In the Pacific Northwest we always joke that summer starts on July 5. That’s laughable in our current heatwave, but while the weather has been hot hot hot, it seems like summer is just getting into full swing. I don’t know about you, but my cooking changes drastically from winter to summer. Gone are the slow cooked casseroles, soups, and roasted veggies. Instead I make way for lighter salads, fresh veggies and fruits, and anything cold! And while I don’t love filling up my kitchen drawers with single use tools, I do have a handful of warm weather gadgets/items that really make life easier! Maybe a few of them will help you too!
* This is not a sponsored post—these are just items I like!
^^^ Who wants to stay home preparing hot soups when it looks like this?
Latching Water Bottle
I LOVE this water bottle for so many reasons! However, the most important feature (to me) is that the cap latches closed and my kids can’t open it! Any mom can tell you that having a water bottle dump in their bag (or in the middle of the library, or mall, or store….) is a nightmare. I aim to refill this bottle 4 times each day—sometimes I fill it up with my delicious On the Go Lemonade!
Which brings me to gadget #2—My very favorite Chef’n Lemon Press. This one is a beast and will make juicing lemons virtually effortless! It’s heavy duty, and I use it year round to squeeze both lemons and limes.
Ice Cream Maker
I am an ice cream addict! Growing up it was a staple in our house—my mom would serve us each a bowl when we got home from school and we would sit around the kitchen counter snacking and telling her about our day. Ice cream is still one of my favorite go to desserts! I’ve been using my trusty little Cuisinart Ice Cream maker for maybe 6 or 7 years now—it’s just perfect for a quick home batch. Some of my favorite flavors are Almond Joy, Double Chocolate Mint Chip, and Candy Cane Ice Cream.
In that same vein, making popsicles is a lot of fun too, and a perfect way to stay cool! I remember trying to get popsicle sticks propped up just right in dixie cups when I was a kid—these molds are SO much easier! Plus they come in all kinds of fun shapes! We used these star molds to make our firecracker pops this weekend!
I’m a corn off the cob girl. Ever since a bike accident when I was 6 left me with two broken teeth I haven’t been able to bring myself to bite into a whole apple or corn on the cob! For years I would hack the corn off with a knife, but it was so tedious. This little tool is a total game changer. It slices the corn off quickly, just like peeling a normal vegetable. Its perfect for prepping corn for my Wheatberry Corn Salad.
I love cherries, but chewing them up and spitting out the pit isn’t the most lady like. This little tool makes fast work of pitting cherries. Plus it makes cherries easier to serve to little kids. A word of warning—wear an apron or a dark colored shirt while pitting red cherries—they splash! Pit some cherries and make my Cherry Garcia Ice Cream! (The model I have seems to have limited availability—I think this Cherry Pitter from Westmark looks to be of very similar quality if you can’t find the one from Leifheit!)
I think I bring a picnic for the boys and myself to just about every outing in the summer. It seems like we picnic almost every day. We always bring one big bag with all of our packed lunches. I like this Rachel Ray bag (I have a similar smaller one, and also have a few of the Whole Foods insulated bags) because it has a zipper which means that things stay cold and kids can’t dump it so easily! Plus as you empty out the bag the soft sides collapse on themselves, taking up less room than a traditional hard sided cooler.
David has been using these Camelbak water bottles for 2+ years now, and I introduced them to Jonathan a few months ago. Both are able to drink out of them fairly easily (although I must admit that I don’t love using a straw personally). I like these bottles because they do not leak! David can open it on his own, Jonathan still needs help (as I would expect with just about anything at his age). They come in lots of fun colors and prints too, and you can buy replacement spouts if your kids are chewers! I always bring these filled with ice water when we go out so they boys have something to drink (they don’t drink juice except for special occasions and milk is reserved mostly just for breakfast). Bonus: the straws are big enough for drinking a smoothie—perfect for a snack on the go!
^^^ Even when we end up with an impromptu picnic I’m always prepared with our water bottles!