We just love outdoor gatherings and this summer will be a great one. We can safely gather with our family and friends sharing stories, memories and good food together.

If you missed Mimi Jackie’s post on summer spritzers, check it out here and to us, Pina Coladas remind us of lazy, summer beach days. To make this fun trip extra special, why not put a cute umbrella in it?

Enjoy this recipe!

Pina Colada

6 ounces white rum

6 ounces cream of coconut (preferably Coco Lopez brand)

6 ounces pineapple juice

1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks (see How to Cut a Pineapple)

4 cups ice

4 ounces golden or añejo rum

Pineapple leaves or wedges for garnish, optional

Gigi LoriThis recipe is sure to be a crowd pleaser and a great dish for summertime fun.

Lobster Mac & Cheese-From Ina Garten Foolproof Cookbook

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Kosher salt

1 lb. cavatappi or elbow macaroni

1 quart whole milk

8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, dividied

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

4 cups grated Gruyere cheese (12 ozs.)

2 cups grated extra-sharp Cheddar (8 ozs.)

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 1/2 lbs. cooked lobster meat, 1/2″ thick diced

1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Add the oil to a large pot of boiling salted water, add the pasta and cook at dente according to the directions on the package. Drain well.

Heat the milk in a saucepan, but don’t allow it to boil. In the large pot, melt 6 Tbsp. of the butter and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. Still whisking, add the hot milk and cook for 1-2 minutes, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 Tbsp. salt, the pepper, and the nutmeg and stir until the cheese melts. Stir in the cooked pasta and lobster. Pile the mixture into 6-8 (2 cup) gratin dishes.

Melt the remaining 2 Tbsp. of butter, combine with the bread crumbs, and sprinkle on top. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the pasta is browned on top.

Enjoy,

Gigi Lori

Gigi SusieI have made this recipe many, many times and it never disappoints. Whether it’s for Easter time or for taking to an outdoor gathering, all will love this yummy dish. The recipe says that the bacon is optional; however, I always make it with the bacon to make it extra special.

Deviled Eggs-From Magnolia Table Cookbook

12 large eggs

1/2 lb. bacon (optional)

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar (optional)

1 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar

Kosher salt

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 Tbsp. dill relish

1 Tbsp. minced fresh dill

1 Tbsp. minced chives, plus chopped chives for garnish

1 tsp. mustard powder

1 Tbsp. sweet paprika (optional)

If using the bacon, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

Spread the brown sugar on a plate. Press both sides of each bacon slice in the brown sugar to coat and arrange the slices on the lined baking sheet. Bake until crispy, 14-16 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet.

**Meanwhile, place the eggs in a single layer in a large saucepan and cover with water by 2 inches. Add the vinegar and a pinch of salt. Bring the water to a boil, cover the pan, and turn off the heat. Let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare a large bowl of ice water. Drain the eggs and immediately transfer them to the ice water. Let stand until completely cool.

Peel the eggs, then rinse and dry them. Slice them in half lengthwise. Gently scoop out the yolks into a large bowl. Set the whites aside.

Add the mayonnaise, relish, dill, chives, mustard powder, and a 1/4 tsp salt to the egg yolks. Mix well, mashing the yolks with the back side of a fork. Use a spoon to gently fill the whites with the filling.

Chop the reserve bacon and generously top the eggs with it. If desired, sprinkle dill and/or chives on top or dust with paprika.

Arrange the deviled eggs on a platter, cover lightly and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours before serving.

Makes 8-12 servings

**If you own an instant pot, then making hard boiled eggs is a breeze.

Place eggs on an egg or steam rack

Add 1 1/2 cups cold water

Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes

Enjoy good food and good company this summer!

Gigi Susie

xoxoxoxoxo

Lala MalanaThis is one of my go-to favorites to take to a gathering. It is so easy to throw together and is always a crowd pleaser. You can just wash your dish and take it home because there won’t be any leftovers.

Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole

1 pkg. frozen hash browns, shredded

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 stick of melted butter

1 – 16oz. carton sour cream

1- 12 oz. pkg. shredded cheddar cheese

chopped onions, optional

crushed crackers or chips for topping

Saute’ onions in butter. Combine together in a large bowl with all other ingredients except the crackers for the topping. Mix well and put into a greased 9 x 13 casserole dish. Top with crushed topping. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. If you prefer it a little cheesier instead of using the topping, I sprinkle more cheese on top when it comes out of the oven. Oh my goodness! Like I said earlier, no leftovers. You can also use the cubed hash browns but may need to cook a little longer.

Enjoy your summer, stay cool, and delight in gathering with family and friends whenever possible.

Lala Malana

Mimi JackieI love how simple this Corn Salad is to make. It’s such a great recipe that tastes wonderful, as all of Ina Garten’s recipes do! Aside from the fresh ears of corn, you more than likely will have the six remaining ingredients on hand. I came across her recipe many years ago in my favorite cookbook of hers “The Barefoot Contessa” and I look forward to making it every summer when fresh corn is available. Sometimes I mix white and yellow corn together. It’s always a huge hit that won’t disappoint.

Fresh Corn Salad-From The Barefoot Contessa

5 ears of corn, shucked

½ cup small diced red onion (1 small onion)

3 Tablespoons cider vinegar

3 Tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon Kosher Salt

½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

½ cup julienned fresh basil

Directions: (can be found at this link here)

Step 1. In a large pot of salted boiling water cook the corn for 3 minutes. Drain and rinse the corn in ice water to stop the cooking process. When the corn is cool, cut the kernels off the cob, being sure to cut as close to the cob as you can.

Step 2. Toss the kernels in a large bowl and mix together along with the red onions, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then, just before serving, toss in the fresh basil. The salad can be served cold or at room temperature.

Enjoy all the flavors of the summer at your next outdoor gathering with family and friends.

xoxo

Mimi Jackie

Nana AlisonMy mom made a simple side dish she called Hot Salad. It’s a perfect side dish to many summer dinners. It consisted of chopped onions, chopped green bell peppers, and chopped tomatoes in equal amounts seasoned with salt, pepper, and a little bit of sugar. I found the following recipe from Rachel Ray that sounds so similar, a little more sophisticated, and worth sharing.

Tomato, Pepper, and Onion Salad-From The Food Network and Rachel Ray

4 Roma or Plum tomatoes

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

2 Cubanelle peppers, seeded and thinly sliced (I’ll bet 1 standard bell pepper would work)

1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine vegetables in a bowl and dress with the vinegar, EVOO, and salt and pepper. Ready to serve.

Stay cool,

Nana Alison

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Gigi Connection Grandparenting

With decades of friendship between us, we aim to empower and encourage women of all ages as we share, from our hearts, topics relating to health, beauty, fashion, reading, cooking, faith in God, travel and the joys of aging gracefully as we live life with our friends, family and adoring grandchildren.

Our greatest hope is that with almost 200 collective years of marriage wisdom, 20 grandchildren between us (newborn-12 years of age) and friendships lasting since 1989, our blog encourages you in some way in your friendships, your relationships, your faith, your self and in this wonderful journey called grandparenting.

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