National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month: What to Eat Right Now

berriesWe’re just a few days away from June and with all the sunshine bringing life to our gardens and lawns, that means there’s an abundance of farm fresh produce to add to our daily menus. June has been appropriately designated as National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month and to help you figure out what you want to put in your farmer’s market basket, here’s what to eat right now.

Blackberries/Blueberries/Boysenberries Jellies, jams, pies and muffins — dessert is in the garden! Berries have a relatively short growing season, but fresh berries have a flavor you’ll be thinking about all year long. Sprinkle them with a little bit of sugar and whipped cream, and you have a refreshing dessert, but make them part of your pastries and you’ll get a little taste of heaven.

Apricots We’re just about half-way through the apricot growing season, so if you want to try a recipe using apricots, now’s the time to do it. An upside down cake, a tart, a cobbler– put them on your list for your next summer picnic.

Rhubarb June and July are your last months to try something fabulous with rhubarb. Most people are familiar with strawberry-rhubarb pie — it’s the perfect balance of sweet and tart (and goes really well with vanilla ice cream!) but rhubarb can be transformed into a sauce for chicken or pork chops — you just have to make sure to add a sweet seasonal fruit — like cherries — to it to temper the tartness.   asparagus

Asparagus Get your asparagus while you can! We’re winding down the growing season for these green spears. They’re perfect for grilling so you don’t have to heat up the house roasting them or sauteing them on your stove top. Drizzle them with a little olive oil and sprinkle them with salt before putting them on the hot grill. Leave them on just long enough to make grill marks and they’re ready to serve with a squeeze of lemon.

Corn We’re just starting the sweet corn season — start pinning your favorite corn recipes because for the next months, you’ll have corn coming out your ears! That’s not a bad thing — who doesn’t love a good roasted corn salad or eating it straight off the cob slathered in butter?

tomatoesTomatoes There’s no other time of year that you can find such red, plump and juicy tomatoes. Whether you’re slicing them up for a caprese salad or skewering them for a veggie kebab, you’ll have plenty of delightful dishes that can be brightened with a few tomatoes. And if you don’t get to them all, you can always can them for sauce in the winter.

Summer sunshine gives us so much more than just outdoor fun to take advantage of — make sure to take advantage of all of nature’s bounty and make fresh fruits and veggies part of your summer cookouts, entertaining or just dinner at home with the family.

Lakeside Selection: Our Choice for Father’s Day Gifts

We’re getting ready for a fun-packed summer! Barbecues and pool parties are on the schedule — and so is Father’s Day. It’s just about a month away, so it’s time to start thinking about how to show Dad some appreciation. Here is this week’s Lakeside Selection: Our Choice for Father’s Day Gifts.grill-cover

Grill Protection Shield your grill from the elements and keep it looking brand new with the Weatherproof Gas Grill Cover. Constructed of durable PVC, it will provide your grill with a protective barrier against rain, snow and damaging UV rays. Available in 2 sizes, there’s one to fit your grill, big or small. Use the attached tabs with fabric-magic closures to secure the cover tightly around your grill to keep it from blowing off in the wind.freezable-can-cooler

Fun & Functional Whether your team is playing like they’re on fire or on the bench, this NFL Freezable Can Cooler keeps your drink chilled throughout each quarter. Water is encased in the double-walled, single can cooler, emblazoned with the logo of your favorite team front and back. Put it in the freezer to chill it, then put your drink can into the cooler. Rubberized plastic around the bottom edge makes sure the cooler won’t slip or scratch your table.tripod

Guiding Light The Stanley Tripod Flashlight is perfect for emergencies, camping and DIY projects in hard-to-reach places. Use both your hands to repair a dripping pipe or start a campfire while the powerful LED lights up your work space. The flashlight’s articulated head directs the light right where you need it. Weather-resistant anodized aluminum case makes it ideal for roadside emergencies and trips. Retractable legs make it easy to take with you. Flashing low-power indicator means you’ll never be unexpectedly caught in the dark. Runs on 3 batteries with a battery life of 41 hours.fork-thermometer

Grill Gadget Great for barbecuing or broiling! The Fork Thermometer quickly and accurately reads the temperature of your food. Indicator lights let you know if the meat is rare, medium or well done. It takes the guesswork out of oven roasting a turkey or grilling steaks and burgers. Stainless steel tips provide accurate results.chainsaw

Camping Contraptions Portable Camping Chain Saw or Belt Pouch is a must-have for anyone who enjoys camping, hiking, backpacking and spending time outdoors. The 24″ Flexible Chain Saw is a revolutionary tool that cuts and clears in both directions for clean, efficient strokes on even the hardest wood. This easy-to-use saw gives you a flexible blade for cutting from a variety of angles. Made of heavy-duty coated steel, its cutting teeth are self-cleaning and require little maintenance. Nylon handle straps prevent the chain from twisting. To cut, simply wrap the blade around the object and pull. Store the saw in the Nylon Belt Pouch so you’ll have it when you need it. It features a fabric-magic closure and a belt loop attachment to hold the saw firmly in place around your waist. Versatile pouch can also be used to carry a pocket knife. Imported.

