Yes, I know that Labor Day marks the end of summer, but unofficially. Summer doesn’t actually end until September 21st, which gives us 16 days to whoop it up like the sun will never go down. Hey, I’m not trying to be a stickler, I just want to make sure that you don’t miss out on these must try summer recipes of 2016. So, while listening to the songs of the summer on that Labor Day weekend countdown, I encourage you to also make a shopping list for all this deliciousness that you have to make before the season is over.
I’m not sure if it’s a thing in other cities and towns across the nation, but Frosé—a frozen, slushie-style drink made with rosé wine—took over NYC this summer. But don’t worry: You don’t have to live in New York to try it with this super easy recipe at W&P Design. Start here, but know that I’ve seen other frosé recipes that add Campari, blend in fresh strawberries, or even add a splash of vodka or tequila, so feel free to get creative.
Hard Iced Coffee Lemonade | Glue and Glitter
This summer we learned about what a good idea it is to mix coffee and lemonade. Yes, seriously! We found step-by-step instructions at Food52 that we shared on our list of 8 unexpected ways to upgrade your iced coffee and even found a version that included rum at Glue and Glitter. Either way, this surprising combo totally works and is a must-try before you switch to hot coffee.
DIY Poke Bowls | What’s Gaby Cooking
Another food trend that got hot this summer is Poke. No, not Pokemon—just Poke Bowls. Bowls, not balls. (We all on the same page here?) The traditional Hawaiian raw fish salad served over rice has become all the rage over the last few months and even we family cooks can get in the action with these family-friendly Poke Bowl recipes. Yes, it’s a little adventurous, but we found versions that we think kids might get into, at least if they’re fans of sushi.
Okay, I brought it up, so there’s no going back: Pokemon. There are so many Pokemon recipes online that there is absolutely no way to eat ’em all, no matter how big a fan. And that’s not to mention how difficult most of the recipes are to execute. Have you seen these Pokemon lunches or the Pokeball cake we found on Instagram? Amazing, but whoa! Unless you’re a crafty super talent, I’d say stick to these incredibly cute and simple Pokemon Sugar Cookies (pictured) at Midwestern Moms. They’re the perfect way to get in on the trend. . . easily.
From rainbow sushi to a pastel rainbow of off-the-menu Starbucks drinks, this summer was all about the ROYGBIV. Our favorite find are these Rainbow Popsicles at The First Year (pictured). While they take a little time and patience, they don’t require anything artificial (one layer in the recipe calls for food dye, but you can skip it) or, more importantly, craft skill. So yea, I’m all over these.
Rainbow food definitely had a moment this summer, but if you’re thinking, “That’s so last year,” allow me to introduce you to your new kitchen project: galaxy donuts. We first spied galaxy donuts by So Beautifully Raw on Instagram (pictured). The Feed Feed shared Sam’s instructions for how to make her vegan galaxy donuts on their site, where I couldn’t help but notice that, despite looking gorgeous, the recipe got only two stars. Hmm. The good news is that you can use any donut recipe—or even store-bought!—and either follow Sam’s icing instructions or hop on over to this galaxy donut tutorial at Spoon University.
Tomato Basil Tart with White Bean Puree | Vegetarian Ventures
While I can hardly call tomatoes a summer 2016 trend, it’s safe to say that fresh tomatoes never go out of style at this time of year. So without a doubt, if there’s something you cannot skip before summer is over, it’s finding a way to eat them raw. I love the sound of the Tomato Basil Tart with White Bean Puree that we included on our latest Cool Mom Eats weekly meal plan because it’s the perfect way to make raw tomatoes the center of an easy main entree.
One other option for those fresh tomatoes (because you can never have too many): a super simple Peach, Tomato, and Beet Salad. The kids may get into this tasty combination since it has both summer fruit and veg. But if not, more for you.
Mixed Berry Pie | Bakers Royale
Another summer kitchen staple that never goes out of style: fresh fruit pies. There’s no single fruit, version, or recipe that trumps all of the others since it really depends on your mood and what fruit you can find at peak season most easily around you. And please do use local fruit—it really makes a difference. You can’t go wrong with any of these 9 must-bake summer fruit pies, but since berries are looking pretty great in my neck of the woods, I’m going Mixed Berry.
If you’d rather not bake, then at least make this easy DIY Ice Cream Cake. In fact, make this easy DIY ice cream cake even if you do bake a pie! It’s dead simple thanks to a genius store-bought hack that nobody will suspect.
This summer was all about grilling pizza at Cool Mom HQ thanks to our writer Jane and her easy-to-follow tutorial on how to grill pizza. Her enthusiasm for it inspired me and so many others to start taking our pizza dough outside, and we will not stop until the weather forces us to. I suggest you do the same. That is, if you aren’t already.
Watermelon Slice Popsicles | Nutrition Stripped
There’s no excuse not to make this recipe for Watermelon Slice Popsicles at Nutrition Stripped that we included in our roundup of watermelon hacks. It’s quintessentially summer, ridiculously easy, and a sure hit with the kids.
Creamy Vegan Gazpacho | No Milky Whey
Have you had any gazpacho yet this summer? If not, what are you waiting for? Every single one of these gazpacho recipes is more appealing than the other, all chock full of summer goodness. I’ve already tried a bunch and am eyeing the Creamy Vegan Gazpacho at No Milky Whey as my next. Yum.
Red Wine Float | The Juice
We started with wine, so why not end with it too. This Red Wine Ice Cream Float that Caroline shared in her round up of irresistible ice cream float recipes sticks out to me, because wine. But honestly, if you ask me, every single recipe on her list counts as a recipe to make before summer is over. You’d better get going! But definitely start here.