Category Archives: Seasonal Celebrations

6 Quick & Easy Meals To Cook This Summer

Filed under: Food, Fun Ideas, Seasonal Celebrations, Tips - Angelina
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Cameron Tranchemontagne BookRenter Blogger Biography

A lot of memories can be made with people cooking and eating together outside in the summer. When the weather is nice, the company is good, and refreshments are chilled… all you need is some food. Do you go with some hot dogs and burgers on the grill? Maybe something roasted over the fire? Maybe even some seafood?

Consider these seasonal bites the next time you need an idea for a summer meal:

1. Chicken Kabobs

This one’s easy. Find some kabobs, some meat (chicken or beef), and some veggies and/or fruit. Slice everything up into cubes and pierce the food with the sticks to make a nice stack of everything. Grill them on medium heat for about 5 minutes before you flip and grill them for another 5. The great thing about kabobs is they’re so customizable. So feel free to adjust to your tastes, but I suggest using teriyaki or lemon-pepper chicken, green and red peppers, and chunks of mango or pineapple to make a simple, yet delicious treat!

2. Summer BBQ Chicken-Hawaiin Pizza

Pizza is also an easy recipe that is highly customizable, but this one will transport your taste buds to a luau on Maui. Get a pre-made crust (thin, original, rustic, etc.) Find some honey-barbecue sauce, chicken breast, bacon, pineapple, marinara sauce and some mozzarella cheese. You’ll also need some salt, black and red pepper, garlic powder, and oregano. Place the crust on a baking sheet or a pizza wheel if you have one. Pre-cook the chicken and the bacon before placing it on the pizza. While the chicken and bacon cooks, you can put the sauce and the cheese on the pizza crust. Then slice up the cooked chicken and break up the bacon into bits and scatter them on your pizza. Add slices of pineapple and lightly drizzle the honey-bbq sauce all over the pizza in whatever pattern you want. Add a hint of seasoning. Bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees, then enjoy!

3. Trout Fillets

I like to fish, but you don’t have to go out and catch your own trout to enjoy eating one. Some people prefer cooking these on stovetops skillets, but you can just as easily use the grill. You’ll need your trout fillets, a lemon, some garlic cloves, salt and pepper, and aluminum foil. Heat up the grill on medium-high heat. Place your fillets in the middle of enough aluminum foil to wrap them in. Slice up the lemon and chop up the garlic. Top the fillets with the garlic and then lay a couple lemon slices down. Season with salt and pepper, wrap them up, and grill them for about 5 minutes depending on their size. The middle should be flaky (test with a fork) when done.

4. Apple Slice and Chorizo Salad

This is an interesting summer salad with the tartness of the apples balancing out the spiciness of the chorizo. You’ll need some olive oil, salt and pepper, green leaf lettuce, half of an apple (I prefer Granny Smiths), some lemon juice, half a clove of garlic, and your favorite type of cheese. Use a skillet over medium-heat to cook the chorizo for about 3 minutes in some olive oil. Mix together the lemon juice, garlic, and just a pinch of salt and pepper. Then add apple slices, lettuce, cheese, and toss. Should take about 10 minutes to cook, then dig in!

5. Caribbean Corn on the Cob

This version of corn on the cob will add a little flavor of the Caribbean. Get a few ears of corn, husk them, and remove all the silk. You’ll need about 2 tablespoons of butter, paprika, asiago cheese, salt, and some lime wedges. Grill the corn on for about 12 minutes over medium heat. When they’re done, drizzle the melted butter, grate and sprinkle the cheese, add the paprika, and squeeze some lime juice over them. You’ll never go back to plain old corn on the cob again.

6. Peanut Butter S’mores

Always save dessert (the best) for last. You’ve probably heard of s’mores – your standard graham crackers, chocolate bar, and fire roasted marshmallow. But you haven’t lived until you’ve added peanut butter. Roast a marshmallow until it’s golden brown. Then simply spread a thin layer of peanut butter on one of the crackers, and then add your chocolate, the marshmallow, and the top cracker. Delicious!

Get creative! There are many things you can cook and many ways to do it. Cook with some friends so everyone can enjoy the meal and have their own meals to contribute. Summer should be about meals and memories.

Let us know in a comment below if you try any of these recipes, and what you think! Or, add in your own favorite summer recipes!

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5 Ways To Celebrate The 4th of July

Filed under: Fun Ideas, Seasonal Celebrations - Angelina
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Serena Piper BookRenter Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

Did you know that the tradition of celebrating the 4th of July goes all the way back to the late 1700s? I know I didn’t! Independence Day commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 (or our American independence from Great Britain).

When I was little, it meant barbecues, an extra day off school, and hearing fireworks lit off in the street I lived on. Now, I recognize it more as patriotic and realize there are a lot of great ways to celebrate it.