 

Last Minute Memorial Day Ideas

Summer starts this weekend with an extra day to play — not everyone is taking a trip out of town and for those of us who are staying around the neighborhood to hit a barbecue or two, we have some ideas to make your first weekend of summer awesome. Here are 6 last minute Memorial Day ideas.

concerts-in-the-parkOutdoor Concert Music aficionados can finally take their hobbies outside! Amphitheaters will be packed this weekend to start of summer concert series from coast to coast. The symphony, a country music review or a rock bands will take to the summer stage from now until September — you can make it part of your summer routine.

Shakespeare in the Park Across the nation thespians are getting into character for a summer on the park stage. Many communities hold Shakespeare in the Park series between Memorial Day and Labor Day. It’s fun way to enjoy the warm weather and take in a few “thees” and “thous.”

Backyard Movie You don’t have to go to the park to have an evening of entertainment outdoors! Set up a movie projector in your backyard to watch a family flick and eat popcorn under the stars. It’ll give the kids a taste of what’s to come for the next three months. fun-run

Race to Summer Walk, jog or sprint, there are Memorial Day races planned in most communities. You don’t have to be a serious runner to enjoy these kind of races — you can do a mile, 5k or 10k. Do it with the family or do it with a running partner — it’s a fun way to spend time outdoors and get some exercise. If you pick the right race, you might even be running for a good cause.

Botanic Gardens Flowers are at their finest at the botanic gardens in May. Some gardens hold special events and flower sales as a bonus to viewing the green landscapesand perfectly pruned plants. Even if you’re not into horticulture, seeing the blossoms gets just about everyone excited for the season to come. flea-market

Treasure Hunting Memorial Day weekend is the weekend when most outdoor flea markets and farmers markets start in earnest. Whether you’re looking for an antique dresser or you need fresh heirloom tomatoes for an impressive spread at your Memorial Day cookout, going to the market is more of an event than a chore.

Summer is finally here — take advantage of it while you can! Whether you’re headed to a barbecue or you want to spend the weekend surrounded by flowers, make sure to make the most of your outdoor time; we only get so much sunshine every year.

Memorial Day Cookout: 4 Marinades to Try

Memorial Day weekend is here! It’s the first big barbecue weekend of the year and we want everyone to be ready to cook out. To make your grilled meats tasty and moist, we have a few ideas to get the most flavor out of your food. Here are 4 marinades to try this weekend.Greek-Chicken

Chicken A favorite marinade for chicken is the Greek version — it’s simple and the flavor is bold but light enough to go well with beer or the refreshing summer cocktails you’ll be mixing up this weekend. This recipe comes from the Baking Bookworm. Most of the ingredients are items you probably already have in your pantry so you don’t need to make an extra trip to the store before your party.

steak-marinadeBeef A little bit of Latin flavor goes a long way to make your steaks stand out! There isn’t much to this marinade from The Gardening Cook. Cuban style steak is only slightly more than a sprinkle of cumin and a twist of lime — just 30 minutes in the refrigerator and you’ll be on a 90 mile journey off the coast of Florida… all without leaving your backyard!

mojo-marinadeSalmon Give your salmon a little bite with jalapeños and keep it fresh with a splash of lime! Barefeet in the Kitchen offers her Mojo Marinade to give your salmon a little kick. A few fresh ingredients from a trip to the farmers market can yield enough Mojo Marinade to last you from Memorial Day to Labor Day with friends and family asking for more!

tenderloin-marinadePork The grilled pork tenderloin with Thai marinade requires a lot of ingredients — but it’s worth it! This recipe comes from the Bewitching Kitchen and, even though there are a lot of ingredients, you shouldn’t be scared — the hardest part of it is the shopping! All you have to do is chop up the ingredients; they don’t have to be pretty because it’s just a marinade. It does require quite a bit of time for the tenderloin to soak up all the flavors, but it’s a three-day weekend — you have time!

