guest contributor: summer picnic staples

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Welcome, Michelle!

Nothing says summertime like a backyard BBQ with good friends; sunshine, cold beverages, lawn games and good food - I love it all! The past two weekends we've had BBQs: one in Colorado with our friends and family and one this weekend at the Cotton's house to catch up with friends while we're visiting California! 

I want to share two items that were hits at both BBQs! The first is a yummy cool beverage we call Summer Brew. It sounds like such an odd combination of ingredients -- light beer, vodka and lemonade -- but I promise you it's delicious! If you've ever tried Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy, it's a similar flavor. 

Summer Brew
12 cans light beer (I used PBR)
1 can pink lemonade concentrate (defrosted)
1 can vodka (use the lemonade can as measurement)
Lemon wedges, raspberries (optional) 

- Pour beers into large pitcher or drink dispenser. To avoid foam, tip container at an angel and slowly pour beer down the side.
- Add can of concentrate.
- Pour vodka into lemonade can and add to mixture. Stir.
- Add ice, half of the sliced lemons and fruit into container. 
- Serve over ice and add fruit garnish.

For dessert, I made homemade ice cream cookie sandwiches inspired by Brown Eyed Baker. I tried the chocolate chipbetter than brownie chocolate and sugar cookie recipes. My favorite was the chocolate chip followed by the better than brownie chocolate cookies. To make the cookies, follow instructions from Brown Eyed Baker. I am a novice baker so my only tip is to follow the recipes exactly!

For a split second I thought about making homemade ice cream but was snapped back to reality when I remembered I have a full time job that requires me to be at a desk and Martha Stewart's studio (a girl can dream). Instead I purchased half gallons of my favorite flavors: mint chocolate chip, strawberry, cookies and cream, and chocolate peanut butter cup.

Once the cookies are baked and cooled, pair the cookies with similar sized cookies to start making sandwiches! Take the ice cream out of the freezer and allow it to soften (about 5 mins). 

Using an ice cream scoop, make one large ball of ice cream. Flatten the top of the ice cream before setting it on the cookie (this will help make the sandwich without breaking the cookies). Place flattened scoop on a cookie and top with another cookie. Voola - ice cream sandwich! 

Place completed sandwiches in the freezer several hours (or over night) to freeze complete. Wrap in wax or parchment paper hand out to guests for dessert. 

Cheers to summer! Michelle

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