Tag Archives: summer

Pineapple Pomegranate Popsicles

Yesterday the pavement on our driveway was oozing and bubbling. Today the weather was slightly cooler – just enough to solidify the lava flow – but it was still blazing. My feet burned stepping out on the wooden planks of the porch and the metal clip of Owen’s leash was hot to the touch.

We’re Mainers. We’re supposed to be prepared for any weather, so we did what we do best: we coped. (Actually, Owen is reportedly from Arkansas and I was born in Massachusetts, but we’ve got squatters rights.)

Owen sat by the pool to beat the heat.

Owen by the pool

I sat next to him, dunked my feet and ate a wonderfully refreshing Pineapple Pomegranate Popsicle. And played Angry Birds.

What?

Now, you know you want to be as cool we are (or at least as Owen is), so you need the popsicle recipe.

First, you need these:

ice pop molds

Because store-bought popsicles are full of sugar, high fructose nastiness or other bad-for-your-body sweeteners. Not that I’m judging. Except that I am.

Pineapple Pomegranate Popsicles

Ingredients

  • 2 c. cubed fresh pineapple (canned won’t yield the right amount of sweetness)
  • 1 – 1-1/2 c. Pom juice
  • 1/2 c. ginger beer (I use Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew, which is sweetened only with pineapple juice and honey)
  • 2 Tbs. lime juice

Directions

1. Place pineapple chunks in a blender. Pour in Pom juice until just covered. Add ginger beer and lime juice. Blend until smooth.

2. Pour into ice pop molds. Leave a little room at the top for expansion as the pops freeze. (Also, the ginger beer makes it frothy. You may need to scoop out some of the foam and pour in more of the mixture.)

full ice pop molds

3. Freeze for four to six hours.

4. Enjoy! You may need to run the molds under cool water to get the popsicle out.

popsicle under faucet

But it is so worth it!

Popsicle!

Sorry. This picture is actually of a watermelon-mango popsicle I made a few weeks ago (it sounds better than it was). I didn’t take any pictures of the Pineapple Pomegranate ones because I was too busy eating them, but they are a deep red with swirls of pink froth running throughout.

Beautiful on the inside and the out!

Like this guy:

Owen by the pool

Stay cool!

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Happy Memorial Day?

patriotic nail colors

Happy Memorial Day weekend!

While it’s important to remember why we celebrate this holiday, it’s equally important that we do celebrate it.

I’ve found it so easy to feel sad or guilty with all the reminders out there to “remember the fallen”. Yes, we must not forget that freedom has not been free. Yes, we should never forget those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, nor their families.

But the sacrifice must not have been made in vain. Those of us who remain behind should respectfully say a silent thank you. And then we should find joy in a long weekend, in being with family and friends, in firing up the grill and cracking a cold one and even shopping the sales.

I think they’d want it that way.

How about you? What are you doing to celebrate this weekend?

A Misguided Tour of Champney Falls Trail

Yesterday was a great day.

The sun was shining with the bright and hazy heat of late summer, the sky wore infinite shades of blue, and I performed a public service.

I introduced a friend to hiking.

This is D

This is D.

D is a newly baptised hiker and fellow Milspouse. Her sweetie is where my sweetie is.

We hiked Mount Chocorua. This is pronounced “Cho-koo’-ra”, unless you are my husband, in which case it is purposely mispronounced “Choke-a-roo-ah” in order to elicit an eye roll from me.

Because this was D’s first hike, I picked a mountain that I had climbed before in the hopes that it would maximize our chances of staying on the right trail and minor things like that.

While we’re on the subject, here’s a piece of hiking advice: When you see an arrow that points to the right, like this…

Turn right

…you should not immediately cross the stream directly in front of you and hike 30 feet into the woods.

At least I only went 30 feet before I realized something was wrong.

Anyway, Champney Falls Trail starts our fairly wide and flat, but trail maintenance should really consider putting the signs a little lower. And making them bigger. And maybe yellow. With blinking lights.

Hey, MilSpouses with deployed soldiers have a lot to talk about, okay? We can’t be distracted by trivial things like trail markers.

After a slight but steady climb of about a mile and a half, we came to this juncture:

Champney Falls sign

Now that’s what I call a sign.

We took a left and headed another 0.3 miles to the falls.

Champney Falls

The falls were beautiful – peaceful with the sound of rushing water and refreshingly cool.

Which was probably why I got distracted, crossed the stream again and headed off in the wrong direction. Again.

But I realized it right away! That’s got to count for something, right?

Right…?

After the falls, if you go the right way, there is a steep rock staircase and the climb gets tough for another mile or so. It levels out for a bit before the trail comes out of the woods.

Rock summit

Those little dots covering the second peak are people. In this picture, it looks lower than the nearer peak, but it’s really not. In fact, the last 0.2 miles are a bit hairy, and not particularly well-marked. The yellow blazes had kind of faded out by then.

It’s true!

Excuse me, but the point of the story is that we eventually, after a couple of freaky rock scrambles, made it to the top.

D and I at the summit

The mountain in the background with all the clouds hovering over it is Mount Washington.

I think.

D and I took a nice long break for lunch and had a very pleasant chat before making our way back down. D, who is a runner, was a super trooper. We made ridiculous time on this trail. The trail description advised that you allow six hours for the roundtrip hike. We made it in five and a half, including our lunch break.

She was also excellent company. We talked about shoes and ships and deployment. I had forgotten how nice it is to have someone to talk to that is going through the same things you are.

And the best part is, I didn’t even scare her away from hiking by almost getting us lost three times! She’s hooked now, too.

I’m looking forward to trying another hike soon. Only this time maybe I’ll bring a compass. And a GPS. And…

Oh hell, I’ll just bring Denis and we’ll follow him.

