Today is the last day of a very busy week, and almost the last day of a very busy month. Between a trip to Illinois and two Vacation Bible Schools, June literally whizzed past, and now, with more than a third of the summer behind us, I am bewildered. What happened? Where did it go? How can I get it to slow down, so I can enjoy those long, lazy days that populate mythical summers, and the summers of my own childhood. Fortunately, the first two weeks of July stretch out before me with no camps, no trips, and no plans, except for an occasional party. Nothing but time to spend with my girls, swimming, going to the beach (at last!), eating popsicles, and doing nothing at all… Here, how I am inspired to spend the next few weeks…
1. Nesting; I know that this will sound odd to many, but my home is virtually begging for my attention these days, and I feel the urge to organize. Closets need ordering, surfaces need clearing, systems need to be set up… My desk area needs to be reorganized, again, and I am so inspired by this image, above. Love the colors!
2. Growing Produce, And Cooking With It: I have spent most of my life with virtually no interest in gardening, but the last few months, the organic container garden I have started has converted me, and I find that I enjoy puttering around, picking tomatoes and herbs, caring for my little patch of nature. Tomorrow afternoon, for a family cookout, we will be using herbs, limes, and tomatoes – all homegrown! Here, two of my favorite recipes using two of summer’s most plentiful fruits: tomatoes and limes.
Feta Cheese Confit with Tomatoes and Thyme
I first heard this dish, a childhood favorite, called a confit on an amazing food blog, Serious Eats. Apparently, a cheese, esp goat, mozzarella, or feta, steeped in herbs and olive oil overnight, is a confit. My mother’s version involves diced tomatoes, thyme, and cubes of feta cheese (you can also use the crumbles) in olive oil. I don’t know why it’s so good, but it is, especially when served with toasted pita bread. Yum.
Take two limes, wash them, slice off the ends, and cut them into 8 wedges each. Throw them in the blender with 1/2 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk, and 3 cups of water. Blend, pulsing 5 times. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Serves 4. Yum again!
3. Frozen Fun: Last time I made ice cream, it was last summer, and it was a solo affair, done after the girls were already in bed. But Lola recently expressed an interest in making ice cream with me, so I plan to tackle my long-discontinued fave flavor from Haagen Dazs, Honey Vanilla, again. The secret, I’ve learned, is to start with a custard base. It’s a bit more work but so worth it.I know she will love it as much as I do. I also plan on breaking in the instant ice pop maker I just bought at HomeGoods.
Here are a few of the other simple pleasures we plan on indulging in this summer…
- Teaching Lola how to ride her bike, without training wheels (the secret, I’ve heard, is to remove the pedals until she learns to balance)
- Starting a “summer box” tradition, where they collect seashells, snails, rocks, and other summer treasures and store them in a special box. Maybe the one they just made at VBS.
- Reading, reading, and more reading, with both girls.
- Spending lots of fun time with Eva in the pool until she loses the last of her lingering fear
- Spending some one on one time with each of my girls
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