On Tap for Today

A fun loving, inspired living blog


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Today: Easy summer entertaining.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Plenty of things in life are difficult. Snacking with friends shouldn’t be one of them.

A tiny and a huge caprese bite for Tina‘s tinyHUGE party

With the weather being just lovely lately (I like the blistering heat almost as much as the recent cool down), there’s no better place to be than up on the roof with a carafe of wine, crisp vegetables, fresh berries and a good wedge of brie.  Oh, and– most importantly– a pal or two.

When it comes to summer entertaining, I like to keep things easy.  No utensils, no cooking, no frills.

  • Glass isn’t allowed by our condo association’s pool, so I’ve been using a shatterproof acrylic carafe to transport adult beverages.  It looks rather shady, but it gets the job done.
  • Washing and cutting vegetables and portioning them in packable containers at the beginning of the week saves time, and ensures you have healthy snacks at the ready.
  • A bit of variety ensures there’s something everyone will like, but I try not to go overboard.  Something sweet, something salty, something gluten free, and something not.  That’s my pool snack M.O.
  • Beach towels make great table cloths.  And they keep your toes warm when the sun sets.  Aaaand they soak up spilled wine.
  • Keeping food finger-friendly equates to less waste (no need for plates or forks).  Besides, tiny things are just plain cute.

The best part about easy summer entertaining?  No need to decorate when you’ve got views like this, captured on my iPhone (no filter, just Mother Nature putting on a show).

Also On Tap for Today:

What is your best summer entertaining tip?


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Today: What to pack for three days in Maine.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]It’s very simple, really.

Three bathing suits.  Two novels (one should have a lobster on the dust jacket).  One pair of peace moccasins.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are your summer getaway essentials?


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Today: The non-dairy queen.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Weather like this has me craving a Blizzard.  The ice cream treat, not the weather event.  There is only so much Lactaid a girl can take, though.  Fortunately, there are all kinds of frozen non-dairy “ice cream” available these days.

All it takes is three simple ingredients (four if you include the punchy straw): almond milk, mint chip non-dairy frozen dessert (also made with almond milk) and ice.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your favorite summer treat?


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Today: Summertime.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]While Memorial Day may mark the unofficial start to summer, today is the real deal.  Happy Summer Solstice, ladies and gents.  We reached 90 degrees in Boston, my hair was extra poodle-ly, I started sweating from my elbow creases while walking to get the mail, and my dog needed to be carried back inside after a short prance around the block.  Yep.  Summer’s here.

We celebrated the solstice– and more importantly, Tina‘s birthday– at the Liberty Hotel’s Yappier Hour this evening.  While this may not be bulldog weather, Clark made the most of his time with Murphy and a yard full of other dogs.  And a horse Great Dane.

When Clark hit the deck, we knew it was time to get the little dude back in the air conditioning.  We’re enjoying the rest of the first day of summer with a big pitcher of water and a few frosty treats.

Knowing not everyone is safe and cool indoors during this heatwave, please be sure to check in on loved ones and those most vulnerable.  For more information about helping the homeless during extreme heat, please click here.

What’s cooler than being a good neighbor?

Also On Tap for Today:

How are you spending the real start of summer?


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Today: Obsessed, lately.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Hey, I just met you. And this is crazy, but here are a few songs I’ve been obsessed with lately.

Like any other red-blooded American tween 30-year-old, Call Me Maybe has been stuck in my head since the first time I heard it.  I’ve listened to it so many times, I am pretty sure the lyrics are etched on my soul. Will I ever tire of hearing it?  …Maybe.  When that will be, I do not know.   I promise I am listening to other stuff, too.

Currently on heavy rotation:

Wondering what I listen to when I run?  Click to 7:26 of the most recently released episode of The Team Off Balance Video Blog, produced by Jack atpixelwiremedia.com / rtbrelay.com.

I think Michael Jackson (may he rock in peace) would have appreciated my safety gear.

Also On Tap for Today:

What songs are you obsessed with lately?


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Today: Goodbye, summer. Hello, fall.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]This is how I know, sadly, that Labor Day has come and gone:

  • The U-Haul trucks have dropped off the last of their papasan chairs and mini-fridges before going back to… wherever U-Hauls come from.
  • My parking pass has expired.
  • The heat in my office turned itself on, and I have burned my foot twice on the vent thing.
  • Everything in stores is made of wool, ergo I am breaking out in hives.
  • Speaking of hives, I am allergic to whatever is growing/blooming/cytoplasma-ing right now.
  • I am instantly pale.
  • Each of my siblings have moved into new apartments, and I know none of their addresses (it feels sort of like that time Grandma moved to Chicago and no one told me).
  • I feel a strong urge to buy school supplies.

Check me out! I'm crazy!

With such awesome news to share, Nick and I knew we needed squeeze a few more drops out of summer this weekend, making time to visit with friends and family on the roof, north of Boston, on a lake, and down the Cape.  I am so excited about what’s to come, that (despite the extensive list posted above, which may lead you to believe otherwise) I don’t really mind that summer’s essentially over.

Today is the first day of the rest of our lives.  Thank goodness I packed the Benadryl.

Also On Tap for Today:

What will you miss most about summer?  What do you love most about fall?


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Today: Summer was meant for salads.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Being a rather unimaginative vegetarian, I am always pleased with myself when I think up something new.  And when that something new turns out to be both simple and delicious, well all the better.  With so much fresh New England produce to enjoy this time of year, I can’t help but believe summer was meant for salads.

Three of my favorites?  Read on, friends.

Melons, Bocconcini and Basil

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups watermelon, cubed (or, if you have no life, pressed into delicate flower shapes)
  • 2 cups honeydew melon, cubed
  • 1/2 European cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup bocconcini
  • 10 large leaves of basil, chiffonade or chop coarsely
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Drain or press excess moisture from your cubed melon and cheese.
  2. Mix watermelon, honey dew melon, and bocconcini in a large bowl or serving platter, and sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper.  This is a case where less is definitely more.
  3. Top with a generous amount of fresh basil, and serve chilled.  This salad can be prepared the night before, and makes a delightful brunch treat.

Heirloom tomatoes with bleu cheese

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium heirloom tomatoes (experiment with different varieties, or stick to a tried and true favorite)
  • 1.5 cups crumbled bleu cheese
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Carefully chop tomatoes in half, and then into quarters and arrange on a large platter, or in a large serving bowl.
  2. Top the tomatoes with crumbled bleu cheese (feta or Gorgonzola are excellent choices as well), and a drizzle of olive oil.
  3. Makes a great addition to fresh greens, a crusty slice of French bread, or served alongside your favorite summer cookout fare.

Orzo salad with a Greek accent

Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat orzo
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 European cucumber, chopped
  • 1 yellow or red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 1 can chick peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small handful fresh mint leaves, washed and dried
  • Greek dressing (I prefer Yasou) and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Prepare orzo according to package directions.  Drain, and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Combine cooked orzo with chopped vegetables (onion, pepper and cucumber), feta cheese, and chickpeas and mix well.
  3. Slowly add Greek dressing, being careful not to overdress the salad.
  4. Top with fresh mint leaves and cracked pepper, and refrigerate before serving chilled.
  5. This salad is delicious when served over spinach, and make a perfect “leftover lunch,” as flavors continue to develop.

Also On Tap for Today:

What is your favorite summer meal?