Summer “Hot” Topics and Tips

by | Jul 8, 2010

Janet Scott

Since the flood here in the Nashville area we really haven’t gotten much rain, but it looks like it is coming now for several days in a row.  The grass will grow like crazy now and as much as we grill out we may need to find some alternatives which brings me to some of the tips I came across to share with you.

Rainy Day Barbecue: The grill is sizzling, but now it’s drizzling. Here’s how to move the fun indoors.

Make room for more.

For an instant picnic feel, cover the floor with a plastic shower curtain or tablecloth (to protect it from spills) and some throw pillows. If they’re still dry, bring in your picnic benches to squeeze more people around the “table.”

Transform the menu.

Grilling a party’s worth of burgers may no longer be an option, but a quick rethink could turn the ground beef, cheese and fixings into tacos or sloppy Joes. To add to the picnic vibe and make cleanup a breeze, serve toppings in Ziploc® Brand Containers with the Smart Snap™ Seal. And create neater versions of outdoor treats, like watermelon balls instead of sticky wedges.

Bring the outdoors inside.

For ambiance, think about filling a bowl with colorful croquet balls, making an impromptu centerpiece with potted herbs or even scattering plastic ants across the table!

Making the kitchen guest friendly:
You’ve prepared the patio or deck for an outdoor party—but don’t forget this popular indoor space.
Guests invariably end up in the kitchen during get-togethers, so take a little time to make it a welcoming place for them, starting with these easy tips:

Consider seating.

Have at least two comfortable chairs handy so guests feel welcome to relax and chat.

Get floral.

Put a colorful floral display on the windowsill or countertop. For example, a bouquet of brightly colored tulips creates a stunning focal point.

Clear the countertops.

Everyday items like the toaster or can opener probably aren’t needed for your get-together. Stow them away, clearing space for guests who want to help with food prep.

Prep for helpers.

Keep Windex® Multi-Surface Antibacterial handy. It’s perfect for cleaning up unexpected spills during the event—a quick task to give any guest who asks if you need help!

Ditch the dust.

Before the event, take a quick pass through the room with Pledge® Multi Surface Cleaner. Use it on multiple surfaces to dust and clean often-overlooked areas, from baseboards to fridge top.

Then of course because of my GREAT LOVE for Chocolate, I have to throw in a recipe here and there that is on the top of my list:
Chocolate Brownie Swirl Cheesecake
Prep: 10 Min      Bake: 50 Min  + Chilling      Serves: 8-10


  • 1 package (8 ounces) brownie mix
  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips, melted
  • Whipped cream and miniature chocolate kisses, optional


  • Prepare brownie mix according to package directions for chewy fudge brownies. Spread into a greased 9-in. springform pan. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes (brownies will not test done). Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.
  • Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Pour over the brownie crust. Top with melted chocolate; cut through batter with a knife to swirl the chocolate.
  • Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until center is almost set. Run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool completely. Remove sides of pan; refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate kisses if desired. Yield: 8-10 servings.

I hope you have a blessed day!

God Bless,

Janet Scott