Nothing beats a glass of summer lemonade on a hot day. Here's the best way to sip into the perfect sunshine drink of the season. See what I did there?

Lemonade for Summer

By | Snacks, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Nothing beats a glass of summer lemonade on a hot day. Here’s the best way to sip into the perfect sunshine drink of the season. See what I did there?

You know the phrase, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Well I think it’s “when summer comes to town, make lemonade!” It’s the quintessential drink of the season and I’ve put together a list of common mistakes and easy-to-fix solutions for the perfect homemade lemonade.


It starts by making sure that your sugar is mixed in perfectly. Sounds crazy, but it’s true. A lot of people think throwing together sugar, water, and lemons will make a great pitcher of lemonade. But in the process, all the sugar sinks to the bottom of the pitcher and it takes forever to dissolve.

The solution: heat the water and sugar together to make a syrup first, and then add the lemon juice to your water-sugar syrup (called a simple syrup) to mix all together. You’ll taste the sweetness of the sugar and the richness of the lemons all at the same time.

I make my simple syrup ahead (it can hang out in your fridge for several weeks in a plastic container) and have it at the ready, chilled, to add to my lemon juice. You certainly don’t have to make lemonade this way. You can also use superfine sugar. Mix it directly in with your lemon juice and water, it simply dissolves faster. And yes, yes, regular sugar is fine too, but you’ll certainly build some stirring muscles stirring, and stirring.

I also like to pour my lemonade over ice. Typically on a summer day you’re soon left with a watered down beverage as the ice melts quickly.

Solution: I always make mine a tad on the strong side. If you know you’re serving it over ice right away, leave out just a little of the water and make that stuff strong! When poured over ice it will be perfect. If you plan to chill your drink for a while, you can make the recipe as written!Pink lemonade

I also love a pink lemonade. Oh it’s pretty and classy. However, those pink lemons are hard to get. I think you have to go somewhere in Thailand and only during certain months. (wink).

The solution there: cranberry juice! That’s right, a splash of cranberry juice will tint your drink pink, but you aren’t adding enough to flavor it. The bright, classic lemon flavor still shines through.


Summer Lemonade

Yield: about 2 quarts


  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice
  • 4 cups cold water


  1. In a saucepan over medium high heat, dissolve sugar in water. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  2. In a pitcher stir together the simple syrup and lemon juice. Add the cold water and stir to combine.
  3. Serve lemonade over ice or chill in fridge. Feel free to add more or less cold water to your taste preference.
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Fruit salsa is incredibly versatile. I've gathered 15 unique fruit salsa recipes that will blow your mind, or at the very least, explode your tastebuds.

15 Mind Blowing Fruit Salsa Recipes

By | Appetizers + Nibbles, Baking + Desserts, Dips + Spreads + Salsas, Fruit, Side Dishes, Snacks | No Comments

I love salsa, but it seems tomatoes are always hogging all the salsa glory. Quite frankly, I’m tired of it. It’s high time we gave other salsas their moment in the spotlight.

That’s why I’m dedicating this post to the unsung heroes of the salsa world. Yes, I’m looking at you, fruit salsa. I’ve searched the far corners of the Internet to bring you 15 amazing fruit salsa recipes that are sure to blow your mind, or at the very least, explode your tastebuds.

The great thing about fruit salsa is its versatility. You can eat it alone, use it to compliment your favorite main dish, serve it with tortilla chips, or my personal favorite, eat it on cinnamon crisps (watch for the recipe coming this week). Without further ado, I give you the stars of today’s salsa show:



If you’re looking for a classic fruit salsa recipe, then look no further than this tasty concoction from Real Housemoms. With just five ingredients, this will go from your cutting board to your mouth in no time flat.

Simple Fruit Salsa


2. Blueberry Pineapple Fruit Salsa

The fresh jalepeño and optional Sriracha sauce bring the heat to the party in this bright blueberry pineapple salsa from Eazy Peazy Mealz.

