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Category Archives: Summer Snippets

The Pop-In

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I think this just about sums up the state of affairs around here. The nice fresh greenery from the beginning of summer is a pitiful, drooping husk. The Grand Ol’ Flag — which was the extent of our 4th of July decorations — is still waving proudly. Trying, but not that hard.

In other words: The wheels have come off. It’s August. Let me say that again: AUGUST! How did we already get here?! I’ll tell you how: one action-packed day at a time. And my definition of action-packed is not really all that packed, but we’ve had somewhere to be just about every day for the entire summer, which has been really great…and really frazzling. You know I can’t maintain that level of activity for long. It makes it hard to keep up with the day to day stuff, you know? But…it’s summer. I can’t be bothered to care all that much.

Know what else I have trouble caring about right about this time of year? Cooking dinner. Or, evidently, changing lightbulbs. Three out of the five in the chandelier overhead have been burned out for weeks, but have I taken the three minutes to change them? Nah. I’ll just continue to strain my eyes for a little while longer. It’ll get done eventually. (P.S.: We’re talking about the room where I do all of my work. Yeah.)

Oh, but there has been sewing going on. So much sewing! I sneak in stitches every chance I get, and you know why? Because Christmas is coming (yes, I just said that on the first day of August), which means that our annual winter boutique is coming even sooner, and this stuff doesn’t make itself, friends. But since we’re on the subject, I’ll tell you another secret: I’ve finished the bulk of my Christmas gifts. YES!! I think that’s a first! Too exciting. I can’t remember the last time that I actually came across an idea, printed it out, and then made up all that I needed with shorter than a six month lapse.

In a nutshell: Christmas prep in full swing; too hot to cook; house in disrepair. How has your summer been?

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Pickled

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The other day, I found myself the proud owner of a ridiculous serpentine cucumber, courtesy of our CSA share. Not wanting to see one bit of it go to waste, I decided to take this quick pickle recipe out for a spin. I mean, it includes lemon and garlic, and doesn’t require canning. Worth a try? Totally.

Friends, these bad boys live up to their name. SO GOOD!! The only thing I didn’t like was that the cuke only [yeah, only] yielded one jar, and we killed it in one sitting. Goodbye, most delicious pickles. Still, they only took about ten minutes to make. This is what I need to keep reminding myself so that I don’t get all “Oh, who has time to make pickles with one lousy cucumber?” the next time around. You know who has time? This girl. Ten minutes well spent.

Along those same lines, there were a few blackberries and some rapidly withering blueberries in the fridge. Wasting summer fruit REALLY makes me sad, but — here again — who has the time to be boiling up sauces and stuff? And to only get a cup or two out of the deal?

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Yeah. There went another ten minutes, and the fresh berry syrup definitely kicked breakfast (or was it dinner?) up a notch for the maple-abstainer at the table. And one cup was enough for more than two meals, which makes it seem silly not to do stuff like this more often. [In case you’re wondering, you mix one cup of berries with half a cup of sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the sugar is dissolved and the berries start breaking down, about 8 – 10 minutes.]

Paletas

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I’m sure it’s no surprise that, for me, a stellar recommendation from Heather is equivalent to the Good Housekeeping seal of approval. Maybe even more so, because I don’t know much about the sensibilities of the GH testers. Anyway, when she announced her Popsicle Parade, complete with recommendations for a recipe book and molds, it also won’t surprise you that I hopped right on and ordered both. (Yes. Give me an excuse….)

For the record, happier I could not be. The molds fit nicely in my freezer, and make a very official-looking pop, and the Mexican Chocolate paleta is delicious! I’m not sure if I measured wrong, though, or what, because I had a TON of chopped chocolate and almond mixture, and just couldn’t imagine jamming the molds full of it. Now I have a bag of it in the freezer for next time, so all is not lost.

Also, like a bonehead, I dipped the molds in the a sink full of warm water to soften them up a touch. See the top of the one above? Yeah, she hadn’t really dug in yet — that’s the way the top was shaped after it rapidly started melting. Ruh-roh. Of course, with the next batch, I dipped them in cold water and had much the same result, so I don’t know. Guess we’ll have to just keep making more til I get it right! We’re all about the pursuit of excellence around here, don’t ya know.

