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signs of summer

Recipe: blood orange green tea slushie

For a girl who gushes about winter as much as I do, I must admit that I say “I can’t wait for summer!” a lot. Summer is a lovely concept: wildflowers, hiking and backpacking, cool evenings, mountain biking, summer produce, grilling, open windows, trail runs, hummingbirds, ice cold drinks, afternoon lightning storms, neighbor kids screaming and laughing on their trampoline. That’s because my brain has selectively forgotten about mosquitoes, sunburn, heat, the unrelenting sun, hordes of tourists, pine pollen, dusty trails, and tacky, greasy sunblock. Well, summer has arrived.

she can’t go as far anymore, but she still loves her hikes

and the aspens are finally starting to leaf

caught the tail end of the pasque flowers

a cluster of three

the ever-charming western wallflower

There are signs that usually cue me in to the arrival of summer like the first pasque flowers to bloom on our local trails or the yellow-green haze that develops on aspen stands as their leaves bud. We are typically out exploring and observing these changes throughout the month of May, but May got away from us for a number of reasons this year. Catching these visual signals sets my mind at ease as if Nature is on schedule and the routine resumes. But Nature isn’t on schedule. Spring is late in the mountains, hanging about on the couch like a guest who has overstayed their welcome. Now that Summer has arrived it must contend with the mess Spring left behind. It’s not such a bad mess though…

the intersection of spring and summer: the bike-ski

Spring left a lot of snow in the backcountry. A LOT of snow. I heard on my local public radio station that the Colorado snowpack is 254% of average. No kidding. As we rode to the trailhead with our skis on our packs, we passed 12-15 foot drifts of snow. A forest service ranger said we had a good thirty feet of snow sitting on the backcountry. Then he smiled at our skis and said, “Have fun!”

unpack the ski gear, stash the bikes

that’s what i’m talking about

jeremy ducking out of the wind

happy to have the ski boots off and a fast bike ride back

While I’m anxious to have the trails melt out for some good high-country hikes, I have to admit that I love the fact that there is so much snow. It’s like the best of both worlds because I can ski in short sleeves! More exhausting than the physical exertion is the sun exposure. That sun sucks the energy right out of me – or maybe it’s because I get cranky when I’m hot. The rest of the day, I crave cold beverages. My beverage of choice? Ice water. Next? Arnold Palmer (half lemonade, half iced tea). After that? Anything tea slushie with boba. I can dig a slushie year-round, but it is mandatory in summer.

how about a green tea slushie?

with raspberry and blood orange

The lovely thing about slushies is that you can make them almost any flavor(s) you want. When it’s warm out, I tend to gravitate toward the fruity side of life. But whatever you choose, it all goes well with boba (unless you don’t like the pearl tapioca, in which case – omit it). When my parents were here last week, I made piña colada boba slushies. Win!

i use 5-minute tapioca pearls

done in *five* minutes!

I realize it’s not blood orange season… I made this back in March after scoring three bags of blood oranges from Trader Joe’s in Santa Fe. I used one bag and juiced the other two bags. I have that juice in my freezer for summer beverage enjoyment and shot the process images ahead of time.

I TOLD you guys I’m a planner. I’m a planning maniac.

juicing the blood orange

making raspberry purée with the food mill

The green tea I used is from Atlas Purveyors in Boulder. It’s jasmine. Light enough not to overpower the fruit, but strong enough to lend floral notes to the drink. I actually know next to nothing about tea which is why I had Chris (of Atlas Purveyors) pick this out for me. He’s a tea expert and he’s never missed a beat.


blend with ice and pour

I also learned from Chris that the ice in slushies will separate from the liquid unless you have some sort of sugar to bind them together. I’ve mentioned this in the other slushie posts, but thought it was worth mentioning again. If you don’t want added sugar in your slushie and you don’t care if they separate, then omit the sugar (which is what I did this time).

It is now officially the season of sandals, shorts, sunblock, and refreshing slushies. Have at it.

adding blood orange juice

to summer!

Blood Orange Green Tea Slushie
[print recipe]

1 tsp green tea leaves
1 cup boiling water
1 tbsp sugar (you can omit the sugar, it’s mostly to help bind the ice to the liquid)
1/2 cup ice
1/4 cup boba (large pearl tapioca), cooked per package instructions and drained
1 blood orange, juice of
1 oz. raspberry purée

Steep the tea leaves in the hot water for 3-4 minutes. Strain the tea leaves out and stir a tablespoon of sugar into the hot tea. Let cool. When the tea is cooled, place in a blender with 1/2 cup ice (or more if you like slushier). Blend until slushy. Place the boba in a tall glass. Pour in the slush tea. Pour the blood orange juice and raspberry puree into the glass and stir until blended. Serves one.

