Menu Plans

July Menu Plan: Patriotic Style!

It’s almost July, and you know what that means… all things red, white, and blue! This month we have a fun round up of patriotic foods perfect for all your parties, cookouts, and bbqs! Enjoy!

Patriotic Meal Plan for July... all things red, white, and blue!

Entrees

Patriotic Meal Plan for July... all things red, white, and blue!

Patriotic Meal Plan for July... all things red, white, and blue!

Sides

Patriotic Meal Plan for July... all things red, white, and blue!

Patriotic Meal Plan for July... all things red, white, and blue!

Desserts

Patriotic Meal Plan for July... all things red, white, and blue!

Patriotic Meal Plan for July... all things red, white, and blue!

Beverages

Patriotic Meal Plan for July... all things red, white, and blue!

This month’s recipe round up was brought to you by:

Pies and Plots | The Spiffy Cookie | Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck | Kelly Lynn’s Sweets & Treats | Savory Moments | The Pajama ChefThe Cooking Actress

Pin this to your meal planning board for easy access all month long!

 

Patriotic Meal Plan for July... all things red, white, and blue! Patriotic Meal Plan for July... all things red, white, and blue!

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Appetizers, Recipes

Copycat Chuy’s Creamy Jalapeno Dip

This creamy, addictive jalapeno dip is famous… and for good reason! I don’t make very many copycat recipes, but I can’t get enough of this Chuy’s classic!

This creamy, addictive jalapeno dip is famous... and for good reason! I don't make very many copycat recipes, but I can't get enough of this Chuy's classic!

Can I be honest? I’ve only been to Chuy’s once… I don’t remember what I had to eat for dinner, but what I DO remember is this awesomely creamy and slightly spicy jalapeno dip. I ate my weight in tortilla chips absolutely covered in this dip, and then I slathered it all over my food. Ridiculous.

This creamy, addictive jalapeno dip is famous... and for good reason! I don't make very many copycat recipes, but I can't get enough of this Chuy's classic!

When you hear “jalapeno dip” you probably think spicy, right? But it’s really not, especially if you de-seed the jalapenos. All you have is the wonderful, creamy dip full of zesty lime and cilantro, garlic and ranch. It is to die for, like nothing you’ve ever tasted.

This creamy, addictive jalapeno dip is famous... and for good reason! I don't make very many copycat recipes, but I can't get enough of this Chuy's classic!

If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to put this dip on anything and everything. I loooove it with tortilla chips, and it’s also excellent when served with carnitas or barbacoa. I suspect it would be good with any Mexican/Tex-Mex dinner. How do I know? Because I also like eating it by the spoonful! I’m sure you will too–enjoy! 🙂

one year ago: Baked Tilapia with Coconut-Cilantro Sauce 
two years ago: Southwestern Cilantro Mac and Cheese
three years ago: Dark Chocolate Double Coconut Macaroons
four years ago: Blueberry Burgers
five years ago: Orange-Glazed Chicken Stir-Fry
six years ago: Lemony Kale Pasta

Copycat Chuy’s Creamy Jalapeno Dip

  • Servings: ~2 1/2 cups
  • Print

from Macaroni and Cheesecake

Ingredients:

  • 2 large jalapenos, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • 16 ounces sour cream
  • 1 packet ranch dressing mix (1 ounce), storebought or homemade
  • zest and juice of one lime
  • 2-4 tablespoons milk

Directions:

In a food processor, pulse together jalapenos, garlic, and cilantro until finely chopped. Add sour cream, ranch seasoning, and zest and juice of one lime. Process until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl, then whisk in milk in one tablespoon increments until the dip is pourable.

Serve with tortilla chips, on tacos, with grilled chicken, steak, or pork, etc. The possibilities are endless! Enjoy!

Reviews

Book Review: Newton and Polly

I’m excited to share my review of Newton and Polly by Jody Hedlund with you today! I received a complementary copy from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. 

Newton and Polly... a book review of Jody Hedlund's epic book!

description of the book from the publisher:

Acclaimed novelist Jody Hedlund brings the real story of “Amazing Grace” to page in a thrilling tale of the love story of John Newton and Polly Catlett.