Blueberry Pineapple Fruit Salsa



Apricots, pineapple, and papaya, OH MY! You’ll practically hear ukuleles serenading you every time you take a bite of this island favorite from Lady Behind the Curtain.

Island Fruit Salsa



This is both an appetizer and a centerpiece. You can serve this fresh watermelon mint salsa from Lauren Kelly Nutrition right out of the watermelon it came from. That’s one less dish you have to wash after you and your guests have indulged on this treat.

Watermelon Mint Salsa



If you’re looking for something tart, zesty, and tangy, then you can end your search with this green apple salsa from Lemon Tree Dwelling.

Green Apple Salsa



I love the idea of toasting a baguette and adding some goat cheese and this salsa from Damn Delicious. Come on, it’s just begging to be eaten at a picnic or backyard garden party.

Blueberry and Peach thyme Salsa



Jerry James Stone has truly outdone himself with this kiwi salsa. Not only does he give the recipe, but you’ll also find a video on how to peel a kiwi. Delicious and helpful.

Simple Kiwi Salsa



Strawberries—check. Avocado—check. Feta—check. It’s official, this salsa from Once Upon a Cutting Board has successfully combined three of the tastiest summer ingredients.

Strawberry, Avocado, and Feta Salsa


What’s more American than apple pie? Innovation, that’s what. Apple pie gets a makeover courtesy of I Am That Lady in this Apple Pie Fruit Salsa recipe, and that makeover tastes ahhhh-mazing!

Apple Pie Fruit Salsa



You’ll get a kick, quite literally from this Moms Need to Know watermelon salsa. It’s great as a dip or fresh salad.

Easy Watermelon Salsa



You could use mango instead of cantaloupe in this salsa from Local Kitchen Blog. It tastes so good, you won’t believe it only takes ten minutes to prepare.

Fresh Cantaloupe Salsa



The blackberry salsa wasn’t meant to be the star of this recipe from How Sweet It Is, but luscious berries like that can’t help but steal the show. Sorry, sweet potato quinoa cakes, you just got upstaged.

Blackberry Fruit Salsa



The only thing better than digging into a big bowl of fruit salsa is digging in and finding a layer of sweet no-bake cheesecake underneath! Make sure there are other people around when you make this Carlsbad Cravings recipe, or else you might just eat the whole thing yourself.

Rainbow Fruit Salsa Cheesecake Dip



There’s no kick to the summer berry fruit salsa from The Slow Roasted Italian, but you won’t hear me complaining. Even your mouth needs some time to cool off, and this fruity treat is the perfect way to beat the heat.

Summer Berry Fruit Salsa



My final pick is a “choose your own adventure,” salsa style. University of California Berkeley Wellness put together this amazing infographic that breaks down the science of tasty fruit salsa, so you can pick the right ingredients and make a concoction perfectly suited to your taste buds.

Create your own Mix 'n Match Fruit Salsa


Mind. Blown.

Oh, the happy flavor combos you can make with these Magnificent Macaroons! Punch up this classic by adding dried fruits, nuts and even chocolate!

Magnificent Macaroons

By | Baking + Desserts, Cookies + Brownies, Entertaining, Food Gifts, Snacks, Uncategorized | No Comments

Oh, the happy flavor combos you can make with these Magnificent Macaroons! Punch up this classic by adding dried fruits, nuts and even chocolate!


Is there a more glorious combination than toasted coconut and the creamy sweetness of sweetened condensed milk? No, no there is not. Read on my friends.

Magnificent Macaroons

Sweetened condensed milk has been around for many years and is the staple in desserts, beverages, candies and cookies.  Where would Tres Leches cake be without the most important leche – sweetened condensed milk.  Not to forget the other side of the spectrum – it can even be found in savories such as Asian-inspired marinades and curries.  It stores well and will keeps in the refrigerator after opening for up to 3 weeks.  If you have leftovers from a recipe, you can always find many places to drizzle.  In this recipe, the milk solids add a wonderful nutty flavor as it browns in the oven.

