Labor Day Summer’s End

Before it was a Federal Holiday, Labor Day was celebrated by individual states throughout America. While New York was the first state to introduce a bill for the establishment of Labor Day, it was not the first to pass such legislation.

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South Carolina where Barbecue is a Social Event

While folks up north tend to think of Barbecue as a way of cooking foods, head south and it takes on a whole new meaning. Barbecue is an outdoor gathering. Folks get together, cook over a fire pit, smoker or outdoor grill, swap stories and recipes and even are known to get down to the business of discussing the issues of the day. We couldn’t celebrate South Carolina without a proper barbecue. We’ll get to that in a minute.

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A Mai Tai Getaway

Is today actually National Mai Tai Day? That’s a very good question. According to Foodimentary, June 30th is National Mai Tai Day. Okay, sounds good to me so let’s go with that.

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Oklahoma! Where the Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Plains

Come on, you know the music was playing in your head the moment we started with Oklahoma. I know it was blaring in my brain. Oklahoma! was the first musical written by the duo of Rodgers and Hammerstein. It is set not in the state of Oklahoma, but the Indian Territory of of Oklahoma.

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Primer Lunes de Septiembre

Tomorrow is the First Monday of September. Wow – September already! The first Monday means tomorrow is Labor Day. And Labor Day signals the unofficial end to summer. A summer that never was in the first place.

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Baked Crab Legs Kissed with Garlic Lemon Butter

Another great suggestion for Labor Day. I don’t know about you, but our grill is going to be packed with all sorts of good eats. Yet some sweet, succulent crab legs would be such a welcome addition to the banquet table. When I saw this recipe, I knew in an instant that it would be perfect.

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Hooray for The Red, White and Blue

As a child growing up, we didn’t have the television as a distraction during dinner. For the longest time, the dining room table was in the kitchen, and the television (an old black and white contraption with rabbit ears and three channels to choose from) was in the living room.

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Sparklers and Skewers – That’s Celebrating!

The idea of a themed barbecue revolving around grilled foods on a skewer is one I had been kicking around for a while. Then one year while getting ready for a big 4th of July cookout, suddenly a light came on. How could I have been so blind! We’ll be firing up our backyard grill anyhow – why not cook everything on a “fire stick”?

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A Red, White and Blue Feast with Something for Everyone

For your consideration, I have opted to forego the usual 4th of July Parade of hamburgers, hot dogs, potato and macaroni salads. Instead, I’m thinking more along the lines of a “grown up” feast. Of course, you can always throw some burgers and dogs on the grill for the little ones.

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Guy Fieri’s Old-School Baked Beans

Two years ago, just ahead of the Memorial Day mad dash to Costco, Hubby and I went in for big hunks of everything. The year before we had gotten a great deal on King Crab Legs, and had planned to make King Crab Legs again. Much to our dismay, Costco did not stock the crab legs we were looking for, so we settled on Snow Crab Legs instead. Maybe there was an issue with King Crab that year.

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Memorial Day is More than just Backyard Barbecues

Like just about everyone in America, I look forward to Memorial Day – a three-day weekend with plenty of family, backyard barbecues or picnics and trips to the beaches, parks and forests that abound. Like most of us, I avoid the media bombardment of Blow Out Sales.

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Labor Day – Oh My!

Labor Day is but a week away – can you believe it? When our children were still children, Labor Day wasn’t about picnics or backyard barbecues – it was about running away from home – headed up the California Coast and cool ocean breezes. Now, we are more home bodies – and Labor Day involves extended family – which is fine. I like my nutty family. Besides, planning family events teaches our children (or in this case, our grandchild) the importance of family ties. The older we get, the more we appreciate those ties.

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Mema’s Macaroni Salad

This delicious and super simple Macaroni Salad has been in our family forever (or at least since the 1950s). With the exception of cute little garnishes and presentation ideas, very little has changed. It’s Mom’s recipe and growing up I loved it. Hubby’s favorite, too. He’s a basic kind of guy, so uncomplicated foods suite him just fine. Rather than leave this little gem of a recipe obscured in a montage of recipes, I thought it would be nice to bring it out of hiding. After all, these are the fading days of summer. Soon enough we will be packing away the picnic baskets, backyard grills and whatever else is a part of our summer fun in the sun. In our house, macaroni salad is all a part of this type of year.

When entertaining, I usually make Mema’s Potato Salad to go with my Macaroni Salad. Have you noticed that there are Potato Salad eaters or Macaroni Salad lovers – preferring one type over another? For big gatherings or when I’m asked to make a few dishes, I like to make both just to keep everyone happy.

Mema’s Macaroni Salad
6 Eggs, hard-boiled
1 lb Salad Macaroni
¼ Cup Green Onions, finely chopped
¼ Cup Red onion, finely chopped
2 Celery Stocks, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon Dill Pickle Relish (more to taste)
1 ½ Cups Best Food Mayonnaise
½ Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste
Green Onions for Garnish (Optional)
½ Cup Chopped Black Olives (Optional)

Peel hard-boiled eggs and set in refrigerator to cool completely.

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package directions. Drain and rinse well under cold running water. Set aside to continue draining.

In bowl, combine onions, celery, pickle relish, mayonnaise and red wine vinegar. Whisk to combine. Taste dressing and season with salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Adjust seasoning according to personal tastes.

Chop 4 eggs. Add to dressing. Cut V marks in remaining 2 eggs to create tulip flowers. Reserve 3 flowers, chop remaining flower and add to dressing. Taste dressing a second time, adjust seasonings as necessary.

Place macaroni in a large bowl. Pour egg dressing over macaroni. If desired, add chopped olives and toss to coat. Smooth out top.

Using the back of a spoon, create 3 indentations in the top of the salad. Place Egg flowers into indentations. If desired, sprinkle lightly with paprika. Cover with plastic and refrigerate until well chilled.

Note: Did you know you can color the macaroni to suite the celebration? Check out the photo below – same salad, colored for the 4th of July. Orange for Halloween, maybe red and green for Christmas – you get the idea.

red-white-blue-mac-salad-1

Keeping the 4th of July Simple

It’s hard to believe June is over as we look ahead to America’s Independence Day celebrations. All across our land, friends and family will gather, be it in parks, stadiums or backyards. Anytime people gather, for whatever the reason, food is always a part of the festivities. And so it is that I turn my attention to a great American Holiday.

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Come Join the Fun – S’Mores Competition

It’s that time of the year – summertime and family reunions. There is nothing more enjoyable at family gatherings than a little competitive “fun”. Be it tug of war over a mud puddle, most creative campfire song, sack races or a refreshing game of water balloon toss. Games are always fun, especially when the outcome has no meaning – when everyone participates for the sake of partaking and there are no losers.

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