Tag Archives: summer

If it’s watermelon time, it must be summer

2 Jun Glass2

It’s not the heat and it’s not the pool opening. It’s not the strappy dresses and sandals or the birds chirping too early and the fire-pitless porch parties lasting past midnight.

What tells me it’s summertime is the large, cardboard box full of big green orbs that greets me when I enter Trader Joe’s.

I received that happy welcome last weekend. There was even a woman handing out watermelon samples at a makeshift tasting station. She advised that the sweetest watermelons were ones with yellow on them. Taking her word for it, I grabbed (if you can “grab” a bowling ball without finger holes) a fine looking specimen and weighted down my cart immediately.

At the official tasting station, they were sampling Watermelon Cucumber Juice. Good stuff! I’d bought a container the week before, but hadn’t opened it yet. As Persian Cucumbers are one of my shopping-list staples, I looked in my cart and thought, “Cukes, watermelon…why not make my own juice?!”

Hydratedly inspired, I searched for a recipe and found a three-ingredient drink I thought I could master. The third ingredient was lime juice – and I found that it makes ALL the difference!

(Although there are several sites with similar recipes, mine came from AllRecipes.com. Thanks, AllRecipes!)

How To Make Watermelon Cucumber Cooler:

I used:

  • 4 Persian cucumbers
  • 1/2 the fruit from a watermelon
  • 2 limes

Trim the ends off your cukes and cut into bite-sized chunks.

Cut the watermelon into chunks.

Combine the cuke and watermelon chunks and liquify in a blender or food processor.

Stir in the juice from the limes. It’s OK if a little lime fruit drops in, too!

It makes a pitcher-full of juice. Enjoy!

This is what it looked like:

Glass2 ingredients

Notes: The cukes were unpeeled. The watermelon had very few seeds, so I just let the few involved get mixed in the batch.

I had planned to make a fizzy drink by adding carbonated water to half a cup of juice, but I got caught up in the deliciousness, and the batch was finished before I remembered I wanted to do that! Next time.

Happy Summer! Recipe time: “Where Pasta Meets Kale”

21 Jun

Trader Joe’s serves up the ingredients for a healthful, nutritious, filling and yummy meal!

The intersection of fresh kale and hearty pasta

The intersection of fresh kale and hearty pasta

Recipe for relief

9 Sep

Olive oil goes the distance, from dressing salads to searing shrimp and now, to keeping us mosquito-bite free.

a natural mosquito repellent

Recipe for relief

Trader Joe’s doesn’t sell the essential oils, but the oils (I used Lemon Eucalyptus and Cinnamon Leaf) can be easily found at Whole Foods, health food stores or several online outlets.

As most of us know, this was a record year for mosquitoes in the U.S. (International friends, has it been the same where you are?) I felt like a captive in my house, unable to enjoy the sun or brave the heat of summer.

I was tempted to cover my skin with Off! or other chemical, awful-smelling agents, but before I resorted to that, I sought out a natural concoction … and found the recipe above.

And it worked! I played with friends outside in a park on a river bank on a sunny, bug-friendly afternoon. No bites! However, about six hours later, I sat on the ground in a short skirt in the evening under trees. Bites happened. Maybe I should have reapplied after so long and before coming in direct contact with the enemy?

Please let us know if you have a recipe for a natural repellent, or if you try this one!

Recipe for a cool summer night

15 Aug

You have to realize that “cool summer night” is not a term we use often in August in Kansas City. In fact, could this be a first? Probably not, statistically speaking, but for me it is.

However, the stars aligned for my cooking sense this week, preparing me for just this sort of fluke weather.

onion and chicken combine to make soup. Water was an essential ingredient, too.

Hot soup on a cool August night

Recipe for a healthy summer hot soup:

1) Poach three or four frozen chicken thighs.

2) Reserve the water to use as stock.

3) Wait 24-48 hours for a chilly day in August.

