Avocado and Cucumber Soup

Today I have a recipe that is only one line long…assuming you ignore the ingredient list. I guess I could condense that into one line somehow, but that might be a bit confusing? This was the soup we had at our July 4 party. For the first July4 in a while, we had a gorgeous sunny day. In fact, summer has been absolutely amazing this year. It started around April or May and has been sunny almost every single day with perfect temperatures. The funny part about Seattle summers is that sometimes it looks really dark and depressing in the morning. You think that it can never possibly cheer up from that depth of misery, but then around late morning or early afternoon the sun is all of a sudden out, and somehow you missed the clouds leaving. Immediately it goes from a bit chilly to almost hot (but not unbearable) and you get to grumble about your unsuitable clothing for the day, unless you wore layers.

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Salad Dressing Chicken and Salad Dressing Dip

When Joanna of Midwestern Bite sent me a housewarming package, I was so surprised and happy! Well, not completely surprised because she had to ask for my new address first, but still. It was super sweet and I have definitely been putting the gifts to good use. In today’s post, you will see how I used her favorite salad dressing to make our own version of a Smash Burger salad.

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But first, a few other ways I have used the gifts, and an explanation of the salad. Oh, and there’s dip.

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Salted Caramel and Butter Sauce

Yeah, that sounds like heaven, doesn’t it? Many moons ago, it would not have sounded as good. I hardly ever cooked with salt. It was something I would bake with, but even then I would try to use the smallest amounts possible. Then I discovered my big Salt Lover. Both as it reads, and the fact that I love my husband. I apparently usually smell like chocolate (I use cocoa butter body lotion) and he usually is salty (he loves his Utz potato chips). They say salt is necessary for life, and he is certainly necessary for mine. Today he is another year older, and although he may not like having to add another year to his age, I am perfectly happy adding to our time together.

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So, to K, my lovable salt-loving husband: you taught me to be a little more ok with salt in my cooking (everything in moderation, I suppose), but you also bring the sweetness. For you, I share this recipe. Perfect for ice cream, brownies, cookies, spoons…you know, whatever can be dipped.

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Chocolate Mint Dreams

For my birthday, I never know what I will get. I mean, I have some wish list items, but then my family and friends always throw in gifts they hope I will like or don’t have. I don’t think of myself as hard to shop for, but apparently they think I have lots of cookbooks and cooking tools making it hard to know what I don’t have. My brother picked out this cookbook, but I still don’t know exactly what led him to pick it. Luckily, he knows me well and picked a great cookbook. It has lots of good pictures and yummy sounding recipes. I hope to make another recipe from it very soon.

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This recipe is like a brownie in cookie form. I added in mint chocolate which makes the cookies nice and refreshing, while being very soft and gooey. They are not impressive-looking, but perfect for your family. I had lots of fun eating one with peanut butter ice cream. You can eat them however you like.

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Light and Healthy Vegetable Stuffed Shells

I pulled this recipe from a magazine…kind of. K wanted some lasagna, but it is the middle of summer, so I needed some lasagna that would work well for this time of year. This recipe is creamy, but not heavy, flavorful, but not overwhelming. It also reheated well for future dinners. Originally, the recipe was supposed to be for lasagna and the ingredients were a little different. I worked with what I had and I think I like mine even better than theirs looked. Instead of tomato sauce, feel free to use tomatoes, but I prefer the sauce because it will not get watery. The sauce is really nice and it is hard to believe that there is not any cream in it. You could potentially hide vegetables from your family with this, but I preferred telling K and letting him enjoy their taste. We still had more vegetables on the side, because that’s how we roll, but do what you like.

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Watermelon Granita and Lemonade

Here is what I did for July 4, in case you were curious. Some recipes have been posted already, including the farro and oven-fried chicken. There will be more recipes coming, hopefully for the sticky rice (K’s mom’s recipe), the soup, caramel sauce, and veggie dip. In the meantime, some pictures and a recipe for our main drink of the day. I was inspired by a watermelon lemonade margarita I saw online. The combination sounded tasty, so I bought some nice lemonade from Costco and made a watermelon granita to go with it. Well…apparently large watermelons have lots of juice, so I had about 8 cups of juice…from part of the watermelon! I ended up using the remaining amount as just “juice”. If you don’t want to make granita, you can also make ice cubes from it (we did that, too). And, you can add vodka to make it “adult”. We had many non-drinkers and some who had indulged recently, so most had the virgin version.

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Peanut Butter Ice Cream

After visiting one of our local Farmer’s Markets and tasting an ice cream bar (peanut butter ice cream dipped in chocolate), I had to make peanut butter ice cream. I absolutely love peanut butter and eat it out of the jar all of the time (don’t worry, if I want to double dip, I keep a second jar for that). Now, K doesn’t love it quite as much as I do, but he puts up with my mild obsession. Just like me, he loved the ice cream bar. He went from saying “I’m full…I’ll try one bite” to eating half of it willingly. I would love to make the ice cream bar at home, but I think I would make a big mess. So, I settled for the ice cream. You could add chocolate bits to this, but you could just as easily eat it with a chocolate cookie (totally happened).

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We have since gone looking for the ice cream bars again and had no look. Oh Whidbey Island Ice Cream bars…where did you go? Why did you leave when it actually got hot outside?

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