Living Poolside

5 New Ways To Make S'Mores

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Sun, Sep 20, 2015

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While the exact origin of the treat is unclear, S'Mores are a popular summertime snack especialy during the evening fireside.  It is believed they may have orginated with boy & girl scouts as reports about scouts from as early as 1925 describe them.  Merriam-Webster marks 1974 as the first use of the term S'more, though recipes for "Some Mores" appear in various Girl Scout publications until at least 1973.  A 1956 recipe uses the exact name (S'Mores), and lists the ingredients as "a sandwich of two graham crackers, toasted marshmallow and 1/2 chocolate bar." Whatever the history, the S'More is still a snacktime staple and we decided it might be fun to find a few ways to put a modern twist on this traditional treat.  Here are 5 of our favorite finds:

1) Nutty For Nutella:  Slather some Nutella on the inside of the graham cracker before assembling the remainder of the traditional ingredients.

2) Caramel Drizzle:  Place graham crackers on a plate, add toasted marshmellows and chocolate but drizzle with carmel topping &/or chocolate syrup before placing the remaining crackers on top. 

 

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3) Cookie Lovers:  This is a simple but fun twist, replace graham crackers with your favorite cookie. Chocolate chip, sugar cookies or peanut butter work great.  Consider offering guests several options.

4) Pot O' S'Mores:  You can use that pizza oven to create a Pot O S'Mores!  

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (14-1/2 ounces) whole graham crackers, crushed

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

  • 1 cup butterscotch chips

  • 2 cups miniature marshmellows

Directions:

  1. Line a Dutch oven with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Combine cracker crumbs and butter and press onto the bottom of the pan. Pour milk over crust.  Sprinkle with chocolate and butterscotch chips and top with marshmallows.

  2. Cover Dutch oven and place in your oven.

  3. Cook for approx 10 minutes or until chips are melted.  Using tongs carefully check for doness by lifting cover.  Makes 12 delishious servings!

OR....perhaps you would like to prepare a special batch of smores for the adults to nibble poolside at your next gathering...

5) Captain Morgans S'MORE Fudge (For Adults)

Ingredients:

  • 1 can  (14 ounces) fat free sweetened condensed milk

  • 1 oz spiced rum (Captain Morgans is perfect)

  • 2 graham cracker sheets broken into small pieces

  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

  • 1 cup miniature marshmellows

Directions:

  1.   Pour condensed milk into a medium sauce pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

  2. Once simmering add in the chocolate chips. Stir occasionally until chocolate is melted and             creamy.

  3. Slowly pour in rum and stir until well blended.

  4. Remove from heat and stir in marshmallows and graham cracker pieces.

  5.  Pour into a wax paper lined 8x8 baking square and refrigerate until set (best if left              overnight). Once set remove from pan and cut into 1 inch squares.  The perfect adult Smores  desert!

Enjoy!  Here's to many S'More adventures Living Poolside!

  

Tags: entertaining by the pool, poolside snacks, Easy Poolside Recipes, celebrate poolside, Food & Fun, S'Mores, S'More Recipes, Poolside entertaining, Celebrating Poolside, BBQ Recipes, Making S'Mores

Tips for Hosting A Lobster Fest: Elegant or Relaxed

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Fri, Sep 04, 2015

Tips for Hosting A Lobster Fest: Elegant or Relaxed 

 

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This weekend why not try something new & hold a Lobster Fest.  You can choose a sophisticated soiree or a relaxed nautical theme for your gathering– either is sure to be a hit & we have great tips for planning both!

The thought of cooking fresh lobster can be intimidating but, with the right advice you will be looking like a pro: 

LOBSTER EQUIVALENTS & MEASURES:

  • 1 pound cooked = about 2 cups chopped chunks

  • 1 (8-ounce) tail = 1 serving or 4 ounces cooked meat

  • 1 (1- to 1-1/2-pound) whole lobster = 1 serving or 4 ounces cooked meat

Traditional Boiled Lobster

Bring at least ½ gallon of water per pound of lobster to a rolling boil in a very large pot.

Add in 4 tablespoons of sea salt per ½ gallon of water

Carefully drop in the lobsters, one at a time, headfirst into the water. Return the water to a boil, and then begin timing:

1 lb. = 12-15 min
1.5 lbs. = 15-20 min
2-3 lbs. = 20-25 min

How To Know When Lobsters Are Fully Cooked:

  • Remember:  Lobsters will turn their characteristic bright red color well before the meat is thoroughly cooked inside.

