Thursday, May 31

What Defines Summer For You?

Tomorrow is June 1, 2012 and E is already bored!! I have been contemplating what is on the Porter's list of activities for this summer. The more I look at it I think, whoa....hold up a minute....let's see if we can make time for some fun and old fashioned frivolity! The words of Ferris ring true from the 80's teen movie 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off'; "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it". So here are a few ideas from my 'Summer Frivolity' list. Do you have a summer fun list? If so what do you have planned? Anything is possible........
Lounge by the pool. Drinking lemonade at outdoor cafes. Jumping in the waves of the ocean. Walking in the sand and holding Mr.P's hand. Hot summer nights. Snorkeling.
Sleeping with the window open. Looking at the stars. 
Full moons. Making plans. Traveling abroad. Sightseeing.
Iced coffee. Fresh strawberries. Pretty sundresses. Shopping at the outdoor market. 
Hanging out with friends. Snoozing in a shady hammock!
Looking forward to spending time with Family. Being easy going and laid back. Listening to music at the Dallas Arboretum. Bar-B-Q Cook Out.
Picnics on the Beach. Camping out in the backyard. Baseball games. Movies and popcorn. Dinning al fresco with good friends. SHOPPING with your best girlfriends.
Riding in cars with with Mr.P! down, windows open and 
the radio blasting. LAUGHING! Wild About Harry's Frozen Custard.
Riding bikes. Eating watermelon. ROLLER COASTERS! Fireworks. Cruising, sailing or canoeing. Write letters to dear friends. Hiking. Fly a Kite. Play a Board Game.
BLOCK PAR-TAYY! Read. Make homemade ice cream. Jump on a trampoline. Roast marshmallows and make S'MORES! AND if you don't have a true kindred spirit kind of lasting love......then by all means FALL IN LOVE! there anything better than young love? So again I ask you, what will you do this summer of 2012? I do believe with a wild imagination and good friends and family you can have a SPECTACULAR TIME!

a little ditty from me to you, ENJOY!
                                                                          Rules To Live  By:

     I HOPE you all have a Fantastic Summer!
Drop me a line and let me know where your IMAGINATION took you 
and the FUN you had along the WAY!


Grilling The Other White Meat.......Pork Tenderloin!

Balsamic-Rosemary Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Boneless pork tenderloin has a lot going for it. With minimum fat and no bone,
this cut is pure meat with good flavor and versatility.
Here's an easy marinade that compliments lean pork tenderloins beautifully. The dish is simple
enough for a weekday supper but tasty enough for company. Consider grilling an extra
tenderloin or two, 
they are also terrific sliced and served cold the next day.


For the balsamic-rosemary marinade:

  • 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 4 1/2 tsp. firmly packed golden brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 pork tenderloins, about 2 1/2 lb. total,
  • Salt, to taste


To make the balsamic-rosemary marinade, in a food processor, combine the vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce, brown sugar and pepper and pulse until blended. With the motor running, drop the rosemary and garlic through the feed tube and continue to process until fairly smooth. Place the tenderloins in a nonreactive dish and pour the marinade over them. Cover and let stand at room temperature, turning occasionally, for up to 2 hours.
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat. Remove the tenderloins from the marinade, reserving the marinade.

Grill the meat over the hottest part of a charcoal fire or directly over the heat elements of a gas grill. Sear for 7 minutes and turn the meat over and baste with the marinade for up to 5 minutes before the meat is done until cooked to your liking, about 20 minutes total for medium (slightly pink at the center and juicy).                                                            
Insert a *remote thermometer into the thickest part of the tenderloin and set the desired temperature. When it reaches 140°F and beep, beep, you, take it off of the grill immediately. The temperature will rise another 5° to 10°F while the meat is resting.
Transfer the tenderloins to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Carve into slices across the grain and at an angle to the cutting board. Season with salt. Serve the tenderloins hot, warm or at room temperature.  Serves 4 to 6.
* If you do not have a reliable meat thermometer try the "7-6-5" METHOD FOR GRILLING PORK TENDERLOIN. This refers to the amount of time each side gets seared, with the burners on high heat: seven minutes on the first side, six minutes on the second side, and then five minutes with the grill turned off and the lid closed. The method is surprisingly reliable. Here's how the timing works:  
Sear the first side for 7 minutes,
over direct, high heat. 
Keep the grill covered.


