Showing posts tagged summer
Two bands I love just dropped new albums to lift our tired popped out ears for the end of summer.
You probably know Passion Pit from their wildly popular first album “Manners.”Â Even though their high-pitched, electric, playful songs didn’t get a lot of radio play, I know you’ve heard Passion Pit’s “Moth’s Wings” before.Â Gossamer is very much like that album.Â I also need to say that the Passion Pit concert I saw in LA goes on my list of top ten ever. The energy in the room is unlike any other I’ve every felt at a concert…and…you get to jump around like a crazy kid :)
The Gaslight Anthem offers a heavier rock sound like we rarely hear these days (and I honestly long for).
Both are included on the Rdio playlist below, The Dog Days of Summer 2012.Â I made it with weightlifting workouts, bbqs, and trying to be productive around the house in mind.Â Well, that’s how I’m going to use it.
If you haven’t signed up for Rdio yet, do it (and you can follow my lists).Â I love being able to pay $10 a month and get unlimited music and sync it across all of my devises.Â Rdio’s “New Releases” section is the best discovery tool for new music (along with the “>Band Of The Day app).
While you’re at it, follow Clintus on Rdio, I’m loving his mixes right now.
BTW, yes, I’m aware of Spotify, I just really like Rdio right now.
Yes, I know, it’s embarrassing I watch Dr. Oz.Â I just have the tv on in the background and he comes on!Â But, as I suffer through it, I pick up a lot of great tips.Â Yesterday, there were so many I couldn’t type fast enough to keep up.Â Here are the ones I thought would be most helpful for you:
1.Â Sun Burn Remedy
Slice a fresh potato in half or blend one up in water.Â Apply to the sunburn and then rise off.Â He says their phytochemicals will help ease your pain and heal the burn.
2.Â Split Ends.
Give yourself a beer rinse!Â Let your hair soak for 5 minutes and then rinse with shampoo and conditioner.
3.Â Weight Loss.
Dr. Oz referred viewers to the 7 day crash diet from Dr. Joel Fuhrman.Â The lady who they had give reactions to the rules of this diet seemed very uncomfortable with it (and giving up sugar on everything!), but it sounds reasonable to me. Eat 90% fruits and veggies and 10% meat and dairy.Â They advised lean breakfasts, belly-blasting bean lunches, and “skinny” shakes. Â Try to include BOMs in your meals.Â That is, eat more berries, onions, and mushrooms to help shed pounds.Â Click the link for all the details.
4.Â Dog Care
There were a bunch of different topics regarding dogs.Â Most of his answers I already incorporate into Mason’s life, like mixing wet food and dry food to keep your dogs happy and their teeth clean.Â For more detailed tips, click here.
Over the past few weeks friends have been telling me they are off to Rome and Italy for vacation.Â (Lucky devils.)Â My concern for them was that they had booked so many days in Rome and not enough time in smaller towns. While I have great respect for Rome and truly love its history, the metropolitan life set amongst the ruins just doesn’t do it for me, especially in comparison to the rest of Italy.Â It shouldn’t shock you I feel the same way about Paris, French countryside, and Cote d’ Azur.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying don’t go to Rome, I’m saying, take it on as a tourist challenge.Â You can see SO MUCH in two days if you plan ahead.Â After you see the sites, then rent a car, hop on a train, and head to one of the more provincial towns (even Florence!) or the coast.Â The interior of Italy is so beautiful that getting lost on a country road is actually a great day.Â As for the coast, parts can be a bit touristy, but when you find a cozy hotel and stroll the cobblestone streets, you can’t help but fall in love with the provincial charm.Â It feels like the movies.
The key is to talk to the locals.Â They are SO friendly and enjoy sharing their culture, in particular the details of food and wine, with you.
I’ve had the pleasure of going to Italy several times and visiting Rome, Florence, Milan, Genoa, Naples, Portafino, Santa Margarita, Sorrento, and Capri.Â Florence and Milan were my favorite cities to explore while Portafino and Sorrento romanced my heart.Â Somehow Venice has not made it on an itinerary yet, but one day it will!
My suggestions for visiting Italy:
- Pick one or two major cities.Â Choose between Rome, Florence, Milan, Venice.
- Plan a road trip and interesting destination outside of one of them.Â The Tuscan countryside outside Florence was my choice!
- Pick a small town to be your landing spot for at least 4 days R&R.Â The Amalfi coast is the most popular, but you really can’t go wrong anywhere.
- Plan a day trip outside of this spot.
Guides to help you plan:
Bikini season is here and thankfully laser hair removal is going on sale left and right! Keep a lookout on your favorite discount sites. I just saw this steal on Half-Off Depot in Atlanta. I’m on treatment 1 of 6 and will continue to get them every 5-6 weeks and keep my fingers crossed it works. (I can’t stand those little red bumps.)
Doing the same thing on the grill, using the same rubs, dipping your veg in the same ranch, gets old.Â Spice up your summer grillin’ party with these marinades to give your meat new flavor.
Of course, it’s not a party without some indulgent dip, so I’ve included a recipe for queso!
Last weekend I was searching for a “healthy” alternative to using the old faithful Velveeta and Rotel in a crock pot combo for queso and came across the one below.Â The chick blogging about it likes college football, grew up with the same Velveta recipe, and enjoys eating healthy.Â sSince we have so much in common, I took her word that the “Eating Well” recipe wouldn’t repulse my guests.Â She was right.Â This queso is smokey and delicious!
I’ve been using this since college :)
- Â½ cup olive oil
- Â¼ cup vinegar
- 1/3 cup lime juice
- Â½ chopped onion
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp oregano
- Â½ tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- Â¼ tsp cumin
- Â½ tbsp paprika
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large onion, sliced.
