Sunday, July 14, 2013

Savoring Summer

  My 10 Favorite Things About Summertime in Maryland


10.) My new favorite thing these days is a new cider - Redd's Apple Ale - produced and brewed by Budweiser Company. It is brewed like a beer but tastes like cider. My first cider that I fell in love with was Cider Jack. Then, from supply and demand (what was available) I reverted to Woodchuck, and enjoyed the pear cider. I've tried other ciders such as K, Longbow, and Angry Orchard. But, after someone introduced us to Redd's Apple Ale, I was sold. Since it's produced and distributed by one of the largest manufacturing companies, I expect this should be available everywhere. So, if you like an alcoholic cider, definitely try Redd's Apple Ale.
9.) Evenings Outback - the great thing about spring and summer are great evenings outside with the people you choose to be with. Growing up, I was fortunate enough to have cousins that lived on the same street. We would get together and start games of volleyball, softball, or just riding bikes. These nights consist of some of my most precious memories. This year, new memories were made with my boyfriend +Justin Barnhill, either tossing the (make-shift) frizbee or kicking the soccer ball around. I say 'make-shift' frizbee because we lost ours over the fence. So, I took an tupperware container top - believe it or not, it actually works better!
8.) Something that I never took value in before - planting - growing up, being forced to do the outside weeding or mowing created my distaste for horticulture.  This year, it created a stress relief barrier for me. We have been under more stress then normal, so escaping outside to cultivate seeds and seeing their green life emerge has been something that has brought me joy. It's much healthier than smoking, I use to smoke to relieve stress and stopped about five months ago. Since it seems that we are able to get less and less groceries, planting produce is a great option - why not grow your own! 
7.) Corn on the cob - Along with other fresh veggies - corn on the cob is great during cook-outs along with the cheeseburgers, hotdogs, and other staples of the American celebratory get-together's. Here are some tips for making the perfect corn-on-the-cob. When you are boiling your cobs, add some sugar to the water, it makes for a sweet crunchy corn and healthier than smearing all that butter and salt on it. Another great tip, you can grill the corn, don't husk it - just put it on the grill husk and all (make sure to cut one end off before you put it on the grill). Once it's finished, the cob will slide right out and after a little cool-down, will be ready for your munching enjoyment.
6.) Swimming - my favorite activity (other than the above mentioned) is to submerge myself into a cool, water filled, swimming pool. Since I was young, it was always like a special treat to get to go swimming. We use to belong to the local Bren Mar Swim Club before it closed. Then, my sister (who is several years older than me) was a lifeguard and I was lucky enough to get to bum along with her and spend the day at the pool. In high school, my best friend's relatives had a pool that we went to a couple times. It's a perfect activity to stay cool during those blistering summer days.
5.) Baltimore Orioles Games - If you didn't know me, then you didn't know that I am a home-grown lady. I love my O's and Raven's (Baltimore Maryland sport teams). In supporting them, going to their games, or watching the games on t.v. while having a drink in my hand, is damn near blissful. These last two years have been even better because they have been doing pretty well. This year, following #19 Chris Davis - he is just crushing it!
4.) Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream - after overdosing on Old Bay with your Maryland crabs, it is a great treat to follow-up with a couple scoops of your favorite ice cream. I love a sweet sugar waffle cone with the delicious mint chocolate chip ice cream and topped with chocolate sprinkles (or jimmies, depending on where you are from). I read on one of the containers that mint chocolate chip is actually a healthier choice, so it makes me feel a little better. I've been wanting to get a local creamery chocolate ice cream, it tastes like frozen churned fudge!
3.) Watermelon (fresh fruit) - I have always loved fruit. When I go to the grocery store I usually pick up a couple containers of raspberries, blueberries, blackberries along with grapes and whatever else I can get my hand on (or afford!) But, especially during the summer, when there are displays of watermelon, I can't resist. It's cool and refreshing. I think because of the high quality of hydration, it is great for your skin too (along with cucumbers). I also love to go outside late summer and pick my big purple grapes off of our vine. 
2.) Maryland Crabs - I haven't had them yet this season (I desperately would love to though) but crabs is a Maryland tradition. The spice most commonly used is Old Bay, although many places have their own signature blends. It's spicy, it's messy, it's time consuming - but, it's so worth it. I have been with different people when they are trying them for the first time. If you haven't tried them I can see how it can be intimidating (and even disgusting) but when you've grown-up with it, it's a staple and a symbol of Maryland tradition. A great tip - put some of your picked meat aside and save it for in the morning. Make an omelette using the crab meat, with the spices, it's a great and tasty treat.
1.) Smells - the great smells of summer include the smell of rain, fresh cut grass, and the various smells from flowers, bushes, and trees. A favorite is always honeysuckle, sweet and pleasant, doesn't last too long though. One of my favorite summer smells includes the different sunscreens, especially if it smells like it has coconut in it. The smells from the beach, the salty ocean air, always reminds me of being on the east coast (Ocean City).