Here are some ideas to celebrate the 4th of July this year:

1. Visit a National Landmark

One year, my parents and I drove 4 hours to see Crater Lake, something I had never seen in pretty much my whole life of living in the area. It surprisingly wasn’t packed and there was even snow, which made it much more memorable considering the 4th of July is in a hot season. I felt patriotic paying a visit to an important landmark in my state and I got to check something off my bucket list. Win, win!

2. Watch Fireworks At The Beach

Another year, a roommate and I drove out to the coast and spent the afternoon being tourists and getting grub to eat down at the harbor. Bring a blanket if your coast is notorious for being cold, dinner for the whole experience, and chairs if you don’t want to sit on the ground!

3. Go To A Baseball Game Or Rodeo

A traditional way to spend the weekend of the 4th is to take in a baseball game. Don’t like baseball? Bring some sunflower seeds and make bets on who’ll win. Loser buys vendor food for dinner! You can also bring a deck of cards to kill time while waiting for fireworks to start. Rodeos are also a good place to see a good fireworks show and sometimes you’ll even get the patriotic music and a mechanical bull to go with!

4. Get Together With Friends

Pool your money and buy a few really good fireworks to carefully set off by yourselves. Or you could get a bunch of the really inexpensive ones, such as sparklers or TNT poppers (the ones you throw at the ground). Just make sure to be safe, clean-up afterwards, and be mindful of certain laws. Don’t want to spend money? Each of you can bring a dish to have a potluck and watch the celebrations on TV.

5. Go Hiking

Watching the fireworks from the top of a beautiful mountain is a beautiful view. One year, I hiked with friends to the top of a butte and we chowed down on munchies while enjoying the lit up sky. Some other hikers even brought a guitar so we had tunes to listen to at the same time.

Thinking back, what was the best 4th of July you have had? Tell us in a comment below! If you can’t think of one, take one of the ideas above for this year and have fun!

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5 Easy To Make Valentine’s Day Desserts

Filed under: DIY & Crafts, Food, Fun Ideas, Seasonal Celebrations - Angelina
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Serena Piper BookRenter Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

Amidst the romance, celebratory pink and purple hearts, and love stuff – the best part of Valentine’s Day is probably the desserts. Rich chocolate cakes drizzled with yummy sauces, crunchy cookies with colorful frosting, and lots and lots of sprinkles! If you’re planning on a sweet (literally) Valentine’s Day, there are plenty of super easy desserts that can be quickly pulled together if you’re short on time this coming Love Day.

Check out these mouth-watering treats for some baking inspiration:

1. Rice Krispies Hearts

The age-old favorite hasn’t lost its appeal! Combine butter, marshmallows, and Rice Krispies together to make the typical Rice Krispies Treat. For different colored treats, have a separate bowl for each color to mix ingredients in. You can then use your favorite cookie cutters (I suggest hearts or letters to spell out a sweet message) to add some flair. Give them to your special someone, your best friends, or enjoy them yourself!

2. Muddy Buddies

Who doesn’t love this guilty pleasure?! It might be directed more towards the kids, but who are we kidding: this treat knows no age limit. Combine Chex rice cereal, confectioner sugar, shortening, sprinkles, and pink candies to make yet another tasty treat made of cereal.

3. Classic Cherry Bread

If you like Maraschino cherries as much as I do, you’ll love this recipe for cherry bread. Combine things you probably already have in your kitchen (sugar, flour, salt, eggs, etc.) along with one 10-oz. jar of maraschino cherries. Bake and then drizzle it with a cream cheese icing. I think I know what I’ll be making for Valentine’s Day!

4. White Chocolate Popcorn

If you “heart” popcorn more than any other snack, this recipe is for you. Melt 12 ounces of white chocolate in a double boiler (or microwave) and then drizzle it over your popped popcorn. Use a spoon to toss it and then spread it out on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt, your favorite sprinkles (hopefully pink and red), and feel free to add some conversation hearts for cuteness! Once it’s all cooled, start snacking!

5. Fruit Roll-Up Fortune Cookies

We all remember Fruit Roll-Ups as the most coveted snack at the lunch table when we were kids. Some of our parents were nice and stuck one in there for our mid-day treat, while others had to beg and plead with their parents to buy them. Turns out, they’re perfect material for making fortune cookies. Buy a box of fruit roll-ups (one roll-up equals one cookie), use a circle cookie cutter, and fold! Don’t forget to tuck in sweet “fortune” messages! Super easy, and super sweet!

Whatever you make, you can’t go overboard with red and pink colors, a smooth frosting, or anything classic. Other hits include chocolate-covered strawberries, pink and white M&M cookies, or the infamous heart cake topped with your favorite frosting.

Do you have a favorite dessert you’ll be making for Valentine’s Day? Share it with us in the comments below!

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The Best Places To Travel This Spring Break

Filed under: Fun Ideas, Living, Seasonal Celebrations, Tips, Travel & Abroad - Angelina
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Cameron Tranchemontagne BookRenter Blogger Biography

The days are getting longer and the snow is disappearing, which means spring break is right around the corner! To relax during spring break, you may want to go on the trip of your lifetime with your friends, who doesn’t? But this can be tricky for a college student on a budget. Luckily, you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a memorable time.

