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Backyard sips and eats

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Raspberry Peach Sorbet

REFRESHING TREAT The Raspberry Peach Sorbet from Peace Meals is a crowd-pleaser at al fresco get-togethers. (Photo courtesy of the Junior League of Houston)

Cooking Buzz is produced in partnership with the Junior League of Houston, a women’s charitable and education organization founded in 1925.

The summer has ended, the school year is here, and the bustle of the holidays is around the corner. For many of us, calendars will fill with football games, field trips and meetings. As much as we all could not wait for relief from the heat, I know I will miss lazy Sundays at the pool, backyard cookouts, early morning walks in the park and snow cone runs.

I am hosting one final hurrah featuring three easy cocktails and delicious bites to say “adios” to summer. Rosé Wine Freezes are always a crowd favorite, especially when it’s hot outside. Sometimes I substitute the strawberry daiquiri mix for margarita mix for a tangy kick. For a sweet and fun presentation, I add pink sugar to the rim.

The Mint Crush is quick and guaranteed to please. You can use vodka, rum or gin. Be sure to buy a few extra mint leaves too. They make a beautiful garnish and have a Southern look.

Nothing sounds more refreshing than a fresh Gin Breeze. When I see the name, it makes me want to close my eyes and wake up on an island on the edge of the water. The lemonade makes it sweet, but not too sweet. If I am preparing a sit-down meal, I love pairing it with a light salad such as the Summer Watermelon Salad with Honey Orange Vinaigrette dressing from Peace Meals and grilled fish.

For a weekend backyard gathering, pair these drinks with a full mouth-watering menu. The Madras Shrimp or Southwestern Shrimp Fritters with Ginger Chili Sauce from Peace Meals make lovely hors d’oeuvres. Both dishes are full of bold flavors and relatively quick to prepare.  For non-seafood eaters, consider the Tomato Pesto Tarts as a simple, yet satisfying option. As a main course, try the Pepper Jack Turkey Burgers with Jicama Slaw. The jicama slaw gives these burgers a satisfying crunch and a kick. And for dessert, everyone loves a cool treat. The Raspberry Peach Sorbet from Peace Meals or the Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream from Stop and Smell the Rosemary make a palate-pleasing finale. 

Happy end of summer!

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