You don’t have to marinate your meat this Memorial Day weekend — you may want to put all of your effort in the outdoor fun — sometimes just a little salt and pepper is all you need to create the right flavors. But if you want to make your party memorable, try something new and bold! Your guests will be happy you did.

Lakeside Selection: Our Choice for Wedding Season Products

WeddingMemorial Day is next weekend and after that, it’s non-stop entertaining until Labor Day. Along with barbecues and fireworks, there are weddings to plan for. Weddings are big events even if you’re just a guest. But if you’re in the party or a bride or groom — you have a lot on your plate. But we have ideas to make the event easier. Here’s this week’s Lakeside Collection: Our Choice for Wedding Season Products.

wedding-flutesFestive Flutes These Wedding Keepsakes make memorable gifts for a newly engaged couple. Each piece has a distinct pewter-like finish with elegant script, making it easy to buy all 3 for a matching gift basket. The Album  says “Wedding Day” on the bottom and has 2 wedding bands on the top. Holds 72 of your 4″ x 6″ photos inside, and also showcases your favorite 3-1/2″ x 5″ photo on the cover. The Certificate Holder ensures the marriage certificate is always safe and secure. Metal. Use the metal-stemmed Set of 2 Champagne Flutes to toast on your wedding day and anniversary. Each has “Bride” or “Groom” on the glass.

wedding-string-lightsCeremonial Shimmer Shimmering Set of 2 Beaded Light Strings dresses up your home for any holiday or occasion. The 20 white LED lights combine with colored beads for a pretty glow. Convenient battery case means you can place them almost anywhere indoors.

outdoor-entertainingVibrant Vessels Brighten up your pre-wedding ceremony cookouts with this vibrant tableware! Our break-resistant Outdoor Dining Collection is perfect for your picnic basket. Mix and match these sets. Mix and match these sets of 12 serveware for a setting that’s right for you.

wedding-mason-jarsMerry Mason Jars The mason jar design of this Mr. and Mrs. glass goblets set is perfect for a country-themed wedding or event. One glass says “Mr.” in black, and the other reads “Mrs.” in white. Each has a ribbon on the stem that coordinates with the color of the script. Goldtone lids give them an authentic look.

monogram-braceletStylish Souvenirs Set of 2 Monogram Beaded Stretch Bracelets is a fresh way to wear personalized jewelry. The script monogram sits on a stretchy bracelet covered in polished beads. Accent it with the matching beaded bracelet. Makes a fabulous bridesmaid or wedding favor friends and family.

wedding-nameNuptial Nameplate Wooden Personalized Sentiment Wall Plaques add a warm touch to your home. Add a name in bold lettering to the Home sign, then add your marriage date to the bottom line. Main lettering, 12 characters maximum. Bottom line, 4 digits maximum. Add your family’s name on the top line of the Welcome sign and the date of your marriage on the bottom line. Top line has a maximum of 15 characters and the bottom line has a maximum of 4 digits. Proud to be American sign has room for a name up to 15 characters seen over “Family.”

National Bike Month: Benefits of Biking

bikingMay is National Bike Month and, probably not coincidentally, it’s a great time of year to get on two wheels — it’s not too hot and it’s not too cold. But weather might not be quite enough incentive for you to go for a ride. In case you’re wavering, here are 4 benefits of biking that will get you back on the saddle.

Easy Exercise Biking is a low-impact way to workout. It’s easy on the joints while giving you a decent cardio workout it also works all your major muscle groups — making it a great way to tone up your entire body for summer. It’s so easy, you won’t realize that you’ve gotten an intense workout until you’re back home and ready for a nap. If you want to burn a lot of calories, kick it up a notch and you can burn as many calories in an hour of biking as you would an hour of running — and you’ll go a lot further doing it.

bikingIt Feels Good Biking releases dopamine — the neurotransmitter that makes us feel good. Biking has the power to improve your mood and relieve anxiety — it’s kind of like a natural antidepressant. It also gives you energy and reduces fatigue. It may not fix your problems, but for just 45 minutes on your bike, you may be a little happier for the day.

Brain Booster Getting your body moving gets your brain fit, too. But participating in cardio exercise, you’re increasing the blood and oxygen flow to your brain. Not only will you be keeping your body and brain fit, according to a study from the University of Illinois, you may also be fighting off age-related brain deterioration.

It Keeps You Young Just three 45 minute rides a week could make you almost a decade younger — biologically, anyway. King’s College in London studied the effects of cycling and found cyclists show fewer signs of aging than sedentary people. It also reduces the risk of heart disease,  type two diabetes and obesity. In addition to feeling younger, according to a study from the University of Valencia in Spain, Tour de France cyclists live an average of eight years longer than people who don’t bike. Get on your bike and ride to youth and health!biking


Just about everyone knows how to ride a bike but not everyone knows how good it is for your. Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of how biking can improve your life, get your bike out and prepped for a summer on two wheels!

