Tag Archives: summer

Welcome Summer! #Write Wed

I live for the summer! It’s my favorite time of year for so many reasons. The weather for starters, although I’m not a fan of 90 degree days. The beach. Reading on the beach. Napping on the beach. Writing on my balcony. The flowers. Fresh tomatoes right off the vine. Parades and fireworks. Concerts on the boardwalk. So many many things! I wish summer could last all year long, but then it wouldn’t be so special, would it?

As for writing, I get tons of writing done during the summer months as I sit on my balcony in the early morning quiet. Just love it!

Enjoy the first day of summer and some photos of my fav summer things!

Jersey Shore Sangria #WineWednesday

With summer hopefully arriving in a few days, I love having a pitcher of sangria ready for when I come off one of the lovely Jersey Shore beaches. It’s a delightful way to cool off on hot summer days and nights. I’ve been playing with the recipe and have created this refreshing variation on the traditional mix! I hope you enjoy it. Why is it Jersey Shore Sangria? ‘Cuz that’s where I drink it the most. LOL!

Caridad’s Jersey Shore Sangria

Ingredients

    1 bottle red wine (a Malbec, Rioja, Cabernet or Pinot Noir will do. For those near a Wegman’s, their $6 Tempranillos, Malbecs and San Giovese will work great in this recipe!)
    1/2 bottle Chilled Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple Cider (or any other sparkling cider)
    2 oranges
    1 cup frozen strawberries
    1/2 cup grapes

Directions

  • Peel oranges. Cut into eighths and then cut the eighths in half. Cut grapes in half. Cut frozen strawberries in half.
  • Place fruit into a pitcher and add wine. Let fruit and wine macerate for at least 10 minutes in the refridgerator. If you can wait longer, the flavors will be better.
  • Add chilled sparkling cider to fruit and wine mixture.
  • Remove some fruit from this mix and place in individual glasses. Pour wine/cider mixture into the glass and serve.

What I like about this mix is that you get the extra fruitiness and sweetness with the addition of the cider and don’t have to add sugar to get that.

Some recipes call for lemon in the mix and also don’t ask you to peel the citrus, but I find that the lemon and the peels make the mix too acidic. For a change of pace, cube some apples and toss them in or go even more tropical with some pineapple and mangop. Change up the recipe with a white wine which is just as tasty. A moscato would be perfect for a white sangria. You can also freeze a whole peeled orange and then toss that into the pitcher to keep the mixture cool, but not have it watered down. Thanks to my sister for that tip!

If you want an extra kick in your sangria, add a shot of either grenadine, creme de cassis, B&B, or Gran Marnier.

Hope you enjoyed today’s Wine Wednesday!

10 Tips for Growing Tomatoes #TuesdayTip

There is nothing tastier than a ripe tomato right off the vine, warm from the summer sun. A rinse, some salt or a little balsamic vinegar and you have an amazing treat.

Here are ten tips for how you can grow your own tasty tomatoes:

1. When choosing a tomato, make sure it’s right for your area and see if it is determinate or indeterminate. Determinate tomatoes will yield fruits for only 1 to 2 months, while indeterminate will bear fruit season long. ROMA tomatoes are a popular kind of determinate tomato. BETTER BOY or BIG BEEF are indeterminate types of tomatoes. You can visit Bonnie Plants for a list of more varieties or check the plant sticker in the pot at the nursery.

2. When planting, place your seedlings and/or transplants right up to the first set of leaves. You’ll get new roots all along the stem and more roots mean more tomatoes! However, don’t buy plants that are too leggy and overgrown.

3. Tomatoes will grow best in sandy or loose soils. They also like soil on the slightly acidic side. Add peat moss or coffee grounds to the soil to keep your tomatoes happy.

4. During season, water at least once every 5 days. During especially hot or dry weather, shoot for 2 or 3 times a week. Water the roots and not the leaves if at all possible. I set up a soaker house with a timer in my garden that waters just a little bit every day. Soaker houses are also great since they go directly to the roots and avoid water waste. You should also water regularly to avoid blossom end rot (that black stuff on the bottom of the tomato).

5. Tomatoes need about 8 hours of direct sunlight. That can be a mix of morning and afternoon sun.

6. Don’t crowd your plants. Tomatoes like space and it will avoid bugs and fungus moving from one plant to the other and also allow them to get the sunlight they need.

7. After you water, mulch. The mulch helps keep weeds from growing and keeps the soil from drying out too quickly. I use a cedar mulch since cedar also helps to keep away bugs.

