7 Simple & Refreshing Cocktails To Try This Summer

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With one of the hottest summers on our hands, what better way to cool down and relax than with a refreshing cocktail. Here’s a list of 7 simple (alcoholic) drinks to help you beat the heat and truly enjoy your summer. Cheers!

 

1. Watermelon Raspberry Slushies

Now this is summertime in a glass. See the recipe


 

2. Southern Shandy

Clean and crisp with just a hint of peach brandy. See the recipe


 

3. White Wine Sangria

Stay cool with this delicious fruit-infused beverage. See the recipe


 

4. Peach Mint Bourbon Sweet Tea

Sweet with a splash of bourbon. A summertime classic. See the recipe


 

5. Watermelon Beer

A light and refreshing summer drink. See the recipe


 

6. Whiskey Slush

Perfect for your summertime parties. See the recipe


 

7. Bootleg Cocktail

Fresh and citrusy, with a slight kick! See the recipe

Next-Level S’mores

S’mores are easily the best part of camping. Gooey marshmallows cushioned between slightly melted chocolate, oozing out of graham crackers – what’s not to love? Get creative with these five twists on the tried-and-true.

Create Your Own S’mores Bar

Ready to take things to the next level? Host a “S’mores Bar” at your next campfire by adding some of these ingredients to your repertoire.

The Outside: Graham crackers aren’t the only way to sandwich your s’more. Try cookies like snickerdoodles, chocolate chip or Oreos. Pack thin-sliced brownies or magic bars for yummy open-faced s’mores.

The Sauces: Amp up the flavor by spreading hot fudge, butterscotch, nutella, pumpkin butter, salted caramel, raspberry jam or even lemon curd on the graham crackers.

Fancy Up Your Chocolate: Hershey’s isn’t the only choice here. Try caramel or raspberry Ghirardelli squares, Peppermint Patties, Rolos, Reese’s or your dark chocolate bar of choice.

Add Some Fruit: Strawberries and bananas are the obvious choices here. For an unexpected boost of smokiness, add grilled peaches or pineapple.

Flavor Your ‘Mallows: With a bit of advanced planning, you can make delicious homemade marshmallows to put in your s’mores. We like these Peppermint Marshmallows, these Vanilla Marshmallows and this recipe for Chai or Coffee Marshmallows.

It might sound a bit crazy…These ideas are for the more adventurous. For a sweet and spicy combo, try sprinkling chili or chipotle powder on the chocolate before adding to your s’more. Add pretzels, candied bacon, chopped peanuts or cashews for a salty twist.

Feeling inspired? See more Camping Recipes.

 

Improved Profile Page – A Great Way To Share Your Favorites with Friends & Family

Ever have a friend ask you for a recipe? BigOven makes it simple to organize and share your favorite creations.

Every time you add, favorite (heart) or mark “try” (by clicking the paperclip) a recipe on either the free BigOven apps or on BigOven.com, the recipe is placed onto your personal profile page.

Where’s your profile page?  It can be found by signing into www.bigoven.com and choosing “My Profile” from the dropdown list (see image below.)  You'll find "My Profile" on the navigation bar when you're signed in.

You’ll find “My Profile” on the navigation bar when you’re signed in.

Your profile page has the form http://www.bigoven.com/user/{username}. For instance, mine can be found at http://www.bigoven.com/user/stevemur.  Other than a few test recipes that I add every now and then in helping to develop the BigOven platform, this page is an accurate reflection of the recipes I want to try, or that I know and love. I can look up my favorite ways to prepare mussels when they are fresh in the store.  I can easily make a Menu Plan for the upcoming week, or build grocery lists, sorted by aisle, from my favorite recipes.  And, when I get asked for a recipe, I can simply share this page with friends.

If you want to find our family’s favorite chicken recipes, simply visit my profile page and search on “chicken” (see callout #1 below). This searches just my recipes for all the chicken dishes. When I’m signed in, I can choose “Edit Profile” (callout #2) to change the header image, update my short blurb, my profile picture or other account settings.

The share icon in the upper left (callout #3) lets me share this page easily via Facebook, Twitter:

Share button on my profile page

Share button on my profile page

We’ve just enhanced the speed of this page, so searches should return fairly quickly.  If you’re a cook and want to share your own family’s cookbook, just share this page!

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Introducing Pay with Amazon® for Pro Upgrades

Hi cooks, you can now upgrade to BigOven Pro membership with your Amazon account!

BigOven Pro membership takes home-cooking to eleven. With it, you can add unlimited recipes, enjoy an an ad-free experience, and enjoy special Pro-only features like Recipe Folders, Private Notes, Nutrition Insights and more.