Visit these locations if you’re looking for a spring break destination that won’t break the bank:

1. The Dominican Republic

Here you can find towns boasting luxury beaches and mega-resorts with all inclusive spring break party deals, but there’s also more low-key and affordable options as well. You can find hotels for around $200 dollars a night for two people. And during the day when you aren’t enjoying the nightlife, consider taking a guided kayak tour through the Los Haitises National Park. The park is located on the northeast coast and is covered in mangrove forests and hosts a wide array of wildlife, like sea turtles and many types of birds – some of which are only found on the island.

2. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach is great because the prices aren’t that bad and travel fees should be less than travelling to another country. Myrtle Beach is a popular area in South Carolina with many resorts and other tourist friendly attractions. It is consistently warm and sunny and boasts fantastic food, 60 miles of beaches, over 100 golf courses, and a vibrant nightlife.

3. Great Smoky National Park, Tennessee

Not only is the Great Smoky National Park affordable at about $100 dollars a night, it features fantastic fishing, hiking, and scenic drives nestled in the Appalachian Mountains along the North Carolina and Tennessee border. It’s America’s most visited national park and is known for its diversity of wildlife and I’ts only about a half an hour away from Dollywood.

4. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans is a somewhat popular spot for party-goers for Mardi Gras, but afterwards it is slightly less crazy. It is a historic city lined with cobblestone streets. In New Orleans, you can have it all: world renowned food, the birthplace of jazz, and an electric nightlife are just a few of the things this city as to offer. Be sure to check out the French Quarter Festival if you are there between April 7th and 10th.

5. Montreal, Québec

Most people think of warm places with sandy beaches for spring break, not Canada. But one day in Montreal and you’ll realize it’s one of the most magical cities in North America. It’s affordable, yet feels luxurious! The culture is a perfect blend of American and European and it’s reflected in the delicious food and surprisingly active bar/club scene. Then of course, there is hockey. If you’re a hockey fan, Montreal will feel like home; and if you’ve never seen a game before, you may fall in love with it during your stay. The people are friendly and are more than happy to talk to anyone looking for some good company.

Wherever you go during your spring break, even if that’s just back home to be with family and friends, hopefully it is a restful and relaxing one.

Share your spring break plans with us in a comment below!

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How To Enjoy The Winter Season

Filed under: Fun Ideas, Seasonal Celebrations - Angelina
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Serena Piper BookRenter Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

There are some of us who look forward to winter all year long, whether it’s for the holidays it brings, or the chance to get cozied up next to a fire with a good book and a cup of chocolate. There are also some of us who don’t exactly jump for glee at the thought of freezing temperatures, driving in the snow, and the inevitable gloom and depression winter can bring.

Whether you’re really happy for this winter season, or counting the days until summer, there are certain things you can do to make the most of the season:

1. Catch Up On Your Reading List

If there’s a list of books you’ve been meaning to check out, take the opportunity to cuddle up on the couch with a nice warm blanket and the book of your desire. Reading time is compromised in the warmer months since it’s ideal to be outside and enjoy outdoor activities, but if you’re “stuck” inside from inclement weather, escape through a nice good book.

2. Have A Movie Marathon

When it’s cold outside, one of my favorite things to do is have a movie marathon. I choose some movies I never get tired of seeing and some I haven’t seen yet, but have been wanting to. It’s a great way to get caught up on your pop culture, and maybe even discover a few newbies you might have never seen.

3. Get Some Fresh Air

I get it, sometimes the last thing you want to do when it’s cold outside is be outside. Even if it’s just for 15 minutes, take a quick walk – solo, with your dog, or with a friend – just around the block. Believe it or not, this may brighten your mood just enough to make the season seem much more tolerable.

4. Get Together With Friends

Have a potluck or a game night (or both!) and have all your closest friends bring some munchies and/or a game to play. You could even use up a whole Saturday and spend all day goofing off, sharing stories, enjoying good food, and having a few laughs with the games. Getting together with friends is a great way to pull yourself out of whatever winter funk you might be in.

5. Tune Up A Hobby

Are you into photography, writing, or music? Winter presents the opportune time to hone hobbies such as these. Bundle up and bring your camera out into the woods or simply downtown to use up the foggy ambiance. Write a story, a poem, or even some new song lyrics. Take it one step further and share your new masterpiece with friends and family!

6. Color

My personal favorite is to spend a foggy and gloomy day by getting all my crayons and markers together, making a cozy nest on the couch, and breaking out my coloring book. If you haven’t tried this new phenomenon of adult coloring books, now’s your chance!

Remember, time flies when you’re having fun! The more you can keep yourself busy, the better this winter will be – no matter what you’re doing!

What’s your favorite thing to do in the winter?

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