Magnificent Macaroons

Whisking the egg whites in this recipe helps these macaroons stay less compact as the tiny air bubbles expand the volume.  When beating egg whites, remember that their volume increases six to nine times in size so use a large enough stainless steel or glass bowl for best results.  Plastic bowls inevitably retain grease no matter how clean they are and the tiniest bit of fat will prevent the peaks we want to achieve.  Start with egg whites at room temperature to ensure fullest volume.  Sugar is added as soft peaks form and it is crucial that it is added a little at a time so it will dissolve.  These macaroons call for sweetened condensed milk to be folded in gently to maintain that volume.

Magnificent Macaroons2

Macaroon cookies are typically just coconut. But I couldn’t resist a little addition. I used dried cherries and mini chocolate chips, but feel free to experiment and find your favorite combo. I also recommend toasted almonds and dried apricots – delicious!

Magnificent Macaroons


Magnificent Macaroons

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Magnificent Macaroons

Punch up this classic treat by adding fruit, nuts or chocolate. I used dried cherries and mini chocolate chips, but feel free to experiment and find your favorite combo. I also recommend toasted almonds and dried apricots - delicious!


  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 14-oz bag shredded sweetened coconut
  • ¾ cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1½ cups chocolate chips, nuts, or dried fruit


  1. Whisk egg whites with salt in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in coconut and sweetened condensed milk. Stir in chocolate chips, nuts or dried fruit; scoop 2-inch balls about 1 inch apart onto parchment-lined baking sheets.
  2. Bake at 300°F until golden, about 25 minutes
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To add to your beautiful cookie buffet platter, also try my Clementine Almond Cookies and Coconut Cherry Balls.

Recipe by Tara Bench
Photographer Paula Hible
Prop Stylist Jen Everett

The kids will have a ball creating their own Meatball Funny Face Snacks with dips, olive and cheese. And who says I can't get in on the fun!?

Meatball Funny Face Snacks

By | Appetizers + Nibbles, Back To School, Beef, Easy Dinners, Kid Friendly Dinners, Kids, Main Dish, Meat + Poultry, Snacks | No Comments

The kids will have a ball creating their own Meatball Funny Face Snacks with dips, olives and cheese. And who says I can’t get in on the fun!?


What face will the kids have when they walk in that door today? Let them express themselves with food! Meatballs that is. Just heat them right out of the freezer and have dips, olives, string cheese and American cheese slices at the ready for creating these fun faces, before digging in.

Meatball Funny Face Snacks

No recipe needed with these snacks. They’re so easy. They aren’t just for after school either; let the kids get creative at birthday parties or sleepovers. It’s a fun way to serve a filling protein to little bellies.

Meatball Funny Face Snacks

Meatballs are great with marinara, pesto and other dips too, so don’t hold back and make a funny face with whatever you’ve got. Serve these with toothpicks so little hands can feed themselves. Get more fast and easy snack hacks and dinner ideas at

Farm Rich

Looking for kid-friendly food you can make and enjoy too? Try my Squashed Brownies, packed with healthy squash but rich in chocolate fudginess! Or Mini Greek Pita Patties with Greek Yogurt Sauce. Everyone gets their own mini slider and it’s the perfect size for little hands.

Creative idea and photography by Susan Vajaranant at
Courtesy of

This post may include affiliate links or sponsored content. For more information please see my disclosure agreement.



Get your snack on with these ingenious and delicious bites using frozen mozzarella sticks.

5 Mozzarella Stick Snack Hacks

By | Appetizers + Nibbles, Back To School, DIY, Entertaining, Fall, Holidays + Seasons, Kids, Kids Crafts, Lifestyle, Party Foods, Snacks, Tips And Techniques | No Comments

Get your snack on with these ingenious and delicious bites using frozen mozzarella sticks.



Rock and roll with these Mozzarella Stick Cordon Bleu Bites from The Frugal Fairy. Roll, eat. Roll, eat. My kind of snack!

Mozzarella Stick Cordon Bleu Bites


Fried Mozzarella Caprese Bites are calling my name. So loud! Can you hear them too? Oh thank you Easy Peasy Mealz for sharing such a loud and delicious snack!

