Summer Fun And Good Eats (And Drinks!) - Put the Kettle on.... Blog at - 306633

Put the Kettle on....

Summer Fun and Good Eats (and Drinks!) 
Jul. 17, 2013 9:38 am 
Updated: Jul. 25, 2013 12:52 pm
In just a little over a week we head to the mountains of the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.  We go every year - for camping, hiking, and winery-hopping.  Last year Kristal drove down mid-way through our stay to join us in our fun.  She had been there before and even though her hubby could not make it, she wanted to come.  It was a blast, so this year she is coming back again.  This time bringing her little cocker spaniel, Maggie; who our Suzy just loves.

She wasn't really sure Maggie could endure the hiking in the mountains.  So.... with our smartphones loaded with the app "AllTrails" and our daypacks loaded with water and bug spray we set out to find some trails near us that would be similar to the trails in Virginia.  Lucky for us we live near the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Virginia Kendall Park.  We found trails that could easily pass for a trail we will encounter in Virginia; complete with waterfalls!  Best of all, Maggie has no problem hiking these trails with her little short legs! 

Since we were not only getting Maggie in condition for the trip, but ourselves also, we had to plan our hikes so they would be nearby a winery.  I mean, after all....  if we're going to see how well Maggie can handle this trip - we have to see how well she can handle all aspects of the trip!  After each hike we would eat our picnic lunch we brought along.  So far, so good... Maggie can handle not only a hike but a picnic, too.

After that, we head to a winery for some sampling and a nice glass (or two) out on their patio with the dogs in tow.  Maggie has passed the test!  She loves to lay down in the grass and rest from the hike while the humans enjoy the wine.  In Virginia we have yet to come across a winery that won't allow dogs on their patios or outdoor seating areas. We even found one that would have allowed Suzy inside the winery!   Here in Ohio we found one that prohibited dogs; inside or out. 

Sunday we finally got around to celebrating Yahir's 8th birthday; which was in June.  He had requested a cake with "blue bread" and cotton candy flavored.  Yahir plays soccer so I decided to make a soccer ball cake for him.  I discovered our library loans out cake pans!  Now that I know that, I'll be making many more "shaped" cakes!  I made a white cake that I dyed blue with food coloring - OK - I got the "blue bread" covered.  Cotton candy flavoring???  Lucky for us we are friends with the owner of the ice cream shop that shares space with our restaurant!  He let me have some of his cotton candy flavoring he uses for ice cream.   I added it to the icing.  However, I was somewhat disappointed that it really did not taste like cotton candy.  Yahir is a good sport, though, he assured me it had a "little bit of taste" to it. Dinner for this birthday party was grilled hot dogs, watermelon, pineapple & cantaloupe, macaroni salad and chips; the perfect "kid" food.

Last Friday we showed Federico the photos of some of our hikes that included the waterfalls and he wanted us to take him and his family there to see it. Monday morning we loaded the car with kids, dogs, and adults and headed to the waterfall hike. It was a hot day, but that didn't stop anyone from having fun! This hike is really a short walk, so we took them over to the "rocky" hike. That trail is almost two miles long and is full of cool rock formations, caves, and plenty of crevices to explore. Everyone had a blast! The ride home was pretty quiet - the dogs and kids fell asleep! Whenever I can wear out a kid or two I feel the activity was a success.

The past week has not only been spent having fun with Kristi and our friends, but Jon and I found a new restaurant we like.  I recently bought a few Groupons, and one was set to expire soon. We planned a weeknight "date night" and went to the Chowder House for dinner. A very unique, place. Cash or check only, no credit cards, and no liquor sales. We could have brought our own, but they charge $10 to open it for you and allow consumption. The fresh-brewed ice tea was good enough for me! We both had lobster bisque to start and I had a delicious grilled salmon plate while Jon had a shrimp & scallop pasta meal. Both were fabulous and I was glad I had bought that Groupon!  On our way home we stopped at a huge cruise-in car show to check out the cars and walk some of our dinner off. 

