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Do you ever feel jealous of posts on Facebook about summer adventures? When you’re working long hours or stuck at home with a summer cold, even little things like a photo of a homemade smoothie or a mention of a walk with a dog can elicit envy. Do you want to experience the carefree feeling of the summer of your youth, to swing for hours under a grand, old oak tree, dig your toes into the sand at the beach, and wipe the sweat from your brow as you slice, dice, pickle, and preserve the bounty of a summer harvest?
One summer a few years ago when I was down with the flu and had to succumb to a bowlful of cough drops and endless hours of Netflix, I looked out the window and heard the kids next door running through the sprinkler and smelled another neighbor’s charcoal grill. I longed to join them.
As I healed, the world again seemed filled with increased possibility, and I realized that summer is not just a season; it’s also a mindset. Summer is about freedom. In the summer, we hit the open road with the music blaring, the windows down, and our hair blowing in the wind. In the summer, we go barefoot and wear cut-off jeans. We can spend an afternoon watching water bugs at a creek and not feel like we’re wasting time. And we can go with friends to a concert under the stars and drink from a seemingly endless supply of beer. In the summer anything and everything feels possible. As we stand on top of a mountain, our arms spread wide, or look at a peach tree laden with juicy, ripe fruit, we can practically hear the wind whispering in our ear that we can do and be anything.
We can create summer whenever we want. Summer is not just about the warm weather and long days. It’s about feeling expansive and free. What steps can you take today to bring more expansion and freedom into your life?
Caprese Salad Skewers
For me, it wouldn’t be late summer without colorful heirloom tomatoes and fresh herbs. Caprese is a favorite Italian summer salad, but put it on a decorative toothpick, and suddenly you have an elegant (yet simple) appetizer for any summer gathering, no matter how fancy or how impromptu. Take a bite and welcome the energy of summer into your life.
12 decorative toothpicks (about 4-inches long)*
24 cherry tomatoes (from 1 10-oz. pkg.)**
24 ciligiene, cherry-sized balls of fresh mozzarella, (from 1 12-oz. tub)
36 small leaves of fresh basil
Extra virgin olive oil
Aged balsamic vinegar
*Available at party outlets and some well-stocked grocery and liquor stores. I found mine at World Market.
**In the photo I used sun gold heirloom tomatoes from my garden, but any variety will work.
Plan two tomatoes, two mozzarella balls, and three basil leaves per skewer. Alternately layer the tomatoes and mozzarella on the toothpick and place a folded basil leaf between each one. Once they’re all assembled on a platter, lightly drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with salt.
Note: For more information about eating the energy of the seasons, see The Mystic Cookbook by Denise and Meadow Linn (Hay House, November 2012)