Thanks for joining me for another Nine Favorite Things post.

Nine Favorite Things | halfbakedharvest.com

Here we are again, the last Sunday of the month…and less than a week out from July 4th. How is this possible? I have to say, I am really looking forward to July! It’s a new month, the first full month of summer, and there’s so much going on. Everything from the 4th of July on Saturday, to birthday celebrations (Red and Creighton), to a possible trip to Cleveland for my grandpa’s birthday. There’s also fun studio improvement projects, lots of ICE CREAM, and all that summer produce that I love so much (hello to peaches, all the tomatoes, and all the fruits, and just about everything in between). Wow!

So you see? Plenty to look forward to, plenty to be thankful for, and so much to be smiling about. I’m excited!

In other news…my younger brother Red is turning 20 tomorrow. I really can’t even believe he’s no longer a teenager. It’s crazy to have watched this kid grow up. From that tiny little baby (I’m not joking, he was only 5 pounds) that I got to hold in the hospital to the adult he is today. I was 6 when Red was born and I remember the day so well. It’s so hard to believe that 20 years have passed. I always think of Red as the little kid who lived life running around, never ever, ever sitting still, always with a smile on his face. He’s still that same kid, still running around and never sitting still, but he’s very much an adult now.

Coming up this week on HBH, it’s all about last-minute July 4th recipes. I’ll be sharing a new summer grilling recipe that isn’t your average July 4th dish…but is so delicious. Then on to one of my favorite easy side-dish recipes (that’s actually more exciting than the main – to me anyway). Then a sweet dessert inspired by summer flowers. I’ll be closing out the week with a different kind of post, but one I hope you guys will all love! Taking the 4th off, so no cocktail post. But just in case you missed yesterday’s boozy popsicles, be sure to check out these salted spicy watermelon margarita popsicles. They’re my favorite!

Question: would you prefer to see a last-minute appetizer recipe or a last-minute dessert this week?

If you’re catching up on blog posts from the week, be sure to sign up for our daily newsletters. They’ll help you to stay up to date with everything that’s happening here, as well as fun content you’ll only get via email. If you’re meal planning today, don’t forget to check out my menu below (it’s # 9 on the favorite’s list). You can grab the full grocery list for this week’s menu in our special Sunday newsletter.

1. a few questions for your summer edition…

Turning the tables on you guys and asking you some questions today! Excited to hear everyone’s favorite things about summer in the comments!

1. What do you love most about summer?

2. What is your favorite summer recipe?

3. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

4. Are you traveling anywhere this summer? If so, where are you heading? Are you driving or are you braving the airport?

5. If you could travel anywhere this summer, where would it be?

6. What is your go-to back yard BBQ menu?

7. How about your go-to summer outfit?

8. Finish the sentence: It wouldn’t be summer without…

9. Finish the sentence: This summer I want to try…

10. Describe summer to YOU in one word…

My answers…

1. It’s hard to pick just one thing I love about summer, but for me, I love the relaxed, laid back feeling of long summer days. Something about summertime takes me back to being a kid again. I’m constantly remembering back to the carefree days of my childhood summers spent in Cleveland with not a care in the world. I have a lot more happening now than I did back then. But summer always feels more relaxed to me, and I love that! And then, of course, there’s the sunny days and warm temperatures. I only wish they’d last longer here in the mountains. Our summers are way too short!

2. It’s got to be something fruity, maybe with peaches?. I’m going to call out two, my Peach Caprese Salad and Browned Butter Grilled Peaches with Cinnamon “Toast” Brioche Crumbs.

3. I am a DQ girl at heart and will forever love their Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and cookie dough blizzards. My go-to anywhere else will always be something chocolate, mostly likely with peanut butter. Typical right? But honestly, I need to branch out. Excited to hear what your favorites are. Give me some new ones to try!

4. Some of my family is heading to Key West this week, but I’m laying low at home and sitting out this family trip. Saving my vacation days for later this month. Details are not hammered out yet, but I will share more soon!

