Since Wednesday's post covered some yummy summer food, I thought today I would share some of my favorite summer essentials. I specifically love #4 which makes any outdoor event more fun.
1. Popsicle Molds: There is nothing better than a popsicle to beat summer heat and the best kind are always homemade. They taste so much better than what you can buy in the store and the variations are endless. Now the first step to making great popsicles at home is to get some popsicle molds or you can use dixie cups and popsicle sticks. Then jump aboard and try some of these amazing recipes: Peach and Bourban popsicles for adults and only 79 calories each, Lemonade Cucumber Spa Pops for under 50 calories, and these yummy Raspberry Chocolate Frozen Yogurt Pops for 87 calories. If you don't want to wait on the freezer, you can also make them on the counter with this Zoku Counter Popsicle Maker. Personally I haven't tried it out, but I have a friend who swears by it.
2. Grill Pan: I love my apartment, I really do. It's close to the beach, spacious, came with fabulous neighbors, but I can't grill anymore. It makes me sad, especially in the summer. However to trick my brain into believing I am grilling outdoors, I open up all the windows, turn on some music, and rock out with my grill pan. There are so many different grill pans out there, I have a cute red one that I bought a few years back. Lately I have been grilling up a lot of this Sweet and Spicy Salmon and Asian Pork Loin. I also grill up veggies, fruit, and chicken every Sunday to have around the house for quick salads and snacks. Fruit? Next time you grill throw some peaches, nectarines, or pineapple on the grill - they transform any boring salad instanty.
3. Outdoor Food Tents: If you love to serve food outside, these are a lifesaver. They are also one of those simple inventions that I wonder why I never thought of on my own. I have these simple pop up food tents but I am looking to upgrade to these Fox Brands Metal Food Tents.
4. Outdoor Wine Holders: Would you judge me if I told you I kept a set of these in my trunk for impromptu picnics? Honestly these are amazing for outdoor drinking and keep your wine or drink safe and secure. They also make an great gift with a nice bottle of wine. I have this This simple metal set for 2 wine glasses and a bottle. Want to really go all out for your summer picnic? I am in love with this Ascot fold away picnic table and hoping to buy one soon for movies in the park and long, Sunday picnics.
5. Ice Cream Maker: Lastly in my opinion, anyone who loves ice cream and is dieting or trying to be healthy needs an ice cream maker. There are hundreds of amazing low fat ice cream, yogurt, and sorbet recipes that will make you forget they are low fat. Nothing you can buy in the store comes close to what you can make at home in my opinion. I have this one from Cuisinart which is on sale for $90 on Amazon (bonus!) Here are some great healthy ice cream recipes from Eating Well to get you started. The toasted coconut and almost is incredible.
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