  • Tug on an antennae or pull off one of the small walking legs. They will come off easily when the lobster fully cooked.

  • You will find the meat inside will be firm, white and opaque.

  • Much of the body cavity is filled with tomalley, when fully cooked will be green.

  • The roe in female lobsters will be bright red and firm. The lobster is undercooked if it is a dark greenish black with an oily tar-like consistency.

  • The internal temperature should be 180 degrees.

  • If you do not plan to eat the lobsters right away, they must be cooled quickly in ice water. Drain the chilled lobsters, cover and keep refrigerated.  Cooked lobsters can be safely stored in your refrigerator for 1 or 2 days. 

 

The Elegant Lobster Fest Soiree: 

Decorations: 

White china.  Serve with fresh lemon wedges and have plenty of melted butter on your table for dipping.  A small container for each guest is best.

Add sparkle with lots of candlelight.  If you have them, place starfish or sand dollars on the tables & sprinkle with a bit (small amount) of glitter or shiny confetti. 

Menu: 

Serve your lobster accompanied with a nice Chardonnay, a small green salad & baked potato. 

Desert should be the classic northeastern favorite of blackberries with a dollop of whipped crème.

 

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The Relaxed Lobster Fest - Let It Roll...: 

Decorations: 

White china.  Use balloons, fishnets, plastic pails, anything nautical creates a fun and festive atmosphere. 

Menu:

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The lobster roll is a delicious and affordable way to stretch this premium ingredient. 

You can make the mayo-based lobster filling up to a day ahead and keep it refrigerated until just before serving.

  • Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 sandwich)

  • 5 tablespoons canola mayonnaise

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery

  • 3 tablespoons minced onion

  • 2 tablespoons whole milk Greek-style yogurt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

  • 1 pound cooked lobster meat, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 3, 1 1/2-pound) lobsters)

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

  • 8 (1 1/2-ounce) hot dog buns

  • 8 Bibb lettuce leaves

Preparation

1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well. Add lobster to mayonnaise mixture; toss. Cover and chill 1 hour.

2. Brush butter evenly over cut sides of buns. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place buns, cut sides down, in pan; cook 2 minutes or until toasted. Line each bun with 1 lettuce leaf; top with 1/3 cup lobster mixture.

Serve your lobster rolls with your favorite beverages.  Add sides from traditional bbq's like Cole slaw, chips, &/or vegetable casseroles, and juicy watermelon slices. Dessert can be simple cupcakes dressed up with a nautical theme or mini cheesecake desserts with blueberry topping.  Let your imagination run with your theme.  

Whether elegant or laid back, we wish you a fun filled Lobster Fest and hope yours is hosted Living Poolside!

 

 

Tags: entertaining by the pool, Food & Fun, how to boil lobster, new ides for cookouts, Celebrating Poolside, lobster roll recipe

Perfect Poolside Popsicle

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Mon, Aug 31, 2015

 

With only 3 ingredients.

Gluten free & under 100 calories a serving!

 Blueberry Yogurt Pops

Makes: 6 POPSICLES

Prep time: 10 MINUTES 

Total time: 6-8 HOURS 

These super simple, protein-packed 3 Ingredient Blueberry Yogurt Swirl Popsicles will help keep family and friends hydrated on those poolside summer afternoons!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 2 Tablespoons agave or honey
  • 2 cups vanilla Greek yogurt

Equipment Needed:

  • Popsicle molds
  • Popsicle sticks

Directions:

  1. Blend the blueberries in a blender or a food processor at a high-speed setting until nearly liquefied.  You want to achieve a smoothie-like consistency.
  2. Pour the blueberry mixture into a large bowl adding the agave/honey. Next, slowly stir in the yogurt, gently mixing the three ingredients.
  3. For a tie-dye look do not fully blend the yogurt and blueberries. The mixture will be thick.  Give it a taste and adjust by adding more sweetener if needed/desired.
  4. Pour mixture evenly into each popsicle molds inserting sticks before freezing.
  5. Quickly run popsicle molds under warm water to easily remove the frozen treats & enjoy!!!

*Try replacing the blueberries with other summer favorite fruits and enjoy a variety of versions Living Poolside!