Fried Mozzarella Caprese Bites

Farm Rich


Just for the record I will not complain if you make this Mozzarella Stick Grilled Cheese Sandwich for me. Ever. And if you have some tomato soup to go along with it I might even hug you. Fair warning.

 Mozzarella Stick Grilled Cheese Sandwich


Bacon Fried Mozzarella Sticks are two-ingredient gifts from heaven. Try them here. Then check out 101 Ways To Love Bacon for more heaven-sent genius.

Bacon Fried Mozzarella Sticks


Thank you Brown Sugar for this snack gift. Oh the spicy, blue cheesy, mozzarella gooeyness that makes my mouth water! Buffalo Cheese Sticks are to die for.

Buffalo Cheese Sticks

real-life good

Thank you to FarmRich for the most delicious Mozzarella Sticks  

This post includes sponsor links. For more information please see my disclosure agreement.

A little spice and a hint of lemon make this Ginger Pineapple Snack Cake a tasty treat for a party or picnic.

Ginger Pineapple Snack Cake

By | Baking + Desserts, Cake, Entertaining, Fruit, Snacks | No Comments

A little spice and a hint of lemon make this Ginger Pineapple Snack Cake a tasty treat for a party or picnic.


I think a little fruit with your cake makes it slightly healthy, no? Oh the ways I fool myself. I even added the word “snack” to the title to make it feel less indulgent! But my Ginger Pineapple Snack Cake is every bit as delicious as the most decadent of cakes.

Ginger Pineapple Snack Cake

Instead of cutting the pineapple in traditional rings, I opted for little fans. It’s easy to slice the pineapple like this after you core it. This shape gives almost every bite of the cake its fair share of fruit.

The recipe method calls for lining the pan with parchment and letting the sides hang over two sides. This allows you to lift the cooled cake out of the pan completely to cut and serve if you desire. I use this trick for all baked goods in square or rectangle pans. It’s a helpful alternative to just lining the bottom of the pan.

Ginger Pineapple Snack CakeThe method is a simple cream cake technique! Do you know why recipes call for adding eggs one at a time, and beating after each addition? It’s a typical method. The reason being is you were instructed to beat the butter and sugars just before adding the eggs. You’ve incorporated air into the butter and sugar mixture, and if you added the eggs all at once it would deflate the mixture. The weight of the eggs would take all the air out of that cake’s sails!

Beating air into the batter acts as part of the leavening for the cake. Beating eggs in one at a time allows the eggs to aerate before the next is added. Boom! Cooking knowledge for the day, check!

Ginger Pineapple Snack Cake SlicedThis cake is actually a very portable cake. Great for potlucks, spring parties and summer picnics. Keep it in the pan to travel and you have the perfect dessert…or snack.


Ginger Pineapple Snack Cake

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: Serves 8 to 10

Calories per serving: 285

Fat per serving: 16 grams

Ginger Pineapple Snack Cake

Surprise your guests with a gorgeous, easy-to-make dessert.


  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅓ of a pineapple, sliced ¼ inch thick


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment so that opposite edges hang over sides of pan and grease lightly. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and ginger; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2 min. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the oil, lemon zest and vanilla and continue to mix until creamy, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just blended.
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan and arrange the sliced pineapple on the surface, overlapping slightly and pressing gently into the batter. Bake until done in the center, 45 to 50 min. Cool completely; transport in baking pan.
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Recipe Tara Bench & Hilary Merzbacher
Photographs Carol Von Zumwalt
Originally published Ladies’ Home Journal June 2013

Just when you thought you couldn't love bacon any more than you already do, here are 101 ways to enjoy this delicious meaty treat.

101 Ways To Love Bacon

By | Appetizers + Nibbles, Baking + Desserts, Breakfast + Brunch, Chicken, Easy Dinners, Entertaining, Food Gifts, Homemade Gifts, Main Dish, Sandwiches, Side Dishes, Snacks | 2 Comments

Oh, bacon! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways! No really, let’s count them. Just when you thought you couldn’t love bacon any more than you already do, here are 101 ways to enjoy this delicious meaty treat. HINT: It’s not just for breakfast anymore.

