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

Fun In The Pool - The History Of The Marco Polo Game!

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Fri, Jul 03, 2015

What's The Story With The Game Marco Polo?

Fun In The Pool

Swimmers everywhere will be playing the game of Marco Polo in the pool this year but how many of those swimmers can tell you where the game originated?  Why not offer up a little history with the fun?

The history of the game refers to a time when Marco Polo was travelling with his family members,  Niccolo, and Maffeo.  They were exploring and traveling to China in order to meet with the great Khan.

During the journey, Marco became very tired and fell asleep on his horse. Sensing this, his horse dropped back from the large, fast moving caravan. Eventually Marco woke up and did not see his family.  He began to hear voices within the desert and thought that his family was searching for him and calling his name "Marco". He began to respond to those cries with "Polo". It turned out that Marco Polo was actually hallucinating -  they were not calling him.  His family did search for and find him.

The game can be traced back to the 1700's when it was played on land and called "Blind Man's Bluff"

 

How Do You Play?

You will need three players or more.

Everyone gets into the pool.

Decide who will be "Marco" or "It".

"Marco" goes to the side of the pool and covers his/her eyes and counts to ten while the other players move as quietly as they can to different areas of the pool. 

When "Marco" stops counting he/she keeps their eyes closed but trys to locate someone else in the pool. 

The players can move away from "Marco" to avoid being tagged - trying to make the least amount of noise possible to avoid being detected.

When "Marco" wants a clue as to everyone's positions, he/she yells out "MARCO!" to which all the other players must respond by yelling "POLO!" 

This will help "Marco" find another player to tag.  Once another player is tagged they then become "Marco" and the game starts again.

If a player sits on the side of the pool during the game they are a "fish out of water."  If "Marco" calls "fish out of water" then that swimmer becomes "Marco" and the game starts again.

Here's to hours of fun playing Marco Polo!!! 


Tags: Fitness & wellness, Fitness, Food & Fun, Family Fitness, Celebrating Poolside, Marco Polo

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

Food For Thought...And Weekends Spent Living Poolside

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Fri, May 22, 2015

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Many of us are busy planning for a holiday weekend and excited at the thought of possibly having an extra day to spend poolside.  Here are a few ideas that may help you simplify your planning while still adding a splash of holiday feel to your weekend: 


Keeping It Simple

Grilling or a BBQ by the pool has become more than a summer/holiday tradition, for many of us, it is a way of life.   Hamburgers (beef, turkey or veggie) and hotdogs with the fixings are a simple, fast & easy way to feed family & friends.  Gather & prepare fixings in advance (slice tomatoes, onions, lettuce) and store in plastic containers.  Tackling this task in advance will have your fixings ready to go and keep you enjoying the fun.  Plastic cups in holiday colors are an easy and inexpensive way to add a festive splash of color. 

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Ice cream Sundaes make the perfect desert, again, plan ahead and have your toppings ready to go - letting guests create their own masterpiece.  

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Have a little fun with this and include red &/or blue berries and sprinkles and of course, no sundae is complete without chocolate syrup! 

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Layers of Fun  Kids of all ages can have fun making layered iced beverages.   The process is simple, just remember that the liquid with the highest sugar content goes on the bottom.  Follow the directions below and make sure to chill the beverages you will be using in advance!


Red White & Blue Beverages 

POUR EACH LAYER IN SLOWLY 

Step by Step

  1. Refrigerate the drinks before starting so the ice doesn’t melt as you pour.

  2. Fill glass with ice to the top.

  3. Pour the highest sugar content drink first (FYI, this is also the heaviest)

  4. Carefully pour the next highest sugar content drink. You can pour it into the ice or along the side of the glass to reduce splashing/mixing.

  5. Pour the lightest or lowest sugar content drink on top.

  6. Enjoy! 

Red = Cran-Apple juice = 40 grams of sugar this goes in first

White = Pina Colada SoBe  = 25 grams of sugar this goes second

Blue = Cool Blue Gatorade = 21 grams of sugar this goes in third

A little planning & you can keep your weekend festive but fun for everyone!   Here’s to a many weekends spent #LivingPoolside!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: Holidays Poolside, poolside snacks, Grilling, celebrate poolside, Food & Fun, #SummerIsComing, Master Pools Guild, Poolside entertaining, Family Outdoors, Celebrating Poolside

Celebrate With Firecracker Hotdogs

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Sat, May 24, 2014

Whether you are preparing for a holiday feast or just celebrating life poolside, this recipe provides a nice twist to the traditional grilled hot dog.

Firecracker Hotdogs!

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Ingredients:

1 10-ounce bottle Tabasco Sauce

2/3 cup chopped red onion

2 teaspoons oregano

8 hot dogs

8 hot dog buns

Suggested/optional toppings:

Coleslaw (excellent choice as it counters the heat from the marinade)

Chopped or sliced avocado

Chopped Onion

Mustard

Relish

Grated Cheese 

Directions

In a gallon size zip lock plastic bag combine Tabasco, onion and the oregano.

Add hotdogs and place in the refrigerator to marinade for 4 to 24 hours.

Turn the hotdogs in the bag at least once during the marinade process.

Drain marinade from hotdogs setting marinade aside for use later

Grill hotdogs over medium heat, turn several times cooking for 5 to 7 minutes.

While hotdogs are on the grill, place marinade in a small pot & heat to boiling.