- 2 lbs skirt steak, chicken, pork tenderloin
- large plastic Ziploc bags
1. Mix all ingredients together in the plastic bag.
2. Add beer to taste, you donât need the whole can, just to dilute and increase amount of marinade.
3. Put meat in bag.
4. Put in refrigerator overnight (or at least 6 hours).
5. Cook on highest heat in pan, or even better on the grill.Â Of course don’t forget to cook the onion slices too!
Serve inside warmed tortillas, guacamole, and drizzled with the healthy queso.Â If you want to lighten it up, add a little lettuce for a refreshing crunch.
Healthier Queso Dip
Eating Well, Feb ‘09 and photo via Culinary Adventures of a New Wife
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup light colored beer
- 1 1/2 cups milk, divided
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 3/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar (I added more)
- 1 10 oz can Rotel (drained)
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp chili powder
- cayenne pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup scallions (optional)
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro (optional)
- Â Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
- Add onion & garlic, and saute until beginning to soften and brown.
- Add beer and cook until reduced slightly, about 1 minute.
- Add 1 cup milk and bring to a simmer.
- Whisk the remaining 1/2 cup milk and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until bubbling and thick, about 1-2 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low, add cheese and cook, stirring until melted.
- Add tomatoes, lime juice, salt, chili powder and cayenne (if using).
Serve warm, garnished with cilantro & scallions.
If you really want to impress your guests.Â Slice up tortillas (flour, corn, or wheat) and fry them in hot EVOO.Â Drain the oil by placing hot chips on paper towels before serving with sea salt and other seasonings.
Grilled Pork Chops
From David Burke’s New American Classics (love this book because it also gives you a “second day” recipe)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 3 cloves garlic, cut into slivers
- 3 leaves fresh sage
- Zest of lemon
- Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
- 6 10-ounce pork chop, fat removed, frenched (I left it all on!)
Combine all ingredients in a plastic bag and let marinate for at least 6 hours.Â Grill, turning occasionally so it doesn’t burn for about 14 minutes or until thermometer reads 140 degrees.
This pork tastes even better the second day!Â Slice up the leftovers and make a fresh salad with granny smith apples and toasted pecans.Â Whisk together a vinaigrette with 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and pepper.
I’m sure you’re going to be involved in the Fourth of July festivities in one way or another. Whether you’re hosting the party or attending, consider whipping up one of these recipes to satisfy your friends:
1. Avocado Pesto Dip
Opt for something other than traditional guacamole! Combine these simple ingredients to taste.
- Very ripe avocados
- Sliced basil
- Minced garlic
- Fresh ground salt and pepper
- Thick grated Parmesan cheese
The more lemon you add, the thinner it will get.
Serve with pita chips OR Handmade Tortilla Chips (see instructions to make below).
2. Fresh Pineapple Salsa
Another recipe you can make to taste.
- 1 pineapple chopped into very small chunks.
- Chopped red pepper
- Chopped fresh jalapeno
- Minced garlic
- Chopped cilantro
- A teaspoon of EVOO
- Salt and pepper
- Lime (squeeze in the juice)
Serve with bagged chips OR….
3. Handmade Tortilla Chips
People are always so impressed when I make these. The process is time-consuming, not difficult.
- Wheat or White Flour Tortillas
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt or galic salt
- Dried herbs (optional)
- Large sauce pan
- Paper towels
Heat about 3/4 inch of oil in the pan. Cut tortillas into triangles like a pizza. Throw a few drops of water into oil; if it bubbles when it hits, oil is hot enough. Put one layer of tortillas in oil, turn once or twice until golden brown. Set on paper towels and season.
4. Berry Infused Vodka Cocktails
This is one of my signature recipes that my friend love and hate me for :)
- LOTS of fresh strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries
- 2 handles decent vodka
- Soda water
- Fresh squeezed orange juice
The night before the party, muddle most of the berries in the bottom of a pitcher with a lid. Pour in vodka and let it sit overnight.
For the cocktail, fill a cup with ice, add vodka with soda water and a splash of oj.
5. Spicy Cayenne Shandy
Sooo refreshing and unique. I found this recipe in Real Simple magazine.
- 3 cups fresh lemonade (simple syrup, lemons, water)
- 2 bottles of beer
- Course kosher salt
- Cayenne pepper
To make the lemonade: put 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of water into a saucepan. Bring to a boil stirring occassionaly until sugar is dissolved. Put syrup, 1 cup fresh lemon juice, 2 1/2 to 3 cups of water into a pitcher. Add beer.
Mix the salt and pepper together to rim a tumbler. Add ice and lemonade.
6. Bad-Ass Smokeless Ribs
I posted the full recipe a month or so ago. Unbelievably delicious!
7. Broccoli and Sweet Onion Kabobs
Instead of hassling with a salad, grill up these greens that don’t require a fork. Simple cover with a little oil, salt, and pepper. Maybe even drizzle a little agave on the onion.
8. Cucumber Hummus Crostinis
A healthier snack to munch on.
- Thinly sliced cucumbers
- Toasted bread or crackers
Spread hummus on bread and top with cucumber.
“I’m definitely on the lookout for some new jumpers/rompers. I have a few, but I want something with a fun summer print!” — Reader Holly, who sent me this pic of her aspirational summer jumpers.
You know what? Me too! I don’t have any bright floral daytime jumpers. How is that even possible? TopShop was always a reliable spot in London and according to their Head To Toes, I can also find some in NYC.
- Grace Potter (left): Topshop jumper and Payless wedges
- Catherine Popper: Josh Brody jumper and thrift shop belt