Here, in middle Tennessee, the earth is bright green, the air is fragrant with magnolias, and the temperature is in the 90s. And so, Summer is in full bloom. The sunshine this time of year, too, seems to be fuller. It changes ever so slightly from the lilting, angled light of Spring, to the dauntless pure rays of Summer. I wanted to find a color palette that captured that special sunshine. To do so, I turned to the fruits of the tropics.
A fruit salad with mango, mandarins, coconut and pomegranate seeds was the perfect inspiration. Topped with a bit of honeyed ginger, it has just the right balance of simmer and sparkle.
The resulting palette is bright and lush, but not overbearing. Just breezy enough for lazy Summer days. Enjoy!
On a recent trip to the Smoky Mountains, I was lucky enough to capture this moment of two Pipevine Swallowtails sipping up a drink of Summer. Their calm beauty inspired me to try a new craft with my little lady when we got home: a mixed-media canvas that is simple, Summery, and of course, butterfly-sweet.
- Patterned paper
- Hot glue gun
- Canvas panel (like these)
- Kids craft paints
- Small craft paint brushes
- Paint a setting onto your canvas panel. Set aside to dry.
- Pick different pieces of patterned paper and cut into a few 3-inch strips. Fold strips in half crosswise.
- Draw a half-butterfly shape onto the underside of the paper so that the middle of the butterfly will be on the paper’s fold. Cut out butterfly shapes.
- Check to see if paint is dry. Once it is, take your paper butterflies and test where you might want to place them.
- Once you’re sure about placement, glue the butterflies to the canvas using the hot glue gun. Take care to only glue their centers so you can achieve a pleasing 3-D effect. (I let my little artist to all of the steps except for this one.)
- Remove any stray glue strings.
- Hang and enjoy!
Hope you enjoy this simple way to craft your way into Summer!
Memorial Day weekend is here, and with it comes the brightest and boldest of seasons. There’s something about the sunshine this time of year that makes colors more saturated and alive. I want to absorb that feeling; to eat it and drink it. So I set out to capture the season’s vivacity in two new recipes.
To stay grounded in the season, I took two warm-weather staples – chips and cheese dip and Mojitos – and recast them with vibrant ingredients. First, the appetizer.
Seed Crackers with Goat Cheese, Apricot Thyme Jam and Pomegranate Seeds
This is almost too easy to call a recipe! But it’s so good that I just had to share. 😉
- 30+ seed crackers (I like Mary’s Gone Crackers brand)
- 1 log goat cheese
- 1 jar apricot jam
- 1 t fresh, minced thyme
- Pomegranate seeds
- Spread goat cheese on crackers, followed by a dollop of jam.
- Sprinkle minced thyme.
- Top with 3-4 pomegranate seeds.
For a refreshing Summer drink, I looked to the Mojito. There are myriad fruit Mojito recipes out there, but the bright, sunny taste of mango fit my definition of “summer in a drink” best. I tried a few variations, and ended up with a simplified version that can be whipped up relatively quickly in a pinch. Just remember to keep extra simple syrup and mangoes on hand!
Simple Mango Mojito
- 2.5 oz of white rum (mango rum would be even better!)
- Juice from 1/2 a lime
- 1 oz of simple syrup (or to taste)
- 6 mint leaves
- Soda water
- 1/4 a mango, cubed
- Ice cubes
- Muddle mint leaves with 2-3 mango cubes.
- Shake rum, syrup and soda water and ice cubes in a shaker.
- In an empty glass, add mint leaves and non-muddled mango cubes (Note: you may also freeze the mango cubes to act as ice cubes. Freezing them also ensures you always have some on hand!)
- Pour rum mixture over fruit.
- Garnish with a lime wedge and extra mint leaves, if desired.
Hope you enjoy these little tastes of sunshine as much as I did. Happy Summer – and cheers!