Summer for us wouldn't be summer without hitting up some summer concerts. There is such simple joy in sitting out on the grass and listening to music as your children dance. My family also uses this as an extra excuse to picnic- something we all enjoy.
Our first concert of the summer was a repeat performer, and a repeat venue, but our first time seeing this performance at this venue!
Ruth and Emilia at the Botanic Gardens
Both kids enjoy this musical show about an alien who lands in a young girl's backyard, but Thatbaby especially loves it.
The space they used this year was a little different from years past. With less sitting room for parents, and not a conducive space for picnics.
On the other hand, our local Arts Center started a new program this year with concerts every Friday night. And there's much more space for everyone.
We attended a few of these concerts, everytime we were home on a Friday night. They set out some chairs for people, but the rest of the space was open for you to bring your own chairs or blankets.
They also set up yard games and inflatables for the kids to play. Which can make it even nicer for parents who want to just sit and listen while their children run around.
They also brought in food trucks every week, so that you could grab dinner while you sat and enjoyed the summer evening.
Sometimes we brought our own dinners, sometimes we picked up once we were there. But we always end up with some kind of treat.
Speaking of treats, I picked up Trader Joe's new "Lemon Peal" malt beverage this summer, thinking it would make a nice evening drink for Thatboy and I. It did not. Honestly, neither of us could finish it. It was harsh. Not light and refreshing. I started brainstorming immediately how I could use it. I decided it would be best used in recipes that called for beer. The lemon flavor there would complement the dish, and the maltiness would serve for the same use as the beer in the recipe. I tried it with some chicken dishes, in the marinade, and it was successful. But I knew that it would really shine in a beer bread. I tend to think of beer bread as a great fall food. Served alongside a nice roast, or soup, or chili. But with a lemon-beer? I was hoping it would add some lightness and brightness to make it more of a summer experience. I was right here too. Thatboy said this is the best beer bread he's ever had. The boys loved it. It's even worth buying a six-pack of Lemon Peal, just to make it!
Lemon Beer Bread
3 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp lemon zest
1 can of Trader Joe's Lemon Peal
1/4 cup butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 350. Spray a loaf pan with baking spray. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, pepper, and zest.
- Stir the beer into the dry ingredients just until combined. Pour the batter into the loaf pan.
- Drizzle the melted butter over the top and bake for 50 minutes.
- Allow to cool in pan before slicing and serving.