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refreshing

Watermelon, Basil and Feta Salad

 

Watermelon, Basil and Feta Salad

I woke up on Saturday morning realizing August was just 2 weeks away. Woah, woah, woah, hold the phone! But by all means, don’t hold the melon.

It wasn’t until I then realized I had went this far into the summer without buying my first full watermelon that the panic set in. That’s like living in the city without a bike — practically a crime, at least in my world.

I love watermelon, and how I let this much of summer slip by without eating a full half to myself is beyond me. Summers are made for meals of watermelon, right?

So of course, Saturday morning, straight to the market I went. And breakfast become none other than a huge slice of sweet, juicy summer. My favorite.

Watermelon, Basil and Feta Salad

It’s a miracle that the other half of the melon ended up in this salad. Like a just-picked heirloom tomato, or a perfectly ripe avocado, there are some things in life that I often feel, “Why bother doing anything more than adding a fork.” Although it goes without saying, a little bit of salt can entirely enhance those first two items, and it appears a little bit of feta and basil can do the same for watermelon. Sliced watermelon is great, but so is this melon salad.

On Sunday, I also happened to be heading to a friend’s b-day brunch, so the opportunity to make something special couldn’t be passed up. If you’re a food blogger, sliced watermelon isn’t all that great when fun, food-related occasions arise. Although, the few slices you’re munching on while cooking — those speak of excellence.

Needless to say, this was a hit and a totally worthy use of an impressively ripe and ready melon. Salty feta plays off the sweetness of the melon, while a minty basil takes its natural refreshingness to a whole other level. If you want your watermelon to feel fancy, in an effortless sort of way, this is it. I’m already ready for brunch, round 2, and of course, watermelon round 2, too.

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Strawberry Basil Mint Lemonade

Strawberry Lemonade

After a successful batch of strawberry-basil muffins, I decided I needed to use that flavor combo again. And again. And again. So, following a trip to my local strawberry patch, I was back at it. This time with strawberry basil lemonade (along with some mint thrown in there too for fresh measure).

Honestly, I’m not a huge lemonade fan. All the sugar takes the fun out of lemons for me. I like making funny faces upon their tartness, and shocking my tastebuds with their startling sourness. I also enjoy dousing my salads with vinegar, and for those of you who do to, I bet you can relate here.

When I order lemonade out, whether it’s homemade or not, it’s generally hard for me to tell whether there’s actually lemon juice in it or not. This is especially true for the strawberry variety. And don’t even get me started on that pseudo, crappy powdery kind.

Hence, lemonade is a rare occurrence in my diet. That’s not to say, however, I don’t find the thought of a cold cup of it to sound incredibly refreshing. What could be more elegant and alluring than a tall, iced glass of Strawberry Basil Mint Lemonade? With a splash of vodka (..ahem, use responsibly), even better.

Strawberries and Basil

So, I set out to make my own. Don’t worry, it won’t make you pucker until your eyes bulge out. In fact, it likely won’t make you wince at all. However, this is no sugar water. Instead, this lemonade is packed with taste. I’m talking basil, mint, and the actual fresh flavors found in strawberries and lemons. (You know, the real fruit flavors you should find in every glass of lemonade!) Feel free to add a splash of vodka, but I’m warning you. This is an incredible flavor-masker, so while the lemon flavor will be evident, the alcohol flavor may be not. It will, however, make for quite the refreshing summer cocktail. Enjoy.

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Summer Salad



Sometimes nothing beats a salad in the late days of summer.

Simply dressed with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper.

Naturally beautiful, too. Just like this butterfly.

Pineapple Cilantro Lime Smoothie

If you are extra lucky, you’ll be drinking one of these green shakes for St. Patty’s Day. And you’ll be feeling pretty good too. If you’re unlucky, you’ll be swamping your diet with green beer (gross).

My friend just informed me that last year she was in Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day. Although it’s more of a “touristy thing” over there, that makes us feel a little unlucky here, stuck hanging out in North Philly. But I bet they don’t have refreshing Pineapple Cilantro Lime Smoothies over in Ireland. Meanwhile, my refrigerator currently does. How’s that for living in the ghetto? I’ll take it and let myself feel pretty lucky again too.

This is a palate-cleansing, energizing smoothie perfect for days where you’re looking for something on the lighter side. It’s packed with refreshing flavor that adds a nice variance from traditional fruit-sweetened smoothies. Plus, it’s got a little silken tofu for a creamy touch of protein that will keep your tummy satisfied. Serve for breakfast or lunch, or as an after dinner pick me up, and if you’re smart, serve it tomorrow for St. Patty’s Day.

Click here for recipe…