Summer days have been filled with so much. Early mornings and late nights and lots of moving parts in between. As we are gearing back up for the start of school and back to campus for me, I have been reflecting on the gifts of this summer. There are many things I cherish from this summer including- a different pace, getting to go on adventures, lingering time with people, & reading great books. Some the best parts have been enjoying things that have been passed along to me.
They are a mixed bag, but all things I wanted to continue to pass along… to you!
- A newly cherished ingredient: Vermont Maple Syrup. When my college roommate came for a visit this spring, she brought me a classically packaged, big jug of Pure Maple Syrup, produced by friends/ community members of theirs in Vermont! That in itself was a treat- local syrup. When I asked Karin what she used it for (other than pancakes and waffles), she said, “Everything! Any time you would sweeten something you can use it.” So, I have taken her advice and have put it in many things- salad dressing, Chia pudding, plain yogurt for parfaits, homemade “healthier” lemonade-with fresh squeezed lemon juice, or for a more pungent healthy probiotic energizing beverage made with apple cider vinegar Haymaker’s Punch– my recipe is HERE . I have also used the syrup in recipes – my favorite of which is this one – Browned Butter Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats from the stunning and delicious Half Baked Harvest. These bars are addictive and easy to put together with things you probably have on hand. See link above for her blog and recipe.
The good news is you don’t have to go to Vermont, or have a house guest deliver maple syrup to enjoy your own as it is found in stores everywhere. Do you have favorite use of Maple Syrup?
2. Meal Inspiration: Garden Focused Dinners. My favorite meals of the summer have included Corn on the Cob, Sliced Tomatoes and Roasted Squash/Peppers/Onions. All of these vegetables were gifts to me from beautiful gardens- thank you Ashley and Jen!
The Corn was used for Elote- Mexican Street Corn – written about in this post. The sliced tomatoes stand alone for me as a focal point of a meal- sliced and sprinkled with salt and pepper. We also have consumed alot of tomato sandwiches. On heavy rotation have been the Tomato Sandwich from Dinner: A Love Story (Toasted bread, mayo, salt and pepper and ripe, red tomatoes piled in between the bread!) and its distinctly different but equally delicious cousin BLT .
Roasted zucchini, squash and bell peppers went into our favorite Roasted Veggie Pasta! Delicious cold, room temp, or warmed and makes enough for a few meals, or to share.
I have loved looking at the produce in the bowl that has been gifted to us and imagining the meal that is possible!
3. Spiritual Encouragement: Morning Prayer/Mediation App.
My friend Susan introduced me to this app- Pray As You Go. I have been using it every day for a few weeks and I just love it. It slows me down and causes me to think, focus and reflect. It is from the UK and the speakers have beautiful voices, and thought provoking questions to ponder. I have gotten Dave hooked too. It’s been the most fruitful 14 minutes of my day.
4. Cleaning Joy: The Norwex Envirocloth is revolutionizing my cleaning! My other friend Ashley is selling Norwex household cleaning supplies and I am wowed. I wish I could show you all of my windows, counters, appliances (that I’ve had a chance to clean). They are shiny and clean…and with only using water and this cloth. Even more, I wish I could give you my cloth to enjoy!
I bought a few items including a dust cloth and glass polishing cleaner. They are all incredible and make cleaning so much more speedy and effective. I have ordered other items (and hosted a party where I *won/earned* a bunch of other items) that I am anxiously anticipating in the mail! If you want to do some shopping you can check Norwex out HERE.
We are all back to school today – the rhythm (the welcomed part) and the grind (the dreaded part) will ensue. I’m thankful for these gifts of the summer! Thankfully, most of which (minus the incredible tomatoes), last beyond a season.