National Burger Month: Craziest Burger Toppings

lak-burgersIt’s National Burger Month — which makes sense since we’ll be grilling up our favorite meats this Memorial Day weekend. Though burgers are never boring, there are always ways to make them more interesting. In honor of National Burger Month and Memorial Day cookouts, we’ve put together a list of burgers from around the country with the craziest toppings.

Minnesota Minneapolis is home to Eli’s Donut Burgers. It’s the best of the best in sweet and savory dishes! But it’s certainly not on the menu for anyone trying to stick to a diet this summer. Eli has been peddling these crimes against nature in a food truck for the last few summers — but it’s unclear if these devilish burgers will be hitting the streets again. Consider yourself lucky if you can get your mouth around one!

burgers

Image Source: Facebook/Rockit Burger Bar

Illinois Chicago is proving itself to be a culinary powerhouse — and the burger is a platform to showcase food creativity. If you happen to be headed to a Cubs game, you might want to fuel up for the game with a Mac Attack at Rockit Bar and Grill across from Wrigley Field. If you haven’t guessed what that is, it’s a burger between two “buns” formed from deep-fried macaroni and cheese. To conquer this one, you need to leave your house hungry.

Kentucky At Doc Crow’s in Louisville, they want you to love your meat. They want you to love it so much, they put together the carnivore’s dream burger: pulled pork, sliced brisket on top of a half-pound of steak burger. But the mayhem doesn’t end with the meat — a fried green tomato, onion rings and a fried egg pushes this burger over the cliff of crazy.

Massachusetts Boston Burger Company adopted a Memphis favorite as one of the most outrageous burgers north of the Mason-Dixon line. It’s called The King, and it’s named for Elvis Presley so if your imagination serves you well, you know it includes bacon, fried banana slices (with a coating of cinnamon and sugar) and, instead of ketchup and mustard, the bun is slathered with peanut butter. If adventure is in your blood, this burger will certainly take you on a trip.burgers

Florida In a place where the sun shines every day, ice cream is part of the everyday diet, so it makes sense that they’d top their burgers with it, right? You can find this fun food at the Florida State Fair, but if you can’t make it to the fair, McGuire’s Irish Pub in Pensacola serves its hot fudge sundae on top ¾ lb of Black Angus beef.


There is no rule on what you can and can’t put on a burger — whether you want a traditional burger or you want to outdo your neighbor at your Memorial Day cookout, there’s nothing that doesn’t go well with an all -beef patty!

Lakeside Selection: Our Choice for Memorial Day Weekend Products

It’s May and we’re finally feeling he warmth that will soon be summer sun. In just a few weeks we’ll get our kickoff to our favorite season. Whether it’s a long weekend away, or you’re celebrating Memorial Day with a barbecue, you have some prep work to do. So we’re combing through the catalog for things we think you need for the first holiday weekend of summer. Here’s this week’s Lakeside Selection: Our Choice for Memorial Day weekend products.lak-paper-plate-holders

Use this Set of 16 Paper Plate Holders for picnics in the park and BBQs in your own backyard. The holders add strength and stability to disposable paper plates. They also secure the plates to prevent them from flying away in a breeze. Three slits on the rim hold the plate in place. americana-bowls

The Set of 4 Multicolor Mixing Bowls is a fun and practical addition to your kitchen. Each of the bowls has a different design and colors. Contrasting interiors give them extra interest and personality. Use them for kitchen prep or for serving sides, chips and snacks.splash-pool

Summer fun hits a new wave of excitement with the Banzai Splish Splash Pool. Inflatable play unit offers almost 8 feet of watery entertainment that kids will love. Six activity stations include a rainbow canopy, whale slide, water-spraying starfish stacker, baby dolphin rider, clamshell sprinkler and water-spraying pool rim. Simply attach to your garden hose and let the fun begin. shade-sail

Provide your family with comfortable shade from the hot sun and protection from harmful UV rays with this 10-Ft. Shade Sail. The heavy-duty, weather-resistant fabric, in a unique triangular shape, blocks out 90% of the sun’s light. Great for conversation spots, swimming pools or kids’ play areas! With take-along convenience, it protects from the sun while allowing cooling air circulation. Features stainless steel D-rings in each corner for easy attachment to existing structures, trees or poles. bubbles

Your kids and their friends will have hours of fun with this Light-Up Motorized Bubble Storm. It comes with 2 different attachments, one for giant bubbles and one for tons of little bubbles. Easy to use–just dip the blaster into the tray of solution. A button on the handle controls fan movement and light-up designs. Comes with a jar of bubble solution to get you started.

