Refreshingly Easy No-Heat Summer Recipes

by Stacy Tharp 25. July 2013

Puppy Cooling Off

Summertime in Baltimore brings us many benefits, such as free outdoor events, longer daylight hours and an easy source of vitamin D. Of course we all know that with the benefits come some drawbacks – perpetual humidity, crazy energy bills, and the aversion to ever turning on your stove or oven to cook because it’s hot enough as it is!

Well, I’m sorry to say I can’t do anything about our lovely Maryland humidity – but I DO have a solution for your energy bill and stove/oven anxiety…no-heat summer recipes!

No heat = No oven.

No oven = No need to crank the AC all the way down.

Okay, enough with the mathematical equations. Here are some great no-heat summer recipes:

1) Drink Up

There's nothing more refreshing than a cold summer smoothie. This Strawberry Lime Smoothie is quick, easy and healthy. You likely have most of the ingredients in your refrigerator or cabinet already, and one of the great things about smoothies is you can enjoy them any time of the day.

Want to kick things up a notch with a refreshing spiked beverage? Stop by your favorite Baltimore bar for an orange crush…or better yet, make your own!

2) Go Green

Grab your favorite leafy veg, your mix-ins of choice, and what do you know – you’ve got yourself a salad. Much like smoothies, salads can be easily modified to meet your taste buds’ desires. This Tri-Berry Spinach Salad caught my attention with such summery ingredients. Add in some cold pre-cooked roasted chicken from the store and you’ve got yourself a substantial meal.

3) Summer Soup

If that sounds to you like some sort of oxymoron, you must be forgetting about chilled soups. The great thing about having chilled soup in the summer is it has that “comfort food” feel, but without the heat. A couple options to choose from: Chilled Cucumber Soup and Cantaloupe Soup.

4) Sammies

Can you ever really go wrong with a sandwich? They are easily customizable (are we seeing a common theme here?) and portable, which makes them an ideal choice when you’re on the go. Of course, they’re great for eating at home as well. You probably already have your favorite go-to sandwich, but if you’re looking to change things up a bit, try this Ham, Brie, and Apple Triple Decker Sandwich.

5) Let's Wrap It Up

Wraps – very similar to sandwiches, but for some reason, a whole lot more fun! Pretty much any combo you use to make a sandwich can easily be turned into a wrap. If you’re looking for something more unique, ditch the tortilla and play around with different types of wrappers. For example, try these Avocado Tuna Salad Lettuce Wraps.

6) The Good Stuff

If you’re anything like me, you skipped right on down to this section. When you think of homemade desserts, you may think of warm brownies or the smell that fills your whole house when you are baking cookies, but you can create something just as delicious without the oven. Try these Peach and Raspberry Pavlova Parfaits or this Peanut Butter Pie to get a fresh sweet treat without breaking a sweat or your AC unit.

For even more energy saving summer recipes, follow our No-Bake Summer Recipes board on Pinterest.

If you found this article useful, be sure to check out these related articles:

6 Things to Do in Baltimore to Cool Off

How to Stay Cool when Temperatures Are Hot

Top 10 Free Things to Do in Baltimore This Summer

 

4th of July Fun Facts and More

by Stacy Tharp 2. July 2013

Happy 4th of July!

The 4th of July is all about having a day off work, BBQs and fireworks, right? Well, sure...but why do we do these things on the 4th? Of course you've learned the story of our fight for independence during the Revolutionary War, but how much do you really remember? If you are planning on spending your 4th of July kicking back with your family and friends, it makes sense to at least brush up on your knowledge about what you're actually celebrating, right?

Lucky for you, our friends at VAMortgage.com have put together a "History of Independence Day." You'll also find some of the best way to celebrate, a list of BBQ essentials, and fun facts about the 4th of July. Sound interesting? We think so too.

 

Get the 411 on the 4th

Top 10 Free Things to Do in Baltimore This Summer

by Stacy Tharp 24. June 2013

Baltimore Skyline

It's that time of year again – you know, the time of year when you’re free to go out and about without fearing frostbite or having to duck into a warm place to thaw out every hour or so. Maybe that’s a tad bit dramatic, but you can’t argue with the fact that right now, we have warmth and long daylight hours on our side!

With weather this nice it makes no sense to spend all your time cooped up indoors or to spend money on activities you could enjoy any time of the year. Summer is about being outside and enjoying the free things in life! From organized events to things you can do on your own, here is a list of 10 Baltimore favorites when it comes to free outdoor summer activities.

1) Hike or Bike at Gwynns Falls

Gwynns Falls Trail begins at the I-70 Park & Ride trailhead and follows the Gwynns Falls stream to the Middle Branch and the Inner Harbor of the Patapsco River. It contains 15 miles of a unique urban hiking and biking trail which provides access to a scenic and historic greenway stream valley in Baltimore City.

Also check out Druid Hill Park, Patterson Park, or for some more advanced hiking and rock climbing, Rocks State Park.

2) Visit Edgar Allen Poe’s Grave

Give yourself a spook and head over to Westminster Hall and Burying Ground. There you can visit Poe and his wife, Virginia Clemm. Look a little further and you will find some other prominent Maryland citizens including James Calhoun, Baltimore’s first mayor, and James McHenry, signer of the Declaration of Independence.

3) Listen to Live Music

There’s nothing like sitting in the warm open air listening to some good live tunes.

