Official Kickoff to Summer: Part 1

May 22, 2012 by

Official Kickoff to Summer: Part 1
This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Summer BBQ series

It’s hard to believe, but Memorial Day is this weekend!!  I was running around this morning, buying flowers and potting soil to get my deck ready for summer, when I passed by the liquor store.  There were no less than 5 different beer trucks out in front of it making deliveries.  This got me thinking about all the BBQs that will be going on this weekend!  And beer.   I was thinking about beer too.


For us, this means it’s time for the “Annual Family Campout” in our friends’ backyard.  There are about about 30 of us including kids.  We all swim, eat, and have a good time, and then the Dads sleep outside in the tents with the kids and the Moms sleep inside with all the comfort of plush beds and indoor plumbing.




Last year there was a freak storm at 4 in the morning that resulted in all the dads and kids standing dripping wet inside the kitchen door.  I wish we had a picture of that!  Tents were knocked down and flooded,  it was nuts.


And here we are, ready to do it all over again!


As a matter of fact, Julie’s family is in attendance at this annual gathering as well.  Her husband and mine are sharing a tent with all our kids this year.  Lucky them.


We decided that we would each make a BBQ menu, and bring it for everyone at the party to enjoy.  (Check back next week for photos of these recipes.)

Here are the recipes in case YOU are in need of some ideas for the weekend:


My BBQ Menu:


Slow Cooked Honey BBQ Ribs

Homemade Colorful Coleslaw

Proud to be an AmeriCAKE



This is a great way to contribute a main dish to a BBQ.  Chances are the hosts will have the grill tied up with burgers, dogs, sausage, who knows!  These you can make at home, they are still classic BBQ fare, and all you have to do is bring your crock pot along with you.


(First make the sauce)

 2 8 oz cans tomato sauce (I use Redpack)

1 cup ketchup

3 Tbsp tomato paste

3/4 cup honey

3/4 cup apricot preserves

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup lime juice

3 Tbsp worcestershire sauce

2 Tbsp dijon mustard

4 cloves garlic, pressed

3 shallots, minced

2 Tbsp chili powder

2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

salt and pepper to taste


Step 1:  Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and cook over medium heat until reduced by 1/2.  (You can store this sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.)


(Now the ribs)


4 lbs pork ribs- spare or baby back (I much prefer the spare ribs)

2 yellow onions sliced


Step 2:  Season ribs with salt and pepper


Step 3:  Put the ribs, onions and 3 cups of the BBQ sauce in your crock pot and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours.


Step 4:  Once the ribs are cooked, I like to take as much of the sauce as I can out of the crockpot and boil it down to a thicker consistency and serve it on the side so people can add extra sauce to their ribs.  In my opinion, you can never have to much sauce!


You can make these ahead and refrigerate them, then just reheat right in the crockpot before your party.


(PS- as a cheat you can use a your favorite storebought BBQ sauce, add 1/3 cup of honey and 1 Tbsp of chili powder or crushed red pepper flakes,  if you don’t feel like making your own BBQ sauce. My favorite is Sweet Baby Ray’s or Jack Daniels)






1/2 head green cabbage, finely shredded

1/2 head red cabbage, finely shredded

2 carrots, finely shredded

4 scallions, sliced thin

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup sour cream

1 Tbsp brown sugar

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp dry mustard

salt and pepper to taste


Step 1: Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and dry mustard in a large bowl and whisk to combine.  In a second bowl, combine cabbages, carrots, scallions and sunflower seeds.  Pour dressing on top and toss to combine.  NOTE:  You may not need all the dressing.   Adjust salt and pepper and you are ready to go! Cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to serve.




This cake is a childhood favorite of mine.  It’s basically strawberry shortcake(ish) made to look like an american flag.  What could be better on Memorial Day weekend? Or the 4th of July… or Labor day… Or any day you are feeling patriotic!


(Please note, that this recipe is for a 1/2 sheet cake.  You can also do it in a 13×9. and for that you need 1 less box of cake mix.)



3 18.5-18.75oz box of yellow cake mix

Orange juice

4 pints of strawberries, hulled (approx)

6 cups heavy cream

3/4 cup confectioners sugar

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

1.5 cups of blueberries (approx)

1/4 cup strawberry jelly


Step 1:  Preheat oven to 350° .  Grease and flour your 1/2 sheet pan, or 13×9 cake pan.


Step 2:  In a large bowl, prepare the cake mix as directed except- substitute the orange juice for the water, and add 1 egg extra for each box of cake mix.  Spread 1/2 of the batter evenly in pan and bake as directed, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the cake.  Cool cake on wire rack for 15 minutes, loosen edges and invert onto the rack.  Repeat with other 1/2 of batter so that you have 2 layers.

Cool cakes completely.


Step 3:  In a large bowl, beat heavy cream, vanilla, and confectioners sugar until stiff peaks form.


Step 4:  Place 1 layer of the cake on a large flat tray and spread whipped cream on the top.  Top with sliced strawberries and then the other layer of cake.


Step 5:  Cover the cake, top and sides, with the rest of the whipped cream.


Step 6:  Arrange the blueberries in a square in the top left (to resemble the blue portion of the American flag) and then halved strawberries to resemble the stripes.


Step 7:  In a small saucepan, melt the strawberry jelly over medium heat.  Brush the jelly over the blueberries and strawberries to give them a nice shine.


Step 8:  (Optional)  You can spoon any remaining whipped cream you have into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip, and pipe the edges of the cake to decorate.  And there you have it, the perfect summer dessert, that will impress as well.

Oh, how I love summer!

Stay tuned for tomorrow- Julie will post her BBQ menu!  Let us know if you tried any of our recipes, AND we would love to hear your favorite summertime BBQ recipes too!

Have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend.

And of course, take a moment to honor all of the brave men and women who have fought and died for our country.  They are true American heroes.  We salute each and every one them, and their families as well.


Series NavigationOfficial Kickoff to Summer Part 2 >>

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One comment on “Official Kickoff to Summer: Part 1

  1. I can not wait for the campout this year and to sample all of your yummy food!!! Good times with great friends!!! Love you!!!

  2. Pingback: Blueberry Raspberry Crumble with Mascarpone Ice Cream |

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