Cool summer meals, treats

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve been struggling to be in the mood to cook. Our meals lately have been hamburgers or brats off the grill or large summer salads. I don’t feel like standing over a hot stove cooking. Someone asked if I would share grilling recipes, but my repertoire is very limited to hamburgers and brats. Jonathon and Michael are both known for their grilling skills and delicious meals. I’ll see if they can share some of their favorite recipes later this summer. I have been using my slow cooker more this summer to keep me out of the kitchen while it does all the work. Barbeque pulled pork is one of my new favorite dinner options.
My focus this summer is having cool treats on hand for the grandkids or bigger kids to enjoy. I baked up three kinds of cookies to store in the freezer for their visits. Unfortunately, Mark and Austin have been sneaking into my stash of treats. I’ll have to restock the cookie supply, and I will make another batch of mud hen bars. I found this recipe in the Delaware 4-H cookbook. The name caught my attention. The taste satisfied my sweet tooth. Once the oven is on, I’ll try to get a bunch of baking done so I don’t have to overheat the house.
The recipes I’ve been searching for lately have centered around cool, refreshing treats for kids of all sizes. I’ve included some drinks and treats to share with you this week. I remember making Kool-Aid pops as a kid, but as a grandmother, I’m going to try and push the kids to less sugar when they recharge this summer. If you can’t find popsicle sticks, try using plastic spoons as the handles for your popsicles.

Barbeque pulled pork from “The Slow Cooker Cookbook”
3-4 pounds boneless pork roast (shoulder or butt)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 medium onion, sliced
1 medium green bell pepper, sliced
1 jar (18 ounces) barbeque sauce
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
Cooked rice and flour tortillas (optional)
Trim excess fat from pork. Combine salt, cumin, paprika, black pepper and ground red pepper in small bowl; rub over pork. Place onion and bell pepper in slow cooker; add pork. Combine sauce and brown sugar; pour over meat. Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours. Serve over rice with tortillas, if desired.

Mud hen bars from the Delaware 4-H cookbook
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup butter, softened
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
1 cup chocolate chips
2 egg whites, stiffly beaten
1 cup packed brown sugar
Beat sugar, butter, egg and egg yolks. Mix flour and baking powder together. Add to creamed butter mixture. Spread in greased 9-by-13 baking pan. Will be thick. Sprinkle pecans, marshmallows and chocolate chips over batter. Mix stiffly beaten egg whites and brown sugar together. Pour over pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until edges pull from sides of pan.

Watermelon lemonade
4 cups cubed watermelon
3/4 cup lemon juice (3-4 large lemons)
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups ice
Puree watermelon. Strain and pour liquid back into blender. Add lemon juice, sugar and ice cubes. Blend until smooth. Pour into pitcher to serve. Add extra ice cubes if needed.

Strawberry-watermelon smoothie
3 cups frozen strawberries
3 cups cubed watermelon (seeds removed or seedless)
1 banana
Add fruit to blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into glasses

Cran-strawberry ice pops
2 cups strawberries (fresh or frozen/thawed)
1/4 cups frozen cranberry juice concentrate, thawed
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
In a blender or food processor, combine strawberries, cranberry-juice concentrate, sugar, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of water. Process until smooth. Pour mixture into individual frozen treat molds or small paper cups. If using cups, freeze for 1 hour or until mixture begins to set. Insert wooden popsicle sticks or plastic spoons as handles. Freeze until completely firm.

Purple power pops
2 cups red grapes, rinsed and picked from stems
1 cup strawberries, rinsed and caps removed
Pour grapes and strawberries into blender. Process on high speed until smooth. Pour mixture into 3-ounce ice-pop molds. Freeze.

Strawberry lemon pops
2 cups strawberries
2 tablespoons frozen lemonade concentrate
3 tablespoons sugar or to taste
6 ice-pop sticks
Wash and hull strawberries. In blender or food processor, puree strawberries with lemonade concentrate and sugar. Pour into disposable plastic cups or ice pop molds. If using plastic cups, add sticks. Freeze until firm. To serve, dip cups in warm water to loosen molds.

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