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Summer Days or Oh-Oh the Summer Nights!

Summer. I have a love/hate relationship with this season. In some ways it is perfection and in others it is super obnoxious. But I was thinking about summer food and bugs (ick) and other random thoughts so I thought I’d share.

Melon Salsa: If you’re a fan of chips and salsa (I’m addicted) or of summer fruit, you will love this recipe. Dice up a cantaloupe, watermelon, and honeydew melon and mix it together in a big bowl. Dice a red onion and a couple orange or yellow bell peppers and stir them in too. Make sure you use red onion and orange or yellow peppers. They’ve got just enough bite to balance out the melon sweetness but aren’t too spicy. You’ll want to use a firm watermelon too but if you’ve got some mushier pieces, set them aside. I’ve got a yummy drink recipe that can use it up perfectly.

Okay so once you’ve got your fruit and veggies tossed together, add in chopped cilantro and lime juice and mix everything up. You can kind of add cilantro and lime to taste. The melon salsa is really good on normal tortilla chips or on those cinnamon pita chips. I eat it plain too, just scoop up a big bowl & sit out on the porch. Another trick is to grill chicken or fish (white fish like mahi is excellent) and then add the salsa on top. Easy, pretty, and never fails to impress guests.

Mosquito Bites: All that fruit (and other sweet stuff) loves to attract bugs during the summer, a fact you are probably well aware of. If you’re lucky, you just have mosquitoes to deal with but some of us get the added bonus of chiggers (a much less harmful cousin of ticks). Anyway, my granny taught me years ago to put clear fingernail polish over a bite. The polish draws out the ‘poison’ and helps keep the bites from itching. So if you end up with a few bites after a picnic or camping trip, give it a try to be itch-free.

Summer Soundtrack: I’m a sucker for good country music during the summer. That and bubblegum pop. Jonas Brothers, Hanson, Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, High School Musical, that’s the music I’m blasting out my car stereo or going on a walk with. And for nights relaxing on the porch or at the lake, I swear by Kenny Chesney, Bonnie Raitt, Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Zac Brown Band, Alison Krauss, and Eric Church.

Movies: Granted, I spend plenty of time indoors anyway. I enjoy outside but there’s so much good TV I need to marathon or movies to watch at midnight that I don’t fully take advantage of the summer. However, whether you love the sun or shy away from it, there are a few movies that scream summer to me. For romance, you can’t go wrong with Roman Holiday, The Notebook, Pretty Woman, Pillow Talk, or Casablanca. I swear by stuff like The Parent Trap (either version), The Swiss Family Robinson (original only), Toby Tyler, Now and Then, Little Giants, and Little Rascals when I need a nostalgia fix. And of course movies like Grease, Dirty Dancing, A Streetcar Named Desire, and American Graffiti are can’t miss.

Last but not least, drinking in the summer. I’m one of those people who loves a fruity drink during the summer but I don’t like having to go through a lot of effort. So I’ve perfected a few tricks. First, always keep grenadine around. It perks up any drink. A diet coke with whipped vanilla vodka & grenadine is sweet & yummy. You can also substitute sprite or pepsi if you’re weird. I love pink tequila with lemonade too or just a standard margarita.

And if you did happen to have a little leftover watermelon from that salsa, this frozen watermelon mojito will make you wish it was summer all year round. So take the watermelon (about 5-6 cups) and blend it with a can of limeade concentrate, at least a cup of clear rum (more if you like a strong drink like me), 1/2 a cup of sparkling water and a handful of crushed mint. After it’s blended, pop it in the freezer for a couple hours and scoop some out when you feel like it. Delicious!

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