So early this Summer I asked one of my favorite vendors at the Lake Forest Park Farmer's Market to do me a favor. My gal, Tracy, at Social Ice Cream makes the best ice cream in the entire world. Problem is, a solid portion of my friends can't eat sugar, dairy, soy, gluten, food colorings, flavorings, like basically anything. But I knew Tracy could handle it. What did I need two gallons of sugar-dairy-soy-gluten-everything-free ice cream for? You already know, don't you, you smart thing you!
My oldest's Cub Scout manual lists plan a party and make an obstacle course for your friends as two things you can get badges for and we're all about the badges around here. We need all the stinkin' badges. Fittingly, he chose blue and yellow as the colors.
He helped with all the set up, too!
These little marigolds were just the right color and had a light citronella scent that, I think, helped keep the bugs a way. So did the little fans you see in the background.
I found a thing on Pinterest about making little flags to mark drinks. Good ol' party store came through with these puppies.
My oldest also had a say in the menu so we planned hamburgers and hot dogs and left the rest up to the generosity of our guests!
My neighbor supplied us with this gorgeous caprese salad appetizer.
My garden has been generously pumping out cherry tomatoes like nobody's business this year.
My honey making friend also dabbles in flavored vodka. Holy man.
And she brings homemade bread. Yeah she does!
These homemade hot mix pickles were my offering this year.
Hot Pickle Mix
4 C sliced trimmed pickling cucumbers (1/4 inch slices)
2 C cauliflower florets
1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 C sliced, peeled carrots
1 C peeled pearl or pickling onions
2/3 C pickling or canning salt
8 1/2 C water, divided
3 C sliced seeded hot yellow banana peppers (1 1/2- inch slices)
1 clove garlic
8 1/2 C white vinegar
3/4 C granulated sugar
2 Tbs horseradish
3-9 jalapeno peppers, halved and seeded
In a large glass or stainless steel bowl, combine cucumbers, cauliflower, green and red peppers, carrots, and onions. In another large glass or stainless steel bowl, dissolve pickling salt in 7 C of the water. Pour over vegetables. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Meanwhile, prepare canner, jars, and lids. In a colander placed over a sink, drain vegetables. Rinse with cool running water and drain thoroughly. Add hot yellow peppers and mix well. In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine garlic, remaining 1 1/2 C water, vinegar, sugar, and horseradish. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat and boil gently for 15 minutes, until liquid is infused with garlic flavor. Discard garlic clove. Pack vegetables and 1 to 3 jalapeno pepper halves into hot jars to within a generous 1/2 inch of top of jar. Ladle hot pickling liquid into jar to cover vegetables, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and and adjust headspace if necessary, by adding hot pickling liquid. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.
We bought our burgers from Martiny Livestock at our farmer's market. People said they were some of the best burgers they ever had!
Little bit of local cheese to top it off...
A little bit of socializing and then it was finally, finally time for...
Ice cream and sorbet! We had Coconut Vanilla Bean, Peach Raspberry sorbet, and Raspberry Lemon Verbena. All made without soy, without dairy, without white sugar, but made with coconut milk, honey, and fresh local produce. Because Tracy is a flippin' wizard.
Then it was obstacle course time! First down the slide, then a search through bubbles for a statuette, and a quick hula hoop for 5 seconds before a dash across the finish line! Fastest time wins! It was a quick, fun game and they loved it!
Even this dude and he doesn't like anything...