20 nibbles at “signs of summer”

  1. Rosa says:

    All four seasons are always fabulous where you live! Lovely flowers.

    That drink looks so refreshing and delicious!



  2. Ronine says:

    Love the ‘intersection of seasons’ photo :)

  3. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) says:

    It looks delish!

    Blood oranges are sooo good!

    And I love that you used your juicer AND your food mill AND your blender all in one recipe. THAT’S a foodie :)

  4. Alison says:

    If you want the boozified version of the Arnold Palmer, check out the Leland Palmer. We found the recipe in Bon Appetit ( last summer and it quickly became our favorite summer drink. There’s so much jasmine tea and fruit juice in it that you don’t get dehydrated. I’m liking the looks of your slushie. Wonder if I can use my ice cream maker to make it as I never seem to have much luck getting the ice to come out right in the blender.

  5. marla says:

    I love the idea of the “bike-ski”. How fun Jen. I am still not sold on the arrival of summer. That said, I count my blessings each and every moment, even with the climate change. Something about sweaty skiing is weird but gosh does it look gorgeous!

  6. Michelle says:

    I am so excited for big long days of hiking climbing and biking. Bring on summer!

  7. Melissa @ Baking For The Boys says:

    I am a fairly new reader of your blog and this is my first time to comment. I enjoy your recipes, writing and especially the photographs. I am very much drawn to your photos and posts about mountain living. I lived in Idaho for a few years and dearly miss it. I too was one to gush about winter and the first snow fall but by May couldn’t wait to hike or lay a blanket down on the green grass and read the day away.

  8. Bing Chou says:

    I particularly like the last shot – the blood orange garnish looks killer with the light peeking through it.

  9. Rocky Mountain Woman says:

    That looks like my kind of drink (maybe a little vodka?)

    My aspens are finally starting to green up. Isn’t it just great?

  10. Anna says:

    I need to start making ice, that flavor combination sounds amazing. And I agree with Rocky above…a touch of vodka would be quite nice :D

  11. Heidi @ Food Doodles says:

    Beautiful! I love those tapioca pearls and haven’t had them in forever! Where do you get yours? Do you know if I can order them online?

  12. Donna says:

    You live in an amazing environment. It would be fun to spend a year in your lovely part of the world, just to experience everything Colorado has to offer. For now, I will just have to make do with your beautiful descriptions. Thanks!!

  13. Margie says:

    My heart melts every time I see that doggie. :)

    Love the ‘cool’ post, too!

  14. Alyson says:

    That looks SO good! Yum. Yum. Yum!

  15. claypotclub says:

    Thanks for the recipe! We’ve been pureeing strawberries to have with tapioca and Ceylon tea. We briefly considered buying syrups, but not when the fresh stuff tastes so good. Too bad we don’t have access to fresh passionfruit…

    Cute doggie!

  16. Montserrat says:

    Wow!!! I love this blog! It’s a very nice way to know things about your area, your cooking methods and to learn your lenguage! Thanks a lot!

  17. Jill says:

    OMG…..I don’t tolerate the heat either! I think you have the perfect trek, ride (hot), ski (starts cool- heats up), downhill ride home to slushies (delightful). That blood orange juice and raspberry……..YUM.
    Your blog is always entertaining!

  18. jillian says:

    The slushie and the scenery both look beautiful!

  19. jenyu says:

    Rosa – thanks! I have to agree :)

    Averie – ha ha, I didn’t even realize that (although there were an awful lot of dishes)

    Alison – I dunno about using the ice cream maker… That might get weird. Thanks for the leland palmer. That might be a great addition to the entertaining repertoire!

    marla – well, we bike because we don’t want to walk in ;)

    Michelle – woooo!

    Melissa – nice to hear from another mountain goat! It’s like nothing else, isn’t it? :)

    Rocky Mountain Woman – I love it!

    Heidi – I think you can probably order them online. Just google boba tea or tapioca pearls. I buy mine from my local Asian grocer.

    claypotclub – yeah, the syrups scare me with all the artificial color and flavoring :(

  20. Foodtopii says:

    Wow, exotic and delicious. I love the colors here and I’ve never though to mix tapioca and blood ranges. This sounds like a winner to me and so great for the summer!

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