All the Labor Day cookout recipes you'll need

By Eric Wright

With Labor Day weekend rapidly approaching, it's time to start planning that annual family cookout—filled with mouth-watering food—and avoid a half-baked spread! Even though summer may be coming to an end and the kids are thinking about heading back to school, there's still time for one big backyard barbecue and all that's left to do is to organize the legendary menu. Without further ado, lettuce begin!

From Southern-style mains and grilled sides to tasty starters and vegetarian options, make your Labor Day weekend 2019 one to remember with these delectable recipes.

1. Steakhouse burgers

A delicious steakhouse burger recipe from Once Upon a Chef.

For many Americans, a juicy burger straight off the grill is the epitome of Labor Day celebrations, and these tender steakhouse morsels are sure to impress. The main ingredient and star of the show here is the 85% lean ground beef, which gets mixed with bread, salt, pepper, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, and scallions before hitting the flames. Whether you like your burgers medium-rare or well done, these patties are always packed full of flavor.

2. Spicy buffalo wings and buffalo sauce

A juicy buffalo wing recipe from A Fork's Tale.

If you're looking to sink your teeth into something hot and spicy this Labor Day, you've just found a match made in heaven. These spicy buffalo wings only take around 35 minutes to make, and you can add as many red hot chili flakes to the sauce to get that perfect level of heat. Hungering guests at your summer cookout will be raving about your recipe for months!

3. Corn wheels with hot honey butter

A corn wheel recipe from Good Housekeeping.

The sweet taste of corn wheels dripping in hot honey butter makes them the real side star of any Labor Day cookout with family and friends. With simple ingredients, like unsalted butter, honey, Kosher salt, habanero hot sauce, and, of course, the all-important ears of corn, neighbors and friends alike will be a-maized by the rich flavor.

4. Bacon jalapeño cheese dog

A bacon jalapeño cheese dog recipe from Hungry Doug.

Thick-cut bacon, premium cheddar cheese, spicy jalapeños, and sizzling hot dogs create the heavenly bacon and jalapeño cheese dog, which is sure to be a massive hit at any Labor Day party. Super simple to make and ready in only 30 minutes, you know what they say, "Sun's out, hot dog buns out!"

5. Creamy potato salad

A great potato salad recipe from Inspired Taste.

A large, creamy bowl of potato salad is a must-have on the menu come Labor Day, and with this recipe, you'll have even the pickiest eaters praising your cooking. All you'll need is celery, pickles, sweet red onion, hard-boiled eggs, fresh herbs, and regular household condiments to create this ap-peal-ing side dish—all in just over 30 minutes.

6. Veggie skewers

An easy veggie skewer recipe from The Forked Spoon.

Grilled veggie skewers are an ideal complement to any main dish served on Labor Day, and with a wide range of fresh ingredients, like zucchini, red onion, and bell peppers, and a dash of garlic sauce, it's a super healthy addition, too! The ingredients all have the same cooking time of around 10 minutes, making these perfectly charred skewers an instant hit.

7. Kansas City ribs

Photo courtesy of Kevin is Cooking.

A couple of racks of Kansas City ribs sitting on the table just dripping in a sweet, yet spicy, rub are going to have your friends coming back for seconds and thirds! The thick, sweet, and tangy sauce takes around 50 minutes to make, and once applied to the baby back or spare ribs, the only thing left to do is to grab a cold one and wait for the smoker to do its work.

8. Baileys s'mores

How can you resist these Baileys s'mores from All Recipes?

If sweet treats are your thing, here's the inside scoop on the perfect dessert—this delicious Baileys s'mores recipe. A ridiculously easy dessert to make, yet irresistibly tasty, all you need in the kitchen are graham crackers, large and mini-marshmallows, chocolate sauce, and, of course, that all-important bottle of Baileys Irish Cream.


Looking for somewhere to get away for Labor Day weekend? Look no further! We've even got some more recipe ideas for you, too.

Easy-to-make summer recipes while at home or away

By Eleanor Stanesby

Photo from The Gateway.

