Mint Lime Sparklers + Summer Pantry & Entertaining Essentials

I am so excited to share with you all a sneak peak and recipe from my summer entertaining ebook, available tomorrow—Colorful Eats' A Backyard Summer! It is filled with over 25 recipes that are simple to prepare, seasonal, and designed to be shared.  Every recipe is grain, gluten and refined sugar free with a broad range of flavors suitable for everyone—there are spicy and sweet recipes, desserts with nuts and desserts for those allergic to nuts, recipes with dairy and some that are dairy free.  Each recipe has a corresponding entertaining tip, so that you can prepare simple yet tasty recipes all summer long, focusing on the friends and family who come to your table!

To me cooking and sharing a meal together is a joyful event, a time to pause the busyness of life and just enjoy one another.  To me, the most joyful events combine camaraderie, community and food.  Forget the perfectly presentable table and focus on the people who come to sit and be nourished on every level.  Summertime is especially filled with many occasions to gather together over food.  

To help you with picnics or beach barbecues you might be hosting this summer, I put together a list of my favorite summer pantry essentials.  I also wanted to share this simple recipe idea for a fun way to make hydrating, colorful drinks all summer long!  I hope you enjoy this colorful summer entertaining guide and stop by tomorrow to download a copy for yourself!

I hope your summer days are filled with warming sun, afternoon swims and delicious food centered around the people who come to eat and laugh at your table.

A Backyard Summer is available as a digital download or in the iBooks store.

A Backyard Summer is available as a digital download or in the iBooks store.

Summer Pantry Essentials

Plantain chips, sweet potato or root vegetable chips for a tasty grain-free alternative!

Celtic Sea Salt—this unrefined salt adds irreplaceable depth of flavor to your dishes and unrefined salt is essential to keeping your body hydrated during the hotter days

Liquid Smoke—a natural flavoring that adds a fabulous smoky smell and taste to your meats without having to cook them in a smoker

BBQ Sauce—Pay attention to the ingredients in your BBQ sauce as most contain added preservatives, food coloring, gluten and lots of sugar.  You can always make your own as well, but here are a few of my favorites: Homemade BBQ sauce from The Domestic Man blog, Paleo Chef Sauces, or Bone Suckin Sauce (unfortunate name but the ingredients are good and it's widely available).

Coconut Aminos—a soy and gluten free salty sauce perfect for Asian style flavors and marinades. A natural and healthy alternative to soy-sauce.

Coconut Flakes, finely shredded—a pinch of toasted coconut adds a crunch and fancy garnish to any sweet treats.  I recommend using Let’s Do Organic brand as it is a very fine shred of coconut and results in the best texture for baked goods or macaroons!

Raw Honey—Honey that has not been heated, treated, or processed and is completely natural and pure, raw honey is a natural antioxidant, immune booster and infection fighter. It is important that the honey has not been heated or pasteurized as this destroys honey’s powerful nutrients.

Cacao Powder—Dark, rich chocolate powder, cacao is true chocolate and makes for the best chocolate ice cream recipe found in A Backyard Summer.  I prefer to use cacao powder when cooking or baking as it is nutritious and contains no sugar, so you can control the sugar content yourself!

Butter—Add a slice of butter to all your grilled vegetables this summer or use it in your baked goods.  Butter is the perfect source of quality fats and can help protect your skin against sunburns!

Spices great for BBQing—smoked paprika, paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper (make sure to freshly grind!), garlic

Parchment Paper—it makes baking desserts, making parmesan chips or roasting vegetables a lot easier!

Great cuts of meats for grilling or entertaining

US Wellness Meats ships grass fed and pasture raised meats all over the country for a fabulous price too! Their cuts of meat offer fabulous nutrition value and superior taste.  Check your local farmers market for great local cuts of meat as well.


Mint Lime Sparklers for a fun summer drink. A simple, festive and refreshing bubbly drink.

Mint Lime Sparklers

A refreshing, colorful drink of fresh herbs and lime juice topped with sparkling water.  With a few garnishes, this simple drink looks extra fancy and is perfect for any backyard summer party.


  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 3-4 fresh mint leaves
  • sparkling water
  • large handful of ice
  • slice of lime and sprig of mint to garnish


  • In a glass, muddle mint leaves with lime juice to extract flavor.
  • Add in a handful of ice and fill with sparkling water.
  • Garnish with a slice of lime and sprig of mint.

Entertaining Tips & Variations

  • Grab a handful of patterned straws to give your drinks a pop of color and artistic twist!
  • Always have a few bottles of sparkling, mineral water and fresh limes on hand so that you can easily make these colorful fun drinks all summer long.