Summer Is A Verb

As the temperatures climb and the sun continues to shine, it feels like summer is finally here. It’s felt that way for a few weeks, actually, but there was a moment in May when I doubted it was coming. Now that it has, and I’m at the start of my first summer in a full time job, I’ve been thinking about what it is, other than free time or vacation or a summer internship, that makes the season special. What I realized is that to me, summer is a verb. It’s a state of mind and a way of living, and no matter what I’m doing day to day, I’ll be happy to be summering.

 

Connecticut beach

 

 

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Easy Greek-Style Summer Salad

With all the heat and humidity of summer in full swing come August, I’m in the habit of making refreshing yet hearty salads as the base of many meals. I love salads all year round – they’re just especially awesome around this time! Today I’m sharing a recipe for one I enjoy frequently, my Greek-style summer salad that incorporates feta cheese and dolmades (grape leaves filled with rice, vegetables, and olive oil). I tend to use the Frankly Fresh dolmades sold at Costco but they’re sold in most grocery stores! I’ve featured it in many WIAW posts, so regular readers will find it familiar. It’s easy to toss together in five minutes and pleasing to the eye as well as the palate, and contains plenty of fresh veggies, healthy fats, carbs and protein to fuel a summer on the go. 

 

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Trains, Planes, and Automobiles in August and Beyond

As promised yesterday, I’m ending July and kicking off August with a post featuring my plans for post-exam travel! As is traditional, most law firms have their first-year associates start working at least one month after the exam in late July, and typically closer to two. Everyone needs the time to unwind and relax before diving in to a demanding new job. Most recent grads take some sort of “bar trip” which can mean anything from a six-week-long backpacking trip in Southeast Asia, to three weeks of luxury globetrotting, to a week down the Cape with friends and family. Some people even use it as the perfect time for a wedding and honeymoon. Others choose to go home and do absolutely nothing. I’m planning a bit of a grab bag, beginning with my August adventures.

 

I've pounded the pavement right out of NYC for the next couple of months!

I’ve pounded the pavement right out of NYC for the next couple of months!

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July Flew By

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Hello, everyone! I’m just checking in today to let you know that I did indeed emerge from the second day of the New York Bar Exam at the Javits Center, alive and relatively well. I wrote most of this recap of the past month over the weekend, because let’s face it, the only plans I have today are to go for a nice easy run now that I’m safely back in Connecticut, eat lots of delicious food, and pop over to the doctor’s office later to get that little stitch taken out. I refuse to let my brain do anything that requires mental acuity, and all I’m thinking about how this July flew by for me. I’m pretty sure the reason is the exam-which-shall-thenceforth-not-be-named, which is now blessedly over (fingers crossed I passed!)

 

Bye bye, bar bracelet

 

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Five Things Friday: The Tide of Summer

Growing up, I would walk along the beach in Connecticut or down the Cape or coastal Maine, right at the tide line where the ocean meets the sand. The waves lap over rocks and seashells, and every few steps I’d bend down to check one out and maybe take it home for my collection (even now, I still open little boxes and purses in my bedroom at home that have been hiding in corners, and find pieces of shells, with a few grains of sand nestling in the edges). It seemed to me that the ocean made the land move, making more of it at low tide and then taking over again as the tide crept high. 

 

Kennebunk beach

 

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Happy Fourth of July + GF Golden Corn Muffins for a BBQ

Happy Fourth of July Friday to one and all! The Fourth may be tomorrow, but pretty much everyone has the day off today I think, so it’s time to celebrate America, land of the free, home of the brave, and occasional provider of three-day weekends. I’ll even be going easy on the bar studying – this is one of my favorite holidays, after all.

