Monday, June 20

Sweet & Spicy BBQ Pineapple Sausage Tacos with Grilled Corn Relish

Today marks to first day of summer, what better way to celebrate than to invite our friends, and family up to the lake to celebrate with delicious food, mojitos, and of course water games and fun.
As awesome as it is to host a BBQ at home in the comfort of our back yard, it is 100x more awesome to host everyone at our favorite sandbar on Lake Winnisquam. This sandbar is a hot spot for boat goers to anchor in a 1-3 foot deep area in the middle of the lake, set up tables, games, kick back and enjoy the cool water and hot sun.  On summer holidays like Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor day, 100's of boats can be spotted on this one small spot on the lake, it is the biggest party in the Lakes Region every summer.

Al fresco sausage recently contacted me and asked me to develop a recipe using their Sweet & Spicy BBQ Chicken Sausage, and share it with my friends and family at a BBQ. So I did just that, we went and picked everyone up at the docks of our marina, and then trucked them over to the sandbar to enjoy some of my favorite foods, mojitos, cold beer, and of course, Sweet & Spicy BBQ Pineapple Sausage Tacos with Grilled Corn Relish.

My whole family loves al fresco chicken so much, I have used many of the varieties and can honestly say, I have yet to try one that I did not like. But this Sweet & Spicy BBQ Chicken Sausage, is probably my favorite. It's the perfect amount of sweet to offset the spicy, it pairs well in so many dishes, and is even great enjoyed on it's own.  It has 70% less fat than traditional pork sausage, made with all natural ingredients, gluten free, AND fully cooked, so no worries of getting sick from raw chicken!

Since sandbar and boat cooking can be rather tricky, I have to do quite a bit of packing and planning to execute a recipe while standing in 2 feet of water surrounded by boats, frisbees, and Beirut tables. Not to mention the constant sway of the waves. Because I was going to be feeding so many people at the sandbar, I knew we had to plan smart. I can't count how many times we have lost something in the lake, or a wave has come and knocked over my tables, and grill. This time, we brought my kettle bells! I figured, I never exercise  so why not use them to weigh down my tables and grill to ensure they do not get knocked over in the water.  We also, brought with us a  picnic table that is normally used for camping, and had a big umbrella on top, this was excellent for those looking to escape a bit of sun, and for my kids to eat at, away from my boat. Which of course prevents soggy crumbs, and easier clean up at the end of the day. I also prepped all of our food ahead of time, so it was easy to set up and get things grilling with little prep to do on the boat. 

All and all it was a BBQ to remember, my friends and family loved the tacos, we had enough food for us, and to share with the rest of the boating community out on the sandbar. Plus as a bonus, we got to see a bald eagle (not pictured) and a rainbow at the end of the night. That has to be a sign to eat more al fresco sausage right?!

al fresco happens to be  hosting a Grilling Sweepstakes over on their website, not only can you snag some other great recipes developed by some of my blogging buddies, you can also enter to win a new BBQ Grill AND $500! All you have to do is vote for your favorite recipe! (Pssst.... you all are going to vote for my tacos right??) Click here to vote now!

These tacos are so easy to prepare and packed with so much flavor thanks to the al fresco sausage. Top each one with some grilled pineapple, and my favorite grilled corn relish, and then if you are like me... load them with pickled onions. Because pickled onions are awesome! 

Sweet & Spicy BBQ Pineapple Sausage Tacos w/ Corn Relish
8 flour tortillas
2 packages of al fresco Sweet & Smokey BBQ Chicken Sausage
Half of a small pineapple, cut into spears
3 ears of corn, husks still on
3 limes, juiced
1 red chili pepper, seeds removed and diced
1 tbs pickling spice
1 shallot, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tbs honey
Pinch of salt

Optional Toppings:
Pickled onions
Shredded lettuce
Black beans
Mashed avocado


Preheat grill to 400 degrees.

Cut sausages, lengthwise into wedges. Each sausage should be cut into 4 wedges.  
Place sausage, pineapple, and corn cobs on the grill and cook until they are just a bit charred on the outside. Flipping occasionally if needed.

Husk the corn cobs (careful they are hot!) and cut the corn kernels off each cob into a mixing bowl. Toss with the juice of 3 limes, chili pepper, pickle seasoning, shallot, garlic, honey, and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

Chop the grilled pineapple into smaller pieces, place in a bowl for serving.