Bacon is meat candy. Admit it, you think so too!
It’s one of the most versatile foods–used for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and even desserts. I mean, that really covers it. These days no one blinks if you mention bacon on a cake, in a cocktail or a fancy chocolate bar. You can serve bacon wrapped in bacon on top of bacon and people wouldn’t question it.

This stat puts it all into perspective (not really, but I think it’s funny) “In general, 62 percent of people prefer bacon over sausage on breakfast sandwiches. But among those who feel more confident in dressy clothes than in comfortable clothes, 74 percent prefer bacon on breakfast sandwiches.”  From

In honor of this ever-popular, delicious food, I’ve collected 101 ways to cook it, use it, eat it and celebrate it. This was done purely out of love–for you, and for bacon. To help you navigate the list, it’s broken into categories. However, categories or not, I urge you to start from the top and enjoy all the way to the bottom!


How to Cook Bacon

The first rule of bacon is knowing how to cook it. You’re no longer limited to the ol’ frying pan when it comes to cooking bacon. My personal favorite method is to bake it in the oven, but you can’t go wrong with any of these options.

1. How to Bake Bacon in the Oven

2. How to Cook Bacon in the Microwave

3. How to Cook Bacon in a Waffle Iron (and 13 other ways)

Waffle Iron Bacon

4. How to Batch Cook and Freeze Bacon

5. How to Make Heart Bacon


Breakfast Dishes

Ok, ok, I couldn’t help but include some breakfast recipes. But these aren’t your typical bacon and eggs dishes. These take bacon for breakfast to the next level.

6. Bacon Pancake Dippers

7. Maple Bacon Pancakes

Maple Bacon Pancakes

8. Bacon Stuffed Waffle

9. Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Quesadilla

10. Nutella and Bacon Stuffed French Toast

Bacon Stuffed French Toast

11. Apple Bacon Breakfast Burrito


Main Dishes

Bacon, it’s what’s for dinner. These dishes are sure crowd pleasers, and offer some new ways to highlight the flavors of bacon in your main course.

12. Spicy Maple-Bacon Drumsticks

Spicy Maple-Bacon Drumsticks

13. Macaroni and Cheese Pie with Bacon Lattice

14. Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Chicken

15. Bacon Weave BLT (video)

16. Bacon Wrapped BBQ Meatballs

17. Bacon Wrapped Shrimp and Pineapple Skewers

18. BBQ Onion Meatball Balls

19. Sweet & Spicy Bacon Chicken Sandwich

Sweet & Spicy Bacon Chicken Sandwich

20. Bacon Explosion

21. Bacon Wrapped Cheese Stuffed Brats

22. Bacon Wrapped Meatballs

23. Feta Chicken Breasts

24. Bacon Wrapped Grilled Cheese (video)

25. Bacon Wrapped Turkey with Chipotle and Orange Rub

26. Bacon Pretzel Grilled Cheese

27. Donut Bacon Cheeseburger

Donut Bacon Cheeseburger

28. Bacon Mac and Cheese Taco


Side Dishes and snacks

If it’s a snack or side dish you’re looking for, then bacon is the answer. After all, what pairs better with a bacon main course than more bacon?

