Gather | Memorial Day Entertaining with a Twist!

To start, let me get to the core of Memorial Day, and why we, as Americans, have the privilege to celebrate such an honorable day. There is a great and profound meaning behind this 3 day weekend which speaks louder than beach bonanzas, BBQ parties and enjoying an extra day off off work.

As a refresher,  Memorial Day is a holiday observed on the last Monday in May that is meant to honor and remember those who died in the military while serving their country. 

Now that we have our heads and hearts in the right place, it's time to gather!

I like to start off the morning with blueberry scones, ice cold milk and, of course, some patriotic napkins:

As with any gathering, formal or informal, I always consider some key variables that I always implement: 


Weather permitting, we are taking our shin-dig outdoors, and though my mother in law is the hostess this year, she has given me, shall we say. creative license. *wink!

Red, white and blue is the palette, naturally, and really not much is needed.  We'll rely on fun accents like patterned napkins, [above] decorative straws, accent pillows and American flags galore. Most everything procured came from World Market, which was practical and cost-effective!


The Mister typically manages the playlists for all of our gatherings, but he's off the hook this holiday as his work schedule has been bustling.  Thank goodness for Pop Sugar whose list is just the perfect fit!


  1. "Summer Love" — Justin Timberlake
  2. "School's Out" — Alice Cooper
  3. "Standing on the Shore" — Empire of the Sun
  4. "Summertime" — Langhorne Slim & The Law
  5. "When the Sun Goes Down" — Arctic Monkeys
  6. "King of the Beach" — Wavves
  7. "Blister in the Sun" — Violent Femmes
  8. "Beach Comber" — Real Estate
  9. "Summer Nights" — Rascal Flatts
  10. "Beach Side" — Kings of Leon
  11. "The Boys of Summer" — Don Henley
  12. "The Summer" — Coconut Records
  13. "Beach Monster" — STRFKR
  14. "Summertime Sadness" — Lana Del Rey
  15. "Cruel Summer" — Bananarama


Something that is light, refreshing and colorful is what's in order for this soirée, and this Red, White and Blue Sangria fits the bill perfectly!

Strawberries, sliced, blueberries pineapple, cut into star shapes, 2 bottles dry white wine, 1 cup triple sec, 1/2 cup berry-flavored vodka, 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, 1/2 cup simple syrup. Combine ingredients in a large pitcher & stir. Chill in the refrigerator for at least four hours.



I mentioned I wanted to entertain this Memorial Day with a twist.  I know the go-to is burgers, hot dogs and ribs, but you all know me better than that by now, don't you?

This season, I am all about grilling anything and everything from protein to fruit and even some surprises in between!

First , the pièce de résistance, grilled oysters, inspired by my new favorite go-to place for anything oysters, The Oyster Pub, local to me here in Florida. [Daytona Beach] 

Friends, they GRILL the oysters in a way that I have never experienced oysters before! You owe it to yourself to visit and order plenty, they go fast!

Next, anything from romaine, avocados, corn and watermelon, everything is fair game.  Everything tastes better with that wonderful charred flavor!

When looking for a twist on recipes, I always check out my savvy, blogger-friend Tieghan curator of Half Baked Harvest.

She must have been channeling my needs for all things grilled and fresh, and I can;t think of anything else I would want to serve this weekend like pork tenderloins with balsamic strawberries and salad in a jar.  Perfect portions!

Some assembly required: 

Happy Memorial Day Weekend friends!  I hope you will take the time to reflect, thank a soldier or veteran and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the very freedoms we het to experience this weekend and every day.

xx, LS

Image Source: Clip Art Photo


World Market


Half Baked Harvest

The Oyster Pub, Daytona Beach








Crockpot Pork Ramen Noodle Soup

Happy Monday!

Now, I'm not sure if it's the chillier weather, {yes, even here in Florida!} or the slower pace that January offers post-holiday, but I seem to crave comfort-filled evenings with the Mister and the Girlies.

Supper sets the comfort-tone for them, but the preparation of supper ALWAYS sets the tone for me!  I just love planning and preparing to cook for my family and friends.  It actually helps me to decompress!

Forever appreciative to the crock pot for allowing me to plan ahead, prepare a meal and multi-task for the remainder of the day on my other responsibilities, my priorities  stayed the same, which was healthy, flavorful and innovative meals.

Cue my new foodie-crush, and sweetheart of a gal, Tieghan Gerard, founder and author of Half Baked Harvest. She has been kind enough to allow me to share some favorite recipes with you, and her spunk and energy are so infectious.

Goodness gracious, just look at this healthy and fresh ramen dish!

The acorn squash and mushrooms are delicious!

But let's face it, the pork and the egg are EVERYTHING!

From the delightfully talented Tieghan's kitchen to yours and mine: 


  • Soup
  • 2-3 pounds pork shoulder roast (or butt)
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth, plus more of needed
  • 1/4-1/2 cup + 2-4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce <--Use low sodium
  • 1/4 cup + 2-4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons thai red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek (chili paste) (or to taste)
  • The juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese five spice
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 cups wild mushrooms, left whole - or button mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 packs Ramen noodles, seasoning packets discarded
  • 4 soft boiled or fried eggs, for serving
  • Chopped carrots, sliced jalapenos, cilantro + green onions, for serving
  • Curry Roasted Acorn Squash
  • 1 medium acorn squash, seeded + diced
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder (I use spicy curry)
  • 1 tablespoon white miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Pepper, to taste


Add the pork to the bowl of a crockpot. Pour the chicken broth, 1/4-1/2 cup soy sauce (depending on your taste), 1/4 cup rice vinegar and fish sauce over the pork. Add the thai red curry paste, ginger, sambal oelek, juice of 1 lime, Chinese five spice powder, black pepper and 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Cover the crockpot and cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4-6 hours (I recommend going low and slow).

About 40 minutes before you are ready to eat, roast the squash. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small bowl mix together the melted coconut oil, curry powder, miso, brown sugar and a good pinch of pepper. Add the cubed squash to a greased baking sheet and pour the curry mixture over the squash. Toss well. Bake for 30-40 minutes, tossing a couple of times during cooking. You want the squash to be lightly browned and crisp.

Meanwhile, remove the pork from the crockpot and add the mushrooms. Cover the crockpot and crank the heat up to high. Lightly shred the pork with two forks or your hands.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sesame oil. Once hot, add enough pork to cover just the surface of your skillet, do not over crowd the skillet. Sprinkle a little brown sugar over the pork, add 2 tablespoons soy sauce and 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, toss. Allow the pork to caramelize, about 2 minutes. Stir and allow the pork to continue to caramelize, about 3-5 minutes total. Remove the pork from the skillet, repeat with the remaining pork. Keep the pork warm.

Add the Ramen noodles to the crockpot and allow them to cook 5 minutes. Once the noodles are cooked, stir in only half of the pork. Ladle the soup into bowls. Top with extra caramelized pork, curry roasted acorn squash and an egg. Season the egg with salt and pepper, Add the carrots, jalapeños, green onions and cilantro if desired. Happy slurping!

*Recipe and Images Courtesy of Tieghan Gerard | Half Baked Harvest