Last month I shared a recipe for some basil simple syrup on my Instagram and now I’m sharing a delicious cocktail for you to use it in! Watermelon is always a staple at summer picnics and dinners and I love pairing it with basil from the garden so combining the two in a cocktail is a match made in drink heaven! I used freshly juiced watermelon, citrusy lime, and the fragrant and sweet flavors of basil which blend together into one perfect thirst quenching summer drink. And for my lovely pregnant best friend, Channing, as well as my other non-drinkers, I’ve also included tips on how to make a non-alcoholic version!
If you’ve ever taken a gander at Pinterest then you’ve no doubt seen the billion and one ways to re-purpose a wooden pallet. Thankfully I’ve got a step-dad that knows what he’s doing when it comes to building and after just showing him a few photos of the vertical herb garden ideas I found, we were able to put together two pallets with shelves for my herbs to grow in. I walked away with a little bit more knowledge, skills on operating a saw, and most importantly.. all ten fingers!
My garden has bright pops of color that makes great contrast with all of the foliage and natural wood, so I kept the same theme running for these pallets with bright paint colors to label each section. You can also do this with wooden planter boxes if you’re not wanted to do a pallet garden. I’ve included a bonus throwback at the end of this tutorial to the VERY FIRST blog post I published using this same painting style.
We’re in the midst of summer and I find myself wishing it were October already. The stifling heat and humidity have taken away the enjoyment of being outside and spending time in the garden. Even early in the morning I find myself pouring sweat and ready to pass out after just a few minutes of being out there. I blame the Pacific Northwest and their mild summers for making me weak. Another situation causing me to be an angry gardener is fighting a slew of creepy crawlies that have been ravaging my garden each day. My kale gets consumed down to the spine of the leaf and my green been plant sometimes looks like Swiss cheese after a swarm of beetles comes through. It feels like an uphill battle, but we’ve been able to salvage what we can and deter them.
When I’m not hollering every swear word I know at insects, I’m harvesting what hasn’t been eaten and putting it to use in recipes. Last week I shared two recipes using mint from the garden and I’ve already made several more. A delicious summer cocktail using the basil simple syrup recipe I shared on Instagram, cupcakes, and all things pickled! It feels great to be working on posts again and I can’t wait to share them with you.
On a more personal note..
It could be the weather or just having a full work schedule with not a lot of time leftover, but I’ve been feeling a little stagnant and drained of my energy. I was taking time once a week to do horseback riding lessons and volunteer at a local stable, but after one of the instructors left abruptly, the riding program kind of fell apart. All the work on the garden helped fill that time void, but with it being unbearably hot and gross out, I haven’t been able to sit down and truly enjoy it. I feel like I’ve put a lot of the things I was doing for myself on back burner leaving me resentful, exhausted, and unfulfilled.
After having this realization I’m happy to say that I’m slowly navigating my way out of this slump by reclaiming that time for myself again, but I want to at least acknowledge it so that I can move on from it. I often get comments on my Instagram saying that my posts are so positive and uplifting, so it’s only fair to share that it’s not always the case. Growing up my family were more realists and even now the majority of people I know think of the “what ifs” and worst case scenarios in a situation, goal, or idea. I suppose that’s why after any hiccup in my life, I easily fall into a pessimistic outlook that’s followed by a downward spiral of bad thoughts about myself. Being positive or having an optimistic point of view is something I have to practice on a regular basis to combat that learned behavior and thinking of a negative perspective.
I guess what I’m getting at is that we all wake up with the opportunity to choose how to perceive our life and the events happening within it. We also all have the right to ugly cry, hyperventilate, and feel like a sad sack of shit when life is seemingly beating us down. The point is not to stay down for long. Acknowledge it, be kind to yourself (because your love and kindness means the most), and move forward.
How do you pick yourself back up when you have moments of self doubt? What’s that one thing that you do for you and you only?
If you’ve ever grown mint before then you know that once it starts growing it takes off like a weed. When it was overgrowing the pallet planter box it was in I decided it was time to take action and put it to good use in some recipes. Aside from mojitos and garnishing my other favorite cocktails I never utilized mint as the starring hero in my recipes, especially not in savory dishes. That all changed last week!
We planned a homemade pizza night with family and while my brother whipped up traditional sausage and veggie pizzas I pushed everyone out of their comfort zone by providing my take on a Mediterranean chicken pizza. The mint pesto I made as the base of the pizza is what really brought out the flavor in the rest of the ingredients. The mint wasn’t overpowering in flavor and provided more of a fresh garden flavor than a sweet minty flavor. Toss some fresh garlic, green onion scapes, and parsley into the mix for some zest. Then give it a squeeze of lemon for a lightened citrusy finish making this pesto perfect for your summer pizzas and dips.
Garden Party may be in the title, but it’s not the fancy garden party you may be thinking of nor is this cocktail. We’re literally talking about Bloody Mary’s in shot glasses and it can be a store bought mix that you add vodka to or you can use one of the awesome recipes I’ve got on my blog! It’s the extreme garnishing and vessel it’s in that makes this really garden-like.
My gentleman friend gifted me a tiny little succulent as a house warming gift when I first moved back to Iowa and the itty bitty terracotta pot it was in provided the perfect inspiration for a “plant” cocktail. I whipped up a big pitcher full of my signature Bloody Mary’s and snipped a handful of fresh herbs out of the garden to make this idea come to life. They make a great presentation for summer get-togethers and they’re as fun to make as they are to drink!
As promised I’ve got a sweet and spicy new cocktail for you to enjoy! Head over to Dream A Little Bigger to get my recipe for these Habanero Mango Mules. There’s a bold kick from some homemade habanero infused vodka and a mango habanero spiced rim, a little sweetness from fresh mango puree, and a crisp finish with ginger beer. Cheers to the weekend!