Summer in London, Ontario is all about the festivals. When we moved here 15 years ago and I started my job as a daily news reporter I was immediately taken under the wing of one of the senior editors. She’d come from Kitchener too. Over time, she told me about the area’s best restaurants. And she highlighted a few things to do at crucial holidays – for instance New Year’s EVE at Western Fairgrounds. But the biggest highlight that still stands out – all of the summer festivals.
From May through to Labour Day this city’s parks are lit up with festivals. There’s SunFest and RibFest, FoodFest, Pride of course, London Bluesfest, Canada Day, Rock the Park, Home County Festival and then some. All of the seasonal festivals revolve around music and food. There’s a strong multi-cultural flavour here too. Over the years we have made it a family tradition to take in several of the area festivals. WE LOVE Ribfest most of all.
SunFest, held this month, is a huge hit. The food and music together are spectacular. I have fond memories of the year we also took my Mom with us, when she lived here in town. It was such an easy choice to bring her with us to share this awesome event. It’s a big, bright, audible display of many cultures and I knew we’d all remember that day as a family. SO very glad we had moments like these together.
This year of course the summer celebrations take on great importance historically as Canada celebrates its 150th! Speaking of summer birthdays – three of us here have birthdays during June and July. It’s a never ending celebration this time of year already. BUT frankly, there’s only so much cake, ice cream, and burgers a person can eat.
Summer, for us, centres around our backyard and swimming. If the weather is nice, and sometimes even if it isn’t, we are in our pool, or entertaining others on the deck. These are the days when we need some quick meal and snack ideas. We barbecue often when family or friends are here and the pool is open. But, sometimes you want something a little bit different.
Last week, the first week of summer, I was struggling to come up with something fresh and ideal for entertaining after a hot day spent swimming. Finally I decided on Nachos and Guacamole, with a bit of help from Gay Lea’s Low Fat sour cream. My daughter helped me for a bit. Our first priority was making guacamole.
Guacamole is something my husband and I both love, but rarely make and nachos, well we make them maybe once a year. Usually family dinners throughout the year are fairly traditional. Meat, starch, veggies. Our crockpot and Fast Slow Pro are also in the usual rotation.
The warm months are unique and simplicity matters. These meaty and cheesy Nachos with Guacamole remind me of every single vacation we have taken to Mexico. Part of the fun of family travel of course, is tasting new foods and flavours and sometimes falling for them. Fish tacos were a favourite that to this day remind me of Puerto Vallarta. And stuffed green peppers will forever remind me of the first time my husband and I visited Colombia. After I graduated from University we took a summer trip to Cartagena. Their food was surprising and the trip was rich culturally. Now those green peppers are a meal we include at least twice every summer, when peppers are fresh.
Nachos and guacamole, of course lend themselves to summer days in the yard swimming and relaxing together. My oldest daughter, who just turned 16, this week told me this dish reminded her of being in Mexico by the pool. We’ve had at least three amazing trips to Mexico. The last one was in the Port of Costa Maya while cruising. That December day, we ordered nachos by the pool while my youngest had her hair braided nearby.
Isn’t it funny how food can sometimes be emotional in tone when it conjures up memories of a moment shared traveling or simply enjoying someone’s company?
There are many ways to make guacamole, but this is the way that we do it. By next week that could be different too! I also provide a simple side dish of sour cream, because my one girl doesn’t like anything chunky. LOL. Smooth Gay Lea Low Fat sour cream or Fat Free sour cream fits the bill. Be warned the only way to make Guacamole is with super ripe Avocados. You cannot make this recipe without RIPE avocados.
This recipe is so simple your teen can make it on her own.
- 1 lb lean Ground Beef
- Container of Gay Lea low fat sour cream
- One onion - red or regular - diced
- ¼ tomato - diced
- lime wedge
- cheddar cheese - 1¼ cup of shredded cheese
- A Bag of Tortilla chips
- For the nachos
- Brown the ground beef
- Add one quarter of an onion diced and brown together.
- Drain excess fat off the meat, onion mixture. Let sit.
- Using a shallow casserole dish spread out big tortilla chips on the bottom
- Spread some of the meat on top and sprinkle cheese on that
- Layer more tortilla chips
- Top with meat and cheese.
- Add the salsa to the top and spread it out a bit
- Sprinkle on another layer of cheese
- Bake that for 10 minutes maximum at 350
- Chop your avocado in quarters and remove the pit
- Scoop out the avocado and put it into a bowl
- It should be soft enough to mash with a fork
- Squeeze juice of one small wedge of lime into the mushed avocado.
- Add ¼ of a diced tomato
- Then add ¼ of a diced onion
- Add 2 Tablespoons of Gay Lea Low Fat sour cream and mix
- Blend it all together by hand. The fork should do it if ingredients are ripe. If you don't like chunks you can blend gently with a hand mixer.
- Taste before serving - I do not add salt or pepper. It doesn't need it.
- Spoon another 2-3 TBSPS of Gay Lea Sour Cream into a side dish
- Scoop Guacamole into a separate side dish and serve alongside the Meaty Nachos
- If you are adventuresome chop up some jalapeños and toss on top of the nachos before serving..
- ENJOY this easy and fast summer meal!
This year I am a Gay Lea ambassador and so I am sharing monthly recipes created with Gay Lea ingredients. Gay Lea is a dairy products cooperative that started in 1958 and is owned by dairy farmers. Their products are born on the farm and that’s what sets them apart.
The Gay Lea Story
We use Gay Lea sour cream for a lot of meals and we like this product specifically because it is smooth and fresh. It is also nut free, kosher and only available in Ontario. There are numerous varieties of this Gay Lea sour cream, but I opted for the low fat version here. You can also use Original, Lactose Free, Fat Free, and Gold Premium. Gay Lea sour cream is a staple for baking, for dips and tacos and potatoes too.
A FEW OTHER SUMMER RECIPES
Here’s another really tasty summer meal featuring Gay Lea sour cream products from Eat Live Travel Write. Chicken Taco Bowls – this is one I am also going to try soon.
Oh and don’t forget this post from last year – also features MY Savoury Low fat and low sodium dip with Nachos.
While you are at it here are a few easy side dishes that are improved with Gay Lea products.
What is your favourite summer festival?
I created this post as a paid ambassador with Gay Lea Foods and PTPA for 2017. My opinion is all my own and it is truthful. At Thrifty Mommas Tips, I only work with brands I love and use.