Jam Session

Almost every summer my mom and I spend a day making jam. It’s a lovely mother-daughter experience that consists of us cursing and swearing in Italian when we burn our fingers on the hot jam jars or because the lids aren’t sealing properly.

It’s good times.

But the jam makes wonderful, delicious Christmas gifts, so it’s all worth it in the end. Besides, cursing and swearing is how Italians have fun.

This year, as I was contemplating which kind to make – my favorite is peach, but the real crowd pleaser is blueberry – I came up with what I thought was a really cute idea.

What if we made small jars of red, white and blue jam? I am not the patriotic type, so I honestly have no idea where this came from, but it seemed àpropos, considering the situation.

Red and blue were easy – strawberry and, of course, blueberry. But what would make a clearish or cream-colored jam? Annoyed Army Wife gave me the answer when she mentioned that she had canned some white peach jam last year.

Perfect!

My mom found some 4-ounce jelly jars for us and we were off! Last night we the finished up by making the blueberry.

red, white and blue jams

Now I need to come up with a clever way to “package” the three jams. We thought about getting different prints of red, white and blue material and cutting squares to cover the lids, but I’m not convinced that wouldn’t be overkill.

Besides, what I really need is something to put the jars in. Something red, white and blue, maybe? That’s going to be tough to find with all the fall items coming out now.

Anyone have any suggestions?

I have one:

If you’re going to make blueberry jam…

blueberry stains

…don’t wear your favorite pair of shorts.

Pepper Update

Remember this banana pepper?

Baby banana pepper

Now it looks like this:

Big banana pepper

Anyone know when to pick a banana pepper?

Anyone know when to pick a peck of pickled peppers?

Besides Peter Piper, I mean.

A Pleasant Hike

Yesterday I hiked Pleasant Mountain with our friend Denis and his daughter, A. I had originally planned on taking Owen along. The moderate 5.8-mile roundtrip would have been perfect for him, but, alas, Owen has been sidelined for the rest of the summer hiking season. He has a shoulder injury that has put him on the DL indefinitely. Doctors orders.

(The doctor has also ordered pain meds, massage, controlled activity, physical therapy and 5-10 minutes of icing per night. Let me tell you a little something about how much Owen enjoys having his shoulder iced: he doesn’t. But if his limp improves, the struggle will be worth it.)

The hike went off without a hitch. It was a beautiful day (I forgot my hat and my sunscreen, so I got a little crisped), the views were phenomenal for a 2006-foot peak and we had a lot of fun.

Care to join me for a pictorial tour?

Southwest Ridge trailhead

There are several trails leading up to the peak. We took Southwest Ridge Trail, which has a total elevation gain of 1,800 feet. Not a bad little workout.

A Pleasant view

The trail was not as wooded as we were anticipating, which meant that 1) the views were plentiful and 2) I got sunburned.

Denis gets a closer look

Here we have the North American Outdoorsman in his natural habitat. He seems pretty focused on something. Let’s take his picture and see what he does!

(It’s a lot funnier if you read that with an Australian accent.)

Summit sign

Oddly enough, after this summit sign, we made a steady decent for a good third of a mile or so. There is a smaller peak that we hit before heading down into the ravine and back up to the main peak.

Pleasant summit

The “shoe-around-the-summit-marker” shot is a tradition.

Den and A at the summit

Den and A are checking out the view westward into the White Mountains. Look at those misty shapes – just beautiful! There is something almost spiritual about being out there for me. It is very humbling. Very therapeutic.

You can’t see it in that picture, but the summit was literally a-buzz with dragonflies. Iridescent blue and green wings were darting everywhere. It was very cool.

The bonfire

Gondor calls for aid!

That was all I could think when Den and A scrambled up on this rock slab where someone had built a deadwood would-be bonfire. I hope no one tries to light it anytime soon. The area is so dry that the leaves on all the trees are wilted and sad-looking. The whole mountain would go up like kindling.

All in all, not a bad way to spend the day. I almost forgot, for a few minutes, how very, very ready I am for this deployment to be over.

Friday Fill-In #4

Welcome to “Military Spouse Friday Fill-In” hosted by Wife of a Sailor.

This week’s questions are:

1. What food reminds you of your spouse?

Brussels sprouts. My husband was NOT big on vegetables and fruits when I met him, and though I haven’t yet penetrated his defenses around fruit, I have gotten him to try a fair amount of new veggies, including spinach, asparagus, Swiss chard and his current favorite, Brussels sprouts. Of all things. Half them, brown them in olive oil with garlic, salt and pepper them, then add a little bit of water and balsamic vinegar to finish steaming them. Yum!

2. Who would you rather sit next to in a cross-country plane ride: an irritating non-stop talker, or a quiet stare-er?

Oi. This is a tough one, but I think the quiet stare-er. I could probably escape that by reading, but I’d feel rude doing that to the talker. Then things could get ugly. I can give a hell of a dirty look, though, so most people don’t really talk to me.

3. What are your best tips on how to save money?

a. Comparison shop online before making big purchases.

b. Don’t nickel and dime yourself to death by falling for the “conveniences”: make a pot of coffee most days instead of stopping at Dunkie’s or Starbucks; buy larger quantities and divide instead of getting the pre-packaged servings; pack your lunch.

c. Buy store brand.

d. Take care of what you have. Because mass production has made everything so cheap in this country, we tend to replace instead of repair. This is not only costly, but wasteful.

4. What is your favorite summer memory?

The simple days: swimming all day in the neighbor’s pool, running for the ice cream man, going home to a family supper with tomato salad, fresh corn and other summer foods, then back for a campfire and puffy, toasted marshmallows.

5. Do you believe in ghosts?

I’m not sure, but I hope not. I do believe in “presences”, but I’d rather not think about those presences taking a visible form.

Thanks for stopping by!