 

 

Tags: entertaining by the pool, Fitness & wellness, Living Poolside, poolside snacks, Popsicle Recipe, Homemade Popsicles, Blueberry Popsicles, Easy Poolside Recipes, Food & Fun, Gluten Free Snacks, Gluten Free Popsicles, Family Fitness, Family Outdoors, Celebrating Poolside, brunch by the pool, Blueberry Yogurt Popsicles, Under 100 Calorie Snacks

Hot Trend In Outdoor Kitchens: Pizza Ovens

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Tue, Aug 18, 2015

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Outdoor pizza ovens make for easy summertime entertaining. In today’s poolside kitchens, pizza ovens are becoming more and more popular as Mediterranean-style living continues to rise in popularity.  For many, a pizza oven is a natural component of an outdoor kitchen.  It is essential if your family loves a slice of authentic-tasting pie - the delicious smoky taste of a pizza pie baked in an outdoor oven is truly hard to mimic.

Fortunately, these private pizzerias can be included in your outdoor kitchen without sacrificing a great deal of space.  Costs for an oven to make the perfect pie can run from a few hundred to several thousand dollars depending on various factors so working with your swimming pool designer will help you maximize space and minimize the impact to your budget.

One popular trend is to incorporate a pizza oven as part of the outdoor fireplace. These custom-made ovens sit atop a standard outdoor fireplace. The more traditional approach has pizza ovens constructed in a free-standing style by building a masonry bottom to hold the domed pizza oven.  

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Whether you opt for a new styled pizza oven or one more on the traditional side,  including a pizza oven in your poolside kitchen plans, will expand your kitchen’s flexibility and enhance one of your family’s favorite dinner choices while living poolside!

Tags: entertaining by the pool, Grilling, Outdoor kitchens, pizza oven, Time To Build A Swimming Pool, Master Pools Guild, Poolside entertaining, Family Outdoors

What Is The Best Way To Clean My Outdoor Grill?

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Mon, Jul 27, 2015

Grilling Outdoors

There is no doubt that a major element of Living Poolside is our love of cooking and eating outdoors.  Here are a few tips from the Master Pools Guild for keeping gas & charcoal grills in great working order! 

Cleaning a Stainless Steel Grill – Easy Does It!

The key to properly cleaning a stainless steel grill is being gentle. Mix a mild dishwashing detergent with water and scrub the surface.  If needed, you can allow the mixture to sit a few minutes before you scrub it off.  Afterwards, rinse with warm water and dry with a clean cloth. There are numerous brands of Stainless Steel Grill cleaner but glass cleaner works great to remove fingerprints or minor stains.   When cleaning stainless steel, soft cloth or paper towels should be used – NO wool pads as they will harm the stainless steel surface. 

Routine Maintenance for all grill types:

Grates: Routine brushing of the grates will prevent food and bacterial buildup.  Follow each cooking session with a good grate brushing using a brass wire brush.  Once the grates have been cleaned wash and soak your brush in hot soapy water. Hang to dry with the brush upside down on a grill hanger. Drying the brush naturally will help the bristles last. After your brush is dry, storing it indoors will reduce weather exposure to the bristles and extend the life of your brush.

After you've brushed down your grill grates and they are at a cool temperature, spray them with some cooking oil. This will help prevent rusting and ensures a long life. If you don't have cooking spray, another option is to pour some cooking oil on a clean cloth and wipe down the grates.

Burners:  Cleaning burners is also important as burners accumulate grease and food which can lead to uneven cooking temperatures.

Grease Traps: Grease is highly flammable.  It can cause a fire or heat up all of the grill’s surfaces including the handles so make sure to cleaning out grease traps frequently.

Charcoal Ash: For charcoal grills, dump all used charcoal or ash after each use and clean the insides with a wire brush. Ash catchers should be cleaned after each use. Keeping the bed of your grill clean will reduce excess smoke and bad flavors. 

Semi-Annual Maintenance

It's smart to dismantle your grill and give it an extensive cleaning at least twice during the year. If you have a gas grill, disconnect the propane tank before you start the process. Then, soak the grates in soapy water and scrub (using steel wool if necessary). After cleaning your grill, turn it on and let it cook for 10 minutes. This allows burn off of any cleaning substances.

It's also a good idea to check the grill chassis for any rust. Rust will come off with a stiff wire brush or a steel wool pad. Inspect all joints, connectors and fasteners to ensure there is no corrosion.  Check or re-tighten fasteners, replacing any grill appendages as necessary (wheels, knobs and handles) and double check cover hinges. 

Polishing Your Charcoal Grill

Baking soda on a sponge can be used to polish your grill and to clean exterior surfaces. If you notice any missing paint, grill-safe paint is your best option for sprucing up the appearance. 

