Tag Archives: Summer

Traeger Season

Traeger season. My favorite time of year. An entire meal cooked out on the deck either directly on the grill or in aluminum packets makes for quick easy clean-up. The scent of mesquite pellets wafts about the deck. I peel russet potatoes and cube them, spray Pam on a huge piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, spread out the cubes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and seal ‘er up. To make sure they’re crispy on the bottom, they go on the grill first. My favorite part is sitting in the sun snapping the fresh green beans. I add a little lemon juice, salt, and summer savory to this packet and put it on the grill after the potatoes have cooked about twenty minutes. Then last, but certainly not least, the rib eyes, bright red and perfectly marbled with delicious fat. Mmmm. I sprinkle both sides with Traeger Prime Rib Rub, the perfect steak seasoning (in my opinion). Then on the grill they go. I set the timer on the stove so I don’t get sidetracked and over cook them. Time has a way of getting away from me when I’m basking in the sun in my deck chair waiting for dinner.

Savory summer
Season of delightful foods
Sweet tranquility

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For Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets Pub today, Bjorn is hungry and looking for recipes. He wanted us to write about time in the kitchen, but my thoughts immediately went to cooking outside on my Traeger pellet stove. I’ve had a Traeger for years and could never go back to grilling over charcoal or gas. There is just something about that mesquite or hickory smoke that makes the food taste so delicious!

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For the Love of Summer

Love keeps no record of wrongs
To me summer means love
with its hot sunny days
and plants blooming everywhere

Do you suppose summer
keeps a record of winter’s wrongs
its harsh cold blizzard blasts
freezing rains and icy winds

Does summer hold a grudge
about winter’s dark dreary nights
and short sunless days

Does summer blame winter
for the death of plants
once vibrant and green
now brown and forlorn upon
the frost-bitten ground

Or does summer forgive
embracing winter’s loss
with its warm sunny days
its Godly loving ways

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For yesterday’s Poetics prompt at dVerse Poets Pub, Walter called for a poem about the seasons using a line from another poem as a starting point. I didn’t quite follow the prompt because the line that is the anchor and muse of my poem is from scripture, not a poem, and the line itself is not about seasons. Rather, it is about love. The line from 1 Corinthians 13:5 — “Love . . . keeps no record of wrongs” — has been on my mind lately. Then last night I had this idea for a poem involving my most and least favorite seasons and whether their relationship is a loving one.

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All Good Vacations Must End

It’s Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets Pub and Toni is calling for a haibun about everyday things with a true haiku at the end. I did my best. We’ll see what she thinks. This haibun is looking forward to later in the summer when I’ll get to enjoy the labors of this past vacation week.

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Vacations can’t last forever. This one has been wonderful, spent planting flowers, including 14 Lantana. But eventually the daily routine returns. Preparations for the work day, each important for different reasons. Start with coffee, my daily devotional, and treats and a game of fetch with the dog. Crazy cat gets in on the action, too. Then shower and teeth brushing makes one presentable to the world. Must select just the right outfit to be warm enough in an air-conditioned office but not too hot to sit outside in the summer sun for lunch. Most importantly, I must pause for prayer—a chat with God about the day ahead—preparation for whatever might come my way. Oh, and can’t forget to pack that lunch. What good leftovers are in the fridge? No leftovers, but mmmm, there’s hummus, crackers, fresh snap peas from the farmers’ market, crisp jicama slices, and of course a cold sparkling water. All packed to go, give the dog his leaving bone and the cat a few treats. Finally, it’s out the front door to the car with just a moment to enjoy the potted flowers on the front step.

Varied Lantana
Lovely summer dalliance
They’ve grown large since June

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Ode to Lantana

image

I adore lovely lantana
Growing in my garden bright
Yellow, pink, orange, and red
with accents of lobelia

The summer sun beats down hot
From a sky blue like Montana
But lantana stands strong and tall
sparkling like the galleria

If only I had my own cabana
steps from a cooling pool
with delicacies delivered like manna
By a waiter named Arnold or Ted

Don’t think me a naive pollyanna
I’m content on my deck instead

• This poem is a bref double.

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April Showers Bring May Flowers

The skies are gray
But not ominous
Bring life-giving rain
The promise of
Colorful blooms
Greens of summer
Sunny days ahead

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Seasons

My favorite thing
about this season called spring
is that it means soon
summer and June
will surely arrive
when I most thrive

But as for this pollen
that has everywhere fallen
I could easily skip
the post-nasal drip
the itchy dry eyes
and weeds that arise

Oh spring hurry past
to summer at last
then summer hold tight
to the long days, short nights
keep fall at bay
so winter will stay away

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My Thoughts on the Seasons

Over at dVerse Poets Pub Meeting the Bar, Bjorn is calling for poetry that uses modifiers—adjectives and adverbs. I’ve been seeing a lot of posts on Facebook lately by people who love fall and can’t wait for it to come. Personally, I could skip fall and winter altogether. I’ve even joked before that I need to live in Australia for six months of the year, the six when it is spring and summer there, then I’d never have to see another fall or winter. So here is my well-modified poem on the subject.

