I cant tell you how thrilled I am to finally be sitting in at my computer NOT sweating inside my own house due to high humidity and overnight temps that hardly go below 80*. It has been a hot, humid and crazy summer so far around here.

   I have rediscovered my love of baking all of a sudden, now that I can turn on the oven without driving everyone out of the house. We tried really hard to bake bread in the outside oven, but 20 minutes later had three charred lumps of bread that were still doughy in the inside. Chalk that up as to issue #1 with having an outside oven that so far did everything perfectly! 🙂

  So 3 loaves of various Muffin Breads later, as well as pizza crusts, regular bread, and english muffins, we are stocked up for a while if the heat returns.
Meanwhile, the gardens are loving the heat and beginning to show their promise that they will be bestowing their abundance on us in the next couple of weeks. I have a friend who picked 47 tomatoes off of 4 tomato plants, and she is only a couple zones south of me. All of our 43 plants are loaded with blooms or itty-bitty tomatoes, (some have quite a few larger ones too), so I know when the time comes I will be up to my ears in produce. And that, dear readers, is a wonderful thing! It means full bellies, and low grocery costs for my family this year. It means I can keep our budget around $200 for feeding five people another year when others around me are struggling to keep their at around $400 or more.

   I am thankful for this life I am blessed to be able to lead!

   Anyhow, I promised to share with you three full days of a meal plan around here so as to give you some ideas for warm weather meals! I hope you enjoy it!

Day one:
Breakfast: campfire toast and a banana/canteloupe smoothie. Campfire Toast is also called Egg in the Hole, or a billion other names. It means that you take out some of the bread, break an egg into it, and cook the whole thing. Simple, easy and effective…and only seconds over the stove for a nice breakfast.
Snack: one orange per child, seperated into sections
Lunch:  tuna salad sandwiches, crackers, baby carrots or carrot sticks. To make my tuna salad, you use two small cans tuna, three celery stalks diced up, two apples diced, one small onion minced. 1/8 cup of homemade zucchini relish (or store bought relish), 1 cup of mayo, dash of lemon or lime juice, five shakes of tabasco sauce, and a pinch of both basil and oregano, crushed. Mix all that up, and serve with crackers. Children especially love being able to eat it with crackers. Stay tuned tomorrow for some basic cracker and bread recipes!
Snack: Gingersnap cookies and milk (click here for the Cookie Master Mix recipe)
Dinner: Brats, homemade rolls, watermelon slices, milk, cucumber slices with ranch

Day two:
Breakfast: peaches and cream overnight refrigerator oatmeal, topped with cinnamon crumble, and juice
Snack: celery stalk with cream cheese filling, and raisins or craisins on top (ants on a log)
Lunch: Italian Pasta Salad: rotini noodles, sliced olives, pepperoni slices, diced tomatoes, mushrooms, 1/2 onion diced up, 1 cup parmesan cheese shreds, oregano, basil and marjoram sprinkles, made the night before and marinated with a bottle of Italian dressing. I use 3/4 of the bottle (or my own mix–say 1 1/2 cups) and then put the rest on before we eat. If we have them, this gets served with a soft roll, and there is garlic butter on the table.
Snack: Cinnamon Walnut Banana bread (click here for the link to the Muffin Bread Master Mix)
Dinner: Turkey/Lentil burgers on wheat buns, topped with avocado and onion. To make these, you add equal parts ground turkey and cooked, pureed lentils to two eggs, and 1 cup bread crumbs. I season my burgers with garlic, onion salt, cracked pepper, tarragon, and oregano. Form into patties and let sit for about an hour before grilling, and separate with waxed paper while chilling. Serve with a simple fruit salad: take two bananas, and strawberries or blackberries, as well as some homemade pudding (use the Magic Mix–click here for that recipe). Layer one banana, sliced, then pudding, then berries. Repeat, ending with the pudding, and top the fruit dessert with shredded coconut and nutmeg.

Day three:
Breakfast: Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins (already baked earlier in the week–I freeze these and take them out the night before to thaw for breakfast). Click here for the link to the Muffin Master Recipes.
Snack: Apples and fruit dip: one block of cream cheese blended with 1/2 cup brown sugar, dash of lime juice and vanilla extract. I give everyone a whole apple each, even my toddlers, and plenty of dip–this one is a big favorite!
Lunch: Smoked Turkey and Chive Quesadillas…my Handy Hubby loves to smoke something each weekend, and the week he did a turkey we told him he outdid himself–I was able to make 8 Quarts of excellent stock off that carcass alone! Anyhow, we still have plenty of meat left, as I freeze it in meal portions. Click here for the tortilla recipe I use. I layer medium cheddar shreds, along with turkey shreds, onion, diced cherry tomatoes, cooked black beans, and chives, then top with more cheese. I cook mine outside on the cast iron outdoor stove he rigged up for me. Each one gets a tortilla on top and bottom, and I cut it into wedges for the kids. Serve with cucumber slices they can dip in plain yogurt or ranch.
Snack: baby carrots and dill yogurt dip
Dinner: Deviled Eggs, Club Sandwich Salad (click here for the recipe), and angel food cake with blackberries for topping.

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   Hope you like this and have fun skipping around the Welcoming House pages reading all the different recipes! Please let me know if you have any questions, and please, check back tomorrow for some basic baking recipes that anyone can do from home, rather than spending it at the store! 🙂

Many Blessings to you and yours,