Watermelon Caprese Salad

Watermelon Caprese2 Watermelon Caprese Salad

Wow, life gets busier. I thought the new baby stage would be busiest, but in retrospect I had a lot of time to spend on my laptop, sleeping baby across my chest. Now, I have a little guy who wakes up, wolfs down breakfast, and is raring to go. So much to do! So much to see! Yesterday, he picked up my purse, slung the strap over his shoulder, blew me kisses and waved bye bye as he headed for the door.

If I take my eyes off him for a second, he’s either eating toothpaste or putting my iPad in the garbage, so snatching a few minutes for email, etc. is not easy.

Theo and Oliver Watermelon Caprese Salad

He’s also adamant that he should be the one to hold poor Oliver’s leash when we go out. Oliver is very patient, but he is obviously wondering what he did to deserve this…

Watermelon Caprese1 Watermelon Caprese Salad

Anyway, it’s only natural, I guess, that I’m favouring simple, fresh summer recipes. This salad shows how when you use good ingredients, they speak for themselves – minimal preparation is needed to make stellar meals in the warm months when produce is at its peak.

Blackberry Buckle

Blackberry Buckle 1 Blackberry Buckle

I have impulse control issues when it comes to buying local fruit in the summertime – I bring home enough berries to feed a family of grizzly bears.

Thankfully, my own baby bear loves nothing more than cramming handfuls of juicy raspberries into his cheeks. But even so, we always have more than I know what to do with.

Blackberry Buckle2 Blackberry Buckle

I love easy, casual desserts like this to use up my berry bounty.

A buckle is a lovely cake with ripe, juicy blackberries (or other fruit) nestled into the batter prior to baking. I love the rustic appeal of baking it in a cast iron skillet.

Melting the butter in the skillet itself doubles to grease the baking surface. All it needs to finish it off is a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

Blackberry Buckle31 Blackberry Buckle

And guess what? It doubles seamlessly as breakfast the next day…

5-Minute Grilled Pizza Dough (+ Samsung Galaxy s5 & Gear Fit GIVEAWAY)

5 minute grilled pizza dough 31 5 Minute Grilled Pizza Dough (+ Samsung Galaxy s5 & Gear Fit GIVEAWAY)Happy 4th of July, American friends!

After a gruelling 16 hours of delayed flights, mechanical errors, deplaning, re-boarding, missed connections and flying eight hours with a squirmy one-year-old climbing all over me like a spider monkey, I’m back from my last vacation traveling alone with a baby.

Maybe once I emerge from baby jet lag fog (he went to bed at 1 am when we got in and was up for the day at 4 – a very reasonable 8 o’clock in his brain) I will reconsider. But for now, the only thing I want in my lap on future flights is a mind-numbing, laugh-out-loud Sophie Kinsella paperback and an ice-cold gin and tonic, mmkay?

no knead pizza dough11 5 Minute Grilled Pizza Dough (+ Samsung Galaxy s5 & Gear Fit GIVEAWAY)

I bring you pizza! I am obsessed with grilled pizza, and grilled breads of all kinds. (Lately, I’ve been tossing this naan on the grates to accompany kebabs.)

The only minor downside of pizza-making is that it requires some forethought, which isn’t always likely in the summer when you’d rather be frolicking on the beach than kneading and waiting for dough to rise.

Fortunately, my sister introduced me to this super-speedy alternative – a no-knead pizza dough that can be made in five minutes with no more effort than a few quick stirs. It’s a game-changer! Granted, it’s not as chewy as regular pizza dough – but it’s flavourful (especially on the grill – but it works perfectly in the oven, too) and has a nice texture.

Keep in mind that the water temperature is important here – use a thermometer if you have one.  Too cool and the yeast won’t activate, too hot and you’ll kill it.  If you’re estimating, 120º – 130º F is quite hot tap water but it shouldn’t scald you.

no knead pizza dough22 5 Minute Grilled Pizza Dough (+ Samsung Galaxy s5 & Gear Fit GIVEAWAY)

I also bring you GOODIES! Telus shared with me the new Samsung Galaxy s5 plus the accompanying Gear Fit wristband to try out, and another to share with you. My iPhone bit the dust a few weeks ago so I’ve been using the Samsung exclusively – I’ve grown to really like the android OS, and the camera is great. I love the waterproof-ness – I’ve had a lot of fun taking underwater photos and videos, and reading on it in the bathtub.

