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This week I have a couple recipes for your Fourth of July barbecue or any of your summer gatherings! The first one is this berry/Lime crostini. So easy and easily can make a couple dozen depending on how thick you slice the bread. The bread can be toasted in your oven or lightly grilled. I used a combination of raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, but these would be great with strawberries too, or any combination your family likes. These take no time to make and should be served immediately.

1 French baguette, sliced on a diagonal 1/4 – 1/2 inch
Whipped cream cheese, about 1 Tablespoon per bread slice
Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries – or your choice of berries
Honey to drizzle
Zest of 2 limes

Place your bread slices on a baking sheet and place in the oven on broil, keeping the oven cracked open slightly, DO NOT WALK AWAY…these toast up very quickly! Or place the bread slices on your grill and lightly toast one side. Remove from oven or grill. Top each slice with about 1 Tablespoon of the whipped cream cheese covering the bread slice, top with berries, drizzle lightly with honey and zest lime over the top. Do this for each slice and serve immediately.



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We loved these jalapeño bites! Spicy from the jalapeño and the “hot” sausage cooled slightly with the cheese…with a crisp bite from the bacon! I made two versions, one being bacon wrapped with two kinds of cheese and the second version was gluten and dairy free without the bacon.  Robby did not want the bacon on them. But for Robby’s version I used a gluten and dairy free cheese.  I made 20 bites (10 jalapeños) and let me tell you both plates were empty in record time.  We liked them so much I went to the store the next day and bought more jalapeños. The sausage makes a lot so I had plenty of the filling and bacon left. The filling is also great on nachos or even on pizza. This will be on made many times at my house, even when we hit the road camping! The filling can be made ahead and I would crisp and crumble the bacon and just put the crumbles on top for a camping version.  All you would need to do is assemble them, place on a baking sheet and grill until they are heated through! Our family likes spicy food so I use the hot sausage, but you can use the regular sausage as well.

NOTE – one jalapeno will give you two stuffed portions. I made them twice buying 20 jalapeños in total. Depending on how many you want you can purchase as many jalapeños as needed using all of the filling or using the filling for other yummy things!

1 package Jimmy Dean HOT sausage
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Bacon- I used a half slice bacon per sliced jalapeños
NOTE – If making them dairy free/gluten free use dairy free, gluten free cheese. I used Daiya brand.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a baking rack on top of the baking sheet, set aside. In a large frying pan fry the sausage over medium heat until fully cooked, crumbling the sausage as it cooks through. Drain any fat from the pan and add both cheeses, cook melting the cheese and mixing it into the sausage making cheeses goodness! Remove from heat and set aside.
Slice the jalapeños in half, using a spoon remove the ribs and seeds from the middle of the jalapeño, do this for each one. To fill, simply fill each jalapeño half with a spoonful of the sausage mixture and wrap 1/2 of a bacon slice around the jalapeño. Do this for each one and place on your prepared baking sheet with the baking rack. When all of the jalapeños are filled and wrapped bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until bacon is cooked through and lightly crisped. Remove from oven and serve warm.



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This simple side dish is so easy to put together and full of great flavor. This dish is best made the day before you want to eat it so it’s perfect for parties when you have so much to do. It’s also a reasonably healthy side dish. This is one of my husbands favorite side dishes. You can change out the chopped parsley for cilantro and if you want a little more heat, add a diced and seeded jalapeño. As you can see it’s easily adaptable to the flavors you like!

1 pound Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 can (15 ounce) black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 ounce) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen sweet corn, thawed
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
Chopped parsley or cilantro to top

Tortilla  chips for serving
Large Fritos for serving

In a large bowl add the first 7 ingredients and mix. In a small bowl add the olive oil, sugar, chili powder and salt. Mix well and add to the vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Top with chopped parsley or cilantro. Refrigerate until ready to serve.



This recipe comes from tablefortwoblog.com

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This is another Taste of Home recipe that we really enjoyed.  We buy a variety of cream cheese and we do like the vegetable cream cheese found in the store.  This version has such a fresh flavor it beats the store version by a mile! This is a great spring and summer recipe to use up all of your garden vegetables! Not only did we use this spread on bagels and english muffins we dipped the leftover vegetables in it as well! NOTE– If you don’t want to buy all of the veggies you can get most of the veggies in a small amount already sliced from your grocery salad bar.


4 ounces fat free cream cheese
4 ounces fresh goat cheese
1/2 teaspoon grated lime peel
1 Tablespoon lime juice
2/3 cup chopped cucumber
1/4 cup chopped celery
3 Tablespoons chopped carrot
1 radish, finely chopped
2 Tablespoon finely chopped red onion
2 Tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil

Bagels or english muffins for serving

In a bowl beat cheeses, lime peel and lime juice until blended.
Fold in the chopped vegetables and basil. Serve on bagels or English muffins.


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I recently had the chance to do a small catering job for my Mom, Lydia Williams who is an amazing photographer. She had many of her award winning photographs on metal and also featured on puzzles, Christmas cards, calendars, magazines and pamphlets at an exhibit held at our local library. One of the dishes I made was a goat cheese whip. It was a huge hit; everyone enjoyed this and it was a fabulous addition to my cheese board! So next time you are putting together a cheese board add this you will not be disappointed !

5 ounces of goat cheese, softened
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 Tablespoon honey, more for garnish
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup pomegranate arias, plus more for garnish

Serve with crackers or toasted baguette slices.

In the bottom of a stand mixer bowl add goat cheese and cream cheese. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on high until light and fluffy, this takes a couple minutes. Add honey, salt and pepper. Whip again about 30 more seconds.  Add pomegranates and fold into the mixture. Transfer to your serving container, sprinkle with additional pomegranate, drizzle with a bit more honey and serve with crackers or baguette slices.

If you would like to see some beautiful photographs please feel free to visit my Mom’s website at http://www.lydiawilliamsphotography.com



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