Weekend Links + Photos: Sweet Summertime

There is a landslide of school supplies taking over our family room floor. Classes start on Tuesday and it’s time to sharpen our focus for another school year.

I’ve never been the mum who gleefully abandons the beach pails and picnic baskets to greet the school bus with cheers. I adore having the children around all summer, despite the challenges of juggling work (me) and play (all of us) for weeks on end, so the end of August is rather bittersweet.

This fall will be extra poignant, as Clara – teeny, tiny, little Clara – will be heading off to kindergarten. It seems like she just turned one not long ago, but that goes to show how quickly they really do grow up.

It’s been an incredible summer though, hasn’t it?

We logged quite a few camping weekends, both close to home and further afield, including our annual ‘Cousin Campout’ in the back yard around the fire pit.

I did a fair bit of campfire cooking, perfecting my macaroni & cheese as well as a Triple Berry Crisp that is made in a cast iron skillet. We toasted bannock over an open fire and grilled corn on our camp stove before slathering it with herb butter.

Camping food can be seasonally driven instead of a pile of processed, pre-packaged junk that is marketed as camping food.

In Niagara, on an 8-day road trip, we found a U-pick orchard that would allow us to picnic on the grounds as well as fill our baskets with peaches and yellow plums. Heaven! Time slowed down as we wandered among the trees, the place to ourselves, the sun on our backs.

Two boxes of peaches came home in our Sienna with us and I made three fresh peach pies with our u-picked fruit. One is residing in my freezer for a special occasion and the other two were consumed during our harvest dinner.

The herb garden exploded in every direction when I was away, and the harvest of basil, thyme, lavender, oregano and sage kept me busy for a day. Pesto is in the freezer for winter, and the rest of the herbs are hanging to dry.

Oregano, parsley and more beautiful basil have adorned our simple week night pasta dishes, like this Roasted Vegetable Spaghetti and Roasted Beet and Garlic Pasta. I like stirring a few handfuls of peppery arugula into mine to lighten the dish – and cherry tomatoes on everything, please.

Mint and lemon balm have been trimmed and I use them to infuse water, or steep them for a special Lemon-Balm Lemonade. Lately I’ve been tossing in sliced stone fruit, berries and wedges of citrus for a refreshing and oh-so-pretty ‘Everything Lemonade’.

Back in July I developed these Strawberry Shortcake Jammy Bars for Food Network Canada and have  found them to be the perfect accompaniment to afternoon tea. With strawberry slices garnishing every square and the streusel topping melting in your mouth, these bars are irresistible, especially when warm from the oven.

It wouldn’t be summer without plenty of grilling. A simple Greek-style chicken kebab with loads of lemon and oregano has kept us all happy for many an al fresco dinner. I don’t have a recipe, other than a simple marinade with chopped garlic, olive oil, lemon and salt. I serve them with either rice, pita bread, corn on the cob or a light salad.

Our garden is producing zucchini and tomatoes at a fantastic rate, along with a sweet pepper here and there. It all makes for a fabulous pot of Late-Summer Minestrone. I adore summer soups as much as summer salads; they are so vibrant and colourful.

What was a highlight from your summer? I’d love to hear.

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. What a delightful post with so many ideas. I think I will be referring back to it a few times in the coming weeks. It sounds like a wonderful summer, busy in a right way 🙂
    We had a really slow summer, just hanging around with kids, and letting our creativity flourish, theirs and mine 🙂 Like you, I’m not looking forward to school year, it was wonderful having the kids around and I loved every day.

  2. We did a lot of traveling this summer (which I love!) and journeyed through every coast and province on the entire West Coast, including Alaska. A friend and I took one last ‘summer trip’ away this weekend, to Vashon Island in Puget Sound. It’s the only island without a bridge and the food culture there was unreal. We had four *delicious* food experiences throughout 2 days. I know you come out to BC to visit your parents, but if you ever go to Seattle for a bit, do yourself (and your family! It’s so ‘slow’ and lovely out there!) a favor and take a ferry for the day out and plan to eat your way around the island. You’ll be so glad!

  3. Shawnna Griffin says

    hey girl- love the post!

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