Recipes to Share: Florida Fresh Salsa and Fun Drinks for Kids (and adults too!)

Salsa and Tropical Drinks for kids

Recipes to Share: Florida Fresh Salsa and Fun Drinks for Kids (and adults too!)

Note: As I’d like to start sharing more recipes on my blog here at, I invite readers to share their ideas too if you have made similar recipe and want to add or offer more ideas through comments–happy meal-making!

The summer heat for Floridians makes fresh, cool produce an appealing choice for snacks and meals–especially for our children who can get easily overheated after playing outside during days that easily see air temperatures in the 80s-90s and humidity levels consistently over 70%. Here’s a fun pairing of fresh options for a light lunch, in-between snack or anything else.

Florida Fresh Salsa

4-6 ripe tomatoes (any kind or color you prefer–except green of course, those are generally for frying!)

1 sweet onion (I prefer sweets for milder flavor for children, purple are good too)

1 jalapeno (banana pepper or cubanelle can be substituted for those sensitive to spicy)

1/4 to 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed lemon or lime (or both and adjust amount to taste)

1/2 cup of cut fresh cilantro

Dice tomatoes, onions and pepper in a bowl, drizzle juice on top and mix cilantro in. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips, I personally love either Garden of Eating organic blue corn chips, Late July or Florida Gourmet Chips found at many of our south Florida produce stands. Note to Parents: it is advisable to serve your young children the salsa by placing it on top of each chip arranged on a plate. Tostitos brand has the Scoop chips that are perfect for little ones as well.

Non-alcoholic Tropical Drink

Crushed ice – or any ice

Kennesaw’s lemonade (or fresh lemon juice or other lemonade)

Florida orange juice

Spritzy or sparkling water

citrus wedges (lemon, lime, orange…)

colored sugar (in photo above it’s red)

This is a refreshing drink that can be manifested in so many different ways–mix the above ingredients together as you see fit in whatever fun cups you have and straws are always a hit for little ones. Garnish with wedges and top the drink with colored sugar. I’ve even used a little splash of Pom juice to help the color for visual enjoyment.




Thank You: Disarming Duo

“I love you” are three words in the English language that can carry a lot of weight but they can also be casual or confusing.  “Thank you” is very definitive with no question as to its meaning and gravitas.

Can’t Stop Saying Thanks

In recent years, I have become more acquainted with these words and their effect on me when I’m on the receiving end.  In turn I am more compelled by the day to make sure I communicate my gratitude to everyone from my family, friends, acquaintances and anyone I come in contact with.  In the past year I have become sensitive to wanting to say “thank you” to entities such as Publix Supermarkets for carrying a certain product or two, the lady who runs Late July food products or the local Starbucks store.  When it comes to our family physicians, dentist or teachers I am finding little ways to convey our gratitude for their care and concern with things like baked goods or fresh herbs from our garden.

What Appears Small is Grand

Some skeptics may balk at this sort of behavior especially when it comes to the areas where customer service is expected with a hotel or restaurant: as if because these folks are in a service industry job they should be good at it regardless of whether they receive verbal thanks from customers.  While technically speaking this is logical, it cannot be discounted how grand an effect a small thank you can yield.  When I was in college I could only work during the summers since I was a full-time scholarship student-athlete during the year.  Since I still trained through the summers I had limited options for jobs. I took one as a maid for the campus hotel at University of Florida.  What I learned in those summers was priceless in terms of what it took to run a hotel in the background.  Likewise I was exposed to how very messy and downright disgusting that people could be when they stayed in a room that wasn’t their own to have to pick up after their departure.  I remember vividly the pure joy I felt when I would begin cleaning a room and spot a small note of thanks with a couple of dollar bills.  The overall gesture meant so much to me that to this day I always leave a tip for the housekeeping staff when I check out of a hotel.

Does the How Matter?

I’ve mentioned a  couple of the ways I’ve tried to express thanks in person but I’m not meaning to say that we have to go beyond the actual words and message explaining what we are grateful for when directing thanks.  It’s far better that we at least go ahead and let that person(s) know how we feel in return for what they gave us whether or not it was warranted.  Although monetary tips and physical gifts are always nice they are not what truly matters.

Too Much to Do, Too Much to Say

Is this sort of behavior easy to be consistent with over time? Of course not.  It’s 2012 and most of us are not quite sure how this century has already gotten to this year so very quickly as 1999 wasn’t so long ago.  Keeping up communicating our gratitude to anyone beyond our own close family ties or friends is many times impossible as it’s difficult enough just doing so with the former.  However, I must urge myself and anyone else who is open to the idea that it is still very important to try to say “thank you” to each other even if it’s just the person at the hectic fast-food drive –thru window.  We need to hear that affirmation.  It also helps affirm ourselves that we are blessed to receive that assistance, service, care, et cetera.  This is also critical when the service rendered is not the greatest: imagine that there are some people who do their tedious, tiresome work daily and don’t hear from anyone that their effort is appreciated.  It’s no wonder they and we become so jaded and disconnected with each other.

Thanks for Reading

Your time is precious as it is for all of us respectively and so I’m also grateful that you are reading this right now.  My hope and prayer is that you are able to take from these words something to encourage you in your individual charted path for life.  Thanks as well for any comments, positive or constructive criticism alike: it helps me to become a better communicator and share my philosophy as it continues to evolve in my life’s journey here on Earth.

R.V.S. Bean