When temperatures are high, the thought of spending hours in the kitchen is dreaded by most. The already-warm nights are exacerbated by the oven and stove heating up the entire home, creating a flustered cook and sometimes a failed meal. Imagine when you throw in the additional pressure of cooking on vacation for a large group and in an unfamiliar kitchen, too!

Good food can be difficult to get right if you don't have a plan, so we've sourced some summer recipes that are easy, quick, refreshing, and something that the whole group will love, whether you're at home or away on vacation. They'll even leave time for you to ensure that you can achieve your sunbathing, reading, and afternoon napping goals this summer, too!

Dinner

No-cook zucchini noodles

A delicious zucchini recipe from Healthy Seasonal Recipes.

This no-cook zucchini noodle recipe is the perfect summer meal. With nothing but prep time, this meal is ready in just 15 minutes, and no cooking means no extra heat from the stove top or ovens. These noodles can be prepared multiple ways, no matter where you are or what kitchen equipment may be on hand, so you can even serve this meal on vacation. It's also a low-carb, low-cost recipe, with only three main ingredients: zucchini, pesto, and tomato—and seasoning, of course—all of which are easy to find, cheap to buy, and healthy! What could be better?

Fish tacos

A fish taco recipe from Foodie Crush.

This blackened fish tacos recipe offers the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the warm summer evenings and cook outside. The fish can be prepared on an outdoor grill, and after that, all you have to do is add fresh vegetables and seasoning. If you want to add a salsa, too, this recipe has the steps to an awesome, homemade creamy avocado topping. All these ingredients can be served separately, allowing the group to make their own tacos to taste at the table and take some pressure off of the cook. It's the perfect excuse to call up your friends and invite them over for a summer dinner!

Sweet treats

Chocolate peanut butter cookies

A no-bake chocolate peanut butter cookie recipe from House of Nash Eats.

Oats, peanut butter, and chocolate—what could be a better cookie combination than these three mouthwatering ingredients? Even better, these cookies are no-bake and can be created in just 15 to 20 minutes. If you're looking for a quick, no hassle dessert, this is the recipe for you, and if you're going on vacation, you don't even need an oven to whip up this heavenly creation. They're sure to be a hit with both kids and adults—the perfect way to end a hot summer's day.

Chocolate-covered watermelon

A chocolate covered watermelon recipe from Delish.

These tasty slices of chocolate-covered watermelon have got you covered when on the hunt for something refreshing to eat while in the heat. This delicious dessert needs only four ingredients: watermelon, chocolate, coconut oil, and flaky sea salt. Coconut oil may be hard to come by if on vacation, so this ingredient can be left out; however it does speed up the process from prep time to indulging. In a mere 10 minutes, you can have the ideal after-dinner snack for the whole group.

Frozen coconut s'mores

A frozen coconut s'mores recipe from Womans Day.

This recipe requires a little more work, but it'll be so worth it in the end. A summer s'more without the hassle and heat of a campfire? Sounds too good to be true! All you need is a freezer to achieve the ultimate frozen dessert. Made in batches, these frozen delights can be served to a large group, with the recipe designed to provide 32 servings, ensuring you won't need s'more once you've polished off this desert! If you love this combination of flavors, making this recipe is the ideal alternative in the summer heat.

Bonus recipe

Pink grapefruit gin slush

A summer drink recipe from David Lebovitz.

No summer vacation is complete without a delicious, chilled drink. This pink grapefruit gin slush is the perfect recipe for that lip-smacking, delicious summer drink. Ice cold, gin-infused, and sweet, there's no better homemade concoction to keep you cool. All you need to do is pour the ingredients together and put it in the freezer⁠! And now you don't have to worry whether your guests prefer their cocktails shaken or stirred.


Still trying to find the perfect spot for your summer vacation? Keep reading to find the perfect accommodation to complete your summer!

Our favorite Memorial Day drinks and snacks

By Mikaela Amundson

Memorial Day is fast approaching—time for family get-togethers and barbecues galore! Potlucks are a popular way to dine for summer holidays, with picnic tables piled high with salads and starters, delicious grilled mains, and a dozen different desserts. If you're wracking your brain on what to bring, let us help you figure out how you'll add to the spread.

