Thursday, June 30, 2016

Watermelon Cocktails for your summer BBQ's!

Hello friends! Gosh, it's hard to believe that it's almost time to celebrate the 4th of July holiday this weekend! It seems like it was just January ... my how time flies! Summer is my absolute favorite time of the year - the hotter the better - I hate the cold! I love everything that summer evokes - sun, fun, relaxing by the pool or at the beach, flip flops ... and BBQ's! One of my favorite must haves for a backyard BBQ is a delicious Watermelon Cocktail! I'll share a couple of my quick and easy recipes for you to try: 

Watermelon-Tequila Firecracker Cocktail
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 cups diced seedless watermelon (1 pound)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 3/4 cups blueberries
  • 3/4 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves, plus 8 sprigs for garnish
  • 1 1/4 cups silver tequila
  • Ice
In saucepan, bring water and sugar to simmer over medium heat until sugar is dissolved; let cool.  In blender, puree watermelon until smooth; strain the watermelon juice, pressing gently on the solids to extract as much juice as possible.  Discard the pulp.  In pitcher, combine the simple syrup, lime juice, blueberries and mint leaves; using wooden spoon, lightly muddle the blueberries and mint.  Add watermelon juice and tequila; pour into ice-filled glasses; garnish with mint sprigs.
Watermelon-Strawberry Spritzer
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 mint sprigs, plus more for garnish
  • One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups seedless watermelon cubes
  • 2 cups hulled strawberries
  • Ice and chilled sparkling water or champagne, for serving
In saucepan, combine water with sugar, simmer over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat, add 2 mint sprigs, ginger and salt; let stand 10 minutes.  Strain syrup into blender; add watermelon and strawberries; puree until smooth.  Fill glass with ice and pour the fruit puree over; top off with sparkling water or champagne; garnish with mint sprigs.

Watermelon-Blueberry Slushie
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 cups cubed watermelon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 cups ice cubes
In blender, combine blueberries, watermelon, lime juice and sugar; puree until smooth.  Add ice and pulse; blend until mixture is smooth.

A cool and refreshing trick is to use a melon ball tool to scoop watermelon and then freeze the melon balls on a cookie tray ... use frozen melon balls instead of ice cubes -- keeps your drinks cool without deluting them with melted ice cubes!

Hope you enjoy one or more of these delicious drinks at your next backyard BBQ!  Take some time to enjoy the simple things in life - xoxo

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Precious pup!

Isn't this the most precious puppy you've ever seen? It's a brand new color of poodle breed called 'Sable'.  This puppy is a toy (4-8 lbs. full grown).  This sweet angel is on my 'wish list' for my next puppy!  It's got to be one of the cutest things I've ever seen!

This is my sweet girl, Hershey!  She is a 14 year old Chocolate toy poodle that weighs in at 7 1/2 lbs!  She is a precious little girl and the love of my life!  This photo was taken by her groomer on her most recent day of beauty, but when her hair grows out a little, she looks like a teddy bear cub very similar to the puppy photo above!

Hope these sweet puppies made you smile today!  Take some time to enjoy the simple things in life - xoxo

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Cool and Refreshing!

Typically with the onset of the hot summer days, I am always searching for quick, simple light meal options.  One of my absolute favorite summer meals is a homemade chicken salad - either on a sandwich or served without bread with a side of fresh watermelon salad!

Today's lunch is a homemade chicken salad sandwich with fresh squeezed lemonade - YUM!  Here's my recipe for the most delicious chicken salad you've ever tried:

1 package chicken breast - boiled, cooled and cubed
2 - 3 stalks celery, diced
1 - 2 apples, diced
mayonnaise (I use Hellman's)
1 small red onion or shallot, diced
garlic & pepper

After cooking and cooling chicken and dicing all fresh ingredients, mix together in a bowl  Sometimes I substitute fresh diced apple pieces for dried cranberries and/or fresh, diced grapes!  Serve on bread or bed of lettuce - enjoy!

(photo courtesy All Recipes)

And, here is my favorite Watermelon Salad recipe - delicious:

1/2 large chilled seedless watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 small red onion, sliced
1 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup minced fresh mint leaves
2 limes, juiced
1 (4 oz.) package crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, or more to taste

Mix all ingredients together - enjoy!  (Hint, a fun serving idea for a party is to serve this salad in a hollowed out watermelon 'bowl'!)  We will be attending our monthly dinner club next Saturday and I will be bringing this Watermelon Salad to share with the group!  My mouth is watering just thinking about how yummy it will be!

Thanks for stopping by today ... take some time to enjoy the simple things in life - xoxo 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Summer simple treasures!

Hello friends and welcome back to my blog! I haven't posted anything here in quite a while, but have missed sharing fun things with y'all just for fun!  All work and no play makes me cranky, so I've decided to revive my pretty little blog and will once again be sharing inspiration and ideas here to help spark your creativity and fill your world with pretty and delicious things that make you smile!

This is my absolute favorite time of the year ... SUMMER time!  Just mentioning the word 'summer' conjures up visions in my head of backyard BBQ's, fun in the sun, leisurely afternoons spent rocking on the porch with a good book, lake/pool/beach time, family, gardening and all the beautiful colors the world offers during the warm and sunny months of the year!

To me, there is nothing more inviting than a beautiful porch, decorated with warm and welcoming, comfortable furniture, rockers, throw pillows, rugs and fresh flowers!  Who wouldn't want to sit a while in a rocking chair on a cozy porch sipping sweet tea or lemonade?

(photos courtesy of If-ThE-wOrLd-HaD-a-FrOnT-pOrCh)

I love to spend time on a beautifully decorated porch filled with comfy furniture and decorations surrounded by a lovely garden filled with hydrangeas and outlined by a gorgeous iron or white picket fence - my dream place to be!

I think I've talked myself into sitting for a spell out on my porch this afternoon ... and a must have is a ice cold mason jar glass filled with fresh squeezed lemonade, don't you agree?  Homemade lemonade is SO easy to make and so delicious (much better than a mix)!  Here's my simple recipe for you to try:

1 3/4 cups white sugar
8 cups water
1 1/2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice 

In a small saucepan, combine sugar and 1 cup water.  Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar.  Allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until chilled.  Squeeze about a dozen or so lemons until you have 1 1/2 cups of juice, strain seeds but leave pulp.  In pitcher, stir together chilled simple syrup, lemon juice and remaining 7 cups of water. 

Let me know how your fresh squeezed lemonade turns out ... and I'd love to hear what your favorite summertime activity is as well!  Feel free to share my ideas, recipes and inspiration with your blog friends and invite them to follow me here!  Thanks for stopping by today ... take some time to enjoy the simple things in life - xoxo