Let’s take a break from Life Defining Questions and talk about summer, shall we? Half because I’m very much in love with summer and half because I’m a bit of a hot mess express right now. I had to run to catch the train home from NYC (I am the worst at this), forgot the fork I was supposed to remember so I could eat leftover salad on the train, am 100% eating leftover salad with my hands because I have no other food options, and somehow got an instant cold the moment I sat down (?). Also, I smell bad. See above: ran here. In NYC, in July. The guy sitting next to me drew the short straw. Sorry, dude.
So let’s reflect on some happy things in life. Things like lightning bugs and early sunrises. Not things like sudden onset congestion and 14 kale leaves for dinner.
This makes me feel like a basic white girl. Am I a basic white girl? The paragraph before this contains kale, so it doesn’t look good. Basic or not, I do love iced coffee. So much. My all-time favorite is the Iced Abacus from Elementary Coffee in Harrisburg.
I’m a better version of myself when I go for walks on summer mornings. Sometimes these walks are accompanied by podcasts (The Next Right Thing, Seminary Dropout, and The Popcast are frequent flyers) but more often than not, I like to walk in the quiet of the morning with birds singing in the background.
Specifically, berries. And specifically specifically when those berries have been handpicked at Paulus‘. Jenny and I picked raspberries and blueberries there over the weekend. It was nearly 90 degrees at 10am and I have the sunburn to prove it, but it was still so wonderful.
Also, side note, do you guys know about cantaloupe? How it harbors all the world’s evil, including salmonella and listeria??? I bought a cantaloupe that was questionable inside so I asked the internet how to tell if a cantaloupe is bad and learned that cantaloupe has been parading around as fruit but is actually raw chicken.
Fun fact: the guy who owns Talenti also started a popsicle company called Solero. The popsicles testify that this is true. The coconut one is basically frozen summer. I am also very interested in trying the Strawberry Colada and Piña Colada varieties because they sound just as promising.
The hummingbirds have returned to our backyard after inaugural sightings last summer and this brings me an unreasonable amount of joy. PSA: the red base of the standard-issue hummingbird feeder is actually two parts, a top and a bottom, which is something I’m guessing most people figure out early on. I am not most people, and thus I have spent a full year trying to clean the inside by repeatedly filling it and shaking it to slowly drain the soapy water out. Turns out you can just open the base and call it a day. Who knew.
Unexpectedly, I’ve become an avid bird lover. I refill the feeders multiple times a week. This print is hanging in our kitchen. We. Own. Binoculars.
Someday we’ll talk about how the best part of Hinterland may have been birds. But for today I’ll say that few things restore my general sense of peace and wellbeing quite like watching the birds in the backyard. Especially now that the roster includes goldfinches, thanks to a new feeder and finch food.
I may need to go clubbing to recover from this post.
(I’ve never actually gone clubbing, surprising to no one.)
I’ve been mostly anti-swimming ever since my mom pulled me out of gymnastics and put me into swimming lessons. In true mom form, she realized my chances of drowning were much higher than my chances of becoming an Olympic gymnast. I had a different opinion, and also, indoor pools are the actual worst. The trough of warm, stagnant water around the edges? What is happening there? And the chlorine sauna??? Nope.
But with each passing year my appreciation for a good outdoor pool situation grows—aided in large part by our kind neighbor’s saltwater pool and her willingness to share it. Being in/on/near the water just feels like summer, and I’m becoming more and more of a fan.
Hot Dogs and Mac Salad
I realize the contents of most hot dogs are questionable. But whatever, you guys. Cantaloupes are trying to kill us anyway. A hot dog and chips is, obviously, a nearly perfect summer meal. Add in mac salad and it’s the whole dream. I love making it with small lumaconi shells. And my secret ingredient in everything is some form of pickle. In macaroni salad, it’s diced bread and butters (and I bet a little bit of pickle juice would be a good addition, too).
Chips and Salsa
Let’s be clear: chips and salsa can be found in our house year-round. This love is too strong to be limited to a single season. But I do especially love chips and salsa in the summer when paired with a cold drink. Or as a late-night snack 30 minutes ago when I got home from NYC. Or really anytime. Mission triangles are my chip of choice and Jack’s Special Salsa, medium, can’t be beat.
Fish Taco Bowls
I put a photo of fish taco bowls in my 100 Days of Summer series and got a bunch of questions, so here’s the deal: these bowls start with white rice, either plain with butter or with a little Calicutts Caribbean seasoning. White fish, usually tilapia, is the next stop; usually grilled, always seasoned with Caribbean. From there, it’s a free-for-all of anything in the kitchen. Grilled peppers and onions, sweet corn, black beans, red onions, diced jalapeños, avocado, cilantro, lime. New this year: a spicy cashew cream sauce. So, so good on these bowls.
Ok, friends. It’s your turn! Any summer favorites the rest of us should know about?
Loved this article about the modern trap of monetizing joy.