My Thoughts on the Seasons

Some tout the incredible beauty of fall
Striking oranges and vibrant reds
But I don’t want to hear it at all
I’d rather it stay summer instead

I know fall is pretty when the leaves turn
And pears and apples are ripe on the tree
I know we could use rain as arid lands burn
But frigid winter follows fall, don’t you see

And I truly hate bitter winter cold
Even here in the mild Pacific Northwest
In my fight against winter I will be quite bold
Ardently proclaiming spring to be best

Why this strong hatred of winter you ask
What’s wrong with changing seasons and snow
It’s not just that in the warm sun I need bask
But dark memories the cold brings that cause woe

If I never saw fall colors again in my life
That would be simply and sweetly divine
Then I could live with peace and not strife
Living where the bright sun always shines

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Chop Salad for Recipe Friday

It’s finally really summer here in the Pacific Northwest. It was 90° last Saturday and as I write this on Wednesday night I see that it’s supposed to hit 90° again the next two days. This has me thinking about salads. I know we should eat salad all year around because the raw veggies are good for us, but they just seem more appealing when the weather gets hot.

Tonight I made a chop salad that turned out really good. Now this particular recipe is just a suggestion for making a chop salad, though it did turn out pretty awesome. But the real key to a chop salad is not so much in what vegetables you put in the salad as how you chop them. The pieces need to be very small and you have to mix it up with the dressing before serving.

Chop Salad

Ingredients:

1 heart of romaine lettuce
½ English cucumber
4 oz shredded carrots – I used packaged shredded carrots
¼ cup honey glazed pecans
¼ cup Martin’s Swiss dressing

Directions:

Cut romaine lettuce across the head in thin slices, then cut the opposite direction so you have small pieces of lettuce. Cut cucumber into ¼ inch cubes or smaller. Mix lettuce, cucumber, carrots, and pecans in a large bowl. Pour dressing over the top and mix well.

Alternatives: Other vegetables that work good for chop salad are tomatoes, sweet peppers, onions, jicama, snap peas, frozen green peas (thawed), and olives.

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Berry Smoothie for Recipe Friday

Today is a beautiful, sunny day in the Pacific Northwest. I think this might be summer’s last hurrah! The forecast calls for cooler, wetter weather over the next week. Plus school starts next week so summer break is ending, too.

So today I want to share a simple recipe that is something that would have been tasty during the warm summer weather, though we seldom took the time to make it. But now school is starting, and so I will be making one every morning: the Berry Smoothie. This easy recipe is how I make sure my son starts his day with a healthy breakfast. I know at 15 he is perfectly capable of making this himself, but he will be off to college before I know it and so I love taking the time each morning to make it for him while I still have the chance.

Berry Smoothie

Ingredients

1/4 cup juice (we use Orange Peach Mango by Dole)
1/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1 cup frozen berries
1 small banana
1 tsp fiber powder (optional)

Directions

Place all ingredients in the order listed into a blender, breaking the banana into 2 or 3 pieces. Blend. Pour into a glass and enjoy with a bendy straw. (See, I told you it was easy!) Oh, and be sure to rinse the blender right away. This stuff sticks terribly if you let it dry.

A note about the juice: You can use any juice, even apple juice if that is what you have on hand. We like the Orange Peach Mango or Orange Pineapple by Dole best, and I think not-from-concentrate juice is best.

A note about the yogurt: I have made this with nonfat vanilla or other flavored yogurt, but my son says it makes the smoothie too sweet. Go figure – I didn’t think “too sweet” was possible for a smoothie.

A note about the berries: I usually use a mix of frozen raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries from Costco. If I am feeling very ambitious, I will freeze my own berries that I get from the farmers’ market in the summer. Then we might have strawberries or marion berries in the mix. It’s best if you have more than one berry. The key is that they have to be frozen. That’s what makes the smoothie thick and cold.

Freezing berries: If you want to freeze your own berries, it’s pretty easy. I don’t wash them because I figure the cold freezer kills anything, but I could be wrong about that. To freeze the, cover a large jelly roll pan with plastic wrap and place a single layer of berries on the wrap. Then cover that layer with more plastic wrap and another layer of berries. Depending on the size of the berries I can get 2 or 3 layers on a jelly roll pan. Top it off with more plastic wrap and place in the freezer overnight. Once frozen, the berries can be placed in a large zip-lock back for storage in the freezer and easy smoothie making.

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