My "week of the 4th" started with a few days at the beach with Little Sister and her family. She was so little the last time she went, she didn't remember seeing the ocean. So she was tremendously excited this trip. Baby Girl and I spent most of our time on the porch, rocking as we listened to the ocean.
But for our family, the main event for the 4th of July is time at the lake.
Little Sister had her first lessons in boating.
Then on the actual day—July 4th—we had 20 family members join us for lunch.
The food is always good but the company is even better.
This year we had 5 children under four which was loads of fun.
Remember this blueberry pie?
The recipe was good enough for a repeat.
There was paddle ball, and juggling, and hammock swinging
and dazzling fireworks on our own pier later on.
And there was time for paddling, too.
Sometimes a slow boat is better than the motor boat.
Little Sister did her paddling on dry land
and had just as much fun as anyone.
They made lots stops on their "trip" to explore the yard
and gather leaves and stones in buckets.
Little Sister is blessed with loads of imagination.
But Jessica gets the "best aunt" award for finally taking little one
out on her first real kayak ride.
After lots of BBQ and hot dogs, it was time for a menu change. We've had this recipe stuck on the wall at the lake since 2007 (according to the date on the computer print out.) I knew I was saving it for a reason. This one pot dinner is one of the easiest meals to cook as well as one of the most delicious. It was the perfect meal for our last night at the lake. We've eaten this South Carolina dish many times, but it was the first time we cooked it ourselves.
LOW COUNTRY BOIL (also known as Frogmore Stew)
4 quarts cold water
1/4 cup Old Bay seasoning
1 tablespoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste
4 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 yellow onion, diced
1 head of garlic, cut in half crosswise
2-1/2 pounds small red potatoes
4 ears of corn, shucked, each cut into 4 pieces
2 pounds smoked sausage, cut into 1-1/2 inch slices
2 pounds medium shrimp, deveined, in the shell
In a large stockpot, combine water, Old Bay seasoning, the 1 tbsp of salt, celery, onion, garlic and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are tender when pierced, about 10-20 minutes.
Add corn and sausage to the pot and simmer until corn is tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add shrimp and simmer until opaque, about 3 to 4 minutes. Taste broth and adjust seasonings with salt.
Strain and serve immediately. (Daddy-O cooked this in a pot with a basket that lifted out. Made the serving easy.)
It is traditionally served by pouring the food out on newspapers spread on a picnic table outside, but we opted for paper plates and LOTS of napkins on our porch. There are as many variations for this as there are cooks. You can search for the recipe by both names and check out some recipes from other folks.