BigOven Pro costs you less than one latte per month, and by planning and eating better, it’ll pay for itself with in the first few weeks. Pro membership also helps us deliver you the best recipe organizer and meal planner. One Pro membership works across all your sign-ins, and all your data syncs automatically. You can try BigOven Pro for free for 30 days.

To upgrade using your Amazon account, simply upgrade to Pro membership on the web, the click “Amazon” on the checkout page. You can then sign in with your Amazon account information and subscribe. Your payment is secured by Amazon; BigOven never sees your payment information, only that a payment has occurred.

Simply visit http://www.bigoven.com/pro and click “Try it free for 30 days.”  Then, sign into Amazon right on the billing page to pay:

  1. Click on “Amazon” on the checkout page and sign into Amazon
  2. Choose your address
  3. Verify the card already on file
  4. Click “Pay”
Pay with Amazon(r) now on BigOven

Pay with Amazon(r) now on BigOven

Upgrade to BigOven Pro today!  Click here to give it a try for 30 days free.

Beat the Heat with Flavor-Packed Ice Cubes

Flavored ice cubes bring cooling relief from the heat and pack a delicious punch. Inspired by Rachael Ray Magazine, here are some favorites to add a burst of flavor and fun to your summer.

  • Summer fruit is abundant right now. Try single fruit concoctions or combinations, keeping fruit whole or pureeing into a mix.
  • Change up the temperature. Take hot things like chocolate or coffee, cool them and freeze. They can add sweetness or a jolt of energy to your drinks.
  • Add a splash of flavor. Spice up a cocktail with flavored ice cubes containing olives, pickles, tomato juice or your favorite hot sauce.

The best part about these ice cubes? The variety is endless and is only limited by your imagination. Play around with color and texture and see what results in your kitchen.

BigOven API: Pricing Update for Developers

The BigOven 350,000+ Recipe Application Programming Interface (API) available at http://api.bigoven.com allows any app or web developer to use simple REST-based queries to search over 350,000 recipes and get access to recipe details, ingredients and, depending upon plan, nutrition facts like calorie counts, carbohydrates, protein, display tens of thousands of photos and more.

We’ve seen some great uses of it, from large commercial sites adding a recipe area to their own lifestyle area to fitness studios incorporating healthy recipe suggestions to appliance manufacturers integrating recipe lookup in future consumer electronic devices.

There are no changes for existing paying API partners, but free experimental keys will be phased out on November 1st, 2015.

New Pricing for Entry-level: Plans start at just $99/month

In the two years since it’s been live, we’ve learned a few things. One thing we’ve learned is that while developers always love free — and who doesn’t — it’s most definitely not free to operate and support a free API. Each and every month, we spend thousands of dollars just operating the servers and paying for bandwidth, as well as fielding support requests on usage of the API.

Simply put, we need to better align the cost of operating and expanding the Recipe and Grocery List API with the revenue that supports it. We’ve seen thousands of requests for free experimental keys and while the vast majority of developers have abided by the Terms of Use, we’ve also occasionally seen usage of these free keys well beyond developer-experimental use into commercial usage. That’s regrettable, and one way to ensure only paid plans are used in commercial applications is to only offer paid plans.

So, we’ve made the decision to discontinue the free experimental key level, and are introducing a low-cost $99/month plan.  We realize that developers want to kick the tires, so we’re also adding a free 30-day trial period for all plan levels.

These changes will allow us to bring you the support and attention that you need, while still being one of the least-expensive production APIs in the food category, with robust recipe information and search, full JSON and XML support.

What About Existing Free Experimental Keys?

Free keys (starting with “dvx”) will continue to work until November 1st, 2015, but at that time we will phase them out in favor of paid plan keys.  If you already have a paid plan key, you don’t need to do anything.  There are no pricing changes for existing paid keys.

On November 1st 2015, all users of the free experimental keys must transition to a paid plan.  To get an API key, learn how to use it and try it free for 30 days, simply visit http://api.bigoven.com.  We’d love to see what you create!

