Iced Coffee

During the lovely summer, two of my favorite things clash…Hot weather and Hot coffee. For a while into summer I forget about these two conflicting favorites, wondering why my coffee isn’t as enjoyable as usual. Then, that one hot summer day comes, when I realize the change I need to make. Coffee + Ice= Perfect Iced Summer Coffee.

I went to the store, bought two pounds of dark roasted coffee and came home to grind. Since then, I try every night to make a batch of french pressed coffee, put it in a frozen Corzo bottle and refrigerate until morning.

Mason Jars have been a great tool in the Iced Coffee endeavor. I pour in my coffee along with some bakers sugar and cream. Oh, and the ice, of course. Seal the lid and shake for a slightly frothy and perfectly blended iced coffee! Waking up in the morning with no coffee maintenance except to sugar and cream coffee is just delightful and cooling!

Fresh and Easy

This post is entitled after the grocery store, but has nothing to do with the grocery store. It’s simply about a fresh and easy lunch option! This week has been entirely comprised of all homemade breakfasts, juices, lunches and dinners. Hardly ever am I able to, or make the time to do this, but I committed to it this week. And do I love it! It’s so much easier, healthier and cheaper than going out. Not that I don’t love to go out.

Lettuce wraps are always the perfect summer time meal. Healthy, light, flavorful, fun and messy! For these fresh and easy wraps, I included shredded chicken from a rotisserie chicken, garden fresh cucumbers, farmers market celery, lettuce and mint. To add flavor, I made up some sauces. I love asian flavors so I did a quick marinade for the chicken comprising of Mae Ploy (a sweet chili sauce that goes with almost anything), Sriacha, Yellow Mustard, Fish Sauce, Chili Oil, Soy Sauce and Cracked Pepper. I put the cucumber and celery in a Red Wine Vinegar, Yellow Mustard, salt and pepper marinade before constructing the wraps. This kept the vegetables crisp and tasty. I needed something else so I quickly threw some garbanzo beans and black beans together with some Sriacha, Chili Pepper, and salt as a side salad.

To wash it all down, I made a mint tea infused with honey, fresh mint and white grapefruit juice which I chilled and served as Iced Tea. This tea was so good and refreshing that I have made three different variations since. It’s nice to have on hand for guests (and yourself!) as a light refresher. Adding an alcohol and topping it with soda water also makes a delicious homemade cocktail!

Saturday Spoils

There is nothing better than waking up (fairly) early on a Saturday, going to the local Farmer’s Market and stocking up for the start of a relaxing yet productive, Olympic filled, warm, healthy weekend. Grabbing coffee before venturing off to the Market where the sun was bright, air still crisp, and produce in abundance made for a perfect Saturday Morning.

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I love Farmer’s Markets this time of year. Peaches, nectarines, lots of greens, and flourishing flowers! Purchasing so many fresh and deliciously ripe fruits and vegetables was bound to make several good juices and smoothies. I made a strawberry, cucumber (from the garden), carrot, nectarine, peach juice.

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What a good Saturday it’s been! Farmers market fresh food all day, friends visiting, working outside and watching the Olympics. The Women’s USA vs Korea Volleyball match was especially a highlight!

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Cheers! -L

A New Bloom

Welcome to Bloom and Birch! Summer has arrived and with it, my new blog! I hope to include all things that interest and inspire me and share it with all of you. I love summer time and always feel inspired during this time of the year. The days are longer, the weather warmer, people are happy and trips are in abundance. I look forward to sharing my adventures with you! Happy July!

**Picture from Big Sur, CA**