Finally, turn off your grill and keep the
lid closed. Let your tenderloin set for
5 minutes, with no fire and covered.

Next grill 6 minutes on the second side.
Keep your grill hot so that your whole
tenderloin gets nicely seared.

Remember to wrap or cover with foil and let the Pork Tenderloin rest an additional 5 minutes.
The instant read or remote meat thermometer is best, there is NO guessing involved, but this
is a simple alternative if you are without one. You might be out in the woods camping....who knows! Have fun and.........


Wednesday, May 30

Fresh Summer Salads

Summer Blockbuster Returns to Wendy’s: Berry Almond Chicken Salad Back by Customer Demand

Drive Thru Advertisement
Have you guys tried the fresh garden salads from Wendy's? If you love salad, you must go. This berry salad is new to my local Wendy's but it seems to have made an appearance somewhere in America last year. It is DELISH! Mr.P LOVES raspberry vinaigrette. I am reposting the press Wendy's put out earlier this week. I may not be telling y'all anything new, but as a reminder: next time you pull into Wendy's to order that burger that's been calling your name....take a look in the general direction of the salads. You'll be glad you did!

Back by popular demand and just in time for summer, Wendy’s® is once again serving up its fresh summer hit, the seasonal Berry Almond Chicken Salad, in restaurants for a limited time only.

Featuring a star-studded cast of summer produce, Wendy’s Berry Almond Chicken Salad stars fresh, plump, tangy blueberries and hand-cut California strawberries picked at the peak of freshness atop a blend of 11 kinds of field greens. A warm grilled chicken breast plays the part of protein, while shredded Asiago cheese and California almonds roasted with sea salt take on the role of rounding out this robust salad. Available in entrĂ©e and half-sized portions, the Berry Almond Chicken Salad is served with a fat-free raspberry vinaigrette dressing – made from real raspberries, acai juice, shallots and balsamic vinegar.

“This great summer salad is designed for our customers looking to experience exciting tastes, flavor combinations and textures, all wrapped up in a nutritious package that we prepare fresh every day, in every Wendy’s restaurant,” said Gerard Lewis, Senior Vice President of Innovation for Wendy’s.

Not only tasty, the Berry Almond Chicken Salad gets two thumbs up for nutrition. Its blueberries and strawberries play supporting roles as super foods with super flavor that offer two of the top sources of antioxidants available, which research suggests promote health and prevent disease. Wendy’s Berry Almond Chicken Salad, without dressing, has 360 calories for a full portion, and 230 calories for a half size.

Only fresh produce is used in all of Wendy’s salads, with deliveries scheduled two to three times a week to each restaurant. The U.S.-grown lettuce is cut from whole heads of lettuce and spun dry in-restaurant to ensure crispness and freshness in every bite. Warm chicken fillets are hand cut and placed atop each salad when it’s ordered, while dressings and toppings are served on the side to allow customers to customize their salad.

To further welcome the warmer weather, Wendy’s is introducing its Strawberry Shortcake Frosty™ Parfait, the perfect summer time dessert in Frosty form. Another extension in the Wendy’s Frosty line, strawberries also play the leading role in this frozen delight.

Stacked with a layer of strawberry puree, creamy vanilla Frosty, crumbly shortbread cookie pieces, this parfait is topped off with whipped cream and fresh strawberry pieces. It’s only available for a limited time, so don’t miss this summer favorite.

Up until a few days ago this was my favorite Salad from Wendy's. It's extremely yummy as well. I do LOVE Blue Cheese!


Ad image from the website

Tuesday, May 29

Groundbreaking Kitchens....This Is NOT Your Momma's Kitchen!

