4 In Meal Planning

Summer Cookout Favorites + Kitchen Reno

Summer Cookout Favorites

We’re travelling to my home state of Minnesota for the July 4 holiday. In preparation for our visit, my mother asked me a few of our favorite summery cookout recipes we’d made for the blog. Which got me to thinking — why not share with you some of our favorite healthy and delicious recipes for summer cookouts, with the 4th of July holiday approaching here in the US?

Below you’ll find, truly, our favorite foods we’ve made for this blog that fit the summertime genre. The little blurb I’ve added may sound slightly generic, but each one of these items is dear to us – we can remember the time and place we created each one! I’ve added tags for special diets as well, since bringing together friends and family tends to bring together all sorts of diets.

We are looking forward to a quick vacation to visit dear family and friends, including some Minnesotan foodie friends you may know, the lovely Sarah of The Vanilla Bean Blog and Lindsay and Bjork of Pinch of Yum.

The Kitchen Reno

And, for those of you wondering — we break ground on our new kitchen officially tomorrow!  We recently bought a 1926 four-square and will be working to renovate it, with the help of a contractor for the kitchen portion. We’re also putting our current home on the market.

We’re passionate about historic homes, and have loved our 1925 bungalow for the past 5 years. Since we’ve been looking to expand our family in the not-so-distant future, we’ve had our eye on the market and jumped on this four-square. It needs quite a bit of TLC, but it has a larger kitchen space, 4 bedrooms, a finished third floor bonus room, and a two-deep city lot (quite a rarity in the city). We’ve been excited to find wood flooring under the existing carpet, so we’re hoping to be able to refinish a lot of the flooring.

As for the kitchen, we completed the design ourselves (with some wonderful consulting from Jeanine of Love and Lemons) and it’s been a huge amount of work. Turns out it’s a lot of pressure trying to make decisions worth thousands of dollars that you’ll have to live with for the next decade or so! In order to work within our budget, we’ve had to balance functionality with price, aesthetics, and quality — which tends to be a tough balancing act!  After weighing out a ton of choices and frequenting sites like Pinterest, here are some of the main items we’ve decided on:

-White lower cabinets with butcherblock counters
-Island with a quartz countertop and stools
-Stainless steel appliances, hopefully a range with a 1 1/2 oven
-A bit of open shelving and one glass-front cabinet (no upper cabinets)
-A hood over the range with a subway tile backsplash
-Two sinks (our dream!)

Our overall aesthetic is a mix of antique and modern, and to try for a European vibe. We’ll see if it works out! We’ve hired a contractor for the work so we won’t be doing it ourselves. We’ll keep you posted on how it goes! We’re hoping the hard “deciding” part is nearly coming to a close, so we’re excited to see it take shape.

The Round Up

Classic Bean Burger

Classic Bean Burger: These burgers take a bit of time to whip up, but they are actually grillable, and a great vegetarian option. The recipe infamously took us 10 tries to develop, so we haven’t had the gumption to try them again since that time. If you do, let us know if you enjoy them!

Vegetarian Vegan Dairy-Free

Greek Grilled Portabello Sandwich

Greek Grilled Portabello Sandwich: We love taking portabellos to cookouts as a quick and easy grillable option – we actually brought some to a family cookout today and everyone loved them! You can just bring the portabellos, or make them fancy by adding this tzatziki and feta cheese for a Greek style sandwich.

Vegetarian Gluten-Free (sans bun) Vegan / Dairy-Free (sans toppings)

Grilled Corn with Chili Lime Sour Cream

Grilled Corn with Chili Lime Sour Cream: We love serving corn in this Mexican-style preparation – it’s a flavorful and unique way to enjoy a summer favorite.

Vegetarian Gluten-Free

Grilled Romaine

Grilled Romaine: We’ve sung its praises before, but grilling romaine lettuce is surprisingly tasty. Grilling brings out a surprising and rich charred flavor. It’s one of our favorite summer treats.

Vegetarian Gluten-Free Vegan / Dairy-Free (sans cheese)

Herbed Potato Salad with Yogurt and Snap Peas

Herbed Potato Salad with Yogurt and Snap Peas: Potato salad is key to an American summer cookout success. We recently concocted this one and love how easy it is to put together, tasty, and healthy (made with Greek yogurt instead of the typical mayo).

Vegetarian Gluten-Free

Farfalle Pasta with Peas, Feta, and Dill

Bowtie Pasta with Peas, Feta and Dill: Pasta salad is another cookout favorite. Usually we’re not huge fans of cookout pastas, but this one is exceptional. It’s easy to put together and the dill and feta make for a tasty Mediterranean combination.


Heirloom Tomato and Peach Salad

Heirloom Tomato and Peach Salad: This is an older recipe of ours, but we love it for the simplicity bursting with summer flavors of peach, tomato and basil. Make sure to find perfectly ripe peaches and tomatoes for this one.

Vegetarian Vegan Gluten-Free Dairy Free

Cherry Blueberry Sparklers

Cherry Blueberry Sparklers (Naturally Sweet): We made these last year in honor of July 4 and loved them. They’re sweetened with honey and fantastically refreshing.

Vegetarian Vegan Gluten-Free Dairy Free Naturally Sweet

Lemon Mint Slush

Lemon Mint Slush: We hate to pick favorites, but this is in contention for favorite summer beverage we’ve ever created. (That or the naturally sweet whiskey sour. But that’s a drink for anytime!)

Vegetarian Vegan Gluten-Free Dairy Free Naturally Sweet

Brownie Ice Cream Sandiwches

Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches: To end with a sweet treat, these ice cream sandwiches are tasty. The brownie part is made completely of natural ingredients (dates, walnuts, cocoa powder) and they are no-bake, which makes them fairly easy to assemble.

Vegetarian Vegan / Dairy-Free (with Coconut Milk Ice Cream) Gluten-Free Naturally Sweet

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream: We love making ice cream with coconut milk, since it’s so quick to assemble. This one is especially tasty and mostly naturally sweet.

Vegetarian Vegan Dairy-Free Gluten-Free Naturally Sweet (except for the chocolate)

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  • Reply
    July 1, 2013 at 12:59 am

    so exciting about the kitchen reno! Have fun!

    These all sound so good!! Can’t wait to try a few on the 4th!

  • Reply
    July 1, 2013 at 9:14 am

    So exciting about the new home and kitchen! I can only imagine all the hopes and plans you’re putting into the renovation :) Antique, vintage, & European all sound like great design elements to me!

    Love the round-up of cookout favorites, too! Thanks!

  • Reply
    Alisha @ Gluten Free Perspective
    July 1, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Congrats on the new home! My husband and I bought an older house and completely remodeled it. I loved it and hated it at the same time haha :)

  • Reply
    Brooke Fiore
    July 1, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    I made a version of the bean burgers for dinner tonight. So fantastically delicious and satisfying! Thanks for the inspiration!!

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