Living Poolside

Plants That Naturally Repel Mosquitoes

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Thu, Apr 25, 2019


Tags: Outdoor Furniture, Hot Tub Or Spa, Time To Open The Pool, new ides for cookouts, Healthy Lifestyle, Poolside entertaining, Pool Q&A, Celebrating Poolside, brunch by the pool, swimming pool opening, Outdoor Living

Banana Split Classic or With A Twist

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Mon, May 23, 2016

The swimming pool season is upon us!

Summer is just around the corner & now is a great time to prepare for days and nights spent Living Poolside.    Nothing says summer is hear like the classic, tried and true snack/desert the banana split.  Here are a few tips for having this classic summer treat on hand for kids and a grown up version for the adults.


The Classic Banana Split - ingredients:

Bananas & Strawberries

Chocolate, vanilla & strawberry ice cream

Whipped topping

Chocolate Syrup

Marachino Cherries


The Modified Banana Split - ingredients: 

Consider adding Pineapple, Peach, Kiwi to the classic Bananas & Strawberries

Ice cream can be replaced by sherbet or frozen yogurt

Whipped topping & chocolate syrup can be options

Candy sprinkles or coconut flakes

Maraschino cherries can be omitted

One of the great things about a banana split is that kids enjoy making these themselves so sit your ingredients out buffet style and let them get creative - just don't forget table coverings (Beach towels work great - they lend to a festive atmosphere & once the creating & consuming is done just toss in the washer).


Adult Mini Split Beverage - ingredients:

Vanilla ice cream

Baileys - we like Baileys Chocolate Cherry but the choice is yours

Whipped topping

Maraschino cherries

Chocolate syrup - optional


In a parfait or short glass place a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.  

Pour  a shot of Baileys over the ice cream

Next add the whipped cream 

Drizzle with chocolate syrup if desired

Top with a maraschino cherry

Enjoy with the adults poolside!  Here's to countless days of easy, poolside entertaining this summer!


Tags: Poolside entertaining

Happy Holiday Sangria

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Thu, Dec 17, 2015

Fun and festive entertaining ideas for your holidays living poolside!

Happy Holiday Sangria

Holiday Sangria 


1 cup sugar

2 cinnamon sticks

1  & 1/2 cup fresh cranberries - set aside 1/2 cup for garnish

2 bottles of fruity red wine

½ cup orange flavored liqueur

1 gala apple cored and sliced thin

1 pear cored and sliced thin

1 orange sliced thin with slices reserved for garnish

1 tangerine sliced thin with slices reserved for garnish



-Combine sugar and 1 cup of water in small saucepan and bring to boil cooking until sugar has dissolved (about 2 min).  This creates your simple syrup.

-Remove simple syrup from heat, add cinnamon sticks and let cool to room temperature.

-Put cranberries in a bowl and add the simple syrup including the cinnamon sticks.

-Cover and refrigerate min. 2 hours max 24 hours then strain and discard cranberries and cinnamon sticks.  This is now your cranberry cinnamon syrup.

-Combine wine, liqueur, apple, pear, orange and tangerine slices in a container with tight closing lid.  Sweeten to taste with your cranberry cinnamon syrup then refrigerate for a min 4 hours up to 24 hours prior to serving. 

-Garnish with fruit &/or cinnamon sticks as desired.  Enjoy!

 Makes Approx. 8 Servings

Tags: Swimming and Christmas Holidays, Holiday Sangria, Holiday Entertaining, Poolside entertaining

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!  


  • 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


  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)


  • 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


  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

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

Food For Thought...And Weekends Spent Living Poolside

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


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. 


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! 

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 


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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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



Grated Cheese 


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

Poolside Brunch: Fabulous French Toast Souffle'

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Fri, May 09, 2014

Whether you are celebrating Mother's Day, a birthday or any other special event, this recipe for Fabulous French Toast Souffle will quickly become a favorite.  Prepare this souffle the day before & then sit back & enjoy!