Beam ME up Scotty!

kitchen41 Top 7 Groundbreaking Kitchen 2.0 Gadgets and Designs
Is your kitchen starting to look a little dated? The fridge a little tired? Fixtures a bit too Brady Bunch-ish? How about your microwave? Can you hear it 'running' from across the street? Maybe it's time for a major upgrade to the second-most important room in the house. Not to worry, GearCrave's got you covered. Check out a few of the top groundbreaking kitchen gadgets! Get ready to be WOWED!
rotating kitchen1 Top 7 Groundbreaking Kitchen 2.0 Gadgets and Designs
The Revolving Kitchen By Compact Concepts/ This ingenious design is, sorry for sounding like a teenager BUT, the BOMB for small condos and apartments. I can see this in a small apartment in Manhattan, it is amazing and mind boggling. It’s a way for you to expand your entertaining space in a small-sized kitchen. Want to put a King Arthur-worthy table into your kitchen space but you just don't have the room? Want to indulge your desire to cook and entertain in the same spot? This is a fully-functional kitchen that rotates 180 degrees, offering a ton of hidden storage space, a dishwasher, sink, stove, an oven and is basically facinating to look at. Moving? Pull it out and take this sweet kitchen-ette with you! Price? Gotta contact the company for a price quote based on your choice of a wide range of options and sizes.
convection oven Top 7 Groundbreaking Kitchen 2.0 Gadgets and Designs
The TurboChef Double Oven is an ordinary convection oven on the bottom, and a blazing fast super-oven on top. The top compartment cooks food 15 times faster than the bottom compartment thanks to built-in Airspeed Technology. The hype for this claims you can get fresh asparagus in 45 seconds, a frozen pizza in 90 seconds, and a whole a rack of lamb in 4 minutes. What about a Thanksgiving turkey? An amazing 42 minutes, really? WOW!  Sign me up! The TurboChef site claims “five-star quality results.” Food cooks as it would in an ordinary oven only with Sci-Fi fast results. TRULY AMAZING!
remote thermo Top 7 Groundbreaking Kitchen 2.0 Gadgets and Designs
The Grill-Right Talking Thermometer will tell you when your meat is at the right temperature. The Remote Thermometer really is an asset to any high tech kitchen with its LCD screen, remote wireless probe, and five languages to let you know when your meat is ready for the next step in the cooking process. The sensor’s temperature range goes from 32°F to 572°F, and it’s programmable for many different entrees; beef, lamb, veal, hamburger, pork, turkey, chicken, and fish. You can pop it in your meat on your outdoor grill and walk away. It has a transmission range up to 430 feet away. With this gadget, you never have to worry again about overcooked meat. 
samsung fridge Top 7 Groundbreaking Kitchen 2.0 Gadgets and Designs
Samsung RH269LB Fridge Features Wireless ICE Pad is THE top of the line design where state of the art cooling technology meets wireless entertainment. Refrigerators no longer just do the cooling but serve as entertainment centers for your home as well. Almost every major brand has jumped on the bandwagon with their refrigerator models that feature integrated TV/cable and an Internet connection to keep you connected while you are working in your kitchen. But, Samsung stands-out with their new Samsung RH269LB Fridge that features a wireless ICE Pad that not just entertains you in home but you can also take the screen with you when going out! Besides watching TV, the 10.4 inch TFT touch panel also includes a calendar, scheduler and message board to enable you to organize your kitchen and your life with great ease! Download your favorite recipes and pull them when you are cooking. What a way to make a grocery list; pop it out and you're on your way! This is definitely NOT your mother's 'ice box'!
smart home kitchen Top 7 Groundbreaking Kitchen 2.0 Gadgets and Designs
 Crestron Control Surfaces are not just limited to controlling kitchen lighting, climate, and exterior lights anymore. You can use this handy controller to play music, run a home theatre, close the shutters, turn on the oven and coffee pot, attain access to the Internet and even open the swimming pool. Any electronic in your home can be controlled from the 'Creston Control' surface. You can have  total control of your entire home. This is the automated home our grandparents fantasized about in the 50's.

