Tuesday, July 26, 2011
There's nothing like a tall glass of freshly brewed iced tea on a hot summer day. When I was growing up we were never without a pitcher of iced tea in the refrigerator. We drank it year-round. Good old Lipton's Iced Tea. I thought it appropriate to share my recipe for making iced tea at this time of year, so here it is:
4 regular tea bags (Orange Pekoe)
2 c. fresh cold water
Water and Ice Cubes
Granulated sugar or Simple Syrup
Lemon slices (optional)
Unwrap and carefully slide off any paper attached to the strings of the tea bags; tie the strings together and place in a heat-proof 2-quart pitcher.
Bring 2 cups cold water (always start with fresh cold water) to a rapid boil. Remove from heat and immediately pour over the tea bags, Allow tea to steep for 20 minutes or more. (This process simply forms the “concentrate”. You can store the mixture in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours).
Remove tea bags, squeeze out excess liquid (being careful to not break open the bags) and discard. Fill the pitcher with enough water to equal 2-quarts. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled before serving. Or to serve iced tea immediately, add a dozen or so ice cubes to tea concentrate then fill with water to the 2-quart level.
To serve, pour tea over a generous amount of ice cubes in a tall glass, stirring in desired sweetening and a squeeze of lemon, as desired. Makes 8 servings.
In a small saucepan, stir together 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook, stirring, until sugar is dissolved and mixture is translucent, about 30 seconds. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Chill up to six months. Makes about 1 ½ cups.
Monday, July 25, 2011
We actually got a few rain showers today in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC. How wonderful. I don't remember the last time it rained. My poor deck plants and hanging baskets were not looking happy this morning while I was out there watering. Let's hope a little drink from Mother Nature will turn things around.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
We were invited to a 40th birthday party for our dear friend Ann on Saturday night. The party was given by her husband George. Really great friends and ones that we don't see nearly enough. George sent out a really great evite to everyone and in the invitation he said that this was to be a surprise party for Ann. He wanted everyone to arrive as close to 5:30 PM as possible because Ann was to go shopping with a girlfriend and they would return home between 5:45 PM and 6:00 PM. We got there at 5:30 and there were other people already there and people arriving right behind us. I decided to make a towel dog to hold the gift card. Here is a picture of him. The head just sits on the body so I was able to slip the gift card in the envelope under his chin. His eyes and nose are cut from black felt and his tongue from red felt. This was a really cute way to present a gift card. Short end to the story - Ann and her girlfriend didn't show up until about 7:30 PM because they forgot where they parked the car and actually thought it had been stolen and called the police only to find out when the police arrived that they were looking for the car in the wrong garage. That was the perfect ending to a perfect party. Thanks for inviting us George. And thanks for losing the car Ann. We love you both!!
Friday, July 22, 2011
So this morning our local weather guy casually informed us that it will be over 100 degrees and with the humidity it will feel like 115 to 120 degrees. What? That is crazy. The sprinklers went off on time this morning and I watered the deck plants and the pots and hanging baskets by hand. No matter how much you water the plants just look droopy. This oppressive heat is more than they can take even with daily watering. But you must water everyday when the heat is this intense or they simply will not make it. The heatwave continues through the weekend, so there will be no continued work on the sidewalk this weekend. I'll be working inside in cool comfort.
http://www.peapod.com/. Most every item you can get in the store, you can order through Peapod. You browse the online aisles, select your items, place them in your basket and then checkout. At checkout you select your delivery day and time. You can store a credit card number on their site or you can pay by direct check. (You save $1.00 on each order if you pay by direct check). You can have an "attended" delivery or an "unattended" delivery which is basically just that; you are either there to accept the groceries or they leave them in boxes for when you return. Refrigerated or frozen foods are delivered in insulated boxes with ice packs. The ice packs last for a good long time. I think Peapod suggests you bring those items in within 4 hours of delivery. I can tell you that I've pushed that number a few times and maybe even gone over it and the items were still cold. They offer a full range of delivery dates and times but no Saturday delivery. If I get an attended delivery I normally tip the driver anywhere from $2 - $5. The drivers are very friendly and always offer to bring the groceries inside and into the kitchen but I tell them to leave them just inside the front door and I go through the bags after they leave and put everything away. There is a $60 minimum order which is never a problem for me. The delivery charge starts at $9.95 at the $60 level and goes down the more you spend. If they are going to be late they call and let you know. This is a wonderful service and for busy people, like all of us, it is a great way to save time. No driving to the store, parking, walking through the store, standing in checkout lines, packing the car and driving back home. You might think initially that the delivery charge is a little high, but just think about how much time you are saving and the value of your time. I will gladly pay $9.95 for the convenience. I didn't mean to get off on a tangent about Peapod but I guess I did. If you do not have Peapod in your area, go online and see if there are local grocery delivery services close by. You will be asking yourself right away, "Why didn't I think of this earlier."
And for those in the Peapod delivery areas, don't forget Peapod Mobile!!
Thursday, July 21, 2011
I cannot take anymore conversation about the heat and humidity that is plaguing us here in Maryland. So today we're going to talk about Crocs. Have you ever worn a pair of Crocs? If you have not, I highly recommend you try a pair. I am in love with these shoes. They are the most comfortable and durable shoes ever made. And, they are priced so that everybody can enjoy them. I am thinking about putting all of my existing shoes in storage bags and making space for them on the shelving in the basement and ordering an entire new set of shoes from Crocs. The website is easy to navigate (http://www.crocs.com/). Their selection is vast for men, women and children. If you only order one pair to try them out, it will be worth your time and money. I just ordered these this morning:
They are called "Crocband for Men" in Black and they are $39.99. There are a multitude of colors. There is Black/Graphite, Black/Kelly Green, Stucco/Khaki, Aqua/Seafoam and many, many more. On this particular style I counted 20 different colors and if you are a fan of yellow, they have a pair of yellow with the white stripes as you see here for $29.99. Where are you going to find shoes, of any kind, that start at $29.99. And comfortable and durable shoes for $29.99! You won't. I wear these shoes when I am working in the garden. I use them when I am on the treadmill. They are very comfortable to wear on the treadmill. There is plenty of cushion in the sole and they are ventilated so they are much more comfortable than wearing laced up tennis or running shoes. Give them a try. You'll be glad you did.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Just a quick reminder to everyone to water, water, water during these blazing hot days of summer. This is good advice for everyone across the country since we all seem to be in the same boat with the excessive heat and lack of rain right now. Plants that were put in during the spring will need extra attention during this time as will anything in pots. I let the petunias in the hanging baskets out front dry out and now I am (they are) paying for that mistake. I think I caught them in time and they will come back, but they are not happy right now. I have two sprinklers in the back yard and I let them run for at least 30 minutes in the morning. I run them independently. So it's 30 minutes with the large sprinkler (which covers 5800 square feet and was the only sprinkler that would cover the far end of my back yard) and 30 minutes with the smaller sprinkler that is closer to the house and covers the ferns and hostas and other other ornamentals. I water the deck plants with rain water from the rain barrel, which went dry this morning. So I had to resort to using the hose. The plants prefer the rain water because it is without all the chemicals found in the processed water from the Blue Plains Water Treatment plant. But, it will have to do until we get some rain. The front yard has a similar arrangement of sprinklers and I run those for 20 minutes each morning because they are covering a much smaller area than the sprinklers in the back yard. Everyone stay cool!!