Category Archives: Food

A Family Reunion Like No Other

My dad’s side of the family has a family reunion tradition that can’t be touched. Primarily because it’s called the FamiLEE Reunion (a play on our last name), but the food and incredibly good company doesn’t hurt.

Everyone brings something potluck-style, and sweet tea and lemonade are provided by the host family. Fried chicken is a staple. It can be homemade, from KFC or Popeye’s, it doesn’t matter. As long as there’s more than enough.

Deviled eggs are also a staple. Mom made spinach-and-something-deviled-eggs-with-something this year that were delicious and added a little interest to the normal recipe with paprika sprinkled on top.

Mom also made a key lime pound cake which sat proudly on its pedestal over the myriad other desserts.

Dad got called out by the elders for being first in line (which is probably why he was already done with lunch when I took this picture).

This photo is blurry, but you get the idea of the length and density of the food table.

After lunch, speeches and family updates, I tried to get Grandpa (the youngest of his siblings) to organize the rest of his siblings for a picture. Chaos, as usual, ensued.

Briscoe wandered away before we were done and begrudgingly wheeled back…

We added the spouses…

But Virginia and Marion Lee were cut off…

So we got to eat good food, visit with good family and got my Grandpa, his brothers Tom and Briscoe, his sisters Virginia and Lucy, and all their spouses in one photo. All in all, a very successful FamiLEE Reunion.

Next year it’s our family’s turn to host …




Hot Town, Summer in the City

Even though it was 100 degrees and the air was thick with humidity, the girls from work and I sat outside at Hank’s Oyster Bar Wednesday night to celebrate another month of trivia success.

Who cares how hot it is when you’re about to feast on fresh oysters with fun people?

And the food did not disappoint — goldfish to start with, onion rings, cucumber salad, fried oysters and oysters on the half shell, dark chocolate for dessert and a cool glass of white wine.

If the servers had not been moving the umbrellas on the patio to block the sun from us as it set, we would have definitely fried to death. The things we’ll endure for a good meal…

In other news, this song is constantly stuck in my head these days:

Now it’s in yours too! Enjoy!

Memorial Day Weekend Down by the Bay

I feel so very blessed to have a family outpost in the Northern Neck of Virginia on the Chesapeake Bay to call a weekend home every now and then. The summers I’ve spent there with family and friends for the past four or five years have been rich with joy and an occasional sunburn. So it was nothing short of fitting to kick off the summer at the Rivah.

I only had my camera out for one day, but with Jessie’s help, we documented Sunday pretty well.

We tend to make a waterfront camp by the dock in front of the house.

Some awesome people, keeping cool with a beverage. Hugh got that hat for $5 from Eastern Market a few summers ago… I just use sunscreen.

We had two unplanned but totally welcome visitors show up Saturday evening. We had to cram a whole weekend’s worth of fun into Sunday for Jessie and Troy, so we took a spin on the jet skis, did some swimming and jumping off the dock, and took them for a thrill ride on the tube.

Jessie was grinning this big her whole time on the tube, because I’m that good of a driver.

It looks like Mom took some pictures, too. I’m going to need to see those pictures, Mom!

The adults hung out on the boat, where the radio was turned up.

Harry was a trooper, hanging out with us old folk while Dylan was MIA for a while. Hey Harry!

Troy did some serious kayaking — you’re making wake in a no-wake zone, Troy!

I didn’t get Saturday night’s seafood fest on camera, but it was epic. Mom and Dad went to a local shop and picked up tuna steaks, shrimp, scallops, mahi mahi and oysters and I made pasta salad and cole slaw. De-lish.

I also don’t have action shots of the skiing that happened Saturday — Clayton is always the most fun to watch, especially when he asks to be towed back sans skis. I got up on my first try and Dylan took me for  a quick ride out of the cove, across the channel and back again. Since my back was already sore after that, I quit while I was ahead and let Hugh take a turn (he also did great).

Foot note: my back was still sore from skiing when Hugh talked me into the 10K. Something must be off kilter in my brain.

I probably need more vacation.

MOH Chronicles: Throwing a Bridal Shower

As one of two Maids of Honor in Rebecca’s wedding, (the other is her sister), I was given the task of throwing her a Pampered Chef bridal shower. In my entire 24.5 years of living, I’ve been to exactly one Pampered Chef party and one bridal shower.

I hosted neither.

So I had the date – May 22nd – and I had the guest list, but I had no idea what I was doing. I’m not sure I understood the concept — was I inviting people to a party specifically for them to buy gifts for the bride? It gave me the heebie jeebies, having a party just so the bride can get some “free stuff.” Gift registries similarly weird me out — I like to give thoughtful, personal gifts, so I’ve never been a fan of the “here’s what I want, pick one” list, not even for Christmas. Though, I should say that I’ve never gotten married, so I refrain from judgement.

Feel free to mock me if I turn up in a few years with a registry miles long.

Moving on.

I planned a citrusy fiesta shower for the bride, a lover of tequila and Mexican food. I made citrus-filled vases for centerpieces, and the favors (parties are supposed to have favors, I learned) were gummy orange slices and other citrusy candies.

I made guacamole, served on a snack table with chips and salsa, and the Pampered Chef consultant made a Southwestern salad with chicken and homemade cilantro lime dressing.

I had planned to serve appetizer-sized quesadillas as well, but Dexter pulled his pre-bridal shower stunt which left me soaking wet with unkempt hair, grassy feet, and little time to pull the party together before people started arriving. Maybe I’ll share that whole story tomorrow.

I even made festive labels to differentiate between the spiked and non-alcoholic beverages (margarita punch and pink lemonade) and to explain the dessert.

And oh, those tequila sunrise cupcakes. If I never eat another, it will be too soon. But they are delicious — orange-flavored cake (it has orange juice in it, which makes it healthy right?) and freshly whipped buttercream frosting made with grenadine to complete the cocktail’s recipe. They were my pride and joy and looked so beautiful on Mom’s cake pedestal that I bought one of my own with my Pampered Chef hostess discount (50% off!).

As you can see, I need to work on my buttercream piping, or at least learn to hide decorating flaws when setting up the display:

I also made wine charms with each guest’s name which were very, very cute, but I sadly didn’t get a picture of them. And since she was the guest of honor, the bride did not get a standard wine glass with a name tag charm on it. No, she got a hot pink wine glass that was big enough for extra helpings of margarita punch.

I took very few pictures because I was a frantic mess most of the afternoon, but I think it turned out well and most everyone enjoyed themselves. Rebecca did at least, and I suppose that was the point of it all along.

Now on to planning her next shower.

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