Want to be pen pals? I’m bringing back snail mail! I’d love to hear from you – a picture, post card, thought, question, photo, design, whatever you like! Send it my way and I’ll send something back.
P.O. Box 1058
Santa Clara, CA. 95052
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Summer Bucket List
Summer is a great time to do fun projects, and a short-term bucket list is a good way to never be able to say “What do I do today?” Read more about how to create a life list here. Here are a few things I’m looking forward to tackling this summer. Do you have any things you’re excited about this summer? Let me know in the comments.
- BBQ. BBQ. BBQ. And eating outdoors.
I love grilling, and might get a gas grill soon, but in the meantime I’ll keep grilling indoors, and making side dishes like these Barbecue Baked Beans, the fresh salad at the end of this post, this detox summer salad, this panzanella bread salad, this quinoa and farro salad, or this Israeli cous cous, and as much fresh corn on the cob as I can handle.
I also made the investment in an outdoor dining table and have been loving being able to eat outdoors (and work, too)!
- Get a library card.
I love reading! I’d like to support the library system as well as try a few books I’d never buy with no remorse about returning them after.
- Cook from study abroad recipes.
I found a packet of recipes from when I studied abroad in Tuscany in 1999. That experience was great and we had home-cooked meals twice daily, so I’m looking forward to seeing if any of these recipes evoke any specific memories for me when I taste them again.
- Sell some (used) stuff.
I have a few things I’d like to sell instead of donating / trashing, so getting on a few sites to sell some things will make me feel good.
- Make an ice cream cake.
I think these might be my favorite thing in the world. I’ve made a chocolate mousse cake in the past, but I think it’s time to make an ice cream cake as well. I’m not worried about the recipe or attempting one, more about what will happen once it’s in the house! Bonus points if it’s homemade ice cream.
- Do more snail mail.
See the first part of this post. Who wants more than just bills in the mail? Me, me!
- Take an online creative course.
I’m pretty interested in something related to drawing and handwriting, as I’ve been practicing that on my own, but may be looking for something a little more structured. Or something else. Any suggestions?
- Make limoncello.
My lemon tree keeps on giving, so hopefully if it keeps giving all summer, I can get some young lemons with great skin to make another batch of limoncello.
- Make a photo book.
I have been printing some photos as cards, and a few more as magnets, but I’d like to print some more for longer-term keeping. Have a favorite service/printer? Let me know.
- Make a jam crostata, from scratch.
Both jam, and crostata crust! I have never liked pie, but I love crostate, and want to make one with some homemade jam as well.
- Cook from and publish recipes using vegetables from my vegetable garden.
My herbs are already going crazy meaning lots of pesto and cilantro chutney, but the tomatoes, beans, and eggplants are still on their way, and I can’t wait to be able to cook more from my own vegetable garden.
- Continue the workout train 2x week – yoga, Zumba, Body Pump!
I’ve been doing yoga twice a week but want to start adding in some other classes again, but at the very least, just keep the twice weekly momentum going.
- (Late entry) Continue meal planning as much as possible.
Several months ago I started doing weekly meal planning on Sundays for the week, and have been able to meal plan most weeks – probably every other week if I average it out. On the weeks I meal plan, things go great – in general I eat healthier, I have something planned for every lunch/dinner (including a few evenings or lunches eating out which are pre-planned), groceries are used up, and there’s little waste. On the weeks I didn’t set aside the time to do it, the week goes considerably worse. I’ll be posting more about meal planning, but hopefully I’ll be able to maintain or increase the weeks I’m able to meal plan this summer!
Sesame Summer Salad Recipe
Here’s a super fresh salad which can be dressed in a number of ways, and you can use whatever veggies you have on hand. The key is making sure all the ingredients are roughly the same size, and I think it makes a good alternative to a traditional cole slaw as a salad for a BBQ or just a hot day. To keep the salad longer, you can store the dressing separately and add before serving.
I made it recently for a friend who is doing Whole 30 and to do that, just omit the corn and sugar from the dressing. I was going to smash up a date and add it to the dressing to get back the sweetness but haven’t experimented!
1 c. shredded fresh cabbage
1 c. shredded brussel sprouts
1 large cucumber, mandoline-sliced or thinly sliced
2 ears of corn, kernels shaved off the cob (omit for Whole 30)
1 c. thinly sliced sugar snap peas
2 T. sesame seeds
Some alternates/substitutions for veggies: Napa/Chinese cabbage, snow peas, bell peppers, celery. This salad is all about the crunch!
2 T. sesame oil
2 T. apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar
2 T. brown sugar (omit for Whole 30)
4 T. water
Salt & pepper
- Chop or slice all vegetables into similar-sized bites if not already chopped. Some pre-sliced or chopped vegetables might need an extra chop to make them the same size as the other ingredients.
- Mix all vegetables together in a large serving bowl and sprinkle sesame seeds throughout.
- In a small bowl or dressing container, mix the ingredients for the dressing and shake or mix well.
- Dress the salad and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour, or it can be served immediately.
Pen Pals sounds like fun! Will send a copy of my pocket travel book, Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases to get started. I hope you enjoy it!