• Cool Summer Tips: Mint–Beyond the Mojito

    Mint is wonderfully refreshing in the summertime and grows so easily.  All gardeners know that mint is the easiest and one of the most versatile herbs to grow. Be sure to confine those roots (preferably in a pot) or they will invade the garden which I learned years ago—one of my first gardening mistakes that continues to remind me.  So, I decided to find more uses of mint beyond my occasional mojito cocktail!

    Mint tea is refreshing and easy to make.  Boil water, pour over clean, whole mint leaves and steep for a few minutes. Strain leaves and serve, sweetening as desired. This tea can be served hot, or poured over ice for a delightful summer treat.  A sprig of mint is a lovely garnish in iced tea or sparkling water, as well as in salads.

    Mint has a myriad of healing properties and can help with allergy and common cold symptoms, as well as indigestion.



  • Cool Summer Tip: Fruit in the Freezer

    Cut up and freeze seasonal fruit such as watermelon, pineapple, lemons or whole grapes on a cookie sheet. After individually frozen, store in a plastic freezer bag. Simply enjoy by placing in a glass of sparkling water or simply bite into the frozen sweet goodness of summer.

  • Cool Summer Tip: Quench Your Thirst

    Although a cold beer or a chilled white wine spritzer may sound wonderful on a hot day, you should avoid alcohol because it dehydrates the body. Instead try an Old Fashioned Icy Cold Homemade Lemonade. Here is a favorite recipe: (Makes 1 gallon, so its great for a summer party. Adjust proportions for a smaller batch.)

    6 lemons
    1 cup white sugar
    6 cups cold water

    1. Juice the lemons to make 1 cup of juice. HINT: FIRMLY roll the lemons between your hand and counter top before cutting in half and juicing.
    2. In a gallon pitcher combine 1 cup lemon juice, 1 cup sugar, and 6 cups cold water. Stir. Adjust water to taste. Chill and serve over ice.

  • Cool Summer Tip: A Spiky Moisturizer?

    Aloe Vera, that spiky looking plant many of us have in our kitchen gardens was considered the Plant of Immortality by the Egyptians about 6,000 years ago. Turns out they may have been right. Today the plant is known for many of its healing properties as well as beauty benefits.

    During these hot summer days and nights, substitute Aloe Vera for your usual lotions or creams. It absorbs into the skin quickly and is both cooling and moisturizing.

    Aloe Vera may help to reduce hair loss. The enzymes in the plant help hair grow quickly and the PH level is balanced as your hair is moisturized.

  • Cool Summer Tip: Who Wants Popcorn?

    When was the last time you were at a Drive-in movie? It’s been a long time for me. Our warm summer evenings are perfect to turn back the hands of time and spend a Friday night at a Drive-in movie. Don’t forget the comfy clothes, a snuggly blanket and of course a pillow. Splurge just this one time and enjoy all the junk food the Drive-in has to offer.

    If there isn’t a drive-in in your town, consider packing up with family or friends and going to a local outdoor “free-movie-in-the-park” event which are popping up all over the country—today’s alternative to the drive-in…pass the popcorn please!

  • Cool Summer Tip: Eat Spicy Foods to Cool Off

    It sounds counter-intuitive, however eating spicy food releases your interior heat by causing you to perspire. In hot humid climates foods are often very spicy hot. The side benefit is spicy foods increase your metabolism and aid in weight loss. Add a little hot pepper to your salad tonight. Spice it up!

  • Cool Summer Tip: Flower Tea

    Drink chrysanthemum tea. Chinese Medical Practitioners say Chrysanthemum is a cooling herb which clears the head. It is commonly known as Ju Hua Cha and is consumed in mainland China as a refreshing and cooling beverage. You can buy dried Chrysanthemum flowers at Asian supermarkets. Add boiling water with a little honey and you have a drink that is not only cooling, it is soothing to the body. Chrysanthemum Tea is also good at the first sign of headache, fever or chills.