Mirrors. They’re in the strawberries and the Piña Coladas. They’re in the lesson on gratitude to a crying 4-year-old in the Target parking lot. They’re in the garden, and in the new strands of color in my hair, too. Mirrors—they’re everywhere.
This post is a four part series sponsored by Vitamix and The FeedFeed. I’ve been using a Vitamix my entire adult life and have been known to travel with my Vitamix by car. I use my Vitamix as a blender, food processor, and sometimes a mixer. Thank you for supporting the brands that I support.
I’m late. To dropping Hal off at preschool. To my book launch party. To strawberry season and summer in general. It’s days before September, and I’ve just nestled my beach chair into the sand of summer. The strawberry bushes have long been vacant, I’ve just made my first batch of cold brew, and the Minnesota pools are set to close in a couple days. Wait summer, I just got here. At my speed, I’ll probably be sipping Piña Coladas in a jacket around a bonfire next month. How did we get to the end of summer already?
The mirror is in the strawberry bush and the Piña Coladas (recipe below).
She leaves Target in tears. Again. It’s hard when you’re 4, and you don’t get to buy something every trip like mom. “Be grateful for what you have,” I remind her. What a mom thing to say. And then I remember the stack of thank-you notes still sitting on my desk from May. May! If there’s one thing I’ve learned from parenting, modeling is the best teacher. And I’m not sure that I’ve modeled a quickness towards gratitude.
The mirror is in the tears at Target.
The first year they sleep, the next year they creep, and the third year they leap. That’s what my wise gardening friends remind me of as we struggle to keep our backyard garden alive. We’re in year 1 and 2. Half of our garden popped back up and the other half was replanted. I promised a backyard update this summer, but the space is still heavily a work in progress. I’ve been transplanting plants from one spot of the yard to another to make them happier; I’m trying to keep the squirrels from continually exposing the roots of our stressed out rhododendron; I’m scratching my head at how to best care for the once leafy plant that’s become food for a wiggly creature; and I’m experimenting with a low-maintenance, hardy, drought tolerant, no-mow grass. Too good to be true? Growing a mature garden, like most things in life, takes a lot time and a lot of care.
The mirror is in the garden, too.
My hair is greying at a noticeable rate. I have a post-baby, 30-something reorganized body. Months before the book launched, I stood in the mirror wondering what to do with this pervasive new color taking over my dark head of hair (you can read more about it here), wondering what to wear in public besides my usual yoga pants. I was hung up on my appearance. But really, I was nervous about what you’d think of the book. About what you’d think of me and my family, who often get wrapped up into my work.
The mirror is in the grey strands of my hair. (Update on that front coming soon.) It’s in the empty strawberry bush and the Piña Colada. It’s in the garden and the tears at Target. It’s in the yoga pants and the pile of unsent notecards. There are little mirrors everywhere.
This is a non-traditional Whole Fruit Piña Colada, in that it uses fresh pineapple instead of juice and canned coconut milk from your pantry instead of the hard-to-track-down coconut cream, plus a squeeze of lime. It’s light, bright, and refreshing. Start with juicy, sweet pineapple for the happiest results.
3/4 c. fresh cut, ripe pineapple, packed
1/4 c. + 2 tbsp. coconut milk (see notes)
1/4 c. white rum
1 heaping tbsp. agave nectar, plus more to taste
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 c. ice cubes
pineapple wedge with peel intact
Make the cocktail. Add all the cocktail ingredients into the Vitamix in the order listed, ending with the ice.
Slowly turn the machine to high speed and blend for 20-30 seconds until frothy and evenly combined. Taste and adjust sweetness levels based on sweetness of the pineapple fruit. Blend again if needed.
Garnish. Slice a round disc off the top or bottom of the pineapple before removing the peel. Cut disc into wedges. Turn wedge on its side, cut a slice into the wedge, then place on glass. Divide the Piña Colada between the two glasses. Add a leaf from the top of the pineapple if desired. Serve immediately. Note: natural separation will occur, creating a beautiful drink. Stir to recombine.
• Use full fat coconut milk for this recipe. The same kind you cook with. I often blend my coconut milk before using to combine the separated cream, and store the remainder in a covered glass jar in the fridge for a couple weeks.
• For added natural sweetness and creaminess, add a half of ripe banana in addition to the agave nectar.
Next to my cast iron skillet, my high-powered Vitamix blender is one of the most used tools in my kitchen. It’s a workhorse, doubling as a food processor. From smoothies, to sauces, to puddings, to peanut butter balls, to dutch babies, our high-powered blender gets used daily. Note: high-powered blenders are expensive. But they will last you years and years and years. We’ve used a refurbished Vitamix for 10+ years. I’m currently trying out their smart, new Ascent Series in white (A3500) and love it so far.
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I like this post–it’s so true that there are reminders everywhere about what you’re putting off, what you’re worrying about, etc. I think the mirrors can also remind you of accomplishments and what to be happy about as well, so it’s all a balance! But this pina colada. I love the riff you’ve taken, and I’ll be sure to make it before summer weather completely ends! Thanks for such a thoughtful post and wonderful recipe 🙂 xo
Thank you for being a constant around these parts! Hope the east coast late summer/early fall is treating you well!
I just watched a video last night with Brad from the Bon Appetit test kitchen making a very similar pina colada – you’re not the only one trying to make the most of the end of summer. We’ve just stared experiencing 70 degree days sprinkled into the week and school just started again and it all went by quickly. But all the seasons go quickly (except winter it seems) and I am excited to relish Fall. Maybe one last tropical cocktail first.
Oh, I’ll have to dig for the Bon Appetit recipe. There’s so few whole-fruit piña colada recipes out there!