8. Once the plant starts to get taller, trim off the bottom leaves. They are the ones most likely to get wet and develop fungus. Trimming them off may help stop that.

9. Be sure to stake/support your tomatoes. Tomato cages work will as do trellises in larger garden plots.

10. Fertilize your plants when you first plant them, but then wait until you have the first fruits to fertilize again. Too much fertilizer will encourage lots of leaves and growth, but not fruits.

I hope those tips help you get lots and lots of tomatoes from your garden this year!
tomato_growing_tips

Corn on the Cob with Chile Lime Butter #TuesdayTip

The warm weather has me already dreaming of BBQs on the Jersey Shore. What goes better than BBQ than corn on the cob, but making perfect corn can be tough. Overcook it and it’s too mushy. Timing is everything, but here’s a cooking tip for you and a delicious butter for you to try!

“Boiling” the Corn

The secret to boiling the corn is not to boil it! Yep, you read that right. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil for up to 6 ears of corn. DO NOT ADD SALT! Once the water has come to a boil, shut off the heat, add 4 to 6 year of corn, cover, and let sit. For 4 ears, let sit for 10 minutes. For 6 years, let sit for 15 minutes. After that the corn is done and will keep for up to 30 minutes without being overdone.

Chile Lime Butter

Melt one stick of unsalted butter. Add 2 tsp chile powder and 1 tsp salt. Heat the mixture for about 2 minutes to release the flavors from the chile powder. Add the juice of one lime and about 1 tsp lime zest. You can also add black pepper (I do not like black pepper hence why I omit it!). For a spicier version, add a little hot sauce or cayenne pepper to the mix!

Serve over the corn when you are ready to eat.

Corn on the Cob with Chile Lime Butter

#FreebieFriday JUST ONE NIGHT #Military #Romance

Hard to believe so much of the summer is gone. I took a day off today and am sitting on the balcony, finishing up SINCE WE WERE 18, the first book in the Jersey Girl Bridesmaids series. Almost done and I am so loving this story and itching to start #2.

But since it’s Free Friday, I’ve got a free read of JUST ONE NIGHT for you today! JUST ONE NIGHT is the first book in the Take a Chance Military Romance series.

Here is a little blurb for the story! You can download the free read here: http://www.instafreebie.com/free/mpx6b

JUST ONE NIGHT Military RomanceHe has just one night to prove to her that anything is possible…

Jason Hart, Jase to his friends, has just graduated college and earned his commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. It’s the night of the graduation party and she’ll be there. His best friend’s slightly older sister, Nickie. Nickie is the only woman he’s really wanted for a long time. He has just one night to make it happen.

She has just one night before the man of her dreams leaves, maybe forever, but can she find the courage to take a chance…

Nicole de Salvo has been in love – and lust – for her little brother’s best friend for years. For years she’s watched from afar and done nothing about her attraction for Jason Hart only now their time together is almost at an end. On their last night together will she find the courage to do something about her feelings, or will she live with regret for the rest of her life?

#FitnessFriday Abs Workout from Popsugar

It’s almost summer and with it, concerns about how you look, especially your abs. More importantly, strengthening your core is something you need to do for health reasons, but what if you don’t go to the gym and have lots of equipment.

Well, you don’t need a gym or equipment for a lot of workouts, like this one from Popsugar. Even better, it’s only 10 minutes long and who doesn’t have 10 minutes to improve their health?

I also like what I think is an alternative to the burpees everyone is always going on about (see minute 1 of the slide back and forth). I have issues with my big toes (seriously, I do) and that move back onto them in the burpee is painful.

If you have a Swiss ball, do a similar move that’s called a prone jacknife to help with those lower abs.

Click here if you can’t see the Popsugar video and please visit their site at www.popsugar.com. They have lots of awesome workouts, fashion, recipes and tips for you!

#WriteWed Summer & My Little Balcony

My favorite time of year is the summer! I look forward to long strolls along the boardwalk, time spent reading romance novels on the beach, fireworks, and last but not least, writing on my little balcony.

It’s not big in size, but it’s immense in the peace it brings me as I sit out there writing or just hanging out with my hubby, enjoying a summer day.

I write a lot more on that little balcony than I do during the winter months when I’m trapped indoors by the cold. Brrr. Winter is so not my favorite time of year.

This morning I’m sharing with you some photos from that special space and hoping I can go out there again soon!