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This weekend, Ben and I had friends come visit and stay with us. I don't think I opened my computer once during the entire weekend and it felt like the days flew by at warp speed. We filled an unfortunately rainy Saturday with drinking and eating out, but Sunday rolled around and was warm, sunny, and allowed me to wear sandals and a skirt. It felt like summer - evenings on the porch with friends, tropical drinks, fresh fruit like strawberries and pineapple, and the kind of weather that makes people insane if they spend too much of the day inside.
The summer days and nights always feel too short, like this weekend did. I don't ever want to go to bed in the summer. I don't want to spend time in front of the stove cooking meals. I hate doing laundry or anything that produces steam in the house. I just want to laze around, eating popsicles and breathing in the warm air. I also find myself less hungry in the heat, grabbing bits and pieces to eat and never really sitting down to full meals unless they're tacos on summery bar porches coupled with margaritas.
After our long, fun weekend, we ran out of time to grocery shop and like most summer nights were faced with an empty fridge and a waning day. I suppose necessity is the mother of invention and the summertime was the mother of the easy-meal. We decided to try out a Stouffer's Skillet for a speedy meal to quiet down the long weekend and save time. Ben and I are not normally eaters of easy meals like these skillets, we often spend way too much time slaving over the hot oven or stove making something relatively mediocre, so this was a definite first for us. But I'll be perfectly honest in saying that after realizing that this full meal was: a) only going to take 11 minutes to prepare from start to finish, b) made with no preservatives, and b) pretty low-cal (330 calories a serving), I was absolutely thrilled and took to cooking it with glee.
11 minutes is about 30 minutes shorter than most of our meals take. And this meal was probably about 200 calories less than our usual meals. A total win.
(I picked up these awesome and hilarious Wonka Peel-a-Pops and Dreyer's Outshine Fruit and Veggie Bars at Walmart along with my Stouffer's Skillet)
After a fast, delicious, and light meal, we naturally took our summering out onto our balcony to share popsicles with friends. The evenings are getting so much longer and so much warmer that I can stand barefoot out on the balcony with the growing mint and gorgeous leafy trees surrounding me. There's little that reminds me of my favorite summers like a popsicle. We usually stock up on a ton of Outshine Fruit or Fruit and Veggie bars in the summers. Lemon and lime are my two favorite flavors and if I had a dollar for every one I ate last summer while walking around Tacoma in sundresses, I'd probably have made back my investment on those bars and been able to put some money into savings. I'd also likely have bought more. Outshine bars are particularly fantastic because they're about 60-100 calories a piece. They're perfect for summer dieting and cool you down when you live in city apartments that lack airflow.
We tried out the fruit and veggie strawberry and rhubarb bars with our friends and were so pleasantly surprised by the deliciousness (no hint of veggie taste anywhere, hooray!) that they're likely gaining a place in my freezer as permanent summer staples.
I cannot express how happy I am to have spent a weekend living like it was mid-summer with our closest friends, sweet treats and easy meals in hand and endless evening hours to spend together.