Sample Code: Hello Recipe World

Here’s a simple recipe fetch using jQuery:

<script src="https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.1.3/jquery.min.js"></script>
<script>
    function getRecipeJson() {
        var apiKey = "your-api-key-here";
        var recipeId = 196149; // simply pass in as shown below
        var url = "http://api.bigoven.com/recipe/196149?api_key=" + apiKey;
        $.ajax({
            type: "GET",
            dataType: 'json',
            cache: false,
            url: url,
            success: function (data) {
                //console.log(data);
                $("#recipeTitle").html(data.Title);
                $("#instructions").html(data.Instructions);
            }
        });
    }
    getRecipeJson();
</script>

Likewise, here’s a simple recipe search:

<script src="https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.1.3/jquery.min.js"></script>
<script>
        function getRecipeJson() {
            var apiKey = "your-api-key-here";
            var titleKeyword = "lasagna";
            var url = "http://api.bigoven.com/recipes?pg=1&rpp=25&title_kw="
                  + titleKeyword 
                  + "&api_key="+apiKey;
            $.ajax({
                    type: "GET",
                    dataType: 'json',
                    cache: false,
                    url: url,
                    success: function (data) {
                    alert('success');
                    //console.log(data);
                    }
                });
        }
</script>

A Basic Fruit Smoothie for Every Season

Smoothie-for-Every-Season_April-2015

Smoothies are fantastic for a number of reasons:

1. They come together quickly. In just a couple minutes, your drink will be ready to enjoy.

2. Smoothies are easy to make. Simply add all of your ingredients to a blender and blend.

3. They’re healthy (in general.) You can get fresh produce, protein, and calcium all in one beverage, with little fat.

4. On hot days, smoothies are refreshing. Skip that ice cream cone and sip on a cooling frosty glass of goodness instead.

You can use frozen fruit and blend up just about any type of smoothie year-round, but why not take advantage of seasonal, fresh fruit?

A summer smoothie calls for juicy blueberries. Add almond milk and almond butter for a nutty kick of protein. Frozen banana turns this beverage into a frosty, creamy treat. Add honey if you’re looking for some extra natural sweetness.

Apples are a traditional fall fruit. Blend them up with apple juice for some more sweetness, and include some plain low fat yogurt for protein. A pinch of ground cinnamon adds a boost of extra flavor. Don’t forget frozen banana!

Smoothies can be enjoyed during the winter months too. Take advantage of zesty oranges, which are packed with Vitamin C. Orange juice will help get your ingredients blending and add just a bit more sweetness. Low fat plain yogurt is your source of protein again, while frozen banana keeps things nice and cold.

Fresh strawberries are always a springtime favorite. Blend them up with low fat vanilla yogurt for protein and flavor, plus some frozen banana.

Add ice if you like your smoothies extra frosty.

“Search within My Recipes” now available on iOS and Android apps

BigOven has rolled out Search within My Recipes on our iOS and Android apps as well!

iOS: My Recipes Search

Looking for your favorite chicken dish? On iOS, just click on the magnifying glass on the home screen to search within “My Recipes.” Get the results from recipes you’ve Added, marked as Favorite or Try.

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Android: My Recipes Search

Looking for your favorite pasta dish? On Android, go to the slide out drawer from the home screen, click Search to get Advanced Search. In Advanced Search, type in keyword or title and you’ll get results from recipes you’ve Added, marked as Favorite or Try.

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Give it a try and let us know what you think. Happy Cooking!

“My Recipes”: Faster, New Features

My Recipes Icon
Your “My Recipes” area on BigOven just got better:

  • It loads faster.  Those with more than 20 recipes in a given folder should notice that the My Recipes area loads faster.  Previously, the entire folder had to be loaded and painted on the screen.  Now, just the first set of tiles are loaded, and more are loaded as you scroll down.
  • Search within “My Recipes.”  Looking for just your pie desserts?  Enter “pie” in the “Search My Recipes” box, and BigOven will limit the search to those recipes you’ve Added or marked Favorite or Try.  You can enter any keywords here, not just title keywords.  So, if you’re looking for any recipe you’ve favorited/marked-try/added that feature bacon and eggs, just enter “bacon eggs” in the search box and press enter.
  • List view shows handy display:  While this is not a new feature, based on some support inquiries, it’s an undiscovered one.  Look to the upper right of your “My Recipes” area, and you can toggle the view between “Picture Tile” and “List” view modes.

Picture Tile View

My Recipes Picture Tile View

My Recipes Picture Tile View

Search My Recipes for “Bacon”

Search My Recipes for Bacon

Search My Recipes for Bacon

List View

My Recipes: List View

My Recipes: List View

BigOven Early Access Program wants you!

BigOven is  looking for a few good women and men who want to get early access to BigOven features and try them out before everyone else. If you love your BigOven app, come join the Early Access Program.

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Get a behind-the-scenes sneak peek! If you’re on this list, when BigOven has new releases ready to go, you’ll get early access (for free) and can provide us immediate feedback before we make a broader release to millions of cooks. Instructions to join below for Android and iOS.

Android users: Please go to the Google+ Community link and click the red “Join Community” button.

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After joining, click “Early Access Beta” in the About This Community section and follow the instructions.

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iOS users: If you want to participate, please request early access:

Request early access to BigOven apps.

Thanks and Happy Cooking!