29. Cheese and Bacon Muffins

30. Caramelized Onion and Bacon Mashed Potatoes

31. Wrapped Bacon Breadsticks

32. Bacon Granola

Bacon Granola

33. Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

34. Bacon-Wrapped Corn on the Cob

35. Bacon Mac and Cheese Bites

Bacon Mac and Cheese Bites

36. Coca-Cola Soaked Bacon

37. Bacon and Brussels Sprout Spears

38. Maple Bacon Pretzel Rods

39. Bacon and Guacamole Fat Bombs

Bacon and Guacamole Fat Bombs

40. Bacon Cream Cheese Bites

41. Bacon Ranch Pepper Jack Pull Apart Bread

42. Bacon Wrapped Avocados

43. Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

44. Bourbon Bacon Jam

45. Bacon-Wrapped Cheesy Stuffed Jalapeños

Bacon-Wrapped Cheesy Stuffed Jalapeños

46. Candied Bacon-Wrapped Pineapple with Honey-Sriracha Sauce

47. Candied Bacon Baked Brie

48. Bacon Wrapped Cheese Fries

49. Cheddar Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball

50. Smoked Bacon Wrapped Onion Rings

Smoked Bacon Wrapped Onion Rings

51. Easy Cheesy Bacon Biscuit Pull-Aparts

52. Bacon on a Stick

53. Maple Bacon Bourbon Popcorn

54. Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

55. Sweet and Savory Cheesy Bacon Wrapped Puff Pastry Twist

Sweet and Savory Cheesy Bacon Wrapped Puff Pastry Twist

56. Campfire Bacon

57. Bacon Mozzarella Sticks

HINT: These would be amazing using these tasty mozzarella sticks from Farm Rich Snacks

58. Bacon Potato Skewers

59. Chicken Bacon Ranch Bombs

60. Deep Fried Doritos Crusted Bacon

61. Baked Beans in a Bacon Cup

Baked Beans in a Bacon Cup

62. Bacon Wrapped Parmesan Cracker Bites

63. BBQ Volcano Potatoes

64. Bacon Brown Sugar Smokies

65. Loaded Mashed Potato Balls

 Loaded Mashed Potato Balls

66. Easy Glazed Bacon Crackers

67. Bacon Wrapped Dates

68. Apricot Thyme Glazed Bacon Sticks

69. Crispy Deep Fried Bacon



Bacon has a sweet and savory quality to it that makes it a perfect choice to use in desserts. These unusual pairings will have everyone asking for more.

70. Candied Maple Bacon Donut

71. Bacon Cannoli

Bacon Cannoli

72. Bacon Doughnuts

73. Maple Bacon Fudge

74. Bacon Ice Cream Sandwich

Bacon Ice Cream Sandwich

75. Sweet Bacon Monkey Bread

76. Vosges Mo’s Milk Chocolate Bacon Bar

77. Bacon Toffee

78. Bacon Pralines

79. Candied Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

80. Bacon Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Icing

 Bacon Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Icing

81. Pancakes ‘n’ Bacon Cookies

82. Brown Sugar Bacon Twists

83. Bacon and Whiskey Caramel Marshmallow Toffee

84. Beer Candied Bacon Strips

85. Maple Glazed Bacon Skewers with Chocolate

86. Maple Bacon Mini Cheesecakes

Maple Bacon Mini Cheesecakes

87. Maple Bacon Donuts

88. Bacon Weave Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes with Bacon Compote

89. Sweet Bacon Monkey Bread

90. Bacon Crack

 Bacon Crack



This just goes to show that bacon really does go with everything.

91. Peppered Bacon Bloody Mary

Peppered Bacon Bloody Mary

92. Maple Bacon Old Fashioned Cocktail

93. Chocolate Bacon Shot Glasses

Chocolate Bacon Shot Glasses


Bacon Things

Whether you’re looking for home decor, fashion, or a gift for the bacon lover in your life, here are a few fun bacon finds.

94. There is No “We” in Bacon Printable

There is No "We" in Bacon Printable

95. Don’t Go Bacon My Heart Mug . . . I Couldn’t if I Fried.

96. Baconnaise

97. Bacon Tape

98. J&D’s Bacon Salt

99. Twinkie Chan’s Crochet Goodies – Bacon and Eggs Scarf Pattern

Bacon and Eggs Scarf


Vegetarian Options

For any vegetarians out there, please accept my condolences, and this recipe for something akin to bacon.

100. Tofu Bacon


Dog Treats

Even dogs love bacon, and now you can feel good about feeding it to them.

101. Peanut Butter and Bacon Dog Treats

Also produced by Melanie Donahoo. This post may include affiliate and sponsor links. For more information please see my disclosure agreement.