Deliciousness aside, I’m going to tell you that this recipe in particular ended up bumming me out. See, I was even more excited to try this one out because I had everything I needed in the pantry. The box of Ibarra tablets had been languishing away in the pantry since winter. And after celebrating the fact that they were finally going to achieve their chocolatey destiny, I realized that I bought that box with the full intention of lovingly stirring up some delicious Mexican hot chocolate for the niños on chilly after-school afternoons. Yet there is sat until June, untouched and unenjoyed. Never mind that it wasn’t all that cold this winter; my shelves are filled with good intentions. That is, until they’re past their prime and I pitch whatever it is in the trash.

So, my modest goal this summer is to bust out all the “someday” stuff lying around and use it for something. And to have fun, and be lazy, and just hang out with my kids. I mean, we’re with each other all the time (all.the.time), but it feels like we’re always rushing to get something done or be somewhere. But the funny [not in a traditional sense] thing is that I don’t feel like I ever accomplish all that much, and we don’t really go anywhere. So, yeah. Less rushing and more funning and lazing purposefully. Doesn’t that sound good?

“A” is For…Everyone?

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Longtime friends to Make It Snappy will recognize my most favorite summertime birthday gift, the embellished towel. When I was assembling the fabrics for one of the others I made this month, though, an odd coincidence struck me:

The recipients (with the exception of my nieces) have all been girls with “A” names. Every one of them, beginning with Afia, and moving on to Alexis, Anneliese, and Adalyne.

Weird, right?

Or is it just weird that I noticed it at all? Well, beautiful names for beautiful birthday girls — I’m not complaining. (And I still love making these towels!)

Olympic Fever

It’s really all I can do not to hunker down in our cave of a house and watch Olympic coverage all day every day. I love the Olympics!

In the spirit of the games, I finally got around to setting up the pool noodle target station that I pinned many weeks ago. To give you an idea, I actually made the rings on July 4th; that was as far as that went til now. (We actually had a blast with just the rings, so it wasn’t a total loss.)

Yeah — it’s far from perfect. Getting the rings to stay rings is no small feat. Lucky for me, the kids are still young enough not to care. Since they only play with it for about ten minutes at a time, the attention I gave to “perfection” was just about right.

After our special Opening Ceremonies dinner [what’s more American than a grilled hot dog, I ask you?], the torches made their appearance in Cooper Arena:

Spectacular!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go see what’s on. I’m hoping that it’s more water polo or rowing or something horsey, because I have a lot of other things to do today.

And If You Like That, You’ll Love This

Wondering what to do with the strawberries leftover from yesterday’s pops? Did you find yourself digging the magically delicious combo of  berries and cardamom? Then get thee back into the kitchen to bake up a Strawberry Upside-down Cake!

[Joy’s looks so much prettier. She’s such a pro!]

While it’s baking, brew up a pot of coffee or ice yourself some sweet tea. When snack time rolls around, you’ll be glad you did; trust me on this one.

Pops on Parade

Happy Monday, my friends! Today, I’m very pleased to be taking my place in Heather’s Popsicle Parade! What’s summer without a parade, after all?

I, too, love a good ice pop, but Heather’s posts have made the idea of making it the official summer treat irresistible. A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled upon this recipe for Roasted Strawberry + Coconut Milk Pops. Oh, yum!

The fact that I had all of the ingredients on-hand made it just that much better. Sure, there’s a little cooking involved, but nothing complicated. Roasting the strawberries is definitely worth the extra time and [minimal] effort. Instead of hitting rock-like frozen berries in your pop, your tooth is treated to a gentle piece of strawberry candy. Nice! Combine those little gems with some sweetened, fragrant coconut milk, freeze in the molds of your choice for a few hours and…

…BLAST OFF for flavor country!

So far, these have been my favorites. My husband liked them, but prefers the Watermelon Strawberry. As you can see, this is the kind of research we can all get behind.

Now it’s your turn! Anything poppin’ over at your place this summer?

(See what I did there, with the “pop” pun? Ha!)