4) Transfer chicken stock to pot, add:

  • three chopped onions
  • three minced cloves of garlic
  • a handful of chopped cilantro
  • slices of fresh lemon

5) Ladle into a bowl

6) Add salt, fresh lemon juice and freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste.

Enjoy and stay warm until the 90-degree weather returns in a few days.

This post is part of the WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge: Fit to write

How to survive the summer heat

18 Jul

I don’t tell many people about this, but I have Almostitis.

Almostitis is the condition where you want one thing, but you buy something almost like it to save on money, calories and fat content.

Almostitis is not a matter of simply deciding to buy something you like that’s healthier than something else you like. It causes you to buy something you don’t like as much, when you have a craving for something else. Yet, in the moment of purchase, you delude yourself that “this” is going to be just as good, and maybe even better!

Then these cheaper, less-caloric and lower-fat selections sit in our cabinets, refrigerators and freezers until they evaporate or mold.

What does this have to do with surviving summer heat?

A big part of my Almostitis has been about not buying the ice cream I really want. There are pints of fruity sorbet frost-bitten in my freezer. Bars of ice milk cushioning my frozen dumplings.

These cold symptoms boiled to a head a few weeks ago when I wanted to make a root beer float. Instead of buying some vanilla ice cream, I  brought home a container of vanilla frozen yogurt. The most unsatisfying result of so-called good intentions, and the pinnacle of wrong.

The only cure for Almostitis to go to the root of your desire and buy the seminal item. Delicious, refreshing and satisfying.

So, this is one way I’m beating the heat this week:

Trader Joe's Mint Chip ice cream

Pint of summer survival

It’s been a long time since a pint of real, creamy ice cream was walked through my door.

Welcome home.

What’s your favorite TJ way to survive the summer heat?

 

A taste of springtime: Homemade lemonade

24 Apr

It’s the end of April in the Midwest, among other places. In Missouri we had sleet yesterday, and today, we woke up to 30-degree temps and wind chills in the 20s.

But when I stepped into Trader Joe’s last weekend, I could have sworn it was spring! In fact, it could have been verging on summer the way the store was decked out.

Case in point:

A glass of sunshine. Just add a spritz of clear skies, rainbows and unicorns.

A glass of sunshine. Just add a spritz of clear skies, rainbows and unicorns.

It’s a scene that instantly transports me to age 11, visiting my cousins in Memphis, Tenn., running around barefoot in their family’s sprawling, soft, overgrown yard.

The adults sprawled in aluminum folding chairs with loosely woven green-and-white striped plastic strips. They’d sit in those chairs for hours drinking lemonade. And we’d leave our glasses of summer’s nectar by them as we ran around aimfully.

The moms and dads and grandparents would stand up to get a refreshing refill, and they’d have criss-cross red marks on the backs of their legs where their shorts had ridden up from the plastic chairing.

Lemonade is what sunny days taste like.

Thanks for the memories, Trader Joe’s.

And thank you for stopping by. Please visit anytime and leave a kind thought.

Lemonade recipes:

From AllRecipes.com

From Food Network/Paula Deen

From Chow

Summer: Savor the flavor. Caribbean Fruit Floes

31 Aug

I first tried and loved Trader Joe’s Coconut Fruit Floes, giving them a “4-wow” rating. But there are several members of the Fruit Floe family. Judging by the way Caribbean sang for me, it’s a clan with a lot of talent.

Caribbean Fruit Floes

As those of you in the U.S. begin your Labor Day weekend, and for anyone in a country sinking into autumn soon, I would highly encourage you to check out these yummy Popsicles. Although the presence of several tropical fruits are identifiable, strawberry takes center stage.

Have a safe and delicious weekend!
Thanks, TJ’s

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Twitter: @TraderJoesKC

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Pinterest: Trader Joe’s

Related Links:

What’s Good at Trader Joe’s

My Fitness Pal – Nutrition Information

 

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