Kitchen design is definitely light years away from where it used to be, thanks to innovations in style and substance like these. If the trends keep moving in the right directions, it’s only a matter of time until all of this is supplemented by a robotic maid and an android dog. Here’s to the future! Move over George Jetson!

Sunday, May 27

Old, Classic Board Games and Rainy Days


Musty fun


Sorry that was a shameless pun but I just could not pass that up. Summer vacation is upon us here in Dallas. In the past our kids have enjoyed summer camp, swimming, SIX FLAGS, hanging out with good friends, many, many sleep overs, going to the movies, concerts and the mall. I'm sure I am leaving something out but you get the general idea. Our children are older now and have more responsibilities that cut deeply into their summer activity time. What do my children and your children do when they are not working or out having 'FUN'? Or on a rainy day when the younger kids can't get out and about, what then?

Now I know that we live in the age of technology and the kids have access to all sorts of video games, iPods and cell phones with apps. They can spend endless hours playing video games or listening to their own little world. What did we DO before all of this technology? We played board games, at least we did in my house.

Wedged way back in a closet, that may or may not have been organized in quite some time, you just might find a few old cracked and split boxes of worn out board games from years gone by. The flashy 70's print boxes have long since faded leaving dusty yellowed remains. You may find old instructions, broken pencils and homemade scorecards.

Take a deep breath. Do you smell it? Smells like a rainy Saturday afternoon circa mid-70's. Well at least to me it does.You know how the smell of something can trigger all sorts of memories. It's that musty scent that takes me back to the sound of young girls giggling and having a good time indoors on a wet and dreary day.

Why do you suppose we love old board games? What do we find so appealing about them in this age of technology in which we live? It may be hard for you to pin down, but for me I think it's because board games are social. You need an opponent to play against. Someone to judge yourself against, someone to congratulate you when you do well, someone to tease you when you do poorly. Simply put old board games are socially fun and full of memories.
For old time’s sake, let’s look back fondly on ten of the greatest board games of all time or at the very least MY favorites!
connect-four10. Connect Four.  Quick set up time, easy rules, and fun game play. Connect Four is a game of checkers and tic tac toe with a twist. The rules are simple: try to build a row of four checkers while keeping your opponent from doing the same. Sounds easy, but it's not! The vertical strategy creates a unique challenge: you must think in a whole new way to block your opponent's moves. It only takes two players, my sister and I used to love this game.
battleship9. Battleship. You are the commander of your own fleet.  Prepare your strategy and lead your troops to victory. Calling out your coordinates and mark your hits and misses. The object of Battleship is to destroy your opponent's fleet first. Not always the easiest thing to do. Only requires two players making this another good game for a rainy summer day, just me and my sister.
risk8. Risk. Widely accepted as the first mainstream war game. Players are given tons of little army units to place onto the map of the world. When it's your turn, you use your units to attack other players' positions, hopefully with superior numbers. Combat is a simple roll of the dice away. Such a popular game that there are 'special edition' games now made.  Lord of The Rings to Star Wars, you too can dominate the world in an hour.
candyland-board7. Candyland. This is the classic "child's first game", and preschoolers love it. Children draw colored cards, and move their plastic gingerbread playing tokens to the next square of the same color. Passing the peppermint forest and the ice cream sea on the way, the first one to reach the candy castle wins. No need to read to play this game. 2 to 4 players Great game if you have little ones.
trivial-pursuit-original6. Trivial Pursuit. A board game in which progress is determined by a player's ability to answer general knowledge and popular culture questions. Game is easy to learn but has a lifetime of questions to ponder (6000 questions). A great game to play. From 2 to 24 players.
game-of-life5. The Game of Life. Classic board game breaks down an entire lifespan into a series of choices and chance. Practice makes perfect. Try marriage, kids, and more. Will you go to college and take out student loans? Or join the working force and collect on payday? Will you go bankrupt, or earn millions in stock and real estate? Any thing's possible with a spin of the Life wheel! One of the most popular family games.

