Raspberry Mojitos
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Ugh. Hello Chicago summer. I love it. I hate it. But the past two days I have felt like this...

It has been hot as Hades in the Chicago-land area. I ran Tuesday evening with my brother-in-law in 85° weather. We only ran 2.5 miles but I wanted to puke my brains out afterwards. I did not actually throw up, but I definitely did not feel good. We ran again Wednesday morning - while I felt way better than I did the previous night, it was still hot as balls.  I have come to the conclusion that I am not a fan of summer running.  Sun + heat + running does not necessarily equal a good time!  Just a little something that I am going to have to get used to as I train for the Rock'n'Roll half-marathon and the Quad Cities marathon.

So we know that running is not the most fun thing to do on a hot sticky summer day. What else is there to do? Pool. Beach. Picnic. Water sports. Bike ride. Drink a Raspberry Mojito.  Hmmmm.... That last one sounds pretty genius if I do say so myself.  In fact, I did that Monday evening!

Although I said that Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy is currently my favorite summer beer, there are so many other great options!  I absolutely love mojitos and this is a great twist on a classic.

Growing fresh mint in your garden is the perfect excuse to make this cocktail on a hot summer evening!

Unfortunately the raspberries in our garden weren't ready yet... We also grow blackberries, which much like their "cousin," were quite ready yet. The grocery store was out of blackberries as well. I love making this drink with blackberries, but I was forced to improvise a little this time around...hence, raspberry mojito.

I am slowly beginning to realize how amazing it would be to have a full garden stocked with fresh vegetables, fruits, and herbs! In recent years, edible gardening has seen a huge rise in popularity. Here are a few reasons to consider making this lifestyle an invaluable aspect of your everyday life:

  1. Money! While gardening does take a little more time and effort than running to the grocery store, you will be saving money in the long-run. How much better could it get than having a replenishing supply of ingredients in your backyard?
  2. It is local! The idea of supporting local producers or eating locally grown food has become something that many people talk about. It may just be a current trend, but it has definitely made its mark. What could be more local than your own backyard?
  3. You know exactly what is going into your food. With store-bought food, we sometimes are forced to play the guessing game. What exactly am I eating? Were pesticides used? By growing your own fruits and vegetables, these reasonable questions now become obsolete. You grow it, you know it!

If gardening is not up your alley, there are other great ways to still get fresh produce from local growers. FARMER'S MARKETS! These pop up everywhere during the summer months. In fact, my hometown's started this morning...too bad I am sitting in my bed writing this post. My mom made it though, I will just have to join her next week!

Talk about refreshing! When I am looking for a summer drink - this is my #1 priority. I don't want something heavy and dark. Yes, summer cocktails may be slightly "girly" in that most tend to be fruity, but sometimes all we need is a little girly drink. If you're a guy, don't be ashamed to have one from time to time. If you're a girl, well, enjoy!

Raspberry Mojito 

1 oz simple syrup mint leaves ice 2 oz Bacardi Limón Rum raspberries club soda juice of 1/2 lime

Place simple syrup and mint leaves into glass - muddle. Add ice, Bacardi Limón, and raspberries - muddle.  Top off with a little club soda and the juice from 1/2 lime.  Stir and garnish with mint leaves and raspberries.