I love living in Minnesota. I can’t imagine having a year without continuous change every few months. Each season influences the food we crave. I will say my favorite season is fall; from the super tasty harvest, to the trees dressing up in my favorite colors. But, for us, the food of summer is always something we look forward to–the freshness and simplicity–makes me drool a little just thinking about it.
I also love summer because it introduces a level of variety to family cooking. If someone in the group has a green thumb, they can lead the family in planting a garden which will later lead to ultra-fresh, family-cooked meals. Or, if your brood is better suited for shopping than gardening, farmer’s markets and produce stands offer the opportunity for everyone to get in on the action by picking out their favorite, just-picked fruits and veggies for consumption that day.
As for the Two Kids Family and our summer food adventures, Alex, Soph and I live in an apartment, so our gardening is restricted to our patio herb garden. We had fun and spent some quality family time together planting it, plus, we’ve been using our herbs in various recipes and are anxiously awaiting the ripening of our tomatoes. We’re also enjoying berry season–strawberries, raspberries and blueberries are everywhere and we’ve been using them in recipes (as you’ll see in our upcoming ‘bake-off’ episode of Two Kids Cooking TV) or just eating them fresh. Oh yeah, and grilling…there is nothing like the smell of meat cooking on an open fire. I realize you can grill in the winter, even in the great arctic Minnesota, but, when the temps below freezing, you’re really not outside smelling the deliciousness. And again, it’s fun to do the grilling thing with the whole family, burgers, brats, hot dogs, veggies–the whole works.
If you need some ideas for food and family fun, here are a few things you might find the Two Kids entourage partaking in:
- Berry Picking – When we were on our road-trip out to Appleton, MN to visit, we did some berry picking in Grandma and Wayne’s raspberry patch, but there are lots of pick-your-own places all over. After an afternoon of picking, a berry pie for dessert in the evening hits the spot.
- Family BBQ – The quintessential cooking method of the summer is grilling. For us, the grills are down at the pool in our apartment complex, so we work together to plan out what we’ll eat, prepare it for the trip down to the pool and then I cook while the kids swim. When it’s all done, we enjoy a leisurely, poolside, family meal.
- Celebrate a Vegetable – it is the time of year when lots of fruits and veggies are coming into season. Why not pick one or two and plan a whole meal around that in-season treat?
- Have a Picnic – We LOVE picnics. We don’t do anything super fancy, just whip together our favorite sandwiches, cut up some fruit and veggies, toss in a bag of chips and some beverages and we’re all set. Oh yes, and don’t forget our Hannah Montana picnic blanket ;D
- Ice Cream Party – Any sort of frozen treats work, but ice cream is traditional. When it’s hot we like to have our sundaes and eat them too. Occasionally we get creative with Popsicles or other icy treats, but like I said, Ice Cream is our favorite.
All seasons bring with them opportunities to spend time with the family, cooking and eating. And, each season provides a uniqueness to the food it offers. For us, summer food is all about freshness and simplicity, along with outdoor eating and adventure. Alex, Sophia and I hope your family gets out there and enjoys the summer food in your area together.
Happy Family Cooking!
Alex, Sophia and Mom (Kelly)
P.S. To get the whole family involved in your summer cooking, check out our Curious Chef 8 Pc Fruit & Vegetable Set, perfect for little hand helping with veggie prep. Or, if desert is more your style, why not have an Ice Cream Sundae party with the Curious Chef 22 Pc Sundae Sleepover Kit!