Yahtzee4.Yahtzee. A classic dice rolling game where the opponents try for the highest score. This game is fun for all ages and holds a special place in my heart. Mr.P and I played this game while dating. It DROVE my mother nuts! That rattle of the dice just wore on her last nerve, but it was a great way for us to learn more about each other and fall in love. It is still a much loved game in the Porter house.
scrabble3. Scrabble. A word game in which two to four players score points by forming words from individual lettered tiles on a game board marked with a 15-by-15 grid. The words are formed across and down in crossword fashion and must appear in a standard dictionary. Scrabble is a classic and has sold over 150 million world-wide in 121 countries and 29 languages. It's a classic and a favorite of families. Mr. P and I played Scrabble on our honeymoon! Now that's an endorsement!
clue2. Clue. Who, Where, When and Which weapon. For generations, around the world, Mr. Boddy has met his end at the hand of one of six infamous suspects in this family game. As you search the mansion's nine rooms and secret passages, be on the lookout for those murderous suspects and watch out for those deadly weapons. The mystery changes every time you play. If you can collect the right clues and make the right deductions, you'll solve the mystery... and win! This was our GO TO game on rainy, steamy, summer days! Still love it! For 3 to 6 players. 
monopoly1. Monopoly. Everybody remembers the Monopoly game - that's why it's still the most popular, most widely played, and best-selling board game in the world! It brings back so many memories of wheeling-and-dealing family fun. No other game has turned so many game playing moments into memories! Whether you're discovering the fun for the first time or reliving the carefree days of youth, get out there and Buy! Sell! Mortgage! Build houses and hotels! And collect those rents! That's what makes Monopoly the number one board game in the world and 'America's Game'!

Huddled around the kitchen table waiting on a long pause in Scrabble, sitting in a friend’s basement late at night waging merciless war in Risk, or gathering the family together for a classic Saturday night game of Monopoly, whatever your style — there’s just something about those old, classic board games. They bring us together for some laughs, some ups, some downs, and some plain old good times.

Saturday, May 26

The Cinque Terre, Hiking, Pesto Shrimp and Mixed Greens

Tossed mixed greens in a light but bright lemon vinaigrette topped with savory grilled shrimp makes a terrific simple, light dinner. We LOVE grilled shrimp here at Porter South. It makes for a quick and easy meal on a busy Saturday. For this recipe you can save time by buying peeled and deveined shrimp and prepared pesto. I keep a bag of large shrimp in the freezer at ALL times. If the P's decide they want shrimp for dinner I pull them out of the freezer and set them in cold water. Shrimp thaw quickly this way.                                              
If you have never tried pesto, you are missing out on a fantastic taste sensation! The Cinque Terre region of Italy is the birthplace of Pesto. Basil grows in abundance there, so much so that it has to be cut back. Basil is to Pesto as Lemon is to Lemonade. If someone has just cut back their basil and kindly unloads their burden on all means make some Pesto! I'm sure many centuries ago, the Italians had to come up with an ingenious way to use this pesky weed called Basil. Sometimes desperation and a load of Basil is the mother of inventions and before you know it pesto is being served and it's wonderful!
  Here is a tip from me to you: Pesto freezes well. I make mine all at once when the basil is needing to be cut back. Pour your prepared pesto into ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen, just pop them in an air-tight freezer bag and you have ready made pesto quickly. If you prefer not to make your own pesto you can do the same with store bought. Keeping your shrimp and pesto in the freezer makes for a delicious impromptu meal your family and friends will enjoy. BE PREPARED at all times and entertaining friends or family can be extremely easy and rewarding!
  When I serve this meal I always add pasta on the side. A salad and grilled shrimp will not satisfy the hungry Porter men. I cook a simple pasta, usually Angel Hair, and serve the shrimp on top with this great salad on the side. It's wonderful however you choose to serve this dish and best of all is does not keep me in the kitchen all day. Quick and Easy works for me!!
                                   Pesto Shrimp on Mixed Greens

