Every Year It Gets Hotter

This is what our friends said to us when they arrived yesterday for our third annual Memorial Day BBQ. Since we were hosting two BBQ’s in row, we thought it would be fun to change things up a bit with a themed event.  And this lunch inspired us make fajitas!  We had a lot of leftover limes, which was a good place to start.

 

IMG_4230

 

After my run on Saturday morning, the BOY and I headed out to the Mexican grocery store for supplies.

 

IMAG1156

 

IMAG1153

 

IMAG1155

 

IMAG1157

 

The BOY prepped the meat with fajita seasoning and lime and let it marinate overnight.

 

IMG_4251 IMG_4252

IMG_4250 IMG_4259

 

Meanwhile, I got to work on some white wine sangria.  Here is an easy recipe for this classic summer drink.  Trust me, you will want to memorize this one!

Combine a bottle of white wine with 1 cup of fruit juice.

 

IMG_4256 IMG_4257

 

Add in some fresh fruit.  I recommend berries, peaches, and oranges.

 

IMG_4263 IMG_4264

 

Stir well and refrigerate over night.

 

IMG_4267

 

Just before serving, stir in 1/2 cup of sparking water, sprite, or gingerale.

 

IMAG1227 IMAG1226

 

I LOVE sangria, and this crisp and refreshing drink was a big hit at the BBQ.

 

IMAG1225 IMG_4333

 

I also made a pitcher of margarita with this mix that I picked up at Trader Joe’s, but the sangria was much more popular.

 

IMAG1229 IMAG1228

 

Here are a few other fresh, fruity, and fun summer drinks…

 

Hungry Girl Sangria

Sunny White Sangria

Fresh Cherry Mojito

Strawberry Coconut Margaritas

Peach Mango Pineapple White Sangria

 

IMG_4340 IMG_4341

 

We served salsas, guacamole, and bean dip as appetizers.  The BOY also insisted on empanadas, which is a story for a whole another blog post…

 

IMG_4338 IMG_4339

 

For sides, we served red beans and rice (from a box mix) and black eyed pea salad from this cookbook (recipe to come!).

 

IMG_4337 IMG_4315

 

Despite the 90 degree weather, we we did spend some time sitting around outside.  The BOY was worried that nobody would want to brave the heat, but we did.  The sad news was that we lost the plugs for our baby pool (often used for soaking our feet on hot summer days), so we didn’t have any thing to cool us off.  That is where the beer and sangria came in : )

 

IMG_4342

 

For dinner, w set up a DIY fajita bar with beef, chicken, veggies, and all of the fixings.  One of our friends made a delicious guacamole and everyone dug right in.  I know I’ve said it before, but the BOY is a true grill master!

 

IMG_4347

 

IMG_4343

 

IMG_4346

 

By the time dinner was over, it had started to cool off and we were happy to sit out back and hang out, playing with the kids.  We had a nice variety of desserts.  I made banana bread and cookies (more recipes to come).  One friend made a frozen peanut butter chocolate chip pie and the other friend showed up with everyone’s favorite Slutty Brownies!.

 

IMAG1230

 

I also made Fruit Salsa, served with cinnamon sugar pita chips.

 

IMG_4274 IMG_4273

 

Even though the sun was blazing and the humidity was thick, our Fiesta Memorial Day BBQ was a huge success!!!  The BOY even commented that he would love to do another one again soon.

 

I will post the new recipes throughout the week, but first I have to go heat up some leftovers for dinner tonight.

Check out last year’s Memorial Day menu for more summer BBQ ideas!

CLEAN Key Lime Cheesecake Bars

Another amazing magazine find!!!

 

IMG_4055

 

As I was pondering over a good spring time dessert, I came across this Key Lime Cheesecake ‘makeover’.  Although I’m not a big fan of cheesecake, I know the BOY likes key lime pie, and this looked perfect for a hot spring day!  Since we were heading to Bed Bath and Beyond (and I had a few coupons), I picked myself up my first citrus zester.

 

IMG_4059

 

The zest smelled incredible and strong.  I can see why it is such a key component to this cheesecake.

 

IMG_4065

 

IMG_4064

 

The crust of the cheesecake is made with graham crackers.  I was a little worried about it holding together with such limited amounts of butter, but it worked out perfectly.

 

IMG_4052 IMG_4061

 

My food processor got quite a workout yesterday!!! 

 

IMG_4062

 

Although I’ve never made cheesecake before, it seemed super easy when using the food processor.

 

IMG_4063 IMG_4066

IMG_4068 IMG_4070

 

I blended together all of my ingredients and just had to pour it into my crust and bake!

 

IMG_4075 IMG_4076

 

Since I have never made cheesecake and don’t often eat it, I wasn’t sure if the cheesecake was done, but the edges looked set. I refrigerated it over night just to be sure.  This morning, I pulled out the foil (which made for easy clean up) and used my bash and chop to cut the cheesecake into bars.

 

IMG_4138

 

They looked really tasty and smelled of citrus.

 

IMG_4135

 

IMG_4137

 

I added a little extra zest for flavor and decoration.

 

IMG_4140

 

IMG_4142

 

The bars are best kept in the refrigerator until serving.

 

IMG_4143

 

Although I’m not a big fan of cheesecake, I stole a taste of these bars while I was slicing them.  They have a rich, creamy cheesecake taste with a strong lime flavor.  If you like cheesecake and key lime pie, these are definitely the bars for you.

 

IMG_4144

 

They are cool and refreshing, which made them the perfect dessert for a BBQ.  Plus, your guests will never know that they are ‘CLEAN’.  But after eating BBQ food all day, they will be happy to know that this dessert is a healthier option!

 

 

 

Cheesecake-Style Lime Bars

From Clean Eating Magazine June 2012

 

Ingredients

14 all natural whole-wheat graham cracker squares (or 7 rectangular sheets)

3 tablespoons organic unsalted butter, melted

8 ounces light cream cheese

1 cup low-fat sour cream (or plain greek yogurt)

1/2 cup organic evaporated cane juice (I used Turbinado)

1 tablespoon lime zest (from about 2 limes), plus additional for garnish

1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)

1 large egg

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 inch square baking dish with parchment paper, leaving 2 to 3 inches hanging over 2 opposing sides.

In a food processor, process graham crackers into fine crumbs. With machine running, pour butter through feed tube and process until just combined, 2 to 3 seconds. Transfer mixture to baking dish and press into bottom with your hands to form an even layer. Bake until edges are very light brown, about 9 minutes. Transfer to wire rack.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Wipe out food processor and add cream cheese and sour cream or yogurt; process until smooth, about 1 minute. Add cane juice and lime zest and juice. Pulse, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, until combined. Add egg and pulse until just combined. Spread mixtures evenly over top of graham cracker crust and bake until edges are just set and center is still moist and slightly jiggly, 38 to 40 minutes.

Transfer to wire rack and let rest for 10 minutes. Run a thin knife along the edges of dish to loosen. Let cool to room temperature. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Transfer cheesecake to cutting board by lifting edges of parchment. Garnish with additional lime zest and slice into 16 squares. Serve chilled. After slicing, squares will keep refrigerated for 1 day.

 

Nutrition Facts

IMG_4067