 

Fourth of July

 

 

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Peaches n’ Cream Oatmeal Cake

I hope everyone’s week is off to a smashing start! As for me, I’m getting in some early morning runs before the heat gets too high, and studying up a storm (in between my snacks). Honestly, I’m still reeling today because in yesterday’s lecture my world was rocked. I learned that in New York, there is no spousal privilege when testifying in a criminal case – meaning that Gossip Girl’s awesome series finale Chuck-and-Blair wedding would not actually have worked like it was supposed to… I was walking by Bethesda Fountain,where they filmed the scene, on my way home from a run listening to the lecture, and I was totally thrown!

 

Bethesda Fountain

 

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Beat the chill…with ice cream!

Ice cream is my favorite food. Of course, I eat more fruit and veggies and yogurt and eggs than ice cream, but when I picture my happiest times, ice cream was always what I was eating (or what I wanted to top off an otherwise perfect day). Even on my birthday, I’d opt for ice cream over cake or cupcakes – and since I have a summer birthday and was often away at camp as a kid, this worked out well! Lots of people think of ice cream as a summer treat, but I enjoy it year round. While it may seem counter-intuitive, eating a bowl of ice cream can enhance an evening of sitting by a cozy fire with hot cocoa. The trick is to create an ice cream experience that doesn’t rely on the tradition of grabbing a cone of your favorite flavor at an outdoor window, and mix it up instead!

 

Salted caramel ice cream in a crystal cruet

Salted caramel ice cream in a crystal cruet

 

One of my favorite ways to treat myself is to have a decadent flavor of ice cream nicely scooped into a crystal glass, topping it with a complementary seasoning. Here, I took caramel ice cream and added a pinch of sea salt and a dash of molasses, and paired with a mug of spiced apple tea.

 

 

 

Perfect nostalgic treat

Perfect nostalgic treat – vanilla with rainbow sprinkles

Another serving style evokes the nostalgia of childhood. I have four small ice cream dishes, with pastel bowls on the inside of little tubs shaped like the bottom of wafer ice cream cones. I’ll scoop a classic flavor like vanilla or strawberry into one of these, and top with gluten-free rainbow sprinkles. It takes me back to summers down the Cape, where I used to get strawberry ice cream with rainbow sprinkles from a shop called Emack & Bolio’s in Orleans, Massachusetts. They’ve expanded throughout New England and the rest of the US, but to me, the other locations aren’t quite the ‘real thing’!

 

 

My peanut butter cup sundae - I just threw the rainbow sprinkles on top for good measure!

My peanut butter cup sundae – I just threw the rainbow sprinkles on top for good measure!

For an extra special splurge, turn your ice cream and toppings into a swoon-worthy sundae. Start with a basic base flavor, then add sauces and toppings. One of my favorites is a peanut butter cup sundae. I start with peanut butter cup ice cream, then add some extra peanut butter and chocolate chips. If I’m feeling very nostalgic and I happen to have some regular-size peanut butter cups around, I’ll break one in half and stick the pieces on top to make it look like those Friendly’s sundaes with the smiles! (And if you really want to go all out, make a batch of peanut butter cookie bites to crumble on top).

 

 

 

Of course, you can just have ice cream straight from the carton or in a regular dish, but I like to dress it up a little in the winter. It feels like a special treat, a welcome spot of cheer on an otherwise dreary day. (Caveat: I run outside when it is below freezing all the time. I am probably a classified crazy winter weather person, at least for locations outside the Arctic and, you know, Chicago. So feel free to mock my recommendation of eating ice cream this time of year. I’ll keep doing it anyway.) And I’ll mix it up with the seasons. In the autumn, I love pumpkin ice cream. In the spring I go for berry sorbet. Summer will find me with a gluten-free cone full of strawberry or Moose Tracks. So find your flavor and figure out how to make every spoonful special.

 

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Ready to be filled with delicious creations!

 

I’m planning to fix myself a bowl of ice cream for dessert tonight, to basically tell this snowstorm it’s time to get lost!

What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Do you eat it all year round or save it for a seasonal treat?

Have you ever tried making snow-cream? It’s delicious (but I would never trust NYC snow…)

 

 

 

 

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