For all grills and outdoor appliances:  Always follow all manufacturers’ suggestions/instructions first & foremost! 

So fire up those grills and enjoy your time Living Poolside !

Tags: entertaining by the pool, Outdoor Furniture, grill maintenance

A Fathers Day Reflection: Why Dads Love Swimming Pools

Posted by Teri Wiltshire on Wed, Jun 17, 2015

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He takes that final turn into the driveway and with a slow roll he enters his parking spot.  He has had a long productive day and now its time to unwind.  Walking into the house he feels like royalty when the little ones come running with the “Daddy play with me” list.  Off he goes to get changed on this warm summer evening. 

He walks out the back door into the lush green surroundings and hears the calming sounds of water falling across the rocks.  Relaxation is just a few steps away.  He hears a “Daddy watch what I can do” from his son and ducks the beach ball coming at him from his little girl.  He grew up with a swimming pool in his back yard and can't help but pause and remember all the fun times growing up in and around the pool.

He remembers never wanting to get out of the swimming pool – no different than his kids are now.  He remembers never picking up the toys around the pool – just like they do now.  He remembers working all day on that new trick, waiting to show it to dad when he gets home…just like now.  Memories of the goofy times, family celebrations and memories created around the swimming pool are too many to count.  Then, a perfectly timed cannon ball brings him back from his trip down memory lane.  He smiles thinking that his children want the same things from him that he wanted from his dad, attention, time, love and encouragement.  His definition of the happiness of summer: time spent with his family in and around their swimming pool. That's why dads love swimming pools.  

Wishing all dads a happy, healthy summer spent Living Poolside!

Tags: entertaining by the pool, Fitness & wellness, swimming and fitness, Fathers Day, Family Fitness, Family Outdoors, swimming

Staying Cool as a Cucumber Poolside

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Fri, May 29, 2015

Cucumber Water

Water infused with cucumber has long been served at day spas, health clubs and many of the world’s most exclusive resorts.  Its popularity has grown largely due to its health benefits and great taste. The basic cucumber water recipe contains just two ingredients:  Cucumber and water.  Simple but oh so refreshing!  Here’s a quick how to: 

Cucumber Water Instructions 
1. Slice a cleaned, peeled cucumber into slices of ½ thickness (unpeeled can be used if that is your preference)
2. Combine cucumber slices in a pitcher of water and top with ice. The slices tend to float and the ice will help to keep them submerged.
3. Allow to sit for at least an hour. (Best results if allowed to sit overnight in the refrigerator.) 
Alternative:  Purchase a fruit infusing water pitcher.  The pitcher holds the cucumber slices in an internal fusing chamber. 
Whether using an infusing pitcher or a regular glass or clear plastic pitcher they all look fantastic and will encourage poolside family and friends to drink more water and stay hydrated in style. 
Refill the pitcher as needed.  One pitcher can be refilled several times over the course of a day and the cucumbers will continue to flavor the water.  Discard your cucumbers (or devour them) after 24 hours. 

Benefits of Cucumber Water

  • Keeps you hydrated.
  • Helps flush and detox your body.
  • Keeps you feeling more full so you don’t eat as much.
  • Reported to increase metabolism (which can aid weight loss).
  • Helps your skin & muscles – The silica in cucumbers helps the skin stay soft and smooth and also helps your muscle tissues stay healthy. It’s a great choice if you’ve added a strength training regimen to your healthy lifestyle, or if you want to make sure that your muscles have all of the nutrients needed to function at their best (a must for swimmers). A daily glass of cucumber water makes a great contribution to the overall health of your body in general.
  • Known as a “superfood”, which basically means they’re very nutrient rich and good for you.  Cucumbers are a great source of vitamin B and rich in potassium and magnesium (which may help to lower blood pressure).   
More Cucumber Water Ideas
The mild flavor of cucumbers can be paired with many different fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Here are a few combinations to consider:
Cucumber & Lemon
Cucumber & Mint
Cucumber & Lime
Cucumber & Pineapple
Get creative and try several.  Here's to your finding your favorite cucumber combination and keeping your family and friends hydrated and loving the life of living poolside this summer!
 

Tags: entertaining by the pool, Fitness & wellness, swimming and fitness, Easy Poolside Recipes, Food & Fun, #SummerIsComing, Family Fitness, Family Outdoors, Celebrating Poolside, Cucumber water