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Food from the Beach House: Bruschetta

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Bruschetta B

The key to my husband’s heart = bruschetta. Preferably made from fresh, St. Helena Island grown, heirloom tomatoes. Preferably on toasted French bread from the Publix bakery. Preferably with a glass of crisp white wine. Seriously. See this picture above? It makes my heart sing. Because I’ve flooded his heart with bruschetta love.

This year, Braydon got a run for his money from his two sons. They’ve developed quite a love for bruschetta themselves. Next year I’m going to have to buy two baguettes.

I make this at least once each summer at the beach house. It is truly just so good. The recipe is from Ree Drummond/The Pioneer Woman, and can be found here:


Bruschetta A

Foodie Family: Saltus 2015

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Saltus 2Saltus River Grill in Beaufort, SC! We had been dreaming about it for a whole year (for backstory, see here). And it was just as dreamy as we had dreamed it would be. The folks at Saltus even gave us dessert on the house — which was, honestly, the highlight of the night for the bambinos (we rarely order dessert). Owen chose creme brulee, Kyle chose strawberry profiteroles, and Meera chose an orange creme ice cream. They were in heaven! (The highlight of my night was that glass of prosecco!) Thank you to Saltus for another magical evening in Beaufort for the J-Ms!

P.S. Best shrimp-and-grits ever ever ever anywhere anywhere!Saltus 3 Saltus 1

Another Little Trip for Kyle: Fort Freemont, Penn Center, and Red Piano Too

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Penn FF 3(if you look closely in this picture you’ll see Kyle climbing down a ladder on the side of the fort)

We took another little SC day trip for Kyle and visited Fort Freemont (for the first time), and the Penn Center and the Red Piano Too (both of which we’ve been to a few times before). All three of these sites are on St. Helena Island — only about 15 minutes from the beach house.

Fort Freemont was eery and mysterious — Kyle loved it.

Penn FF Penn FF 5 Penn FF 4 Penn FF 2

And the Penn Center always takes my breath away ~Penn Center tree

As does the Red Piano ~Red Piano

One of the things that I love most about the Lowcountry is our ability to easily give Kyle access to these sorts of experiences… and to experience them, and appreciate them, with him.

7th Annual Haiti Dinner (2015)

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Steak Frites A

This year was our 7th annual “Haiti Dinner.” We have this dinner once each summer. Haitian Steak Frites (steak au poive with pomme frites). The tradition has a cool backstory — you can find it here (click).

This dinner is right up there as K&O’s #1 top favorite meal (tied only with Joe’s Shanghai Soup Dumplings). Meera got to stay up late to have it this year, which was a big deal, and a sign of the changing times (she’s growing on up!). She absolutely loved it. In the photo below you can see her swinging her head back in delirious deliciousness. She was saying, “ooooooh myyyyyyyyy gooooooooosh I LOVE IT! Kyle and Owen, THANK YOU FOR BEING HAITIAN!”

Also in the photo is another sign of the changing times. We’ve got two tweens folks. After one bite, Owen just haaaaaad to get on his iPhone to text his friends about this special dinner. The photo he sent them (a picture of his plate; totally unfiltered and unedited here) is what he texted out.

Seven years in, some things stay the same and some things change. It was — as usual — a magical wonderful night of remembering Haiti and sharing a most amazing meal together.Steak Fritespic

Catch & Release: an afternoon at Harbor Island

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IMG_9978On the beach, she’s catching fiddler crabs!IMG_9984Like this one! Catch!IMG_9966Release! …But her release = Dash starts for the catch!IMG_9963(this is what they’re after! both of them just want to play with them, then let them go. they’ve spent HOURS doing this!)IMG_9974Meanwhile…  In the water, the boys are after their own catch.IMG_0085And Dash is right there for the action!IMG_0090Catch! A catch in the net cast = a few minutes for Dash to play with it, then it’s onto the rod…catch 1…for another catch!release 1

…then release! …And their release = Dash’s turn to attempt the catch! (he never manages to get it in the water)

And it goes on and on like this for HOURS.IMG_0094

Beauty in South Carolina

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IMG_9646Meera, checking the crab trap. Feeling confident, strong, and brave. Not afraid to handle crabs.

A KyleKyle, in the beach house kitchen. Feeling adored, appreciated, and understood. Deep in thought, being heard.

IMG_9656Owen, heading out for ocean fishing. Feeling hopeful, capable, independent, and loved for his full whole self. Ready to catch the big one!


Photo of the Day: Owen’s Catch!

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IMG_9981Yesterday, off of Harbor Island beach, Owen caught a dogfish shark on his rod. He caught it using mullet fish as bait. He caught the mullet in his net cast. He also caught another dogfish shark after this. He was so proud of himself!