Nature’s Favorite Moms

This weekend we’re honoring our moms on Mother’s Day — they deserve it! They do so much for us from birth to adulthood, but the animal kingdom has some pretty amazing moms that deserve a little recognition this week, as well. Here are some of Mother Nature’s most amazing moms.

Elephants Elephant moms are pretty spectacular animals. First of all, the gestation period for elephants is 22 months. That’s a pregnancy that lasts just short of two years! There’s no wonder why females rule the herd. But just like human moms, elephant mothers can’t do it all on their own — their sisters and aunts help out with the rearing of a young calf.  

Orangutan Orangutan moms develop strong bonds with their offspring. Much like humans, they give birth to one baby at a time. The babies then stay with their mothers to learn the ins and outs of life in the forest for up to eight years. But just like humans, their children (the females, at least) go home every so often to visit.

Koalas Koala moms are dedicated creatures. They’re marsupials (like kangaroos), so after koalas give birth, their young live in a pouch in their torsos for about six months. When they’re too big for the pouch, mom puts them on her back and takes them anywhere and everywhere she goes for an entire year. It’s nature’s way of fostering a strong mother-child bond.

Polar Bears Polar bear moms are fierce, but it’s their nature. Basically, polar bear moms are left alone to dig a snow den to give birth and raise her twin cubs until it’s warm enough to leave. When the cubs leave, a whole new set of challenges arise — not only does this single mom have to protect them from the cold and teach them how to hunt, she sometimes has to fight other polar bears to keep her cubs safe.

Cheetah Cheetah moms are moms on the move. After giving birth, every step she takes is an effort to protect her young from predators — she makes a new home for her and her litter every few days so their scent is untraceable. When her cubs are big enough, she teaches them to hunt for themselves for up to two years. After that, they’re on their own, sometimes forming small groups with their siblings.

At The Lakeside Collection, we celebrate all mothers for everything they sacrifice for their children every day of the year. Whether you want to honor your mom with a unique Mother’s Day gift or you want to make her ordinary day extraordinary, we have ideas and products to make your mom feel special.  

 

Last-Minute Cinco de Mayo Party Food

May snuck up on us and that means we have some Cinco de Mayo party planning to do in a hurry! But don’t worry — you can get it all done with a little help on the food and drinks. Here are a few last-minute Cinco de Mayo party food ideas.chili-con-queso

Two-minute Chili con Queso Cube a 16-ounce brick of processed American cheese. Pour 1-½ cups of your favorite salsa over your cheese cubes. Microwave on high for two minutes. Stir. Microwave for another two minutes. Stir again. Continue these steps until the all the cheese is melted. Serve with corn chips.

guacamole1-2-3 Guacamole Mash two ripe avocados add 1 cup of your favorite salsa. Stir together. Add a squeeze of lemon. Stir some more. Add salt to taste. Serve with tortilla chips.

quesadillasQuick Chicken Quesadillas Cut up a rotisserie chicken into chunks.  Add the chicken to a large skillet with a ½ tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Stir frequently. Add 1 tsp ground cumin and ¼ tsp cayenne pepper. Stir until everything is well combined. Remove from heat. When you’re ready, heat (high heat) a clean skillet with just enough vegetable oil to coat the pan. Lay a tortilla in the skillet. On half of the tortilla, toss a handful of shredded cheddar. Top the cheese with a ¼ cup of the cooked chicken. Fold over the tortilla so the chicken and cheese are covered. Let it heat up for about 30 seconds before flipping it. Let the other side cook for about another 30 seconds. Serve.

beef-tacosBrisk Beef Tacos Over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to a large skillet. Add ½ onion, diced, and stir until the onion is soft and translucent. Add 1 pound ground beef. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon of ground cumin over the beef. Stir and work the beef with a wooden spoon until everything is mixed well and the beef is cooked. Set aside and keep warm until it’s time to serve with taco shells.

Garnishes Chop up a white onion, a bunch of cilantro, slice a few limes, shred some cheddar and lettuce and put them in small serving bowls alongside a bowl of sour cream. The garnishes will make your food fancy and your guests will think your party was planned weeks in advance.

All of the above makes enough food for about eight people, but all of the recipes can easily be doubled or cut in half to make Cinco de Mayo parties of any size spectacular!