In Portland, summer is often equated by sun. Yes, when the flip-flops come out and day after day is blue skies and no rain. Usually in Portland it is a given that you begin to have that AFTER the Fourth of July, and ends sometimes around Labor Day or after. Often I think why do I live here? I love sun. But. I also love Portland. This summer, however, it has been gorgeous out, between 80-90 degrees and sun, sun, sun.
When it is sunny out, everyone wants a refreshing drink. Right? We have been exploring new, refreshing recipes for the summer, especially ones that hit the spot. This one is tangy and sweet all in one glass.
1 1/4 cup lime juice, fresh squeezed
1 cup sweet coconut flakes, packed
2 1/2 cups hot water and 1 1/2 cups cool water
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Toast the coconut on a baking sheet for about 6 minutes, mixing them up after 3 minutes. While the coconut is toasting, juice the limes in a blender. Put all of the used lime halves into a separate bowl along with the coconut and vanilla bean and then add the hot water. Let it soak together for about 10 minutes. Strain into the blender and add the cold water and agave nectar. Blend! Pour into a pitcher and chill in the fridge until ready to serve. When ready, add equal parts of the limeade and ice into the blender to make your slushie!
Enjoy drinking in the sun with your feet up this weekend!
It is amazing what an extra day off can do for the spirit. I feel quite rested after the three-day holiday weekend. We did plenty of little projects around the house, had yummy food, saw friends, laughed, snuggled, and decided not to go out to Sunday brunch so we could stay home and just be together. We explored re-architecting the backyard, and the adventures of planning a trip. Oh, and we ate a lot of food. A friend made the most amazing tarts with local fresh fruit, we grilled, and had a turkey dinner on Independence Day.
We saw art vendors on NW 13th Street in Portland at First Thursday. I learned that the shi-shi art scene has changed before my eyes. As we wandered around the streets of the Pearl District, what used to be relaxed, organic, and simple is different. I saw stilettos (even in neon green). I saw tattoos, and not the local-esque variety, more of the Jersey shore type. And dresses, oh man, dresses with just too much ass showing. Maybe I am getting old, but it seems as though Portland has transformed a bit and I have missed it. What made it all feel like I still loved this city is the band that marched through the street, causing all to stop and stare. This is what makes people say: “Keep Portland Weird.” This is why I love Portland.
Call us lame, but we did not venture out for fireworks on the Fourth. We stayed home, were quiet, in the sun, and together. This weekend was the zen I needed to feel like the world was back in balance. I finished two books, and started a third. I got sunkissed. I smiled a lot and was playful, and sorely addicted to Chris. Amazing what can happen with a few more hours in the weekend. A few more hours to put your feet up, or to sleep in and snuggle.
I am rested. I feel more balanced. I have new creative ideas. My spirit is just a bit higher and happier.
I am in a playful mood. Maybe it is because we are heading into a three-day holiday weekend, and I am looking forward to sleeping in, being with friends, getting some projects done, and relaxing. It is amazing what an extra day in your weekend can do for your spirit. I am not really a holiday person, but I relish the idea of getting to have some down time, and to be quiet with Chris. It is hard to believe that it is already July. Do you ever wake up and wonder where all the time has gone?
Summers for me growing up, (that I can remember) meant humidity, box fans, and sweat. I never complained, it was what life was like growing up in the Midwest. We never had air conditioning, so I remember my mom often making our sheets cold/wet and we each had a box fan blowing on us to cool off. I did not know any better. Except when I spent time at my grandma’s house – yes, she had air conditioning. I think I must have loved my bed too much to care, otherwise I think I would have tried to spend as much time as possible at my grandma’s house.
Ah, summer. I remember riding my bike, going through the woods to the Village Pantry (aka our local 7 Eleven, ahh the joys of candy), and my paper route. I babysat a lot of kids in the neighborhood, so maybe you could say I worked my ass off during the summer. I must have appreciated all those homes that had air conditioning.
I hope you have a playful, laid back, fun, and family/friend filled holiday weekend. Be safe, and appreciate all those that you are with over the weekend. We all have so much to be grateful for – play hard and tell someone how much they mean to you.
Independence Day brings a song to my thought and an image of my dad singing along. It brings tears to my eyes, because as much as my father had his crazy differences with the world and sometimes the government, that man was patriotic, and he loved his country.
Every Fourth of July we would get together as a family and usually go to the local reservoir, have a picnic, or BBQ, play games outside and wait for it to get dark to watch the fireworks. I never got into the thrill of fireworks. While I have seen some amazing firework displays in Michigan, Boston, and Hawaii, I never got crazy excited about them. I mean, as a little kid, sparklers scared me. I always felt my hand was going to catch on fire.
I digress. The song that makes me think of my dad. It is not America the Beautiful, or the National Anthem that reminds me of Independence Day, it is Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to be an American.” I can picture the emotion in my dad’s face whenever that song came on the radio, so much so that when I hear it I cannot control the tears that come to my eyes. It makes me proud to know that his emotion was shared with me.
Whether you are watching fireworks on the Charles River Esplanade while listening to the Boston Pops, or are on a boat on a lake in the middle of our country, at the Capitol lawn in Washington, D.C. or camping at one of our national parks on Thursday, or comfortable at home on your patio, I hope you take a moment to enjoy your family, friends, and be grateful to all the men and women who have fought and defended our country and given us incredible freedoms.
Take a moment to think about all the ways you are free.