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So yesterday, I shared the cake recipe from my mom’s birthday with you. I thought, since the meal was so tasty, you’d like to know how to re-create the rest of it. It never hurts to have a full roster of recipes for summer entertaining, right?

So you’d think that for a birthday on July 6, a barbeque IMG_2013is a no-brainer, right Or maybe you’re super-clever, read the post title and figured that I’m going an alternate route). Although the crockpot is often thought of as a go-to tool in the winter, perfect for long-cooking roasts and stews, it is more than just a fairweather friend, and can make great summer meals as well (just ask Katie). I used my slow cooker to make Hungry Girl’s slow-cooked pulled chicken (recipe here) and served it on light buns  – a much lighter option than delicious but fatty pulled pork. Recipe tip: I added a teaspoon of cumin because I like it smoky. Also, the recipe is VERY saucy, so I pulled the chicken out of the sauce and shredded it, then just added part of the sauce (please save the rest though, don’t throw it out!).

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The pulling in process!

 

 

 

 

 

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Our starter was another HG favourite: guacamole! Now, if you click here and read the recipe, or look at the photo below, you’ll notice that there are CANNED PEAS in it – please don’t get scared off! The peas help keep the dip way lower in calories/fat than traditional guacamole, but still keep a good colour/texture/flavour (and don’t worry, there’s still avocado in there too). And trust me, everyone LOVED it.

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Looks like typical guac ingredients, right? Look closer at that yellow can in the bottom right….peas please! And of course, buy some Guiltless gourmet tortilla chips to go with (optional but HIGHLY recommended – Spicy Black Bean are my fav).

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This is the peas all mashed up and ready for the other ingredients to be added – if you don’t tell your guests, they’ll never know!

I served the dip with the chips and some cut up veggies (I ate mostly veggies).

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I had 3 sides. Number one was the potato salad you see above. It comes from an OLD and super-simple family recipe. All you do is cook new potatoes (my mom usually peels them, I like skin on – your choice), then slice (and maybe peel) while still warm. Add red wine vinegar (my mom would want me to tell you that it HAS to be Unico brand or it won’t taste the same), olive oil, chopped fresh chives, and salad and pepper to taste. Chill to let flavours blend – that’s it! Growing up, I didn’t used to like this (crazy I know), but in my family, this is what potato salad means – not your typical mayonnaise-y deal.

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Sides numbers 2 and 3 came from my Food Network Magazine, delayed due to the postal strike, but which arrived the day before my mom’s bday (perfect timing, eh?). There was a fun article called “Choose Sides,” where they took typical summer side dishes and made light and rich versions. I made the light versions of the baked beans and coleslaw: Baked Beans with Swiss Chard and Red Coleslaw with Grapes. IMG_2014

Both were yummy, and a nice twist on classic sides. Since this post is getting lengthy, I will share these recipes with you tomorrow. Another plus of this menu, is that is very make-ahead-able (which makes for easy-breezy summer entertaining). Even better, this meal made for absolutely AMAZING leftovers. I was saying to my friend, I was actually HOPING for leftovers when I made this meal….do you ever do that? You know, when you just KNOW that leftovers will be absolutely delicious and possibly even better the next day? …so I will show you my leftover supper today and then come back tomorrow with thIMG_2047e two side recipes.

Thursday’s leftover supper was a bit unconventional, but delicious nonetheless: a dish I’m calling “Hot and Cold BBQ Salad Bowl” with a side of guacamole and veggies. Don’t knock it ‘till you’ve tried it, that’s all I have to say.

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I started by making a small salad with garden-fresh lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, green onions and orange pepper. I poured some of the leftover sauce from the chicken (which I saved and DID NOT throw out) over top.

 

 

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Then, I heated up a nice big scoop of the leftover chicken and the beans in the microwave.

 

 

 

 

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All together now! I topped the salad base with the hot chicken and beans, and then some of the beautiful coleslaw. Mmm…this was the PERFECT mix of flavours, temperatures, and textures. It was like when you’re at a barbeque with lots of different things on your plate, and all the juices and flavours kind of run together. So maybe, if you’re someone who doesn’t like your food touching/mixing, you wouldn’t like this salad…but I sure did!

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And of course, I couldn’t let that leftover cake in the fridge go to waste, could I? Winking smile

Back tomorrow with the bean and coleslaw recipes, my friends. But I hope you try these recipes – as I said before, perfect easy-breezy summer entertaining!

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Speaking of summer, I just love it. The photo to the right shows my location while typing this post (any guesses?). I enjoyed a road trip to Brantford, class and swim at the gym (while I’ve got my cheapie wagjag membership), and then headed to Starbucks to be one of those cool bloggers who blogs there, while drinking an iced passion tea and then later on, chatting with Donna. Oh summer, I love you!

How are you enjoying summer this weekend?

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