Serve hotdogs in buns.

Set the heated marinade with the other condiments.

Enjoy!  Poolside of course!

Tags: Hot Dogs, Easy Poolside Recipes, Food & Fun, Poolside entertaining, Firecracker Hot Dogs

Easy To Make Fireside Apple Cider - Perfect For Fall

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Thu, Sep 26, 2013

 

PoolTechMWFire Swimming Pool Design And Construction By Pool Tech MidWest, Iowa USA

For many of us, our favorite memories of Fall include warm fires and apple cider.  If you are fortunate enough to have an outdoor fireplace, fire pit, or fire feature beside which to sip your cider, then all the better!  That is certainly where we prefer to gather friends & family!  So, it is in that spirit, of gathering close fireside, that we share with you our Fireside Apple Cider Recipe:

Fireside Apple CiderCider

Equipment List

1)   Sharp knife.

2)   Apple corer (makes it easier but not mandatory)

3)   Blender or a food processor

4)   Cheesecloth

5)   Container for storage- wider opening works best – like a pitcher.

Selecting Your Apples

Commercial apple cider is made from a variety of different apples. Red Delicious and Fuji make for a sweeter cider, Granny Smith and Macintosh are a bit more tart. Don’t be afraid to mix varieties when making your own ( or stick to your favorite kind). If you decide to combine varieties, try to get a mix of red, green and gold for maximum flavor.  Your cider will taste best when its made from freshly picked apples.  It's worth a visit to your local farmer's market to make sure you have fresh apples to choose from.  Avoid battered and bruised apples and go for those that appear healthiest.  You will need approx. 36 apples to make one gallon of apple cider.

 

Making Your Apple Cider

1)   Wash all of the apples thoroughly even if you buy organic.

2)   Core the apples – no corer?  No problem! Slice the apples in half and carve out the center.

3)   Slice apples into quarters and puree them peel and all in your blender or food processor.

4)   Keep them whirling till they are finely ground – the finer the pulp, the more juice you are going to get in the next step!

5)   Spread your cheesecloth over your container for storage and pour the pulp into the cloth.  The cloth acts as a strainer and juice filters into your container – the pulp stays put.  You will need to squeeze the cloth a few times to get all your juice.

6)   If you like, now you can add spices:  Cloves, nutmeg, lemon peel or a little ginger – all optional.

7)   For hard cider add a little rum and brown sugar.

8)   You can store covered in an air tight container for 7 days.

9)   Heat & serve to your friends & family fireside with your choice of orange slices or cinnamon sticks for garnish.

Patio Pools  Swimming Pool And Design By Patio Pools, Tuscon, Arizona USA

We hope you have an opportunity to enjoy some time this Fall, cider in hand, friends & family by the fire, Living Poolside!

Tags: poolside snacks, celebrate poolside, Food & Fun, Master Pools Guild, Poolside entertaining, Pool Tech Midwest Inc. of Cedar Rapids Iowa, How To, Patio Pools of Tucson AZ

Mega Juicy Hamburger Recipe - A Master Pools Guild Grilling Favorite!

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Thu, Aug 29, 2013

Mega Juicy Hamburger

Mega Juicy Hamburgers

Makes 8 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 egg using yolk only
  • 3/4 cup of dry bread crumbs
  • 3 Tbsp. evaporated milk
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 Tsp. of cayenne pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Directions

Prepare grill for high heat & lightly oil grate.

In a large bowl place mix all the ingredients (using your hands works best).  Separate the mixture forming 8 hamburger patties. 

Grill patties 5 min. per side or until the patties are well done.

Serve Poolside with all the usual fixins'!

Tags: Living Poolside, Grilling, best hamburgers, celebrate poolside, Food & Fun, juiciest hamburgers, Poolside entertaining, BBQ Recipes

Kids Summer Fun Series Week # 7: Oodles of Noodles & Smoothies

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Sat, Aug 10, 2013

Pool Noodle Fun

Noodle Fun

When we were looking for pool noodle game and craft ideas, we came across SO many and several of our favorites can be found  on this Pinterest Pool Noodle Fun Board

It is worth clicking thru and we guarantee the photos will

1) bring a smile to your face

&

2) light a spark of creativity for your next swimming pool noodle project!

 

This week, in addition to suggesting oodles of fun with noodles (thanks to the Pinterest link above) we'd also like to share a favorite summer snack staple...the Smoothie :)

Smoothies

Playing in the pool can work up quite a thirst. Smoothies are a wonderful, nutritious alternative to sodas and fruit juices. They provide a ton of nutrients and are satisfyingly refreshing on a hot day.

Making smoothies is a very easy process. A basic smoothie recipe calls for:

  •  a serving of fruit such as blueberries, peaches, bananas or strawberries

  • and any kind of liquid as a base; water, milk, juice and yogurt all work well.

To save time, freeze pre-measured servings of fruit so you can just toss them into the blender.

It's better to serve smoothies immediately, but you can make a big pitcher and keep refrigerated for a few hours just remember to stir before your pour. 

One of our favorite combinations:

Smoothie :)
1 cup orange juice

1/4 cup blueberries

1 cup strawberries

2 cups ice cubes

Put everything in the blender & pulse till smooth – DELISH!

Tags: Living Poolside, poolside snacks, Kids Summer Fun Series, Food & Fun