Melon Punch

Maybe I’m obsessing a little over the heat this summer, and trying to stay cool. In all honesty (and if you are a guy…you may want to skip the rest of this paragraph!) I think it has more to do with the fact that I have hit that ‘magical’ time in a “young” girl’s life. You know, the time of life where I have become my own tropical heat wave, from the inside out! Anything that can either keeps me from a hot flash, or at least somewhat lessen the agony (if you can really do so), is on my radar!

Enter this wonderful, cool, refreshing punch. I have made this several times and it is certainly a go to drink for the pool and for a party. I think that the non-alcoholic version is a little too sweet for me so I add in some sparkling water just to cut the sweet a bit. This original recipe came from Divas can Cook . I have adjusted and tweaked according to my tastes and preferences…but this was a great jumping off point and I HIGHLY recommend it!

Melon Punch - Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle Sparkling white grape juice (for an “adult version” use a light, white wine like a Moscato or Riesling, instead of the grape juice)
  • 2 cups clear lemon lime flavored soda (I used Sprite)
  • 1 cup lemonade (I used Simply)
  • 2 cups sparkling water (I used Pellegrino)
  • 1 small ripe watermelon
  • 1 small ripe cantaloupe
  • 1 small ripe honeydew melon
  • Fresh mint leaves (optional)
  • 2 limes, sliced, plus more for garnish if desired

Instructions

  1. Use a melon baller to scoop out the flesh of the watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew melon. (I always make a ton of these since I love to use the frozen melon as ‘ice cubes’ in infused water – still or sparkling – as well as for iced tea)
  2. Place melon balls on a cookie sheet lined with foil.
  3. Freeze for several hours.
  4. In a pitcher stir together grape juice, soda and lemonade.
  5. Place in the fridge to chill.
  6. Add a few cups of frozen melon balls to pitcher along with fresh mint leaves and slices of lime.
  7. Stir.
  8. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
  9. Serve cold using additional frozen melon balls as ice cubes.
  10. Garnish glasses with lime slice and mint leaf.

Sit back and enjoy!

Glittered Glamour Grapes

I may have mentioned it before…in the summer it is H-O-T here in the desert. This week isn’t so bad (although we are in our monsoon season and the humidity is ramping up – I will take the dry heat back, please!), however last week was “toasty”. I believe we had 3 days in a row of temps over 110.

Now, I have also mentioned that I am one of the crazies who actually enjoy the heat…as long as I’m not in the car or having to run errands in the middle of the day. Because, really, who wants to have their skin melted by the heat coming off of the pavement!?

When you live in the high desert you learn to stay hydrated, as well as making foods that are cool and refreshing. The more you can keep the stove off in the middle of June and July, the happier you will be!

This is one of those ideas that is so easy it is really a no-brainer.

Grapes are a prefect snack for the desert; compact, juicy, cool. Perfect! In this house they are rinsed and thrown in to the freezer. Actually, I can really do whatever I want with them because they are not a chosen fruit of the Rocket Scientist. This is fine with me because that just means they are ALL MINE!!!

Last year I discovered a nice way to really boost the flavor of the grapes. There are several people who have written about this, everyone has their own take on them as well as a name. I like Glittered Grapes so I am sticking with it!

So, if you are a Weight Watchers person you should know that the sugar free Jello option is 0pp for as many grapes as you want and the regular Jello option is 1pp for 20 grapes. I can’t do the sugar free option as my body will not handle the artificial sweetener in the mix, but I will take a 1pp option (and no, I’m not in WW right now, but have done it for so long that I think I may always have point values and calculations in my head! That’s a good thing to be stuck in my head!)

(This is one of those ridiculously simple recipes – to the point that I feel goofy typing it out like it’s an official ‘recipe’!)

Glittered Grapes

  • 1 small box of Jello – sugar free or regular (Any flavor will work, but I did not like lemon or lime)

  • Green and/or Red seedless grapes

Pull the grapes of the stems and place in a colander. Rinse well and drain. Let the grapes slightly wet (just not dripping).

In a large Ziploc bag place 3-4 tablespoons of the dry Jello powder.

Place the grapes in the bag, seal and shake until grapes are covered (depending on how many grapes you have you may use the entire packet of Jello…this is what I did with 2 full bunches of grapes).

Place coated grapes on a plate or cookie sheet and put in the freezer for several hours. Once the grapes are frozen, transfer them to a freezer container or bag.

Serve and say “ahhhhh…..”

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Currently my favorite flavors are cherry, watermelon and tropical fusion jello.

Fruit Salsa & Cinnamon Chips

If you have never been to the desert in the summer then you have no idea what we are talking about when we say it gets hot here. Most of us are used to the heat – although it does take a few takes once we are well into the 100+ temp to get fully acclimated (the heat that radiates off the asphalt is the worst!). Our blessing truly is that, for most of the summer months, it really is a ‘dry heat’! That being said, we are officially in our monsoon season and the humidity will begin to hover between 50 and 70%...that is when things get downright nasty!

All of that to say, in the midst of a desert summer you are continually looking for foods that are cool and refreshing. This recipe fits that bill – ok, we may heat the stove up a little for the chips!

I make this often during the summer, and have done so for over 15 years now. It is a great go to for all meals and snacks! I will usually crank out a batch in an evening (making the chip in the oven after the sun goes down helps keep the house cooler during the day!). I hope you will try it and let me know what you think.

Fruit Salsa

Ingredients

  • 1 quart of strawberries

  • 3 medium Granny Smith apples

  • 5-7 ripe kiwi fruit

  • 2 T light brown sugar

  • Juice of 1 lemon

Directions

Wash all fruit. Finely chop all fruit and mix in a medium bowl. Squeeze lemon juice over the fruit and stir.

 

 

Sprinkle brown sugar over the top of the fruit and stir once again. Chill salsa in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, to allow sugar and juices to mingle and marinate the fruit. Serve with cinnamon chips or over the top of vanilla ice cream. Makes about 6 cups.

(I ‘play’ with this recipe often by increasing or decreasing the amount of fruit I use. Once you make a batch you will get an idea of how you would want to make more or less.)

Cinnamon Chips

Ingredients

  • 8” flour tortillas (I don’t put a number here…you will need to decide how many you are going to make for your family size)

  • Melted Butter

  • Mixture of cinnamon & white sugar (again, each person is different as far as taste. I love cinnamon so I mix 2 teaspoons to a cup of sugar)

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. With a pizza cutter, or sharp knife, cut the tortillas into 8th – like pizza slices.

  2. Place wedges on the parchment paper lined cookies sheets. Brush each with melted butter and then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture.

  3. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

  4. Cool on cooling rack.

  5. Once chips are cool, place in an airtight container.

And there you have it…fruit, cool and delicious!