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The Lillet Blanc spritz is the easy, perfectly light cocktail to make this summer

Summer brings continuous reminders that contentment is forever a moving target. It’s an ongoing mission to adjust to the needs of the season, and the degree of difference between perfect and unbearable can be so slight. An uptick in humidity, a scarcity of shade, a blocked breeze, a too-heavy meal — any one of these could flip the switch on a summertime gathering, from perfection to disaster. 

Picking the wrong drink can also ruin a day. Give us not the single-malt sipped neat but tall glasses of ice and sunny citrus to throw back — but at the same time,

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July 4 food: 5 quick & easy appetizers for last-minute picnics

If you’re invited to a potluck picnic on July 4 and don’t feel like cooking, have we got some recipes for you.

Even a kitchen novice can handle the ingredients and preparation required for these five appetizers, all of which were pulled from “Centennial Collection: Favorite Recipes From the Newspaper Employees.” It’s a cookbook published in 1988 by The Birmingham News in honor of its 100th year.

The spreads are quick and easy to make, requiring little more than a visit to your neighborhood supermarket. Even better: Most of the recipes are delightfully retro, reflecting the times, trends and tastes

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Fourth of July Appetizers and Recipes for Easy Desserts

The typical foods featured in Fourth of July festivities include barbecue dishes and picnic spreads, with finger foods, salads, dips and soups.

Here are some ideas for appetizers and simple desserts for the Independence Day celebrations, courtesy of USDA SNAP-Ed Connection and its MyPlate Kitchen program which developed a 4th of July summer menu.

Appetizers for Fourth of July

Chilled Cantaloupe Soup

This refreshing starter is great for a day when it’s too hot to cook.

Cantaloupe Soup
Illustrative image of cantaloupe soup.
Getty Images

Ingredients for 6 servings:

  • 1 cantaloupe (peeled, seeded and cubed)
  • 2 cups of orange juice
  • 1
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21 Easy Summer Dinners You’ll Cook (or Throw Together) on Repeat

When temperatures soar above 80 degrees, it’s OK to use the word “cook” loosely. This time of year, dinners are often made on the fly anyway, tossed together after a day at a park or by a pool. The New York Times Cooking recipes below stick to those unwritten rules of summer cooking: They must be bright and quick, with absolutely no oven required.

This Seville-style gazpacho from Julia Moskin makes the perfect lunch or dinner on days when turning on the stove sounds sacrilegious. This chilled, creamy (but creamless!) soup takes a cool 20 minutes to blend, season and

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