The Caribbean/Lemon Mojitos

I’ve never been a sun, sand and beach person much because I hate the heat! But since our cruise ship had to make a detour I found myself in Saint Maarten . We had to take a water taxi from the ship and I must admit the closer we got to shore the more laughter and music I heard. These people seem to have a good time at whatever they are doing. We walked the rough sidewalks and saw little shops filled with shells and bright colored wraps and bracelets of leather and wood. We saw the courthouse and went inside the little Catholic Church. Flowers are still in bloom here. But my favorite thing was when the rain came and we found an outside bar where we could sit and eat nachos and watch the rain. My husband and I watch on Netflix a show called “Death in Paradise” and We felt just like we were on the movie set. So we sat with our friends hovered under the umbrellas enjoying lemon mojitos.

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Cruising & Spain/Happy to be back

F0CA4679-E721-4BFB-A949-3512BDFE5784My husband and I went on a  two week cruise which started out in Rome. The Barnard brothers, Bob, Al and Ray, have been doing this type of family reunion for several years now and we have been fortunate to be counted as part of their family for the past two journeys.  We appreciate the fellowship and look forward to more adventures on the seas. The plan was to revisit places we had been last summer like Spain and Portugal. Well, the weather had a different idea and all the ships headed that way had to be rerouted. We were so disappointed but knew our safety was way more important. The new itinerary had stops at small islands all along the way to Puerto Rico. The first couple of islands were Spanish and I felt like I’d gone home again. Hearing the Spanish language and accents and seeing familiar signs and products that I had bought last year was so fun. I now understand why my brother in law feels like he does after spending a semester there during college. If you are lucky and can to stay long enough in another place it will become like a second home to you. I fell in love with the Spanish body creams and make ups and mascaras so when I found some of the body creams I bought as many as I could carry back to the ship. My husband was already worried we would be over our weight limit but I’d have to leave something else behind before I’d give up these creams! His shoes weigh a lot, I thought to myself and after he reads his books we can leave them in the ship’s library. My tennis shoes are kinda old, they can stay on board. We’ll be using up our toothpaste and shampoos and cream rinses so no worry! And we can always hand carry our dirty clothes back!😳. Saying goodbye to Spain again was difficult but as the ship left port I knew I’d be back again someday. The ship was now headed into unfamiliar territory for me.

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Asheville, NC/

9C1C4024-0FD4-4512-BF3E-A0ED717A11B3We so enjoyed our stay!💕. We would drink our coffee on the kitchen porch every morning and eat our fruit and cheese with wine in the late evenings out there with little blankets. The afternoons were spent getting to know downtown Asheville. We loved the French restaurant called Isa’s and sat outside watching the people pass by as we nibbled on small appetizers. At the little children’s shop across the street I found the sweetest things for my two littlest  grandchildren. We rode the trolley and heard all the history and funny stories the driver told. We were even lucky to see a mama bear and her cubs while riding. The driver pulled over so people could take pictures, but made us promise we wouldn’t get off the trolley.  We are going back to The Grove Park Inn for an early lunch because we heard some of the other tourist talking about how good it was. We tried and enjoyed the crepes at the Twisted Crepe. I make crepes and like to find new recipes for them. We missed the crepes at  Isa’s because they only serve them on Sunday for brunch. Oh well, next time! We walked all over the city up and down the streets over rough bricked areas eating our chocolate candy rounds. So many chocolate stores if you ran out you could just pop into another one for more. Bought a children’s book at the book store called “Goodnight Asheville” to read to my grand babies. We had coffee at the fancy McDonald’s in the Biltmore Village area because I saw that on TV years ago and heard they had a fireplace inside. ( They do!) 😘.

Goodnight Asheville until next time!

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Bacon Crisps/Good for breakfast or snacks

Take out puff pastry rub with egg mixture then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese or shredded pepper jack. Use a rolling pin to push the cheese into the dough. Cut the pastry into 8 strips. Lay a piece of bacon on each piece. Twist, cut in half and brush both sides with an egg wash (1 egg to I tablespoon milk whipped together) to brown the dough. Bake in 375 degree oven on a rack sitting on top of a pan lined with foil for 30 minutes. I like to use maple, brown sugar or hickory smoked bacon.

