Hi there! I had planned to be posting all along our #europeanvacation. Now, more than ten days in – it turns out that I should have taken advantage of the opportunity while I had it. That opportunity would have been during our stay in Munich or during the Switzerland land-tour portion of our scheduled Rhine River Cruise. The problem was, I really didn’t have a moment of down time. I assumed that I’d have plenty of time and great internet access while we cruised down the Rhine River.
Wrong! The internet access has been spotty, at best. That red sad-faced icon is what I mostly see. We are now docked in Mannheim, Germany and Dave is off for a look around the city, while I’ve stayed behind. I decided this was my chance, maybe my one and only, to get a post put up.
Time is limited, so it will be a pictorial, for the most part.
We flew British Airways from Phoenix to London, changed planes and arrived in Munich the next day. We were greeted at the Munich airport by Dave’s cousin, Hope. I’d never met Hope and Dave hadn’t seen her since he was a teenager. Luckily, they’d connected on Facebook a few weeks prior, so at least they recognized each other.
Hope took us to our hotel, The Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski, in the heart of Munich.
The hotel is beyond lovely and the included daily breakfast is “just beyond!” I knew it would be when I spotted this adorable bicycle at the entrance to the restaurant!
The next morning, we were off and running with Hope and her charming husband, Nick. Hope, Nick and their two sons, Dylan and Owain, have lived in Munich for the last nine years. We could not have found better or more gracious hosts and city guides.
Their knowledge of the city and country were more than we could have ever wished for. Nick and Hope showed and shared with us EVERYTHING! We thank them from the bottom of our hearts.
July 28, 2016 3 Comments
This, my 1800th post, is being written at Sky Harbor International Airport at 7:00 PM on July 15, 2016. Dave and I are waiting for our British Airlines flight to London, continuing on to Munich to start our 2-week vacation.
By the time you read this, we will be done with Munich and on our way to Switzerland. We begin a land tour in Zürich and Lucerne before boarding an 8-day river cruise down the Rhine River which ends in Amsterdam.
I hope to write blog posts intermittently, but you can also follow our adventure on my Instagram page.
July 20, 2016 2 Comments
At last, the final post from the 4th of July Pot-Luck Pool Party. It only took two weeks to get all the recipes posted, that’s not so bad.
If you want to see the menu in its entirety, you can always go to the link over on the left column of this page, click on the “Menu and Party Ideas” page and you’ll find not only this party but many others.
The good new is that the recipes for all the desserts we served at the party are already posted on this site. There is one more fun idea though, so don’t go running off.
It’s fun to go back and read that post since Zak & Zoey were only 4 months old at that gathering.
So sweet! As is Tram’s pie.
Next, I baked my super easy All-American Berry-Cherry Flag Pie. It is going to be at every 4th party from here on out. Maybe next time I can convince someone else to make it though.
Lastly, we have the Mason Jar Ice Cream Bar. Above you see the cute sprinkles and toppings displayed.
July 19, 2016 No Comments
This is the second of the two main-courses from the 4th of July Pot-Luck Pool Party.
Have you heard of Frogmore Stew? How about Lowcountry Boil? The Boil, I knew about, the Stew I didn’t. Or at least I thought I didn’t. Turns out they are the same thing.
Here is the history of this dish, according to Coastal Living Magazine, “Once called Frogmore Stew, this one-pot wonder was created by a National Guardsman when he needed to cook a meal for 100 soldiers. Richard Gay, who learned the recipe from his family, had everyone remembering his stew. The dish was named Frogmore, where Richard was from, by the guards who teased him about home. The Unites States Postal Service eliminated the name Frogmore, which changed this popular dish to Lowcountry Boil.”
You can use whatever type of cooked sausage you would like. I prefer Aidells Pineapple & Bacon Smoked Chicken Sausage, which I find at Costco. I also get the shrimp at Costco. It is already deveined and ready to drop in the pot.
July 18, 2016 1 Comment
The first of my two main-course dishes for the 4th of July Pot-Luck Pool Party is a pulled pork recipe that came from Williams-Sonoma. I altered the recipe to fit my needs.
Need #1 – I did not want to buy a jar of the Williams-Sonoma pulled pork starter. It cost too much and after going online and looking at the list of ingredients, I had all of it on hand anyhow, so I made my own.