Galaxy S5 Gear Fit 5 Minute Grilled Pizza Dough (+ Samsung Galaxy s5 & Gear Fit GIVEAWAY)Wait, let me clarify:  the underwater photos and videos aren’t happening in the bathtub. Maybe those should have been separate sentences, hmm…

The Gear Fit is a wristband that tracks your workout – for me, that’s running. It measures distance, calories, heart rate, speed etc. and lets you control your music, as well as read and respond to text messages with a tap of the finger, without picking up your phone. Really cool fitness gadget.

Telus offers very friendly one-on-one Learning Centre sessions to help you set up and master your phone, so you can make use of all that it offers.

Giveaway details and entry form below recipe!

Canada Day + 4th of July No-Bake Yogurt Cheesecakes with Raspberry Sauce

No Bake Cheesecake3 Canada Day + 4th of July No Bake Yogurt Cheesecakes with Raspberry Sauce

I wanted to create a delicious, fresh, easy and light-ish dessert to celebrate Canada Day and Independence Day with you. Light-ish because (for me) it will likely be preceded by a feast of butter-dunked lobster.

See, I’m home in New Brunswick for the $4.99/lb lobster to visit my family and friends. :)

No Bake Cheesecake2 Canada Day + 4th of July No Bake Yogurt Cheesecakes with Raspberry Sauce

If you’d like to know more about lobster, we’ve covered that.

No Bake Cheesecake4 Canada Day + 4th of July No Bake Yogurt Cheesecakes with Raspberry Sauce

I whipped these up as an experiment and was really impressed with how good they are! Luxuriously creamy, fluffy and cool, perfectly tangy and great flavour.

Just cream cheese, yogurt, lemon zest, vanilla and a bit of sugar beaten until light and airy, served mounded into cups alternately with macerated raspberries and crushed graham crackers.

They’re un-fussy, supremely easy, and patriotic too, with the red and white thing they’ve got going on (Canada’s colours – you could do half blueberries and half raspberries as separate layers to add blue to the mix and make them more American!).

No Bake Cheesecake1 Canada Day + 4th of July No Bake Yogurt Cheesecakes with Raspberry Sauce

Everything can be prepped in advance and refrigerated – but assemble right before serving.

Conversely, if you’re feeling spontaneously dessert-y, you can quickly soften cream cheese by cutting into small cubes and spreading out on a piece of plastic wrap – it’ll be good to go in 10-15 minutes.

Keeping this short so I can get back to sipping a glass of wine with my mom, sister and aunt.

Have a great weekend!

Watermelon Popsicles

Watermelon Popsicles2 Watermelon Popsicles

I love popsicles in the summer, but I wholeheartedly prefer homemade. So flavourful, especially when you take advantage of the ripe local bounty – strawberries, raspberries, cucumber and rhubarb are in season here right now, and I can’t WAIT for the peaches and cherries to appear.

Strawberry and rhubarb would be amazing, of course. But I’d really like to do a cucumber pop, maybe in combination with melon. Or even a green smoothie pop!

I had a massive watermelon to use up (again, see here), but you can substitute virtually ANY fruit, or a combination. Just blend, and add simple syrup to taste.

Watermelon Popsicles1 Watermelon Popsicles

 

Keep in mind that once frozen, the sweetness will be subdued – if making these as a dessert treat, you might want to add a touch more syrup than you think when tasting it before freezing.

My little guy looooooves to rub these against his sore gums when teething. It makes quite an epic mess unless he’s confined to his high chair, but sticky, melted popsicle on the floor/furniture/dog is part of the fun of summer, right? :)

I added chocolate chip “watermelon seeds” to some of the popsicles – I think kids (older than mine) would find that really fun.