I love and hate summer in all the same breath. I love being warm and toasty but I hate baking and sweating in the sun. In high school my friends would come down the shore for the weekend at my parents summer retreat, “Camp Ritter”. A sweet summer bungalow that grew from a Sears and Roebuck cataloge home that was build for the service men coming home from war, to a large family home that was the backdrop to most of the summers of my life.
Coming “down the SHORE”, was a right of passage for many of my friends. There were some that only came down once and those that are still coming down, one is coming with her kids next week. In the late 80’s I invited a new friend down from the summer day camp I was working at. She was a friend of a friend, so we all went down. Now, for this story you have to know the backyard. We were on a lagoon, you walked out the back door onto the deck that was edged by the water, across the water is another house. I hope this map helps. Close houses, lots of boats, lots of music and lots of fun.
In the morning we were groggy from last nights festivities and I was sipping my tea while lounging on a chair looking at the water. This girl comes out of the house and mills around for a while and finally asked if the hose in the water fills up the lagoon?! “Fills up the lagoon?”, I asked. She then explained to me that there was a hose in the water and did all the houses have to take turns filling up the lagoon?!?! She only came once!
One constant event at the shore was EATING & DRINKING… if only I new about clean eating back then. I learned a ton about super easy and quick crowd pleasers for the summer crowds. Here are just a few of my favorites and now hopefully yours.
- 1 small seedless watermelon
- 1 cantaloupe
- 1 lb strawberries
- 1 pint 3/4 lb blueberries
- 6 oz raspberries
- 6 oz blackberries
- 6 oz grapes
Citrus Mint Dressing
- 1 tsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp lime zest
- 2 tbsp orange juice or water
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1/2 – 1 Tbsp. fresh mint, minced
- Cut up the watermelon and cantaloupe into small cubes. Cut the strawberries in quarters and raspberries and blueberries leave whole. The idea is to have all the fruit pieces be the same size. Pour everything into a x-large bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, lime zest, orange juice, honey, and mint. Stir until well combined garnish with mint leaves and enjoy.
GF Fruit and Nut Bars (10-12 pieces)
I am always looking for a snack that is good for a crowd and these are always a sure bet. Especially when I add more than 1/2 cup chocolate chips to the mix.
- 1/4 cup creamy organic nut butter
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries and nut mix
- Dash of salt
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips, optional
- Preheat oven to 350F. In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients until mixed well. Pour mixture into greased pan (9×9). Baking for 15 minutes , but make sure the center is cooked before removing from over. Leave it in an additional 5-8 minutes if not.
Summer Splash Thirst Quenchers:
Meyer Lemonade (serves 6):
Recommended Barware: Mason jars and a pitcher
- 3 cups vodka or gin (substitute water to make a mocktail)
- 1 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
- 1 cup Honey Syrup
- Zest of 5 Meyer lemons
- Garnish: 6 to 8 lemon slices
- Combine the vodka, lemon juice, Honey Syrup, and lemon zest in a pitcher and stir until combined.
- Pour the contents of the pitcher into 6 ice-filled plastic cups, garnish each with the lemon slices, and set out for your guests. Don’t forget to write your guests’ names on the cups too.
Garden State (serves 6):
This cocktail is decidedly clean and refreshing. We use cucumbers picked straight from our gardens, and their high water content helps us stay cool during those hot summer months down on the Jersey Shore. Plus, we use the garnish for relief from the sunburns we inevitably get on the beach.
Recommended Barware: Rocks glasses and a pitcher
- 12 fresh mint sprigs,
- 9 ounces strained cucumber puree,
- 9 ounces gin (substitute water to make a mocktail)
- 9 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice,
- 3 ounces Honey Syrup,
- ice, seltzer water for topping,
- 6 lime wedges for garnish.
- Muddle the mint sprigs in a pitcher. Add the cucumber puree, gin, lime juice, Honey Syrup, and ice and stir.
- Strain the contents of the pitcher into 6 ice-filled highball glasses and top off each with the seltzer. Garnish each with the lime wedges and serve.
The Day Drinker (serves 6):
This cocktail is sunshine in a glass. Loaded with the strong antioxidant vitamin C, fresh grapefruit juice has an effect—albeit limited—on blood sugar levels, according to the Harvard Medical School. We like to think of the Day Drinker as the perfect immunity booster when typhoid hits your house. You could tote this one to t-ball games but bring enough for your friends . . . sports moms always covet!
- 3 lemons, cut into quarters
- 12 fresh sage leaves, torn in half
- 3 teaspoons coconut sugar
- 1½ cups gin (substitute water to make a mocktail)
- 1½ cups freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
- Garnish: 6 slender grapefruit wedges
- Muddle the lemons, one-half of the sage leaves, and the coconut sugar in a pitcher. Add the gin, grapefruit juice, and ice and stir until well combined.
- Strain the contents of the pitcher into 6 ice-filled rocks glasses. Garnish each with the remaining sage leaves and the grapefruit wedges and serve.
Wherever you are in the world, please stay safe and healthy!