My favorite drink in the summertime is iced coffee, but I don’t love the price tag that comes with the iced coffees from our coffee shops. Thankfully, I discovered how to cold brew my coffee and make the perfect iced coffee at home. This month on my site I am showing you how I cold brewed my coffee and today we tackle how to make the perfect iced coffee just for you by adding your own favorite flavor combinations.
This watermelon ice smoothie is thick, smooth, and refreshing. With its coconut water and a touch of lime, it’s reminiscent of Slurpees and Icees, except all natural at home.
I sat down back in May, an oversized paper calendar in front of me and five or six Sharpies at the ready. Neatly I wrote down the activities for each day through the summer, color-coding by child, so I knew when each one needed to be where at what time. It seemed like a worthwhile task to clear my Type-A brain from the clutter of keeping all the information piled together in one place. At the end of the August page I even filled in school orientation nights that we’d already received reminders for, lest we forget summer’s length and imagine it stretching on forever.
I sat back and admired my handiwork. There were the camps and the sports practices outline in a rainbow of color. Family activities were marked in black. I flipped back to June and rather than feeling better, I instead felt the dread of too much to do all summer long.
No one ever prepared me for the reality that comes with having children out of diapers. It’s this idea that they are now little people with lives and activities and interests of their own. Try as I might to keep our lives simple and our summers as low-stress and relaxing as possible, what ends up happening when you are outnumbered four to one is that activities get spread and spaced out.
A month in and several deep breaths later I can tell you the secrets to surviving summer.
Take it one day at a time. Say yes (to beach days and trips to the park) as often as you say no. Forget about scrubbing your floor (bare feet and clean floors do not go together). Serve plenty of on-the-go snacks that keep you cool, hydrated, and are just plain fun to drink.
These watermelon smoothies are just what summer ordered with their hint of coconut and bit of lime. Whether you’re carting one kid to soccer while picking another up from baseball or just relaxing in the backyard, they are the refreshing, invigorating, and full of summer flavor.
I’ve taken to freezing the leftover watermelon in batches, whenever there’s a bit leftover. I scoop the last cup or so into a container, covering it and pretending all is well. Rather than ending in the compost pile at the end of a meal, these leftover chunks become an intensely hydrating snack that boasts vitamin C and antioxidants. It’s just what the summer heat ordered.
Every summer I feel as though I time my family activities by the season of berries that’s ripe for the pickin’. There are trips to the strawberry fields, where our knees become encrusted with the straw that is used to mulch between the rows. There are blueberry picking adventures, the sun beating down on us as we pull handfuls of bulbous berries into small buckets.
The raspberries, though, they happen in our own backyard. The far corner in the back of the yard is devoted to the thorny canes, poking up and often trying to run into other parts of the yard. They start the spring off looking like nothing more than bare twigs, and by June they’re full of leaves and flowers and then bright red berries.
We pick bowl fulls for breakfast, adding a few to our morning yogurt, stirring them into our oatmeal. We drop them into sparkling juices to toast special occasions. My kids, barefoot and still dripping from the pool, hover over the prickly branches, sacrificing themselves for a few of the tart treats. But when the summer sun is hot and unforgiving, the best way to enjoy them is to gather up as many as you can and blend them into a cold, sweet cup of summer.
I love raspberry and white chocolate together, and while you can use any white chocolate you desire, a good quality one will definitely go father here. It’s worth it for the small amount you use. I used a Lindt Lindor Truffle Bar, which has a firm white chocolate outside and a softer, as the name suggests, truffled center, and I love that it doesn’t get too hard when frozen.
Yes, I realize this has an ice cream maker in the recipe. If you don’t have one, sorbet is a hard thing to master. The ice cream maker helps it freeze evenly and quickly, which gives you that smooth texture that you think of when you think sorbet. However, if you don’t have one, don’t despair. Put the mix in a zip-top bag, and massage the bag every half hour or so in the freezer. This will help it to freeze evenly, and you’ll get a delicious frozen treat.
The vodka helps the mix from freezing solid. If you are opposed to any alcohol in your sorbet, try adding a tablespoon of honey or golden syrup instead.
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the water and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat to low and continue to simmer for five minutes . Remove from heat, pour into a heat-proof bowl, and refrigerate until chilled.
Once the syrup is chilled, combine the raspberries, vanilla, and vodka in a food processor. Blend until smooth.
Press the mixture through a sieve to remove pulp and seeds. Process the mixture in an ice cream maker, adding in the white chocolate at the end. Transfer to a container and freeze.
1 (14 ounce) bag frozen broccoli florets, cleaned and cut into florets or 2 heads fresh broccoli, cleaned and cut into florets (I prefer fresh)
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice, bottled is fine
2 garlic cloves, minced or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 teaspoon salt, adjust to your liking
Microwave broccoli, minced garlic, and water in covered bowl on high for 6 minutes or til crisp tender. While it is cooking mix the rest of the ingredients together. Drain cooked broccoli. Pour lemon garlic mixture over broccoli and mix to coat.
1 1/4 cups quick cooking oats
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Combine oats and milk (I used prepared powdered milk) and allow to stand for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Grease each cup of one 12-cup muffin tin. Stir egg, oil, 1/2 cup of the brown sugar, chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of the pecans into the oat and milk mixture. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add oat mixture to flour mixture, stirring until just moist. Fill each cup of one 12-cup muffin tin 2/3 full. Sprinkle tops with the remaining brown sugar and pecans. Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 20 to 25 minutes.
Amy’s Notes: I added a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of vanilla to the muffins.
6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced (I omitted this)
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained (I used petite diced)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Season chicken breasts with ground black pepper and garlic salt. heat olive oil in a medium skillet and brown the onion and seasoned chicken breasts. Pour tomatoes and balsamic vinegar over chicken and add basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. Simmer until the chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear, approximately fifteen minutes. Serve over a bed of rice or spaghetti.
This would be delicious served up with a side of green beans and a big sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. The dinner comes together in about twenty minutes which makes it a great dish to entertain with or to throw together on a weeknight. Enjoy!