Halftime

I am not counting the days, but I think it is almost halftime of summer vacation. I am trying to soak up every minute of it. Really I am. I spent a week at Carolina Beach with Sister Moo and Best Niece. It’s become a tradition for the three of us to do this. Moo and I spend hours scouring the beach for shells. I have a favorite type of shell (no idea what its name is) and I look for whole ones, pieces of ones, and anything in between. I put together the glass of shells for the BFF. She is a beach lover as well. Here’s one day’s find:

The younger me was only happy if I found whole sand dollars and whole shells. The older me loves the pieces and parts. If I wanted perfect, I’d go to one of the beach shops and buy one. Non, merci. Who wants perfect? Boring. The white one in the middle of that plate is a treasure for me. The heart of it is intact. It has rounded edges. It had been tossed around in the ocean, came through it beautifully and washed ashore just for me to admire. What’s not to love about that?

I just spent a week at Sunset Beach with the family. Having Son #1 and Son #2 under the same roof is a rare occurence these days. They are all grown up with lives of their own. Sunset is our family tradition and this year they both were able to make it. The Ex-Ex and I packed up the car and Adorable Granddaughter and arrived first. She likes the beach!

We had some serious fun.

Beach week for our family is pretty low key. Boules/pétanque games in the sand, beach tennis (a game created by Son #2), walks, digging in the sand, reading, talking, people-watching… We were joined by friends and other family members and it was a great week. Several pounds of shrimp were consumed, most notably in the form of shrimp and grits.

We’ve made many variations of this dish, but the link above from my “old” blog is our favorite. Not a complicated dish to make. And I had great helpers peeling and deveining the shrimp. Son #2 was in charge of spicing up the grits. I cooked the bacon and the shrimp. While sipping a glass of rosé. Pas mal, hein?

This week will bring a workshop here in Durham to learn more about our 8th grade advisory curriculum. Some tutoring. Hanging out with the Adorable One. More reading. I am on book 5 of Laura Bradbury‘s Grape memoirs. I am not sure why I have not found her before now. She begins with her 17-year-old self moving from Vancouver, Canada to Burgundy as an exchange student in My Grape Year. If you love France, French, food, wine, and adventure, read these books!

A couple of weeks ago, the Ex-Ex and I huddled around the computer to watch The Call to Courage, a talk by Brené Brown, on Netflix. I highly recommend it. Well worth 76 minutes of your time.

The best recipe of the summer so far has been Lemon Brownies. Son #1 found them irresistible and ate most of them. I too am crazy about lemons. It’s hard to believe, but I cannot find a photo of them on my iPhone… Guess they were too good to even think about photographing them. Hmmm. Need to make some more!

Lemon Brownies with Glaze

from Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons

Photo from Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons

BROWNIE INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder

LEMON GLAZE INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp lemon zest

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Using a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.
  3. Using a standing mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time until combined.
  5. Gradually beat in the dry ingredients until combined.
  6. Pour batter into the baking pan and bake in the oven for 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Make sure to not over bake. 
  7. Allow to completely cool on the counter.
  8. Using a large mixing bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest until combined.
  9. Pour the glaze over the lemon bars and spread evenly.
  10. Allow to harden overnight before enjoying!

Bon appétit, mes amis et mes amies! Here’s to more summer fun. I hope that you have time with your loved ones and time to enjoy your favorite food and past times. No need for perfection.

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