Alas - the past few weeks have seen to it that I have not spent much time in my kitchen.  Other than baking Yahir's cake and a batch of cupcakes with strawberry icing for today's visit with my friend, I have not spent much time in my kitchen at all.  I'm hoping to get back in there soon!  But not if it means giving up all the fun I've been having this summer...
A hike to next county over
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The kids loved their hike!
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Jul. 17, 2013 12:13 pm
Very much enjoyed going on the hike with you, the little one must be Maggie:), the black one looks a lot like my dog, she's a black lab. How nice of you to make that cake for Yahir, lucky little boy. Sounds like a good time was had by all, and your are so right Mother Ann have fun while you can the kitchen will be there in the winter.
Jul. 17, 2013 2:33 pm
Hi manella! Yes, Maggie is the little one, but she believes she's as big as the labs in our family. :) Suzy is a lab. I sure wish the photo uploading problems weren't happening. I had so many neat pics I wanted to share but they won't show up! I don't know how I got lucky with the one that did show up...
Jul. 17, 2013 3:14 pm
That just sounds like too much fun. I haven't done any hiking in years. I used to like it so much too. I might have to start again.
Jul. 18, 2013 4:14 am
Doc - I've always loved the outdoors and exercise (though years and years ago I got it by running. Hiking just works better now.) In the past we have gone backpacking, which was a lot of fun. Now we take our camper and just go out for long day hikes. There is always so much to see out there! You should start again - get your girls out there with you - it's a blast; and good for you!
Jul. 22, 2013 12:22 pm
Hiking is one of my favorite activities. Unfortunately, I must do it on the roadsides and sidewalks around us, but it is always interesting and refreshing.
Jul. 22, 2013 2:27 pm
Mike, Kristal and I have been having some great bonding time out there in the "wild" this summer. Suzy and her cocker spaniel, Maggie, are loving it, too! :) Today instead of a winery after, we stopped at a homemade ice cream stand that also was a fruit market. I brought home a 1/4 peck of peaches so there will be peach cobbler in the very near future!
Jul. 24, 2013 5:23 am
YUM! I so agree with you! It is a successful day when you wear out the kids. One of the wineries here had their dog inside the tasting room. I must say the dog had much more personality than the owners. You have such fun places to go to!
Jul. 24, 2013 5:52 am
Hi Cat! We stopped at a winery once and as we walked up to the tasting counter - a fuzzy nose and two big paws greeted us over the counter! There was a HUGE dog behind the counter and he just jumped up to say "Hi!" to us. His big old tail wagging away.
Jul. 24, 2013 7:19 pm
I hope to someday come take a hike with you :)
Jul. 25, 2013 12:52 pm
Hi mauigirl! I'd love to take a hike with you some day! Today we simply did a 2 mile walk on the County Hike & Bike Trail System. It was nice, just nothing strenuous or exciting. And, no wineries. :(
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Mother Ann

Home Town
Streetsboro, Ohio, USA
Living In
Ravenna, Ohio, USA

Member Since
Oct. 2009

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Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Slow Cooking, Mexican, Italian, Southern, Dessert

Hiking/Camping, Camping, Walking, Reading Books, Wine Tasting

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About Me
I've been married for 32 years, and live in Ohio. We have a daughter who is married and lives nearby. Our son graduated from college and moved to South Dakota. He has his own place but still goes to visit my sister and brother-in-law and have dinner with them occasionally. We have a black lab that gets to go duck hunting with dad, 2 cats, 2 cockatiels. We own a Mexican restaurant and are learning alot about the food industry. I love to eat, go camping, read, spend time with family and friends, watch movies, and drink wine; not necessarily in that order.
My favorite things to cook
I love to bake - anything chocolate is fine with me. Seafood, chicken dishes and slow-cooker fare.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My husband and I enjoy cooking together with wine. We pop open a bottle of wine and get cooking. :-)
My cooking triumphs
Whenever I can put together a meal that gets many compliments and leaves the diners satisfied is a triumph in my book! I love to cook meals for family and friends.
My cooking tragedies
When I was first married we had my grandparent's-in-law over for a pot roast dinner. The meat came out great, but the potatoes and carrots were still half raw. My husband's grandfather went to cut his fork into a carrot and it flew off his plate. He looked at me, winked, and said he loved his carrots that way!
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