Strawberry Pretzel Salad

I remember the first time I saw this dessert, I was confused – and kind of grossed out. Let’s face it, it’s certainly not the most attractive looking dish in the world. Whenever Jon has a work luncheon party at NASA, it’s always on the potluck menu. And, is usually the first thing to go as well! I shied away from it for years before I finally gave into temptation and gave it a try. And then promptly kicked myself for not trying it sooner…

A layer of crunchy salty pretzels, coated in butter then baked. Then layered with a sweet cream cheese layer, and topped with a layer of strawberry Jello that’s been studded with strawberries. So, I tracked down the recipe from Jon’s co-worker to share with you guys. I made a few adjustments – making my own homemade whipped cream instead of using Cool Whip, and also using fresh strawberries as opposed to frozen. I’m trying to use up the last couple quarts of my flat I bought last week, and this was perfect for it.

This is the perfect thing to bring to a potluck BBQ, because it’s different and fun. For anyone who loves a sweet and salty combo, this is a winner! I hope everyone has a great weekend welcoming summer into our lives. Don’t forget to enter our grilling giveaway going on through Monday! Be safe, kids!

Bourbon & Brown Sugar Ribs

Ribs. Is there anything more appropriate for a Memorial Day BBQ? There are many schools of thought as far as rib preparation goes. Grilling vs baking. Dry Rub vs Sauce. I like to go all out, and do all of those things! A dry rub for a few hours, then baking in the oven til perfectly tender and ALMOST falling apart. Then a quick grill with a delicious basting BBQ sauce.

The sauce itself is magical. The folks at Musselman’s sent me a big jar of their apple butter to try out – and I used it as the base for the sauce. To be honest, I think the apple butter itself brushed on meats on the grill would be wonderful – it’s the perfect texture and consistency. But, I went ahead and added some other delicious things to it – like bourbon and brown sugar – and it knocked it out of the park!

They’ve offered to send one lucky reader a grilling package to kick-start your summer as well – featuring a jar of their delicious apple butter, a sauce mop, and some delicious recipes! Just leave a comment telling me what your plans are for Memorial Day weekend? My mother-in-law is in town visiting, so we plan on spending some quality family time together – and maybe a night out on the town dancing while Grandma babysits! Contest will run today through next Monday (5/27) at 11:59 PM EST.

Congrats to Shannon C! Her entry (#13) was the winner. I hope you had a wonderful hike on Memorial Day, and have fun firing up your grill this summer!

Disclaimer: I received a grilling package from Musselman’s for my review. As always, all opinions are my own.

Blackberry Cream Soda

The Cream Soda has long been one of my favorite cocktails. Such basic ingredients, and it tastes so darn good. I remember being shocked by how much the simple combination of Capt. Morgan’s, ginger ale, and fresh lime tasted exactly like a cream soda. You remember, those sodas from your childhood that no one else would drink? They were always the last thing floating in the cooler of ice, long after all the Cokes had been picked out. But, this one definitely isn’t for the kids…

I recently tried a bottle of Captain Morgan’s newest release, their Black Spiced Rum. It’s darker and bolder than the “OG” – but everything you love about the traditional spiced rum is still there. Notes of molasses, vanilla, and cinnamon. And smooth! An absolutely wonderful rum.

I think it’s safe to say we’ve all had a few nights “sailing away with the Captain”, and this is definitely a drink that makes it easy to do. Since I was using the Black rum, I thought it would be fun to add another “black” twist – in the form of blackberries. They added a gorgeous hue and a little pucker that I loved! But still completely tasted like a cream soda.

It’s only Monday, but I’m already looking forward to the weekend. Memorial Day is the official start of summer here at the beach, and we are all ready for it to begin!

crabimperial

Summer is just around the corner for us here on the Chesapeake, and for my family – that means bushels of crabs steamed on the regular. My dad and Jon run the trotline early on Sunday mornings, and are usually home by 10 AM with a full bushel of #1 Jimmies (or males). This year, our oldest son Andrew – who just turned five, will be old enough to go out and help man the line and net. I know everyone is excited for that!

They haven’t had a chance to go out yet this year, as the water is just starting to warm up. But, I managed to get my hands on a few to steam, and then pick to make a delicious dinner out of to share with you guys. Crab Imperial is on just about every local restaurant menu here on the Eastern Shore. It’s usually used to stuff into fish or shrimp, which of course is delicious. But a GOOD crab imperial – well, I think it’s bright enough to shine on it’s own. Lump crab, tossed with a luscious cream sauce, then baked to perfection – it’s divine. I found the cute little vintage crab dishes at a yard sale, but a ramekin or shallow au gratin dish would be just fine to bake in as well.

I’m so thankful to live in an area where my boys can experience this – learning to crab from their grandfather, who learned it from his father before him – right here on the waters of the Chesapeake Bay.

Time to stock up on Old Bay and Boh, Maryland kiddos – summer is coming!