We've gathered a list of things that are easy (and tasty!) for guests to bring and hosts to have ready for party time.

Snacks

Crockpot Little Smokies

Recipe courtesy of Dessert Now Dinner Later.

No one can resist cocktail weenies, so you know that Crockpot Little Smokies will be a win-win, both easy for you and popular at the party! This recipe has only three ingredients and tastes like you spent hours slaving away—when in reality you mixed the ingredients in and set the timer for two hours.

Black bean corn salsa

Recipe courtesy of Finding Zest.

Chips and guac are always a crowd pleaser, so why not spice up a classic with a unique, easy-to-make black bean corn salsa? It tastes so fresh that no one will ever guess you made it in less than 15 minutes. What makes this recipe extra great is you can customize it to your favorite flavors! Throw in diced avocados or fresh heirloom tomatoes, and call it your signature salsa. Wowing the party? Check.

Herbed red potato salad

Recipe courtesy of COOKIE+kate.

We love this healthy take on the classic potato salad, an American barbecue staple. With no mayo and plenty of fresh herbs, this light herbed red potato salad is sure to be a hit with party guests of all ages. At under 20 minutes to prepare, you'll have plenty of time to make a playlist for the car, take the dog for a walk, or enjoy a cat nap before the festivities.

Drinks

"Punch For a Bunch"

Recipe courtesy of Clover Lane Blog.

When doing party drinks, being able to prep as much in advance is key. This delicious pineapple "Punch For a Bunch" can be customized with other fruits and add-ins. Added bonus? On the recipe page, you can enter in the number of guests you're making the punch for, and it will convert the amounts and measurements for you!

From cocktail to mocktail

Recipe courtesy of Kirbie's Cravings.

Another crowd pleaser with a short ingredient list, this sparkling raspberry lemonade can be transformed from cocktail to mocktail by swapping out sparkling wine for sparkling water! Killing two drinks with one stone, as we like to say.

Bonus idea for hosts

Recipe courtesy of Rachel Ray Every Day.

We love this creative idea to keep drinks cold—just use balloons! Fill balloons ⅔ full with water and freeze them the day before the party. Day of, place them in your drink buckets for drip-free drinks, some color for your party, and the opportunity for a water balloon fight at the end of the night.


Check out more properties on Glamping Hub to find the perfect accommodation for your Memorial Day party today! See our collections in the Northeast, the Southeast, and California.

Maple syrup season in Canada: History and present day

By Fred Jéquier

With spring well underway and Lent now over, this can only mean one thing to many Canadians—maple syrup season is upon us! Many of us indulge in lashings of this amber nectar on our pancakes in the morning, or perhaps to jazz up vanilla ice cream, but the history and traditions of collecting and making this delicious treat stem way back to before Canada was even Canada.

Find out how maple syrup harvesting techniques and uses have changed, from its origin to present day.

First Nations traditions and uses

Maple water has been extracted from trees since long before the first settlers arrived. The First Nations—a predominant indigenous group who were of the first inhabitants in present-day Canada—would extract the water from trees with diagonal cuts made at the base of the tree, which was the original method of tapping. The sap would then be collected in pots, often made from birch bark.

Sap from maple trees is 97% water and only 3% sugar, so the next job was, and still is, to evaporate off as much water as possible. The First Nations people would heat rocks up in a fire, and once they were white hot, the rocks would be placed in the sap to evaporate the water. There is evidence to suggest that heating rocks in fires was a fairly common method for cooking, as well as heating up water or sap, for the First Nations people.

Photo from Walking by the Way .

They had a very holistic view on life, meaning they would use what nature provided them for their day-to-day needs. This was no different when it came to their uses for maple water. Since hot rocks can't maintain their heat indefinitely, it meant that maple water wouldn't evaporate down to what we all now know as maple syrup.