To serve, place 2-4 sausages wedges in each tortilla, top with pineapple, corn relish, and optional taco toppings.

(Disclaimer: I received monetary compensation from al fresco to develop this recipe and host a BBQ. However as always all opinions expressed are 100% my own!)

Wednesday, June 1

Strawberry Shortcake Donuts

When I tell people how old I am, they are usually surprised. I'm not sure if that's because I look older than 32, or if it's because I have 3 kids, my oldest being 9. So when they do the math..... I started having babies when they were still in college.

I never really thought of 22-23 as being that young to start a family, probably because my parents were only 20 when they had me. Fast froward 32 years, they are still happily married and I am seemingly normal (or am I?)

I think being a young parent has it's benefits for sure, though it is a tough road if you do not have a supporting family and inner circle. Luckily for my parents,  my siblings, and I. We all had my Nana, who was my Mom's mother. Nana was always there for my parents, and was a huge influence in who I am today. She was by all means, an all-star grandmother. I can't imagine what my childhood would have been like without her presence.

Wednesday, May 25

Honey Rhubarb Blondies

I completely forgot to tell you all about my Mother's day a couple weeks ago... So I'm going to rewind here, and tell you all about it! *Disclaimer* I might swear a tad in the post. So warning you now... to prevent the emails about it later.

I always sort of dread Mother's Day, as I do my birthday. I feel like things are so forced. People you never talk to, wishing you nice things on Facebook. Husband giving you flowers and cards out of obligation. Kids shoving things at you, that they are sure to tell you THEY HAD TO MAKE, their teachers made them do it.

Friday, May 20

Curried Spring Onion and Pea Soup

Living in New Hampshire I have only a handful of options for my family's grocery shopping. I have always been envious of my friends in more urban areas, who have a Whole Foods Market everywhere they go. For my entire adult life, finding a grocery store that sells local and sustainable food and home products was incredibly difficult. Fresh produce is always the toughest in this area of the country. Our growing seasons are quite short and our selection is slim. Let alone finding a store that carries green cleaning products. 

Slowly but surely Whole Foods Market is expanding into northern New England, making this New Hampshire mom happy as can be. In the last 2 years they have opened 3 stores all with in driving distance from my home and my husband's office. I am officially spoiled and have all of my shopping done in one stop! 

At the beginning of the month, I was invited to attend a private tour of their newest New England location in Westford, MA, with a group of other bloggers from the Greater Boston area.  I was instantly impressed with the unique to them design of the store. Every Whole Foods Market has a different look and style based on their location. 

Wednesday, May 18

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

When Steve and I were teenagers, we loved the Olive Garden something fierce. Every special occasion, we celebrated together over all you can eat breadsticks and salad. 

Got an A- on your Of Mice and Men report? Lets go to the Olive Garden. 

Two week anniversary? Lets go to the Olive Garden. 

Ninth month Anniversary? Lets go to the Olive Garden. 

Got your license? Olive Garden. 

Friday, May 13

Peanut Butter and Hot Pepper Jelly Burgers

This year my youngest daughter started preschool 4 days a week, and she is gone for 2.5 hours each of those days. It is the weirdest thing having a quiet house during those hours. 9 years of caring for the kids full time,  this was completely foreign to me!

So my husband and I started a Thursday afternoon lunch ritual last fall while all 3 kids are at school. Each week we go out for food at a new to us restaurant, in and around Bedford and Manchester.

Tuesday, May 10

Fried Fiddleheads

I was very lucky to grow up in a small, well to do town at the foot of the White Mountains, surrounded by lakefront. Though my childhood home is no longer standing, I often drive up and bring the kids on a  drive around the dirt roads I grew up riding my bike on.

I think back to days and I am often in awe that I was allowed to do, like ride my bike without an adult, (without a helmet) miles down the country roads. Now that my oldest son is nine, he often battles me on boundaries and what he can or can not do alone. When I think back on those days in my childhood, I sometimes think maybe we have become too strict in parenting our children today? Maybe we don't give them enough freedom so they can learn and grow into responsible adults?

It's a debate I find myself having with my husband more and more as the kids age. We are entering a new stage in our parenting life, and I feel like I'm doing it blindly, and always second guessing my decisions.