John Newton fell in love with Polly Catlett at first sight. But Polly was unable to return the affections of the rebellious, worldly young man and her father ordered the aimless John away from her. Not long after, John was pressed into serving in the Navy. He saw Polly one last time before leaving England but Polly couldn’t promise any future to him.

After four years away, John is called back to England on family matters. But John was heavily, blindly involved in the slave trade and had no desire to return. John Sr. used his son’s undying love for Polly to lure him home. On that treacherous voyage back to England, in the midst of a terrible storm, John finally experienced salvation and began moving towards, eventually, crusading against slavery. Back at home, John must work hard to convince wise-beyond-her-years Polly Catlett that he is a changed man and worthy of her.

As usual, my five point review:

  • This story–this true love story–is incredible. I couldn’t put it down! As you can tell if you’ve read the description above, this is a love story between John Newton (the author of the hymn “Amazing Grace” and his (eventual) wife, Polly. As I’ve said time and time again, Christian fiction is very, very, VERY hit or miss with me. I’m so picky about what I like and what I don’t. This isn’t a love story of the cheesy, “Jesus brought us together” coincidental variety… but rather one that is realistic, involved family/work/religion/faith conflicts, and one that ACTUALLY happened. I know we all think our love stories are pretty cool (and they are) but this one is phenomenal. It is a story that needs to be told, so I’m glad Jody did!
  • What made this story so powerful was the author’s thorough research and commitment to keeping the story true to the historical events of the time, even though it is fiction. This made for some uncomfortable scenes (not inappropriate, but tough to read/think about) relating to the slave trade, male-female interactions, etc. These scenes, as far as I know from my own reading and history background, seem very true to the era. Anyone interested in life in the 1700s, the slave trade, or the crusade against slavery would enjoy this book for just these reasons. The love story would just be a bonus. 🙂
  • I loved all the emotion in this novel. You could feel Polly’s change of heart towards John over time… from their early moments to the tough middle and to the wonderful ending. The author did such a great job with Polly’s character! It’s like she’s your friend (or yourself). Absolutely lovely!
  • At the same time, Jody Hedlund did an amazing job capturing John Newton. At the beginning of the story, he was only seventeen and rather aimless. It was a different time period and his freedoms were different then as opposed to most seventeen year olds now. The author’s portrayal of John in good times and bad–experiencing pain, tragedy, joy, heartache, and more–was so rich! Before reading this novel, I only had a cursory understanding of the background of the man who wrote “Amazing Grace.” But now, the words of his hymn make SO MUCH SENSE.
  • All in all, this book is wonderful. You’ll want to savor it, you’ll want to rush through it to see how it ends (even though some of that is spoiled for you in this review… they do get together! Haha!)… but in this case, the joy is in the journey. And grace is captured so, so well. Read this book! You won’t regret it.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to for the chance to read this great book!

 

Bars, Desserts, Recipes

Flourless Monster Cookie Bars (Gluten Free)

These monster cookie bars are an easy, chewy dessert that you’ll enjoy all summer long! They’re also a great gluten-free dessert when made with gluten-free oats so everyone will enjoy them!

These monster cookie bars are an easy, chewy dessert that you'll enjoy all summer long! They're also a great gluten-free dessert when made with gluten-free oats so everyone will enjoy them!

I LOVE cookie bars. I love cookies too, but making them can be a huge pain. So I usually choose to make cookie bars. This recipe intrigued me because they looked ooey gooey (especially the center pieces!) AND they’re baked in a half size sheet pan so the recipe makes a ton! They’re perfect for every social event of the summer, from cookouts to pool parties and everything in between. Of course, they can also be made year-round. 🙂

These monster cookie bars are an easy, chewy dessert that you'll enjoy all summer long! They're also a great gluten-free dessert when made with gluten-free oats so everyone will enjoy them!

As with any other Monster Cookie, these bars are full of oats, peanut butter deliciousness, M&Ms, and mini chocolate chips. As the recipe is written, it calls for both old-fashioned and quick oats. It’s a texture thing I guess, and I’ve always followed the recipe in that way everytime I’ve made them. I usually just pulse some old-fashioned oats in the food processor to achieve a finer texture. If you only have one kind of oats or the other, that’s fine too… the recipe should turn out.

