Note to summer: We’ve got a lot of irons in the summer campfire. Summer simple suggestions in chic summer style for bedecking interior and exterior settings, entertaining, dishing up summer fare, and outdoor living it up easy peasy is greatly appreciated.
Southern, Northern, Eastern or Western Living- regardless of geographical location, summer living and loving decoristas have got the memo, and it’s all about keeping it summer simple and summer simple suggestions.
It’s kinda sorta tough to kick back, relax and savor the season when you notice heavy equipment sitting on the sidewalk in front of your house and you, the homeowner, have no earthly idea what it is doing there.
Seems our city water department has a little curb appeal water line improvement of their own in mind. This does not make my summer simple suggestions list.
Progress isn’t always a pretty process, and the installation of a new water lines makes it difficult to achieve summer curb appeal style, but we forge on.
We trimmed the unattractive dead sago palm fronds and within a week new green growth emerged. Here’s a trick in my simple summer suggestions repertoire for getting your Sago palm(s) summer curb appeal ready.
Sago Palm Care
Outdoor planted Sago palm care involves watering the plant regularly until it takes root. I like the look and the drought tolerant aspect of the mature Sago palm. Fertilize at least once a month beginning in spring to aid in active growth. Covering the base of the plant with mulch will help to protect the roots from cold snaps. In inclement winter weather or fall freeze, we cover the exposed Sago palm with a heavy duty extra large black trash bag to protect it.
If it’s not one thing, it’s this.
Cue The Rolling Stones, cause it’s shattered.
The lawn and garden guy’s super duper heavy duty weed eater took aim at a loose piece of exposed aggregate, obliterating the exterior glass panel of the patio French garden door. One simply can’t patio pretty with ugly on parade. Thank goodness for the friend who frequents our summer patio soirees that just so happens to own a local glass company.
Did someone mention summer soiree?
Why, yes, I did.
It’s time once again to get your summer soiree on, and the ideas for fun in the sun or evening tiki torch, lantern or string light are flowing. We’re working with what we’ve got in the front of the house, and if you are like us, you’re getting your porch, patio and deck hangin’ game plan down pat. Comfortable, fun, relaxing, refreshing, simple, tasty and stylish as chic- this is my number one summer simple suggestions formula for a festive summer gathering.
If Ina Uses It
I read with interest an article listing the pros and cons of a charcoal grill. The pros outnumber the cons, and personal preference trumps all however, the one pro of the charcoal grill worth mentioning is worth mentioning. Grilling on a charcoal grill ups the flavor quotient and gives great grilled flavor.
Brushing the grate with oil helps to prevent food from sticking. Take three or four paper towels and wad them up in a bunch. Pick up the paper towels with tongs and dip into a bowl of peanut, Canola or vegetable oil. Lightly coat the grate and proceed to grill.
Ina is a huge fan of the charcoal chimney starter. Using a charcoal chimney starter is both easy and a safe way to get things cooking. I hate the taste of lighter fluid, and am leery of it as well. When you use a charcoal chimney starter there is no need for lighter fluid. Simply fill the chimney starter about ¾ full with charcoal and light it over several sheets of scrunched up newspaper over the bottom grill grate.
Allow the fire to catch and then burn for about 10-20 minutes or until the fire comes out of the top and the coals are glowing orange. Carefully spread out the charcoal in a single layer across the bottom cooking grate, place the oiled grate on top, and you’re ready to grill.
As Ina Garten would say, how fabulous is that?
Speaking of Simple Summer Suggestions, Ina Garten, Summer Fare and Grilling
2 pounds premium ground beef (80 percent lean and 20 percent fat)
1 tablespoon good Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons good olive oil, plus extra for brushing the grill
1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
3 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces grated Gruyere
12 small Brioche buns
4 ounces baby arugula
3 medium tomatoes, sliced in 1/8-inch-thick rounds
2 small red onions, sliced in 1/8-inch-thick rounds
Ketchup, for serving
Build a charcoal fire or heat a gas grill.
Place the ground beef in a large bowl and add the mustard, olive oil, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix gently with a fork to combine, taking care not to compress the ingredients. Shape the meat into 12 (2-inch) patties of equal size and thickness.
When the grill is medium-hot, brush the grill grate with oil to keep the sliders from sticking. Place the sliders on the grill and cook for 4 minutes. Turn the sliders over with a spatula and cook for another 4 to 6 minutes, until medium-rare, or cook longer if you prefer the sliders more well done. For the last 2 minutes of cooking time, place ½-ounce Gruyere on the top of each burger and close the grill lid. Remove the sliders to a platter and cover with foil.
