Celebrate the warming weather with this old-fashioned sun tea recipe

Many of us remember that indelible image: a large jug full of tea, maybe some lemon slices, sitting on the back porch, slowly steeping under the glow of the sun. If you grew up in this part of the country, there’s a good chance you share this memory, whether from childhood or last summer. If it’s been a while, why not renew the tradition? Sun tea is delicious, refreshing, and, of course, energy efficient. No need to waste precious kilowatts boiling water on the stove—the sun does the job better. Here’s a refresher on the basics of sun tea, courtesy of The Pioneer Woman.



1 large glass jug. One with an easy pour spout is preferable.

8 tea bags per gallon of cold water. Any tea will do, whether black or green, caffeinated or herbal.

Liquid sweetener, if desired.

Garnish of choice—citrus, berries, mint, or cucumbers are popular.



  1. Fill your jug with cold water and add the appropriate number of tea bags. Cover the jug, set outside in the sun.
  2. Monitor the color of the tea. General timeframe for steeping is between 2–3 hours, but on a particularly hot day you might want to bring it inside after an hour. It’s up to you—leave it out longer for stronger tea, bring it in earlier for a lighter brew.
  3. Add a liquid sweetener if desired. Honey or agave nectar work well, or you can run hot water over granule sugar to create a simple syrup.
  4. Add your garnishes to the jug—and to your glass, if desired.
  5. Pour, grab a seat on the porch, and enjoy!

Fire up the grill and feast smartly with this easy recipe.

After a busy day of cleaning, the temptation might be to grab something frozen and let your oven do all the work. However, with just a few minutes of prep, a handful of ingredients, and a basic outdoor grill, you can make a hearty, flavorful meal that rewards you and your family for all your hard work without using unnecessary energy. Here’s how to make mustardy grilled corn and sausage kabobs* in under 30 minutes with just five ingredients, courtesy of MidwestLiving.

*Vegetarians in the family? Replace the sausage with squash, zucchini or your favorite vegetable.

(yields four servings)

2 large ears sweet corn, cut into 2-inch pieces (about 8)
1 large green sweet pepper, cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
1 14-oz package kielbasa sausage, cut into 12 pieces
1/3 cup bottled Italian salad dressing
1 tbsp yellow mustard


1. Prepare grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat. Thread corn, kielbasa and sweet peppers on 4 long metal skewers.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together Italian dressing and mustard; brush some of the mixture on the kabobs before grilling.
3. Grill, covered, directly over medium- to medium-high heat for 8 to 12 minutes, turning and brushing occasionally with remaining dressing mixture, until vegetables are tender and charred.
4. Serve and enjoy!

Energy-Efficient Cookies

We can’t claim to have invented no-bake cookies, but we couldn’t resist sharing this classic recipe, which is perfectly in the spirit of this newsletter’s theme. These cookies are delicious, easy to make, and require only a brief flirtation with the stove top (no oven use required).

Recipe yields around 30–32 cookies.

½ cup sliced butter pieces
2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup milk
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups quick-cooking oats


  1. Measure out ingredients, line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Put the butter, sugar, milk, and unsweetened cocoa powder in a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Stir often until the butter is melted and the ingredients are combined. Then, bring the mixture to a boil and allow to boil for 60 seconds while stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from heat, stir in the peanut butter and vanilla until fully combined. Add the oats to the mix, stir until oats are coated and everything is well combined.
  4. Use a two-tablespoon cookie scoop to measure out spoonfuls of the mixture on the prepared baking sheets. Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes and serve!

Source: livewellbakeoften.com

Spiced Pumpkin Nut Bread

Image Source: ShapeYourFutureOK.com

Are you nutty for fall? So are we! And we’ve got the perfect treat for your next fall family feast. This recipe makes two full loaves of sweet, pumpkin-spicy nut bread. So you can take one to grandma’s house and keep one for yourself. 


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (15 ounces) Pure Pumpkin
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup 100% apple juice
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped nuts, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans.
  2. Sift flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl. Combine pumpkin, sugar, apple juice, eggs, oil and vanilla extract in a large bowl; stir well. Stir in flour mixture and ¾ cup nuts.
  3. Spoon into prepared loaf pans. Sprinkle remaining ¼ cup of nuts over top of loaves.
  4. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Cut each loaf into 9 slices, then each slice in half.

Source: ShapeYourFutureOK.com

The Perfect Pattern for an Awesome Jack-O-Lantern

Halloween is packed to the pumpkin-top with fun. The crazy costumes. The gooey goodies. The kooky, spooky decorations!

Kick your Hallow’s Eve up a notch with a jolly jack-o-lantern. It’s ghastly, ghostly fun for the whole family. Gather ’round the kiddos. Then carve up a harrowing good time with this easy-to-do jack-o-lantern pattern.



Download your pumpkin carving pattern here!