These monster cookie bars are an easy, chewy dessert that you'll enjoy all summer long! They're also a great gluten-free dessert when made with gluten-free oats so everyone will enjoy them!

One reason I was excited to make these cookie bars (aside from their simplicity and fabulous, addictive taste) is that they are so easy to make gluten free! Our family isn’t gluten free (and I’m not an expert) BUT I do have some friends who are, so I like to have some tried and true recipes on hand that they can enjoy as well. For this recipe, you just need to make sure to use gluten free oats. In my experience, most of the other ingredients should be gluten free naturally–but check labels if this is an issue for you, particularly for the peanut butter, vanilla, and M&Ms. If you are gluten free and I missed anything, please feel free to share in the comments! I hope you love these bars as much as we do!

These monster cookie bars are an easy, chewy dessert that you'll enjoy all summer long! They're also a great gluten-free dessert when made with gluten-free oats so everyone will enjoy them!

P.S. They free wonderfully and taste great at room temperature or heated up in the microwave for 10-15 seconds–so don’t be afraid of the large batch… I’m sure you’ll find a use for them. 🙂

one year ago: Honey Banana Muffins
two years ago: Ricotta Pancakes
three years ago: Italian Tortilla Rollups
four years ago: Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese
five years ago: Cinnamon Carrot Muffins
six years ago: Sweet Potato Waffles

Flourless Monster Cookie Bars (Gluten Free)

  • Servings: 45 small bars
  • Print

from Together as Family

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (I use regular/not natural peanut butter for baking)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free quick oats (I usually just pulse old-fashioned oats a couple times in the food processor to break them down a bit)
  • 3 cups gluten-free old-fashioned oats
  • 1-2 cups mini M&Ms (pssst: at my grocery story, mini M&Ms found in the candy aisle are cheaper than the “baking bits” M&Ms found in the baking aisle and seem to be the same)
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13×18 inch rimmed baking sheet (half size sheet pan) with parchment or a silpat.

With a stand mixer, beat together brown sugar, sugar, peanut butter, and butter until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs and vanilla, and beat until combined. Mix in baking soda.

Add oats and beat on low to just combine, then use a wooden spoon to mix in most of the M&Ms and mini chocolate chips until well incorporated. You can save a little of each to press on top of the bars if desired.

Turn out dough onto prepared baking sheet. Spread the dough out–it is a little tricky, but i found that greasing my hands or a spatula were the best ways to spread out the dough. Top with reserved M&Ms and mini chocolate chips, pressing them in gently.

Bake for about 17-20 minutes–do not overbake! The edges should be just browned and the middle will look underdone but it will finish baking as it cools. Cool for at least an hour so the bars can set.

Once cool, slice and enjoy! These bars also freeze well.

Note: I am not an expert, but I THINK if you use gluten free oats, this would be a great gluten free dessert recipe. From what I’ve read, most M&Ms (including mini M&Ms) are gluten free. You may need to check labels of other ingredients like the vanilla and peanut butter–the brands I use at home are gluten free but all are not. If you’re gluten free and I’ve overlooked anything, please chime in!

Menu Plans

No Bake Desserts for June

Happy Memorial Day! I can’t believe it’s almost June! It’s been hot hot hot in Nashville lately, so I’m all about the no-bake treats. So this month in lieu of a meal plan, we have a fun round-up of no-bake desserts. Enjoy!

No Bake Desserts for June

No-Bake Desserts

No Bake Desserts for June

No Bake Desserts for June

No Bake Desserts for June

No Bake Desserts for June

No Bake Desserts for June

No Bake Desserts for June

This month’s recipe round up was brought to you by:

The Cooking Actress | Pies and Plots | The Spiffy Cookie | Kelly Lynn’s Sweets & Treats | Savory Moments | The Pajama Chef

Pin this to your meal planning board for easy access all month long!

No Bake Desserts for June No Bake Desserts for June