on top of lettuce tossed in a light vinaigrette, sliced cherry tomatoes and a little mustard. SO easy, delicious and filling.

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{Cocktails}

I love entertaining and in the summer love the freedom to just invite people over… last minute. A batch of cocktails in the freezer allows me to serve my guests right away and to share in a cocktail with them. Without running around trying to throw something together.

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Recipe:

I’m sure you have a favorite cocktail up that pretty sleeve of yours. For this frozen favorite, all you need is your best blended beverage, pour and store. Perfect for an impromptu guest, a sip on the step or a cheers among friends while dining alfresco!

Summer. Come soon. We are ready for you.

And there you have it! Our #StockUpForSummer frozen favorites. But it doesn’t have to stop here. Please join me and @DrPraegers for this Wednesday’s #FamilyRecipe all about #StockUpForSummer AND we will be giving away coupons for free @DrPraegers product throughout the chat! So come on over, share your #StockUpForSummer ideas and enter to win some of our freezer favorites!

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Summer is just around the corner. Can you believe it? Soon my girls will be home and I can’t wait.

Lazy mornings…

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afternoons spent at the lake with a gaggle of girls…

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long bike rides…

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No more packing lunches. No more homework. Did I mention packing lunches? Let’s pause just for a moment and dream… sigh.

Okay, now back to reality. Honestly, as dreamy as thoughts of  summer can be, the reality is my children will be home and hungry. And if I’m not ready, I will be cooking, snacking and shopping for what feels like all day, every day. Back in that dreamy world, I am soft spoken, have the patience of a saint and the tone of an angel. But the reality is I’m human, and I get cranky. Yes, even The Gracious Girl gets cranky. So to keep my kids fed and me on my gracious best during the summer of 2015, I MUST have a plan.

One of my favorite ways to prepare for summer  is to stock my freezer with healthy (except for the Girl Scout cookies, I see it as part of my community service) grab and go items. So when Dr. Praeger’s contacted me about their new Super Greens Veggie Burger and partnering with #FamilyRecipe, I jumped at the chance to create an entire series. Because not only do I LOVE Dr. Praeger’s, my kids love Dr. Praeger’s AND its a regular item in my freezer. So, thanks to Dr. Pragers we are kicking off a series for #FamilyRecipe:

The Gracious Girl’s Guide to #StockUpForSummer!

Today we are just getting started! Because before we can #StockUpFor Summer we have to have plan and freezer space. Right?

Clean OUT the Freezer! A perfect weekend activity. Many times we have food that has overstayed it’s welcome. And in the spirit of “frozen” sometime we just have to, sing it with me…

“LET IT GO! LET IT GO!”

Let’s be honest. There’s a whole lot of food in there just hanging out, taking up room and will never be eaten. I cleaned out our freezer last weekend and I’m embarrassed to say what I found. Maybe Halloween candy, perhaps a half a dozen votives with melted wax stuck to the sides and bags of freezer burned veggies just begging to be put out of their misery. Wait, did I mention that there may have been a bag of sangria that melted, dripped all over the sides and bottom and then froze again? Did I know this before cleaning it out? Maybe. Have I pretended that I didn’t? Very likely.

Anyhow, much of it is gone. All clean and it feels good!

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Of course I left the Girl Scout cookies and Vodka. Priorities.

Step 2:

Gather some supplies. My list is rather simple, glass canning jars.

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I don’t like to use a lot of plastic, and my friend @MyGreenSide once suggested glass. And so I stock up on canning jars and they do the trick. Plus, I can wash and reuse them throughout the summer. There are three sizes I use in our freezer:

Wide Mouth pint

Traditional Half Pint

Wide Mouth 2 ounce

To make this series doable, I think that’s enough for this weekend. Stay tuned for #StockUpforSummer Part II on Monday when we will Fill the Freezer. And mark your calendar for this… 

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May the frozen force be with you!!! Good luck.

 

 

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