It’s Labor Day Weekend Plus MVK’s *Like* of the Week

This time of year, the front meadow is a sea of goldenrod.

This time of year, the front meadow is a sea of goldenrod.

I always use Labor Day weekend as the benchmark for the end of summer. Kids are back at school, the days are getting shorter and cooler, and the local apple orchard is now open. So this weekend is a perfect time to say goodbye to the season and to invite some friends over for some a delicious meal! I’ve scoured MVK’s archives for some recipes that would be perfect for this time of year. I hope whatever you do this coming weekend, it is filled with good food!

Appetizers

Deviled Eggs
Who doesn’t like deviled eggs? Take this to a party and they will be gone in the blink of an eye!

Baked Artichoke Dip
While this is a little fussy, it is well worth the effort.

Homemade Hummus
Know the ingredients in your hummus by making a batch of your own!

Mediterranean Kebabs
You don’t even need to know how to cook to make this tasty appetizer!

Entrees

Marinated Grilled Chicken Legs
Get the grill going for this flavorful chicken dish.

Linguine with Clam Sauce
If you can find fresh clams, this dish will be phenomenal, but canned work just as well.

Mystic Pizza
Impress your guests by grilling this pizza!

Marinated London Broil
Mmmmm…..

Brazilian Fish Stew
This stew tastes like a professional made it. Show off your skills!

Salads and Such

Potato Salad
I made this over Fourth of July weekend and am still thinking about it!

Kale Salad
Instead of a usual green salad try using kale instead!

Quick Pickles
Because I love these!

And you can never go wrong with a platter of sliced fresh tomatoes with basil and a little drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Desserts

Warm Roasted Peaches with Cream
Pick up some Amish peaches if you’re in the Northeast and roast them with a little cinnamon and nutmeg. You won’t be sorry!

Brownies
You’ll make a friend for life if you make a couple batches of these incredible brownies.

Crumbly Peach Pie
A summer isn’t complete without making my grandmother’s peach pie.

Cocktails

Mad Men Manhattan

Margaritas

Mocktails

sunday dinner

(Photo Steve Cavalier/Alamy/Alamy)

MVK’s *Like* of the Week: Should Sunday Roast Dinners Still be on the Menu?
One of the things I was most excited about when I was in London last year was going out for Sunday Roast, which is basically a full dinner at lunchtime. I have a version of that in my own home almost every Sunday because there is more time to cook; a really nice meal, usually a roast of some sort, to end the weekend and to have a nice start to the work week. Sunday just feels odd if I’m throwing together a stir fry.

So I really enjoyed this pro and con op-ed piece out of The Guardian last week for Sunday roast dinners.  Of course I’m in the “pro” camp; they truly are a comfort blanket meal. You can read the article in its entirety here.

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It’s Mocktail Time!

One of my favorite things to do this time of year is sit outside in the sun with a book in my hand and a small glass of wine and some snacks on the table next to me. I will sit, getting warm and sun-drunk (note sun, not otherwise) for an hour or two until it’s time to go indoors and start making dinner. In the dead of winter I think about these days (often) and can’t wait for them to come back, where the attire is a t-shirt, shorts and no shoes, instead of many layers of fleece.

I decided to join a friend who was taking a week off from drinking alcohol for health reasons, all in the name of research. It was the perfect opportunity for me to create some mocktails for my special evening ritual! All three of these drinks are cool and refreshing, and virtually free of calories! Lots of times you’ll find people aren’t drinking alcohol for a variety of reasons and I find when I have guests it’s nice to offer something other than a glass of water. Next time you’re at the market, pick up some seltzer, limes, and mint and you will be able to sip to your heart’s desire with the knowledge your waistline will thank you and you can have as many as you want—with no after effects!

moctktail

MVK Mojito
As a former bartender, I always cut my limes is length-wise, then into six to eight wedges, so you get lots of juice. This mocktail takes just one wedge.

3-4 mint leaves
1 wedge of lime
Plain or lime-flavored seltzer water

Place the mint leaves and squeeze the lime juice into a rocks glass. (Set aside the lime wedge.) With the end of a wooden spoon, “muddle” the juice and mint together, pounding the leaves to get them soft. When finished, add an ice cube, the lime wedge, and seltzer water to the top.

Pomegranate Mocktini
This is the same recipe I use to make my Pomegranate Martinis in the winter, it’s just omitting the alcohol!

1 wedge of lime
Orange flavored seltzer water
Pomegranate juice

In a martini glass, squeeze the lime and leave in the glass. Add seltzer water to fill the glass, then top with a splash of pomegranate juice.

Strawberry Bellini
It’s strawberry season and this is the perfect mocktail to ring it in!

About 1 tablespoon of pureed fresh strawberries
Sparkling apple cider

Spoon the strawberries in a champagne flute and add the sparkling cider to the top of the glass. Top with a mint leave, if desired.

MVK’s Endorsement of the Week
I read with interest the story last week of “Dr. Oz Goes to Washington.” The cardiothoracic surgeon was on Capitol Hill testifying before a Senate committee about false and deceptive advertising for weight-loss products. He has been known to promote weight-loss pills that have little to no proof that they work. I remember a couple of years ago, those “spam” ads you see on websites would have Dr. Oz touting how green coffee beans will make you lose weight. Although he was taken to task by the senators for using his show as a way of promoting these pills, he defended his promotion of these products, saying he has intensely studied them.

If I thought I could take a pill and could eat and drink what I want and not worry about gaining weight, I would have done this years ago. But what bothers me the most about this story is Dr. Oz has a following and many people believe what he says because he’s a medical doctor. Please don’t!

You can read more about the story here.