In fact, historian Pierre Rheaume, a researcher on the history of maple, suggests that what the First Nations people were actually producing was a more concentrated maple water, not a syrup. This maple concentrate had different uses to ours, as well. It was used as a tonic, and surprisingly, an eyewash, as their houses were often filled with smoke that dried out their eyes, and maple water was used as a remedy.

The first settlers

When the French first arrived in the eastern part of the country—in what would become Quebec, where 80% of the world's maple syrup is still produced, and Nova Scotia—the First Nations people were already well-versed in harvesting maple water.

In the mid-16th century, the French explorer Jacques Cartier was the first European to map the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the shores of the Saint Lawrence River, which he named "The Country of Canadas." He saw the First Nations people extracting maple water and became intrigued. On trying it for the first time, Cartier and his men described the sap as similar to a fine wine (which may not be the best indictment of the vintage they had on their voyage to the New World).

Photo from The Canadiana Project.

The early economy of the first settlers in Canada was primarily based on the fur trade. The French would send envoys to boost trade by learning about the customs and languages of the First Nations people. Similarly, the First Nations people were equally inquisitive about the settlers' equipment, including iron cauldrons. This led to maple water being evaporated off until only a red sugar was left.

This was initially a problem for the French traders, as they had been hoping for white sugar. Since white was primarily associated with purity, the traders believed that white sugar would taste better. This red sugar, however, which became known as "country sugar," gained popularity in France and made its way onto the market—and into European kitchens.

Tapping the trees

By the early 19th century, new and more effective ways to harvest sap were being explored. This led to producers drilling a hole into the tree and adding an actual tap, which would allow sap to pour directly into buckets without doing irreparable damage to the trees—a risk of the old method. The buckets would then be carried down to cauldrons for the evaporating process. This new method, however, meant an increase in the quantity of sap, which meant a need for a more industrious operation to create sugar.

By the 1850s, sugar shacks were an established part of the harvesting process. Numerous cauldrons would be fired up, and they could hold up to 60 liters of sap. The process would take up to 24 hours, and every 60 liters of sap produced 1.5 liters of maple syrup.

During this period, it was still hard to effectively store and preserve the syrup so it was not available unless you worked in the sugar shacks. Producers were still very much in the business of making and selling maple sugar. Any leftover syrup would be kept in barrels and left in the sun to create vinegar, as it was hard to come by in Canada during this period.

The modern era

The 20th century obviously saw a rapid change in many areas of production and technology, and maple syrup wasn't left behind! Improvements were made in how it was harvested, produced, and stored. Just before the turn of the century, in 1889, the aptly-named evaporator was invented. This new method of evaporating off the water in the sap cut the process down to just four hours, allowing for even more syrup and sugar to be produced.

Sugar remained the preferred product until the 1920s, when barrels and containers became more effective at preserving the syrup. Even then, it was still only available by the gallon. By the 1950s, syrup became available in cans, which made it quickly become a commodity that could be sold in grocery stores, as well as facilitated exportation—making it even more lucrative for producers.

Photo from Seasons in the Valley .

With the increase in sales of maple syrup came the increase of demand. Producers now needed a more effective way of harvesting the sap. While the built-in taps were effective at extracting the sap, workers still had to carry buckets of it down to the shacks. In the 1970s, producers began to attach a network of tubes to the trees to siphon off the sap directly to the shacks and their evaporators. This method of tapping is still used today.

Health benefits of maple syrup

As we saw earlier, the First Nations people would use the early form of maple syrup as a healthy tonic. This trend didn't end with them. At the time, French physicians also believed that something in maple sap had health benefits, and it was used specifically for lung problems and to alleviate pain for people with chest problems.

Between 2005 and 2010, scientists found specific chemicals in maple sap that suggest that these early uses may have had merit. Numerous chemical compounds that have links to health and wellbeing have been found in maple syrup and sap, including polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals. Additionally, a 2010 discovery established the process-derived chemical named Quebecol, named after the home of maple syrup. Like agave and honey, maple syrup may well have a touch of Mother Nature's healing qualities, so make the most of it the next time you have a plate of pancakes and blueberries for breakfast!


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