Food from the Beach House: Blanchards “Big Bowls”

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bb 4Longtime readers who pay attention to my food posts know how much I love the cookbook, At Blanchard’s Table: A Trip to the Beach Cookbook. Twice my parents have taken us, and my sister’s family, to Anguilla with them. And both times it’s been such a thrill for me to eat at the Blanchards restaurants. The first trip, Braydon and I had the treat of a night out just the two of us at Blanchards Restaurant. By our second trip, the Blanchards had opened their “Blanchards Beach Shack” restaurant, and we got to eat there for lunch on the beach… twice! (Thank you MorMor & MorFar!) These Blanchards restaurant experiences have been so memorable for me — these are the kind of restaurants and food concepts I love.

At Blanchards Beach Shack Kyle had what is listed on the menu as the “Big Bowl.” It is a pile of rice, beans, pico de gallo, corn salsa, cheese, etc. served, literally, in a big bowl. You can choose your protein to go on top — grilled shrimp, jerk chicken, shredded pork (there’s a whole list of options) — and it is served with a “crema” drizzled over it all. For Kyle it was love at first bite. He ordered it again the second time we went. I did not order it, but tasted his, and knew I’d try to perfect it at home. The crema seemed to be a mixture of sour cream, cilantro, and lime, and it was — in my opinion — what made the whole dish. I’ve since discovered an awesome dressing — that is a great substitute for Blanchards’ crema — sold in the produce section of our grocery store at home and in South Carolina: Bolthouse Farms Cilantro Avacado Yogurt dressing. For a quick easy dinner that replicates Blanchards Big Bowl, this does the trick.

At the beach house we don’t have big bowls to serve this in. (We are lacking serving dishes and glassware in a big way here.) So, we have to pile it on plates. But this is a super fun, casual dinner where everyone can choose their own mixture of goodness and make it the way they like it. Super duper easy and yummy for a summertime supper.

P.S. The night these photos were taken we had the “Big Bowls” with thinly sliced grilled marinated steak. You can use whatever you like or have (or nothing! Kyle likes his best vegetarian.)


  • white rice
  • 1 can black beans (rinsed and drained), 1/2 onion (chopped), 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • pico de gallo (store bought! …or… if you wanna make your own, go for it y’all!)
  • corn (at Blanchards they have a corn salsa, but I like to steam fresh corn on the cob then cut the corn kernels off just before serving)
  • shredded cheese — monterey jack, cheddar, or whatever you like
  • Bolthouse Farms Cilantro Avacado Yogurt dressing
  • anything else you choose — shrimp, leftover blackened fish, grilled steak/pork/chicken, etc.


Cook the rice. For the beans– heat a saute pan over medium heat; add veggie oil and onion, stirring a few times and cooking until the onion is translucent; add a couple of spoonfuls of the pico de gallo to the pan and cook to just heat through; add black beans and cook until warm and combined. Steam fresh corn on the cob (10 minutes), then remove and let cool. Cut corn kernels off the cobs. If you’re using an additional protein, prepare that. To make the “big bowls”: place everything on the table and let people pile up their bowls/plates the way they like. Drizzle with the dressing. Yummo!IMG_9789big bowl 1 bb 2

Food from the Beach House: Coffee Cake

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DSC_0003This is an old recipe from my mom. She used to make it when I was little, and I always loved it. Now my littles love it. I make this year-round, but for some reason it tastes even better at the beach house! We’ve been making it about once a week; Owen will eat half of the whole cake in one sitting. It never lasts more than 24 hours before being entirely gone.

In looking online, sour cream coffee cakes like this one are often called “Vintage Coffee Cake” or “70s Style Coffee Cake.” The original recipe I have calls for including walnuts in the crumble layers. We’ve made it with walnuts and pecans (pecans = so Southern!). But, our favorite is to make it without any nuts at all. Also, the original recipe I have calls for blending the mixture in stages for over 20 minutes total. I have found that the cake is much lighter and fluffier (and takes way less time to make) if you simply blend to combine (mixing for less than a minute).


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sour cream (or plain yogurt — I often use lowfat Greek yogurt)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (I’ve used light brown, or dark brown — either is good)


Preheat oven to 350. Blend together the sugar, butter, and eggs. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Blend until just combined. Add in the sour cream and vanilla and blend — again, until just combined. In small bowl mix together the cinnamon and brown sugar. Butter the inside of a loaf pan (I’ve made this with various shapes of loaf pan — it’s all good — use whatever you have). Pour half the batter into the pan. Sprinkle with half the cinnamon/brown sugar mixture. Then pour the rest of the batter on top, and sprinkle the top with the rest of the cinnamon/brown sugar. Bake about 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool 5 minutes before digging in!

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