5. If I could go anywhere this summer, it would be along the Amalfi coast of Italy with Asher right by my side. She’s been dying to go and I want to be the one to experience it with her (I’ve never been). We’ll eat all the pizza + burrata.

6. My vintage Levis, either a simple tee or cute button-down, these sneakers, and my hair pulled back with my favorite scrunchy. PS. I have my eye on these white Levi’s too (which are on sale on Amazon right now).

7. I would start the night with this blueberry lemon thyme smash. As an appetizer, I’d serve this marinated goat cheese strawberry crostini and my summer farmers market platter. And as my main course? Hmm, hard to pick, but I think I would go with my pesto chicken caesar salad, lemon parmesan salmon, this corn pasta salad, and salt and vinegar potatoes. Dessert would be my blackberry lavender naked cake and giant hot fudge cookies, of course!

8. It would be summer without summer sunsets over the mountains and fresh basil on everything.

9. This summer I want to try making homemade strawberry ice cream bars (like the ones from the ice cream truck). Any other homemade summer recipes I should try to recreate?

10. Chill.

2. the most popular recipes of June.

25 Minute Korean Bulgogi BBQ Chicken with Spicy Garlic Butter Corn | halfbakedharvest.com

Most Popular: 25 Minute Korean Bulgogi BBQ Chicken with Spicy Garlic Butter Corn

Technically posted this May 28th, but since we missed a lot of content this past month, I am counting this recipe for June! It’s a good one and my family’s personal favorite too. And? It’s EASY, requires no oven use, and major bonus…this comes together in no time at all (under 30 minutes). Perfect for busy weeknights when you’re looking for something a little more exciting, but still quick and DELICIOUS.

Swirled Blueberry Lemon Thyme Cake | halfbakedharvest.com

Runner Up: Swirled Blueberry Lemon Thyme Cake

So happy you guys love this cake! It’s one of my favorites of the month too. I was nervous to share it, but I’m so glad I did! It’s a unique cake, but delicious! Sweet lemony sour cream cake swirled with a mix of fresh blueberries and blueberry jam. And it’s simpler to make than you’d think. Plus, it’s a great way to use up all those summer berries!

Giant Salted Espresso Hot Fudge Cookies | halfbakedharvest.com

Also have to Mention: Giant Salted Espresso Hot Fudge Cookies

These are simply the best. Add ice cream and enjoy!

3. July 4th entertaining finds.

4. Favorite question of the week…

q: Would love to know your food photography gear, process, and preferred presets?
a: I keep it simple. My camera is a Canon 5D Mark IV. I edit in Lightroom, but not heavily, and I don’t use any presets. I like to edit each photo individually. And I don’t use any lighting, I only shoot in natural daylight. Everything you see on IG stories is always shot with my phone.

5. latest recipe videos.

20 Minute Orzo Carbonara with Crispy Prosciutto + Burrata…the easiest summer pasta dinner.

5 Minute Molten Chocolate Mug Cake…the melty chocolate cake…you can have in minutes.

And on Instagram stories…

20 Minute Florentine Butter Chicken with Burst Cherry Tomatoes…DELECTABLE.

Raspberry Lemon Brioche Rolls with Whipped Ricotta Cream…every bite is melt in your mouth delicious.

Mac and Cheese Stuffed Oven Fried Zucchini Bites…golden, cheesy, and perfect. Different, but GOOD!

Greek Salmon with Lemon Feta + Orzo Summer Salad…Very delicious. Pretty simple. Extra summery.

Skillet Blueberry Bourbon Pandowdy…enjoy warm, right outta the oven. So. Darn. Good.

6. Photo I loved most this week…

Asher, already looking like a teenager. Please stop growing up.

7. Favorite links i’m loving…

Meet the Former Lawyer Behind This Soon-to-Be-Everywhere Glassware…the prettiest glass wear.

Celebrities Broadcast From Their Homes…a peek into the homes of your favorite celebrities (Taylor’s wallpaper!)

Martha Stewart Announces New HGTV Show Martha Knows Best…excited about this.

These Striking Photos Capture the Spirit of Summer in Europe…can’t wait to visit.

A Design Lover’s Guide to Safe Summer Road Trips…all the places to see and things to do.