Master Pools Guild Chef

Fabulous French Toast Souffle'


  • 10 cups (1-inch cubes) firm white bread (approx.16 slices)
  • Cooking spray 
  • 1 (8-ounce) block reduced-fat-cream cheese, softened
  • 8 large eggs 
  • 1 1/2 cups 2% milk 
  • 2/3 cup half-and-half 
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup


  1. Coat 13 x 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Place bread cubes in baking dish.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese at medium speed of mixer until smooth.
  4. Next add eggs to the bowl, 1 at a time, mix well after each addition.
  5. Now add the milk, half-and-half, vanilla and the 1/2 cup maple syrup, and mix until smooth.
  6. Pour the mixture over top of bread and cover and refrigerate overnight.
  7. Preheat oven to 375°.
  8. Remove casserole from refrigerator; let stand for 30 minutes.
  9. Bake at 375° for 50 minutes or until set.
  10. Sprinke with powdered sugar & serve with maple syrup - ENJOY!



Tags: Holidays Poolside, French Toast Souffle, Poolside entertaining, Celebrating Poolside, Poolside Brunch

Poolside Potluck Doesn't Have To Wait For Warmer Weather!

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Tue, Apr 01, 2014

No Need To Wait Till Temperatures Soar, Host A Potluck Dinner Party Poolside Now!

Poolside Living

For many of us Spring is officially here per the calendar, although it may or may not be the perfect temperature for a splash in the pool.  But, for poolside entertaining, in most areas, the season is in full swing the moment the first warm breeze blows by and the flowers beging to bloom.  We WANT to be outside entertaining by the pool.  A fun spring activity can be to host a potluck poolside dinner party.   Potluck dinner parties can be fun and relaxing as long as you spend a bit of time organizing from the start.  Here are four of our best practice tips:

1. Pick A Theme

Having a theme can get everyone excited about your event.  Get creative & move beyond generic themes, like Italian or Mexican; instead, choose a specific ingredient, like seafood or spinach.  It will be exciting to see the results and the reflection that each cook's background brings.   Finalize the theme two weeks before the dinner so guests have plenty of time to prepare.

2. Plot Your Courses

Make sure to include every course – Appetizers, soup or salad, entrees, desserts and an alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverage.  We even like to include an after dinner drink too.  It is good practice to plan more than one for each course.  There are times when one course does not work well and providing guests with more than one option will be a plus.  There is also the chance that a guest could have a last minute conflict and cancel.   For that reason, it is always good practice for the host to provide the main course, this guarantees without a doubt that it will be on the table J

3. Provide Portion Guidelines

Say for example, you have 20 guests and two of them are bringing desserts, they will each need to prepare to serve 10 people.  While you don’t need to be exact, providing guests with approximate portions needed will help make preparation that much easier.

5. Plan for Presentation

When entertaining, presentation is ALWAYS a big part of the experience.  Have guests bring their dish nicely presented in a serving dish or, have additional serving pieces available for a quick transfer if needed.  As host, having appropriate garnishes on hand is also a good idea.  We also like to keep a supply of small photo frames handy – quickly insert the name of the dish & voila! your potluck is a fun, themed, event your guests will long remember.  Of course, hosting this event poolside definitely takes it up a notch !



IF you do decide on a seafood theme, here's a great casserole you may want to consider:


Lobster Casserole


• Coarse salt and ground pepper

• 1 pound elbow macaroni

• 6 tablespoons butter

• 1/2 medium onion, chopped very fine

• 1 garlic clove, minced

• 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

• 3 cups whole milk

• 1 pound chopped cooked lobster

• 4 cups mixed grated cheeses (Parmesan, sharp cheddar and fontina)

• 1/2 cup bread crumbs  (Panko) 


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook macaroni for 2 minutes less than directions call for al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside. 

Over medium heat, melt butter in a large saucepan. Transfer 2 tablespoons melted butter to a medium bowl and reserve. Add onion and garlic to pan; cook until softened (about 3 to 5 min). Add flour; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add milk and whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until sauce has thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. 

Remove pan from heat. Gently fold in lobster, macaroni and cheese and mix. Spoon into a shallow 4-quart baking dish. 

Add bread crumbs to the bowl of reserved melted butter and toss. Sprinkle over macaroni mixture. 

Place baking dish in oven on a baking sheet. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and sauce is bubbling. Allow dish to cool 5 minutes before serving.

Whether you enjoy a potluck dinner party now, or any time during the year, we'd love for you to share your tips/tricks/best practices too so we can all ENJOY LIVING POOLSIDE! Just send us a note in the comments section.  Happy Spring!!!



Tags: Casserole For Pot Luck Dinner, Living Poolside, Best Casserole Dishes, Poolside entertaining, Lobster Mac & Cheese

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