Pesto Shrimp
  • Grated zest and juice from 1 large lemon
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt, to taste, plus 1/4 tsp.
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste, plus 1/2 tsp.                              
  • 1 1/2 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined,
    tails intact
  • 3 Tbs. homemade or purchased pesto
  • 1/2 lb. mixed salad greens                                                                   
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes
  Make the lemon vinaigrette.
In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest and juice. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  Grill the shrimp.
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill.
In a bowl, toss the shrimp with 2 Tbs. of the lemon vinaigrette, the 1/4 tsp. salt and the 1/2 tsp. pepper. Skewer your shrimp and grill, turning once, until the shrimp are firm and opaque, about 5 minutes total. Transfer the shrimp to a bowl, add the pesto and stir to coat the shrimp.
  Make the salad.
In a large bowl, combine the salad greens and tomatoes, drizzle with the remaining lemon vinaigrette and toss. Divide the salad among 4 plates, top with the shrimp and serve immediately. Serves 4.
  Optional: Cook Angel Hair pasta, drain and add to the bowl of shrimp, coating the pasta with pesto. I always use an extra 2 tablespoons of pesto when I cook pasta. Plate and serve your salad on the side.

My recipe for Homemade Pesto
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese

Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
 If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.
 If freezing, DO NOT add the cheese. Transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.

                   VILLAGE OF MANAROLA                     
The Cinque Terre, meaning Five Lands, are the five small towns of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. These villages, that seemingly cling to cliffs, are sandwiched in between the Mediterranean Sea and the mountains on a small stretch of beautiful Italian coast. They are hard to reach, this fact alone has kept mass tourism out of this small corner of Italy. It does however attract many daily 'hikers'. There is no coast road and the coastal walking path gives you a real feeling of remoteness as you walk in between the villages. Even today, the only way to get from one town to the other is along these ancient footpaths that wind along the cliffs or by train. You are rewarded for your walking/hiking efforts with dramatic vistas of cliffs, sea, sky and picturesque villages. It takes about five hours to walk from the first to the last of the five towns, but what fun is that? If you happen to find yourself in the Cinque Terre take time to walk these paths, village to village. Stop and explore each little village, spend the night along the way and dine on some of the best Italian food in the country. The Cinque Terre should be on every one's list if traveling to Italy. It's NOT to be missed!
The Cinque Terre can be found in the top left hand corner of this map. I wanted you to see how closely it is located to Pisa, Lucca and Florence (Firenze). Ristorante Vulnetia in Vernazza is known
for it's pesto dishes. The Trofie al Pesto is divine. This little gem is tucked away in the back left corner of Piazza Marconi. So worth the wait. Locals line up to eat here. Not only for the Pesto but the anchovies as well. Let me just stop right here and say these are NOT your mother's version of anchovies. Sealed in a tin full of oil!  NO!  These sweet fish are caught on a daily basis and so fresh they are addictive! SO, if you happen to find yourself in the area, stop and enjoy the beauty around you and feast on the local, freshly made pesto, pasta and sardines!  
You'll Be Glad You Did!
The Vernazza Harbor is lovely in the daytime, but isn't this enchanting? Not many tourist left in the city as the sun goes down, you and the locals have the streets to yourself. This is when you fall in love with Italy. Go take a look for yourself, it should be on your 'bucket list'!

Wednesday, May 23

The Perfect Hello To Summer! Eatin' S'mores And Mores!

How to Make Smores

Camping just would not be complete without this simple, gooey dessert we so lovingly call s'mores. The whole experience of making s'mores is enjoyable: you sit around a campfire watching the flickering flames as you toast the pillowy sweet marshmallows at the end of your stick and when the marshmallow is golden and just about to melt right off the stick you make a marshmallow and chocolate graham cracker sandwich. Yum!

