Simple Summer Ideas – Eats, Drinks, Decor

Hey there friends,  I have been staring at the last post for much too long and I’m sure you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, so here’s a little sumthin’ for your summer inspiration.

I know, it’s way past time to bring out the summer decorations.  It will be Independence Day next week, after all!  Can I confess that I still have my Easter decorations on my branch in the living room?  Yowzah!  Hopefully, I can switch them out for summer decor this weekend.

Things have been quite buzy around here with a bunch of changes happening, as well as more on the horizon.  Sadly, my time to concentrate on the transitions are limiting my time to post.  No worries though, there will be more news and posting to come.

In the meantime, here are a few photos of my Summer Centerpiece.  I happen to use mine in the guest bath.  Yes, a centerpiece in the bathroom!  As you know I try to trick myself into believing that I live near the water, especially in these hot summer months when our temperatures are consistently in triple digits (this week it was up around 113 degrees F)!

I keep this simple centerpiece in the bathroom where I get ready every morning.  It fills my mind with memories of sandy beaches, coastal breezes and the sound of waves lapping on the shore.  Which reminds me…I may have a chance to visit my little hometown on Lake Erie in September and I can’t wait to walk on the beach and hear the sounds of the waves as I drift off to sleep!  I never realized what a blessing it was to live just steps from the shore until recently.

For this fun candle arrangement, just find a rustic container, fill it with sand, shells, a candle (or 3) and things that remind you of summer.  Try one yourself and post a link here so we can all see it?

More ideas for your summer inspiration:

Patriotic Slipcover Transformation

4th of July Beverage Ideas

4th of July – Summer Recipes

4th of July – Patriotic Decor

Let me know your plans for the summer and have an awesome holiday!

4th of July Ideas – Part 1 – Beverages

In looking for some refreshing summer beverages for the 4th of July, I was reminded of a delicious pitcher of Sangria that we had recently with some friends at our favorite Mexican restaurant in Tucson.  If you haven’t visited El Charro Cafe in Old Town Tucson, it’s a place that’s well worth your time.  This is a view of the welcoming courtyard. When the weather’s nice (as it is for over half the year in this part of Arizona) it’s the most relaxing place to enjoy dinner or even just a drink with friends.

El Charro Courtyard - Tucson AZ
El Charro Courtyard - Tucson AZ

Ryans and Hanns

We happened to be in Tucson for Terry and Bob (aka The Catfish Hunters) to play at the Tucson Folk Festival and we had a chance to enjoy a wonderful dinner here with Bob & Helen.

But I digress.  This post is supposed to be about beverages and one of the sweet parts of the evening was our Summertime Blackberry Sangria. Doesn’t it look delicious!  I can taste it now.  Imagine washing down your chips and salsa with that colorful concoction.

So to bring this full circle.  I’ve been enjoying Sangria at a variety of spots this year and thought I’d share a patriotic version and eye-catching recipe for serving a group without having to make individual drinks for everyone.

Check out this Red, White and Blue Sangria from Recipe Girl!  (and she’s having a giveaway too)

She used pineapple for her stars, but I think I’d try star fruit since it already has the shape you need.   I LOVE the red strawberries, “white” (kinda) pineapple or star fruit, and blue-berries to carry through the patriotic theme.  Just imagine your giant glass beverage dispenser filled to the brim with all these summery ingredients.  It’s a party waiting to happen.  In case you haven’t seen it before, this is what star fruit looks like and here’s some more info about it too.  Hey, think about adding star fruit to your salads on the 4th as well!

…now where are the fireworks.

Let me know your plans for the 4th.  I’d love to hear how you celebrate.

Stay tuned for parts 2 (food) and 3 (DIY crafts and decorations) for the 4th of July series in the coming days.

Amazing Summer Salad!

First let me say thanks to those of you who have hung in there during my “slow blogging season”.  I just realized that I only did 2 posts in all of April, which makes me sad.  Good news is that my lack of posting, in this case, means that I’ve been quite busy, as mentioned before.  And I’ve added even more since that last list was made, so THAT means I have lots and lots of photos and news to blog about, which I hope will be good news for you.

Roasted Beet Summer Salad
Roasted Beet Summer Salad

Today I’ll start with a quick and delicious recipe that I tried tonight.

Something that I LOVE about the internet (and Google in particular) is that I can type in a couple of ingredients that I have on hand and find a recipe that uses those exact ingredients.  In this case I have fresh peaches that were picked at the Queen Creek Peach Festival (more on that in a future post) and some freshly roasted beets that I wanted to use in a salad.  So…I Googled “peach and beet salad” and this is one of the recipes that I found.

The original salad recipe can be found here at the PCC Natural Markets site.  As usual, I tweaked it to fit the ingredients that I had on hand.  You can check out the recipe for ideas on quantities and other options.  Here’s what I used.

  • red beets
  • green onions
  • yellow peaches
  • fresh spinach
  • crumbled goat cheese
  • sugar snap peas
I’m sure the dressing in the recipe would make it even better.  But instead of the dressing, I merely drizzled a little bit of Blood Orange Balsamic Vinegar over the top of the salad and it was great!  I found the vinegar at our local Sprouts Farmer’s Market.  Fresh, healthy and a great combination of sweet, salty, fruits and veggies.  Mmmm!  Great way to ring in the unofficial beginning of summer!  (We’re creeping closer and closer to our 100 degree days after all.)
I hope you get a chance to enjoy this salad sometime this summer.
By the way, I was raised on canned beets, which was really all I knew (and loved) for decades.  In the last few years, I’ve tasted more fresh beets in restaurants and on salad bars and recently decided to oven roast some fresh beets of my own.  If you like beets or enjoy trying new foods, please give them a try.  They’re SO MUCH better tasting than canned and certainly more nutritious.  The last time I roasted them, I served them warm from the oven drizzled with a good balsamic vinegar.  You would think that the vinegar would make them taste tart, but it actually brings out the sweetness of the beets and makes them sweeter!  They are delicious hot or cold!
Let me know if you like beets and how you like to serve them.  I can always use new ideas.  Thanks!
I’m linking this to:

The Girl Creative