Slice the buns in half crosswise and toast the halves cut side down on the grill.
Divide the baby arugula among the 12 bottom buns, top each with a slider, and finish with a slice of tomato and red onion. Cover with the top of the bun and serve hot with ketchup.
Culinary experiments put the taste and c’est si bon in the summer entertaining mix. Summer menus require summer classics, new discoveries and improved additions.
Fried chicken is practically required eating in the South and a mainstay of the summer dining and picnic table. Once the Places In The Home gang discovered how good the fried chicken is from the deli at our local Kroger, frying chicken at home has become a thing of the past.
Here’s my tip for simply summer impressive- it’s all in the presentation. I go heavy on the presentation and simple with the preparation. I picked up a pack of mini terra-cotta clay pots at the dollar store to use as individual s’mores supply pots.
Chippy, rusty, and charming- this vintage Hershey’s Milk Chocolate metal tray would make a great serving tray or decorative accent for the s’mores table.
Vintage ironstone and in the style of vintage table linens set a summer chic table. A quick trip to an antique shop, garage sale or Goodwill store usually results in an ironstone serving piece find or two. Vintage picnic wares and baskets bring memories to the table, and can be used for the actual purpose of food and beverage and/or as decorative accents.
Dave the Builder and I bought a vintage picnic table from a fellow antiques dealer with the express purpose of featuring it in a summer display at Hopefully Classic. I used a vintage picnic basket filled with hydrangeas for a super easy, super cute centerpiece. You can make quite the keep it summer simple statement with a collection of glass jars or melamine vegetable bowl and whatever flowers, greenery or veggies are growing fresh in your yard or garden. No garden or flowers on the homestead? Check out the floral department and produce section of your favorite grocery store.
Mini watermelons on a natural table runner of Pittosporum and Lemon Lime Nandina is summer simple and summer chic.
Ears of fresh corn with the husks slightly peeled back in order to expose the corn kernels grouped in threes and tied with woven ribbon of your color, pattern and texture choice or metallic twisted rope is another fresh centerpiece idea.
4pc Indoor Outdoor Gingham Napkins || Lyndsay Stripes Cotton Table Runner || Design Imports 18″ Square Farm Fresh Stripe Napkin (Set of 4) || Striped Fete Buffet Napkins in White (Set of 4) || Chambray Fringe Napkins, Set of 4 || Basics Watercolor Check Napkins in Navy (Set of 4)
Summer Simple Suggestions for Refreshing Treats
Summer is fun, but summer is hot. Delicious and easy frozen treats of the leaded and unleaded type make a big splash with guests.
Plum Smoothie Pops
¼ cup sugar
1 Tablespoon corn syrup
1 lb. assorted plums
8 tsp. fresh lime juice
6 oz. plain yogurt
Bring the sugar, corn syrup, and ¼ cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and cool. Puree the plums, cooled syrup, and lime juice in two batches, using a blender, until smooth. Stir the plum puree and yogurt together in a large mixing bowl.
Pour the mixture into popsicle molds, leaving about ½ inch at the top, as the mixture will expand when it freezes. Follow popsicle mold manufacturer’s instructions and freeze until solid, about 4 hours.
Have you heard about these new scratch-and-sniff Frozen Treats stamps inspired by summer and the whimsical watercolor illustrations of Margaret Berg? These will be great for those summer cookout-party-soiree snail mail invitations.
Pair your favorite frozen treat with a glass of sparkling wine for a little zing. Dipping a frozen treat into a chilled glass of sparkling wine pops the flavor notes and takes summer treat to a whole new tasting dimension. Prosecco grapes is another winner. These frozen treats are super easy to make and quite refreshing.
2 lb. green grapes
1 bottle prosecco
4 oz. vodka
½ cup granulated sugar
In a large bowl, pour prosecco and vodka over grapes. Let them soak in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Drain in a colander and pat dry. On a shallow plate, roll the grapes in sugar until fully coated, then serve.
Inspiration is everywhere!
I saw this VW Bus throw pillow and immediately my thoughts went to summers spent camping with my childhood friend and her family in their VW Bus.
Louisiana is a long way from the California coast, but the Gulf Coast is a fun place to sand, swim, sun and sing we’ve been having fun all summer long, Louisiana style.
The Beach Boys definitely make up the soundtrack of summer.
My final summer simple suggestions tip is as follows:
Don’t sweat the details. The simplicity of summer is an easy theme to work with and makes a great backdrop for mixing and mingling with friends and family in the good old summertime.
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