In Season June 2012

Warm and creative ways to celebrate the month's holidays.

Samantha Chan

Great Outdoors

In 2011, President Obama declared June Great Outdoors Month. There are plenty of places to visit that boast the planet’s most beautiful gifts. The initiative is part of a conservation and recreation agenda. Families bond while raising awareness and the chances of preserving Mother Nature’s bounty for future generations.

Beauty on the Wing

Your backyard is a wonderful place to experience nature. Carol Pasternack’s new book, How to Raise Monarch Butterflies (Firefly), is a step-by-step guide to creating a butterfly garden. Learn what’s needed to get started, what’s involved in the maintenance process, and information on the anatomy and lives of these winged wonders. Order the book at www.fireflybooks.com and start flying today.

Someone to Lean On

June 8 is National Best Friends Day. Take this time to tell that special pal in your life how much he or she means to you. Whether it’s your neighbor, spouse, partner or faithful family pet, spend some time together doing something that you both love!

Summer Sandwiches

Enjoy this recipe for Peanut Butter and Ice Cream Sandwiches from Kellogg’s Rice Krispies.

Ingredients: •3 Tbs. butter or margarine •3 c. miniature marshmallows •½ c. creamy peanut butter •4 c. Rice Krispies cereal •2 c. ice cream, softened

Directions: In large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat mix in peanut butter. Add Rice Krispies cereal. Blend until well coated. Using a buttered spatula or wax paper, evenly press mixture into a 13x9x2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Allow to cool completely. Cut into 12 3-inch squares. Top 6 of the cereal squares with ice cream. Place remaining squares on top. Cut each sandwich in half, making 12 3x1½-inch sandwiches. Individually encase in plastic wrap. Store in airtight container in freezer for up to 6 weeks.

Grand Old Flag

With this craft from www.familyfun.go.com, celebrate Flag Day on June 14.

What You’ll Need: •-inch wide grosgrain ribbon in red, white and blue •12-inch-long strip of wood •Silver pom poms •White buttons •Tacky glue •Pinking shears •Scissors •Self-adhesive magnetic tape (optional)

Instructions: Cut four red and three white 14-inch-long strips of ribbon, and then three red and three white 24-inch-long strips of ribbon. Cut 7 blue 10½-inch-long strips. Use tacky glue to adhere the blue ribbons to the shorter red and white lengths, overlapping the ends a ½ inch. Glue all 13 ribbons to a 12-inch-long strip of wood, such as a ruler or paint stirrer, then cover the wood with blue ribbon. For the circle of stars, glue 13 silver pom poms to the field of blue. Trim the ribbon ends with pinking shears, then glue a white button to the back of each end for weight.

Hands-On Learning

With school out and summer vacation approaching, there is a way to keep the learning going. The academic break is the perfect time to take your brood to museums and other exciting educational places. Before you hit museum mile, pick up any books in the Touch Art series (Sterling). With titles such as Tickle Tut’s Toes, Catch Picasso’s Rooster and Make Van Gogh’s Bed, there are new ways for your tykes to jump inside famous paintings and historical artifacts. Order a copy at www.amazon.com.

Barbecue Bonding

On Father’s Day, remember how important it is for parent-child bonding. Dads and kids can prepare this barbecue pizza together for a delicious family treat. Recipe yields 4 servings.

Ingredients: •1 lb. fresh pizza dough •4 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, coarsely shredded •½ c. part-skim ricotta cheese • c. freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese •½ tsp. coarsely ground black pepper •1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley leaves

Directions: Prepare outdoor grill for covered, direct grilling on medium-low heat. Cut dough into 4 equal pieces. On one end of oiled cookie sheet, with fingertips, spread and flatten 1 piece of dough to about-inch thickness. The edge does not need to be even. On same cookie sheet, repeat with another piece of dough. Repeat with a second oiled cookie sheet with remaining dough. Place all 4 pieces of dough, oiled side down, on hot grill grate. Cook 2-3 minutes or until grill marks appear on underside. The dough will stiffen and puff. Using tongs, turn over crusts. Remove from heat and, working quickly, top crusts with mozzarella. Then dollop with ricotta and sprinkle with pecorino Romano cheese and pepper. Place back on the grill and cook pizzas, covered, for an additional 3-4 minutes. Transfer to cutting board; sprinkle tops of pizzas with parsley. Cut into wedges and mangia!

This column appeared in the June 2012 issue.