Happy pre-4th of July weekend. It’s going to be a hot one!
It’s the perfect time for a summer cookout. Fire up the grill, pour out a bag of chips, crack open that watermelon, and let the good times roll! Summer cookouts also afford the opportunity to enjoy some seasonal sweet treats. And unlike some of the more complicated Christmas goodies, or elaborate springtime creations, (Seriously, I’m looking at anyone who braids hard-boiled eggs into a sweet roll wreath! These exist! Look them up!) summer desserts can be easy-peasy. They can also be completely free of baking, because let’s be honest, who wants to turn on the oven when it’s already 100 degrees outside? On a scale of 1 to Pinterest Fail, these three options are a cool 2, and really, that’s only because they require you to do more than open a package of Oreos!
1. Mystery Pints
Ok, this is a true dessert cheat, and I unapologetically love it and use it! Ice Cream is the perfect summer dessert as is. It needs no improvements, embellishments, or complications. That said, just picking up a container of ice cream for your summer fling may feel a bit…vanilla. Introducing mystery pints. This requires, maybe, 5% effort.
Step 1: Go to the grocery store. Are you still with me?
Step 2: Pick out an assortment of individual ice cream pints. Suggestion, make them all different. Make some simple: Haagen-Dazs Vanilla is delicious! Make some complex: any Ben and Jerry’s creative combo will work!
Step 3: Buy a variety of paper lunch sacks. The brown ones are fine, but not festive. My local grocery store sells them individually in a rainbow of colors in the card/gift aisle.
Step 4: Put one pint in each bag and seal the top. Keep in the freezer until it’s time for dessert, and then pull out the bags and lets guests pick their pint. As an added bonus, they can take the rest of the ice cream home with them. That is, assuming anyone believes that a pint is more than one serving!
2. Fruit Smoothie Popsicles
Can you freeze water? Then you can make a popsicle. Though if all you’ve done is frozen water, your popsicle isn’t very good. The traditional juice variety of this frozen summer treat is delicious. And if you buy a decent fruit juice to make them with, they can even be kind of healthy. But it’s not that hard to upgrade your popsicle game, and the results are next level awesome!
Step 1: Make a smoothie. There are 100 ways to do this. You’re essentially blending some combination of fruit, juice, and yogurt together until smooth. Some people blend with ice. DO NOT add ice to your smoothie for this particular preparation. Never made a smoothie before? Try this combination: 1 cup vanilla yogurt; 1 cup raspberries; 1 cup sliced strawberries; 3/4 cup of orange juice. Too thick? Slowly add juice a few tablespoons at a time to reach a thick yet pourable consistency.
Step 2: Prepare popsicle molds. If you have actual popsicle trays, kudos to you. If not, paper cups work well. Fill each paper cup 3/4 of the way full. Cover with tin foil. Punch a wooden popsicle stick through the foil and down into the smoothie. Arrange on a cookie sheet.
Step 3: Freeze. The trick here is to make sure that you put the cookie sheet in level. You’ll also want to make sure you leave the popsicles in long enough to be frozen all the way through. Leave overnight.
Step 4: Serve. Remove the tin foil from each cup making sure the sticks are secure in the popsicle. Handout popsicles in the paper cups. When ready to eat, the paper cup can be easily peeled away.
Now that you’ve got dessert you’re just one wine recommendation away from your weekend! First, a serving of kudos!
Friday kudos to…
The Rochester Indoor Golf Center
The short version of the story goes like this. I went and bought a golf bag in May. I didn’t like the golf bag I bought after I carried it for a while. I lost the receipt to the golf bag. When I went back to the store to see if they would trade it back in towards the purchase of a new bag, I was pretty certain I was going to have to eat some of the cost of the original. I had used it, cut off all the tags, and lost the receipt. This was not a recipe for a successful exchange. However, the guys at the store were incredibly helpful. Took the bag back no questions asked, offered me the original price in trade in value, and took 20% off the new bag that I picked out, a bag that I now love, but was more expensive than the original. The whole transaction only cost $5, and they have earned my business (and hopefully some others in the Rochester area!) forever.
The Costco credit card kiosk lady
I think this lady’s job sucks, but I did genuinely want the credit card info, so I stopped by. Despite the fact that, as she pointed out, most people wouldn’t make eye contact with her as they walked in the store, she was so nice and upbeat. And despite the fact that, as I pointed out, I had another credit card offer at home that was probably a similar if not better deal, so I was going to take home her information and compare before making a decision, she was still so nice and upbeat. I hope she found one of the gINKgo project notes I left around the store. She deserves one.
Wine for your weekend
I’ve been on a bit of a red wine kick recently. But as I mentioned, it’s going to be hot!! So let me recommend something completely different!
Maui Splash – Hawaii
That’s right, you read Hawaii. Didn’t know they made wine in Hawaii? Well they do, and guess what they make it from? Pineapple! That’s right, there are zero grapes involved in the Maui Splash winemaking process, but what results is a flavor explosion perfect for summer. Expect lots of tropical flavors the heaviest of which is, obviously, pineapple, but also include passionfruit, and apple. Alright, apple isn’t particularly tropical but it’s there! The wine is a semi-sweet white, incredibly fragrant, and easy to sip. Served very chilled, it’s wonderful on its own, but it also works brilliantly as a mixer or in sangria. Try pouring half a glass of wine and topping it off with lemon-lime soda, seltzer, or ginger ale for a refreshing spritzer.