If you are over the age of 10 and live in the US, you have eaten a s'more. They are ingrained in our memories with loving fondness. Bringing back to mind summer camping trips, sitting by a bonfire in the cool crisp air of Fall or even on a Winter's day when the family is trapped indoors sitting around the fire keeping warm as it snows outside. Fond memories of family, friends, laughter, the smell of woodsmoke, hay and roasted marshmallows brings a smile to my face.

Camping was a tradition in our family. We began camping when my sister and I were 4 and 2 or somewhere very near then. Our parents drug us across America as kids, sometimes we loved it sometimes not so much. Our parents thought this was a good way to travel on a budget...and you know what? IT WAS GREAT! It taught us to love traveling and to always want to learn about new people and places.

Most nights Daddy would start a fire as my sister and I looked until we found the perfect sticks for marshmallow roasting. We all sat around the fire and proceeded to have a s'more feast. It's one of those treats you can't help yourself around. We would get a little giddy, oohing and aahing, licking our fingers and giggling like kids do. I'm sure we were one big ooey gooey mess! Mom taught us how to roast our marshmallows without roasting our arms! She LOVED, and still does, the burnt marshmallows. You know sister and I do too, something we picked up from mom.

Our long summer vacations and weekend trips seem so wonderful as I look back now. I'm thankful to my parents for taking us out into the quiet serenity of the wilderness. I can still smell the pine trees and hear the babbling river and all of that abundant fresh air and a sky so big and full of stars that it never seemed to end. As we drove away from our campsite to head home we were always just a bit melancholy, but we knew there would be another weekend another summer to roam under the stars free and barefoot, eatin' s'mores and catching lightening bugs!


  • Marshmallows
  • Sticks
  • Hershey Chocolate Bar
  • Graham Crackers
  • Arrange two squares of graham cracker on a paper plate. Top one cracker with a good size square of Hershey's chocolate.
  • Roast the marshmallows by placing one on a skewer and gently rotating it over an open flame of a campfire.
  • When the marshmallow is golden and soft on the inside, remove it from the flames and place it on the chocolate cracker. Top it with the second cracker and SMASH IT GOOD! Let the chocolate  melt and warm the crackers, EAT while warm! ENJOY!

My youngest, Elizabeth and her boyfriend Bradley making S'mores last summer. A tradition which she has carried on for the family!
Place tablespoons of dough on each graham cracker square.
Here they are almost done...not quite all the way melted yet.


I've seen these floating around the web, I'm sure you have as well. I just had to give 'em a try. These cookies have a graham cracker base with a chocolate chip cookie sprinkled with chocolate and marshmallows topping it. The crunch of the graham cracker with the gooey cookie is the perfect combination. They are the Perfect Hello to Summer.


  • 11 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 3 regular sized Hershey’s bars, broken into pieces
  • 1-2 packages graham crackers, broken into squares


  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt to combine. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter with white and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
  • Add the flour mixture to the butter mixer and combine on low speed.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips and marshmallows. Chill dough in refrigerator for 1 hour to overnight (I did one batch right away and another after chilling overnight and found there was no difference.)
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line baking pans with parchment paper. I used one 11x17 pan and one 9x13 pan but you can really use any sized pans you want.
  • Lay out graham crackers side by side on the pans as close as possible (they should be touching). I used 16 graham cracker squares on one pan and 10 squares on another. You may have to add or remove graham crackers according to how much dough you have. If you want your cookies thicker you will use more dough and less graham crackers.
  • Place tablespoons of dough on graham crackers about 1 – 1 ½ inches apart. I averaged about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough per graham cracker square as seen in the picture above. Press down slightly with fingertips.
  • Bake for 5 minutes then remove from oven to press Hershey’s bar pieces on to the top. You can place as many pieces or as little as you want depending how much chocolate flavor you want.
  • Bake for 5 – 7 more minutes or until dough is beginning to turn golden brown at the edges. Remove to a wire rack to cool. For clean cutting make sure cookies are completely cool and cut with a sharp knife.

                                                   HELLO SUMMER,