The Shocking Relaxing Power of a Hammock + The Best Ones On The Internet…now I need a hammock.

15 Fun Ideas for Hobbies to Try this Summer…if you need some new ideas.

How to Start a Nature Journal Today…love this idea.

Elaine Welteroth Got Married on Her Brooklyn Stoop, Then Threw a Virtual Block Party…what a special wedding.

How to Improve Your Posture While Working From Home…I need all of these tips.

Emotional Burnout Is Real…here’s how to heal.

Paris’s Eiffel Tower Reopens but With Major Restrictions…after 104 days.

Tata Harper’s New Skin-Plumping Flower Mask…excited to try this product out myself.

Tour a Brooklyn Brownstone With Equal Parts Tradition and Whimsy…such a pretty home.

25 (Really Good) Pasta Recipes…bring on all the pasta.

Vegetables Are the Unsung Hero of Summer Grilling…here’s how to prep them just right.

30 Summer Essentials From Amazon for Even Less…love a good amazon fashion find.

I Have a Soft Spot for Floral Dresses…40 favorites for summer.

23 Binge-Worthy Podcasts for Your Summer Road Trip…need to deep dive into some of these.

27 Stylish Pieces That Support LGBTQ+ Rights…ordering this candle.

Let’s Talk Vessel Sinks & Wall-Mount Faucets… I’ve always wanted a wall-mount faucet.

8. all the floral pieces I love…

9. this week’s dinners…

20 Minute Florentine Butter Chicken with Burst Cherry Tomatoes | halfbakedharvest.com

Monday: 20 Minute Florentine Butter Chicken with Burst Cherry Tomatoes

Greek Salmon with Lemon Feta and Orzo Summer Salad | halfbakedharvest.com

Tuesday: Greek Salmon with Lemon Feta and Orzo Summer Salad

Mac and Cheese Stuffed Oven Fried Zucchini Bites | halfbakedharvest.com

Wednesday: Mac and Cheese Stuffed Oven Fried Zucchini Bites

Summer Niçoise Salad | halfbakedharvest.com #salad #summerrecipes #healthy

Thursday: Summer Niçoise Salad

Jammy Cherry Tomato Pasta with Crisp Lemon Rosemary Chickpeas | halfbakedharvest.com #pasta #tomatoes #burrata

Friday: Jammy Cherry Tomato Pasta with Crisp Lemon Rosemary Chickpeas

Salted Spicy Watermelon Margarita Popsicles | halfbakedharvest.com

Saturday Drink: Salted Spicy Watermelon Margarita Popsicles

Raspberry Lemon Brioche Rolls with Whipped Ricotta Cream | halfbakedharvest.com

Sunday Brunch: Raspberry Lemon Brioche Rolls with Whipped Ricotta Cream

Finally, check out all the past Nine Favorite Things posts here.

Related PostsView All Nine Favorite Things

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  1. 1. What do you love most about summer? The possibilities: Picnics, games, time with friends and family and strawberries from my garden!
    2. What is your favorite summer recipe? Panna Cotta with balsamic strawberries or grilled peaches. Honestly, I love eating bowls filled with lightly sweetened mashed strawberries, sometimes with a bit of fresh heavy cream. Yum!
    3. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Strawberry, also dark chocolate zinfandel.
    4. Are you traveling anywhere this summer? If so, where are you heading? Are you driving or are you braving the airport? In August, I plan on driving to Nebraska to see family.
    5. If you could travel anywhere this summer, where would it be? Anywhere peaceful with water and great food!
    6. What is your go-to back yard BBQ menu? Burgers and potato salad
    7. How about your go-to summer outfit? Sundress or skirt and top.
    8. Finish the sentence: It wouldn’t be summer without…Yard games…like bags with the family!
    9. Finish the sentence: This summer I want to try…My hand at watercolor painting!
    10. Describe summer to YOU in one word…Anticipation!

    1. Hi Terrill! Aw picnics are so fun! Hoping to have some with my family this summer as well! Also, so nice you are going to see family! I hope you have an amazing time!! xTieghan

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