Random recipe: Toasted Coconut Vanilla Limeade Slushie

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.

Toasted Coconut Vanilla Limeade Slushie [Adapted from Kitchy Kitchen]

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!

I don’t know…

“I don’t know.” My nephew used to always say this. I would ask him a question and his response would be: “I don’t know.” On Monday, Labor Day, a part of our three-day weekend I asked Chris what he wanted to do. His response: “I don’t know. Just stay in bed. Have breakfast.” That’s all I got from him. So, what did we end up doing? A plethora of randomness. Yes, just like this blog: random olio. That is what we did on our Labor Day. We still stayed in bed. Of course we had breakfast too. But, without any clarity over any other ideas, we ended up doing…

A random hodgepodge of things:

  • posted a bunch of items on ebay
  • purged old paperwork and files
  • posted a bookshelf on Craigslist
  • caught up on emails… lots of emails
  • caught up on a stack of articles that I have wanted to read
  • ran 8 miles
  • our breakfast was yummy
  • got back on track with catching up on “Breaking Bad” (can you believe we are still on season 1?)

I think that Chris will think differently when I ask him what he wants to do, and no longer say: “I don’t know.” Smirk. Smirk. Now he just might have an answer for me. I would like to x, y, and z. I would not like to do anything having to do with Craigslist or ebay, or emails, or the Internet. I would like to not have to do anything productive. I would like to watch movies all day, or be outside and explore. Or, he could say: “I would like to do whatever you would like to do.” Ha. Often that is what happens, and we then end up in some project that somehow is a puking of a closet, or in the garage, that always takes longer than you think.

What did you do over the long weekend?

The real reason summer is over

Summer is over. You might think I am crazy, that the weather is still warm out, but I will give you a few reasons why I am bummed that another summer is over. Sure, I could tell you that schools are back in session which means the time of my commute has just increased by another 10-15 minutes, which means I have to get out of bed earlier. I could also tell you that my company has summer half day Fridays, which the last one occurs for the summer on the Friday before Labor Day. I could tell you that the sun in my backyard is getting rarer and rarer each day. I could tell you that sunsets are getting earlier and earlier and the days are darker and shorter.

All of these things make me crave for life to slow down so I can enjoy things a bit more. Or maybe, I just need to slow down. The real reason I know summer is definitely over has nothing to do with the sun, schools, or light and everything to do with a Pumpkin Spice Latte. I am addicted. Every Spring I get excited for Summer and my avid excitement for iced coffee and every Fall I get giddy over a few months of joy and the ever sweet and addicting Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks. I usually do not like to drink Starbucks. I am one who drinks my coffee black, and prefers to truly savor the flavor and, because of that, I think Starbucks coffee is disgusting. Except for the Pumpkin Spice Latte. You cannot taste the coffee anyways, so what does it matter? I am all about all things pumpkin. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, basically I want anything spiced, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin for the next few months.

September 2 is the launch of the Pumpkin Spice Latte for Starbucks. It seems that each year they launch it earlier and earlier, but I am not complaining. I drink them all throughout fall, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, until a random day in early January when we walk into a Starbucks and order a Pumpkin Spice Latte, and they say they are out. I am then a hopeless wanderer for five months until the days begin to get warm and my iced coffee glee starts all over again.

Go get a Pumpkin Spice Latte today for me.

Summertime happiness

Summer. While in some ways it is still in full force — warm weather and sunny days — it is also on its way out. My company has half day Fridays during the summer and we only have 3 left for this year. Somehow that makes me want to slow down the clock and enjoy every moment of every half day Friday. Once Labor Day hits, we return to a full five-day work week, and it just makes life different. Those extra daytime hours you get back during the summer makes things that much brighter, shinier, and it feels like a longer weekend.

Our summer has been mellow and yet full of change and growth. In my opinion, it’s just how it should be. We have completed a ton of projects around our house and yard, strategized for which upcoming projects have a higher priority or what we should shell out some green in order to proactively fix or repair certain things. We have sat in the sun, done our fair share of grilling, eating seasonal berries and tomatoes, exploring artisan fairs and farmers markets, oh I could go on.

Summer is my favorite time of year. The days are long, the sun is out, it is warm, if not just downright HOT. Freckles begin to populate on my arms, face, and back. There is just a healthy glow that surrounds everyone, not to mention the happiness that exudes almost everyone (especially in Oregon where sunshine is in shortage for nine months out of the year). During the winter I burrow inside and read a book. In the summer I bask in the sun while I read and take cat naps between chapters. What is not to love about that? As with any season of the year, summer is a time of transformation, and I appreciate all the precious moments I have had this summer with Chris, at work, with family (even if it is via text or Facetime). Life is good. I have no complaints.

What do you love about summer?