The First Thursdays Concerts in the Park series takes place on…any guesses? That’s right, the first Thursday of every month during the summer (July-September). The shows run from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. under the Washington Monument in West Mt. Vernon Park. Food and drinks are available for purchase from local vendors, or you can bring your own food. These concerts are great for families and people of all ages.

Friday Night Live! is another great option. These free concerts take place every Friday beginning at 8:00 p.m. at Power Plant Live! You must be 21 or older to attend most of these concerts.

4) Watch an Outdoor Movie

Save the movie theaters for when it’s cold and you need to coop yourself up indoors. During the warm summer evenings, take advantage of these free outdoor movie events.

“Flicks from the Hill” takes place every Thursday from July 11th to August 22nd. The American Visionary Art Museum hosts these free movie screenings, which begin at 9:00 p.m. Bring a blanket and grab a spot on Federal Hill to enjoy the screening. Not only is the movie free, the American Visionary Art Museum is open with free admission from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Flicks nights. A list of this year’s films can be found here.

Another option is the Little Italy Open Air Film Fest (Cinema Al Fresco). Every Friday in July and August on the corner of High and Stiles Streets, you can set up a lawn chair and listen to live music (beginning at 7:00 p.m.) or grab some yummy Italian cuisine, then enjoy an Italian-related film beginning at 9:00 p.m. Click here for this year’s film schedule.

Charm City Circulator

5) Travel by Charm City Circulator for a Self-Guided Tour

These eco-friendly shuttles service residents, students, tourists and anyone else who wants a ride for free around Baltimore. The Charm City Circulator is the perfect way to get around town for a day of sightseeing. It saves you the hassle of finding parking while lessening pollution and congestion. Shuttles arrive every 15 minutes at each designated stop. Visit their website for schedules and routes.

6) Climb to Federal Hill Park

If you want to see one of the best panoramic views of Baltimore, Federal Hill is the place to go. A public park since 1789, it was used as a celebration point following the ratification of the new “Federal” U.S. Constitution. It was also used during the Civil War and the War of 1812 as a lookout point. It’s a little bit of a climb, but once you reach the top, you’ll see it was worth it! Federal Hill is a short walk from the Inner Harbor, the Maryland Science Center and many other local attractions.

7) Artscape and Beyond

The 32nd annual Artscape, America’s largest free arts festival, located on Mount Royal Avenue, will occur this year on July 19th through the 21st. Artscape features over 150 fine artists, fashion designers and craftspeople. Enjoy several visual art exhibits as well as concerts and performing arts including dance, theater and film. This is a great festival for families - you'll find hands-on projects, demonstrations, competitions, children’s entertainers and lots more. Check out the website for updated information.

Out of town that weekend? There is plenty of other art around Baltimore that you can view for free anytime. General admission to the Walters Art Museum is free, as are the outdoor exhibits at the American Visionary Art Museum, to name a couple.

Washington, D.C. Capitol Building

8) Spend the Day in D.C.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. D.C. is totally not in Baltimore. Yes, I may be cheating a little on this one, but it’s just so close by and there are SO many free things to do there! You cannot go the whole summer without spending a day in D.C. From the 19 museums, galleries and zoo that make up the Smithsonian Institution to the National Mall and monuments, it would be impossible to not be able to fill up your day with free activities.

Check out Washington, D.C. on the Cheap to find other D.C. deals and discounts.

9) Wander the Baltimore Farmers’ Market & Bazaar

Open every Sunday from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. underneath the Jones Falls Expressway at Holliday and Saratoga streets, this is Maryland’s largest producers-only market. I have to admit, although admission is free and vendors are often giving out free samples, it’s highly unlikely that you will be able to walk away without spending any money after walking through the copious amounts of fresh produce, seafood, meats, fresh baked goods, cheese, local cuisine stations serving breakfast and lunch, plants and herbs as well as unique crafts and collectables. However, many things you’ll find at this market are things you would normally purchase at a supermarket anyway, so it’s better to buy it fresh and local, right?

Click here for more information on this and other Baltimore farmers’ markets.

If the limited hours of the farmers’ markets are a problem for you, check out some of Baltimore’s standing public markets, open year round, most days of the week.

Fireworks

10) Celebrate Independence Day

Downtown Baltimore is definitely the place to be when celebrating the Fourth of July. Head down early and bring your costumed pet to the American Visionary Art Museum for the Visionary Pets on Parade. Prizes will be awarded for best costume, most patriotic, best owner & pet look-alikes and more. Don’t have a pet? You’re still welcome to stop by and enjoy the dressed up pooches. Pet registration begins at 9:30 a.m. and the parade begins at 10:00 a.m.

Then stick around for Baltimore’s official Independence Day celebration in the Inner Harbor. Live music begins at 4:00 p.m. and the amazing fireworks show begins at 9:30. If you’d like to enjoy the show without the crowds, head to Federal Hill, Harbor East or Fells Point where you can still get a great view of the fireworks.

So there you have it. Hopefully you’ve find something on this list appealing…or perhaps you’ll try them all! Just be sure to take advantage of the summer sun one way or another this year!

If you found this article useful, be sure to check out these other related articles:

Traveling Tips: Keep the Costs Low and the Fun Level High

Tricks to Throwing a Budget-Friendly Barbeque

How to Stay Cool When Temperatures are Hot

 



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