Sunday, July 22, 2012


We started off our celebration of the 4th at Edisto with Jay, Beth, Mike, Blake and Steve and Michelle.  Levi was even able to come over for our Saturday cookout!

You can hardly see them but these two labs were in LOVE with swimming after their toys in the ocean.  Banjo never did get into that.  She's too prissy to get wet in those wild waves I think.  

The boys playing beach golf.  

We were home Sunday and Monday nights and then headed to the Dozier's at the lake for Tuesday through Sunday.  It is actually easier for me to get to work from there so I was able to go in a little on Thursday and Friday.  These pictures are all out of order...

Tuesday night.  Jay, Bates, Allen, Matt, William and mullet Brad.

Heather, Beth, me, Mandy, Liza and Gail.  

I tried to make some vodka gummie bears (you just soak gummie bears in some vodka and they soak it up) but I left them in my hot car so they melted.  The resulting vodka jello was pretty good though!!

The Lawrences brought their boat over on Wednesday.  Amber and Alex with their kids, Georgia and Law. Jay and Jason up front.  

Beth's birthday was Saturday but we celebrated earlier in the week because she was in Charleston with her twin on the big day.  Her last name is Firebaugh but, of course, her cake said Happy Birthday Fireball!!  :)

Megan and Adi even made it over on Wednesday.  So happy they are back in Atlanta!  We are heading up that way in August hopefully.  

Brantley Griffin showing off his 'skiing' skills!

Brad, Matt and Brantley playing cornhole. 

Georgia enjoying a boat ride.  

The Rigsbys came over on Saturday.  Little Hal with Michele.  

Captain Dozier, Brad, Bates, Heather, Gail, Campbell and Allen

Campbell called us Ms Jelly and Ms Brad.  Too cute...

Dozier's Jackson.  Sweet boy.

Me and Brad

All the kiddos.  Aiden, Brantley, Law, Georgia and Lauren Kate.

Mandy, me, Michelle, Beth, Liza, Gail, Megan and Heather.

Lauren Kate and Georgia driving the boat.

Brad with Law in their matching bathing suits.  

Michele with Law and Elizabeth.

Elizabeth and her Daddy, Trey.

Mandy's patriotic pedi!

Allen, Mr USA, with his Statue of Liberty sunglasses.

Our 4th table centerpieces.  :)

The hosts, Liza and William.

As always, a great time!!!

baked spaghetti

I am sure everyone makes a variation of this but my Mom has one great shortcut* and one great unexpected ingredient# that makes this wonderful and easy.

Whole wheat spaghetti noodles
*Premade Publix Italian meatballs (at the meat counter)
2-3 jars of canned spaghetti sauce (I use a variety of Bertolli sauces)
#Goat cheese
Mozz and parm cheeses
Italian spices

Preheat oven to 350.  Boil 1/2 to 3/4 of a box of noodles and drain.  Scramble and cook meatballs until done, drain.  (I remove most of the basil leaves from the package but some won't hurt.)  I start by layering noodles, then sauce, meat and then crumble the goat cheese in a glass or ceramic 9x13 pan.  (The acid in tomato sauce isn't good for metal pans.)  Although the meatballs have wonderful flavoring already, I usually sprinkle on some basil, thyme and rosemary on a couple of layers as well.  You can do a few light layers of parm and mozz too.  Continue layering until the top is mostly sauce and some parm.  Bake until bubbly.

The meatballs freeze really well and you can cook them from frozen so I always have some on-hand.  This finished dish freezes really well also so I make two and freeze one.  This is a great dish to take to others with some garlic bread and salad too.  You'd be amazed how much difference the goat cheese makes!

rotel biscuits

The Griffins made these for us on our ski trip and I stole it for the beach a few weeks ago.  

2 cans of biscuit dough
1 lb of pork sausage
1 can of drained rotel
4 oz of cream cheese
1 c of shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to temperature listed on biscuit instructions (425?).  Cook and drain the sausage.  Grease muffin tins.  Half each biscuit for regular muffin tins, third or quarter them for mini muffin tins.  Combine the sausage with melted cream cheese, drained rotel and cheese.  You can change up this mixture to your tastes as well.  (use mayo instead of cream cheese, cheddar instead of mozz, more rotel, less biscuit dough, etc)  Spoon mixture on top of biscuit dough and bake until browned.  

sausage and cheese muffins

I made these for the 4th and they were amazing!  I actually preferred to cook them more like biscuits than muffins because the bottoms got crispy.  

1 lb hot pork sausage
1 tsp onion powder
3 c bisquick
2 c shredded cheddar
1 can of fiesta nacho cheese soup
3/4 c buttermilk (milk or water are lighter options)

Preheat oven to 375.  Cook sausage with onion powder in skillet until crumbled and no longer pink.  Drain and cool.  

Combine sausage, bisquick and shredded cheese.  Stir in soup and buttermilk until ingredients are just moistened.  Spoon into greased mini muffin tins.  Bake 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.  

*Using the mini muffin tins makes 48 or more muffins and reusing the tins is a pain.  I started spooning generous amounts onto a well-greased cookie sheet like I would drop biscuits.  This, obviously, made a bigger 'muffin' for a breakfast portion and I loved the crispy bottoms that they developed.*

beach cocktail

This one has been circulating on pinterest so I thought I would make up a batch for the 4th.  I ended up making two because the first was so good!  :)

Beach Cocktail

This is easiest to make in a Simply brand juice container.  Rinse it out well and add 4 scoops (I used a tablespoon but you can do it to taste) via funnel to the container.  Add in 1 c of Smirnoff watermelon vodka, 1/3 c triple sec and 1/3 c Malibu coconut rum.  Fill it the rest of the way up with water.  (You can also cut 4 large strawberries and add before the water if you like.  I found this didn't add much flavor but the strawberries were good to eat.)  Shake to mix and refrigerate.  Enjoy!  

arkansas green beans

I made these one night while at the lake for the 4th.  They are really easy and so good!!  A great alternative to green bean casserole and the like.  

5 (15 oz) cans green beans, drained
12 slices bacon
2/3 c brown sugar
1/4 c butter, melted
7 tsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350.  Pour drained green beans into 9x13 pan.

Cook bacon and crumble over green beans.

Combine remaining ingredients and pour over beans and bacon.  Bake uncovered for about 40 minutes.