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Carnival supper night/family fun

What’s for supper for this family of 23? Carnival food of course! When you grow up eating Pumpkin Show food every October in Circleville, Ohio you sort of crave it all year. So what’s easier than hot dogs with all the trimmings: chili, mustard, ketchup, shredded cheese, chopped onions and slaw added on top? Slaw is a southern thing but when introduced, the family loved it. To this came pickles on a stick because we all know “there’s no disgrace to having a pickle in your face!” Next came chips with salsa and hot cheese dip and fresh cut jalapeños. Everyone enjoyed the Mexican Street Corn from a previous blog too. The smarties suckers on a stick were especially liked by the kids, young and old! Of course to add a little healthy we put out apples, oranges, grapes, fresh pineapple and cherries. Applesauce in self serve containers came in handy for the little ones. So what do you fix to end this carnival meal?? Cotton candy!! We had blue, pink, purple and yellow!! No one was too interested in the yellow!😳. To end the evening Adam and Lisa brought a blow up screen and projector so we could watch a movie while working off our dinner in the pool👍

We had a fabulous time meeting with other family members from California to New York and several states in between. We found adorable shops and restaurants including day trips to South Port and Wilmington. The ladies, except Rebecca who graciously stayed home to prepare for our girls spa night, especially enjoyed the coffee shop called Bitty and Beaus. Those long walks/runs on the beach and the bicycle rides were braved by many. And the traditional sand castle building where we weren’t sure if Dick was helping David bury himself or helping him to get out. But those are memories we cherish until the next beach trip. Each sunrise and every sunset were more spectacular than the one before.

We all survived another week at the beach together in spite of Heather falling off her water board, (luckily her phone case protected her phone!) Chelsea’s sun burn is getting better. Ashley, Jessica and Natalie made it back to the Wilmington airport in plenty of time to catch their separate flights back home. All the Yaussy’s had to leave a day early to make it to a special wedding, showing up more tanned than their usual skin tone. Adam and Lisa and their kids had to drive on Friday to Chickamauga only to unpack and turn around to go back to Atlanta the same day for a volleyball tournament for Maddy. Brittany went home with Heather to help babysit so Heather and Grady could drive Callie to Jacksonville State in Alabama on Sunday for her week long  band camp. So life as usual goes on. But we were so fortunate to all take this week off to spend time together. It takes us two years to plan another trip like this but it’s so worth it to keep us close and to allow the younger cousins to grow up knowing each other. LaDonna is the one who started this tradition and in her honor we continue!💕

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Mexican Street Corn/Chef Paul Smith

Yummy!! This is so good! We are all so lucky that Chef Paul from Charleston, West Virginia was willing to share such a great recipe with us. It’s easy, the way we all like to cook these days, and delicious and fun to eat.

I had this for the first time at David and Rebecca’s wedding/farm party, so when I was asked to fix corn for my nieces’ son’s wedding rehearsal dinner in Kentucky I called Paul, of course. Some chef’s want to act like everything is such a secret. But Paul immediately started telling me what to do. He made me the hit of the party. Thank you, Paul!

Here it is for all of you to try it for your next summer cook out.

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Georgia Peaches/Add Pecans for perfect breakfast bread

Georgia is known as the Peach State, and if you’ve ever eaten their fresh peaches when they start coming in, you know why! They are sweet and juicy and you don’t even have to  peel them. Georgia also produces a lot of pecans, and the recipe I share today marries those two ingredients beautifully. But as with many of my recipes, this one comes with a wonderful memory as well.

After my dad died, my mother and brother came often to visit, and they could stay as long as they wanted. Mom enjoyed day trips, so one summer while she was here we drove to Atlanta for lunch. On our way out of town we stopped by the visitors center and picked up a Georgia magazine full of interesting facts about the state and places to visit.  As I drove, mother read aloud to me and, once again, she became the teacher and I the student. We learned how Georgia has mountains for climbing and hiking with enough snow in the winter to do a little skiing, rivers for white water rafting, lakes for boating and fishing and on the east you have the ocean. History is very important, and Georgia schools still teach the Civil War and how President Lincoln, as a Christmas gift, saved Savannah from destruction. As we drove we saw some beautiful southern homes with impeccable landscaping. We both knew more about Georgia now on our drive back than we had known before we started. As she turned to the last page and saw a peach bread recipe, she said it was a must for us to make it in honor of our Georgia day, using the basket of peaches we bought at a road side fruit stand. We all liked it so much she hand wrote it in family recipe book. I found that recipe again today and made this bread using fresh peaches. The bread is wonderful but the memories of that day are even more so.💕

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