Need #2 – I buy my pork shoulder at Costco and a 2.5 pound piece (which is what the Williams-Sonoma recipe called for) would be a joke at Costco. Mine weighed in at a whopping 15 pounds. This meant I needed to quadruple the original recipe, which was more than fine because the original served only 4 to 6 and I had more than 24 mouths to feed. I realize that 15 pounds is 6x as much, but the remaining ingredients only needed to be 4x more.
The big trick to the thing was cooking it in a slow cooker in two batches. It wasn’t difficult and took less time and effort than I expected it would. I thought about calling a neighbor to borrow a second slow cooker, but I was too lazy. That is a good option though.
Another issue was that it never even crossed my mind to take a photo of even one sandwich. I have photos of the pork in the chafing dish and of the slaw on the platter. But no individual sandwiches pics or of the cute setup I had for the little sandwich baskets and paper liners that I worked super hard to get all fixed up. Darn it! As you can see, I had to improvise with those “close-up” images. Sad, but it’s all I got.
July 15, 2016 1 Comment
I had an abundance of watermelon to use up at the 4th of July Pot-Luck Pool Party. The week prior, I had purchased four small seedless watermelons to make these tasty treats. Kim, Peggy, Anne and I were planning to get together at Kim’s new house for a little housewarming happy hour. At the last minute, plans changed. Without the party on the horizon, I don’t know what I would have done with them all!
I used them up in a non-alcoholic watermelon-strawberry-lemon slushy and in this refreshing watermelon salad.
July 14, 2016 1 Comment
If you know me, you know that when I have a theme, I carry it out to the nth degree. Here is my train of thought, “Red, white & blue is the theme, so we absolutely have to have a RW&B salad!” This one did not disappoint. Well, except for the fact that I forgot to add the almonds and didn’t remember until after I took the photos, and more discouraging, until after nearly half of the people had made their plates. Oh well.
There was some left, although there probably wouldn’t have been if I’d remembered the darn almonds! Anyhow, I pulled out the lettuce leaves and packed it away in the fridge.
Two days later, I was home alone and thinking about dinner. I was looking at the container of leftover salad trying to decide if I should add new lettuce to it or just toss it in the trash. Suddenly I had an overwhelming craving for pancakes. Seriously, is there anything better than breakfast for dinner? So I whipped up a batch of pancakes and topped them with the leftover, kind of soggy, berries, burrata and fresh (not soggy!) almonds – delish!
July 13, 2016 1 Comment
I know that yesterday I mentioned that I’d highlight the 4th of July main courses and dessert next, but that was before I remembered that in addition to all the wonderful salads and sides my friends brought, I also made a few sides and salads myself. So let’s get to those first.
July 12, 2016 No Comments
Connor’s friend, Rachael, brought these super easy and super tasty little appetizer picks. Luckily I was able to snap a photo before they were all snapped up!
No one had signed up for chips and dip, so I asked Connor to provide those.
You have to have chips and dip!
I threw together a red, white and blue flag snack tray using, red grapes, banana slices, strawberries, yogurt covered pretzels, blueberries and raspberries.
Lastly, I purchased a mock gingerbread house at Trader Joe’s, which was really a sugar cookie White House and I pretended like it was Christmas in July. I loved putting it together since our long family tradition of Marissa and Connor each assembling their own Christmas gingerbread houses has fallen by the wayside. Mostly because they hate it! Oh well, a mom can reminisce.
These were a few of the little extras at the 4th of July Party Pot-Luck Pool Party. The main course and dessert details will follow in the coming days.
July 11, 2016 No Comments
George and Julie brought not only a tasty broccoli salad but their four beautiful children as well. Actually the party more than doubled in size from when I originally lamented about it being so small, in this post. That made me happy. My motto when it comes to parties is always “the more the merrier!” When kids and teens are added to the mix, nothing could be truer!
Case in point – I asked Dave to please set up the ping-pong table and the lawn games; cornhole, ladder ball toss and croquet.
He balked, saying that no one was going to play any of those things because it was too hot. I argued that people would hop in and out of the pool and I wanted there to be a variety of activities for them to choose from.
Um, do you want to take a wild guess at who was right? Those kids walked straight in the front door, through the house and into the yard. All games and activities were played, not only the ones above but also the pool volleyball and basketball and the putting green. Take that 109 degrees!
Back to the broccoli salad. Julie said the recipe comes from a department store restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. The store was called Lazarus & Co. and although it is no longer there, the salad lives on. Thanks for sharing, Julie!
July 9, 2016 1 Comment