Summer

raspberrycakeOur local market recently had raspberries on sale -- 77 cents per half pint. I bought 8.

Since tangy fresh raspberries are highly irresistible (and perishable), Jeff and I have eaten a lot of berries over the last few days in cantaloupe boats, smoothies, berry parfaits, salads, scones, and today's raspberry sour cream cake.

This may just be the perfect summertime cake. It's delightfully quick and easy to make, and it's versatile. I know. I loved the raspberry sour cream cake so much that I made a blueberry buttermilk one too. Most of all, it's delicious.

Underneath the crunchy sugar-dusted top is a pillowy soft interior punctuated by bursts of juicy, tart raspberries. This cake needs no adornment, but a dollop of creme fraiche doesn't hurt.

Read more ...

It’s National Picnic Month and when you think about it, a picnic is really a mini vacation. Whether you’re spending a day at the beach, hiking in a canyon, boating on a lake, or just heading to your local city park, here are some great products designed to make your next picnic even more fabulous.

portableblanketXL Blanket
Wet grass is a pain in the, well, you get the picture. This XL Blanket is water resistant so you and your picnic stay dry. It also folds into an easy carrying tote with an adjustable shoulder strap. Keep it in the trunk of your car and you’ll be ready at a moment’s notice. $35.99

 

portablegrillBioLite
A stylish bbq is one way to seriously impress your friends and family!

The BioLite CampStove and and grill offer a super portable and compact way to grill your food using wood instead of charcoal or propane. The stove and grill together weigh less than 5 pounds. And the geeks at your picnic will be impressed that the surplus electricity from the stove can be used to charge a phone. Stove and grill combo, $224.85

Read more ...

chilled-oatmeal-in-a-jar-011Several years ago, when I was visiting an out-of-town friend, she served oatmeal in a very interesting way. She told me we were eating breakfast Portland-style. That’s where she had chilled oatmeal for the first time.

She called it Swiss Muesli, which I think of as a wholesome and hearty granola-type cereal. This was different. The night before serving she had mixed uncooked old fashioned oats with skim milk, brown sugar, dried fruit (she used dried blueberries and cranberries), low-fat vanilla yogurt, salt and chopped pecans. She covered the mixture and chilled it overnight. At serving time, she scooped the mixture into cereal bowls. No cooking and no heating involved. It was very good, and what a convenient way to serve a nutritious breakfast to overnight guests.

I’ve taken my friend’s breakfast idea a step or two further by making it with dairy-free milk and yogurt and portioning the mixture into wide-mouth jars for individual servings. This makes it an easy grab-and-go breakfast and a very convenient way to serve a house full of summer weekend guests or a husband who heads to the golf course very very early on weekend mornings.

Read more ...

summer-reading-08.jpgI have books stashed everywhere. The car. The kitchen. The upstairs and downstairs bathrooms and the living room just in case I’m watching something on TV that isn’t recorded and I have to endure the commercials.

This summer I read the following books:

"My Lobotomy" by Howard Dully:  Somewhat tedious, at least what I can remember of it.

"Outliers: The Story of Success" by Malcolm Gladwell: Utterly fascinating as the two previous Gladwell books have been. He describes how timing, culture and class are major contributors to success. How one can have natural talent, even genius, but it often takes circumstances the reader might never have considered to optimize these qualities. I knew if I’d just been born in the 1960s, I might have had a better shot at organizing my garage!

Read more ...