Tag Archives: pool

Baked Beans & Tater Salad at the Pool

Hope everyone had an amazing holiday weekend! As usual, I’m a week behind on posts. We spent a long weekend around the 4th at the beach, but today I’ll tell you about last Saturday and our pool day. :)

My friend Jessica just had a baby boy, so we went over to visit little C-baby and the gang for a pool day. I say just, but little Chason is now 8 months old! Crazy, how time flies.

Anywho, Kevin (Jessica’s husband) was making BBQ sandwiches, and Jess made desserts (mini oreo cheesecakes that were thebomb.com), and Sarah made tomatillo salsa and regular salsa for lounging by the pool. I volunteered baked beans and potato salad. It was a pretty primo summer pool side menu.

It was supposed to rain all day long, but we decided to go ahead and head their way anyway. I’m so glad we did, because the sun came out and we got to spend a few hours in the sun!

Wheat, Natalie, Jessica & Tina | Oysters & Pearls

Wheat, myself, Jessica, and tiny Tina hanging out at the pool.

Kevin | Oysters & Pearls

Kevin, the man of the house. We were laughing that he must have purposely matched his swimsuit to his float.

While at the pool, we enjoyed some chunky salsa and some homemade tomatillo sauce that Sarah made. They were awesome, and I was hooked on the tomatillo sauce!

Fresh & Chunky Salsa | Oysters & Pearls

Sarah said this salsa is made the same way I make it: tomatoes, onion, jalepenos, cilantro, lime juice, and salt and pepper. I love chunky fresh salsa!

Tomatillo Salsa | Oysters & Pearls

The tomatillo sauce is a recipe she said her mom snagged from Southern Living years ago. She said they sliced in half and roasted the tomatillos, then processed them in a food processor with jalapenos, onion, lime juice, salt and pepper. I think I got it right? Maybe Sarah will comment and let me know? ;)

When the rains came back, we had to move inside to the screened porch.

Bella | Oysters & Pearls

Bella, one of their sweet chihuahuas, took up residence in my lap most of the time. Harold, meanwhile, spent a lot of time patrolling the grounds for intruders. When he wasn’t patrolling, he was on the lookout.

Harold at the Hester's | Oysters & Pearls

Aunt Sarah & Chason | Oysters & Pearls

Chason and his Aunt Sarah. He is the cutest and the sweetest!

Chason Wheat | Oysters & Pearls

You can’t see it very well, but the smocking on his jumper is of frogs, and he is playing with a toy frog. Little man knows how to coordinate just like his Dad!

As far as food goes, because let’s be real, as you know, my life mainly revolves around food… We had a feast. Kevin made pulled BBQ sandwiches, I brought baked beans and potato salad, and Jessica made some mini oreo cheesecakes. It was a really good meal!

Poolside BBQ | Oysters & Pearls

I suppose you’d like a couple recipes? The baked beans are sponsored by Lala, yet again.

Best Ever Baked Beans | Oysters & Pearls

Lala’s Best Ever Baked Beans

I call them best ever, because they literally are the best baked beans ever, and they really are unlike any baked beans you’ve probably had before.


– one large can of Van Camps Pork & Beans

– one pound Jimmy Dean sausage, HOT flavor

– 1/3 of a box of brown sugar (I used light brown)

– ketchup

– mustard

– Worcestershire sauce

– one Vidalia onion, diced

– cane syrup


Lala gives very scientific and precise directions. ;) Brown the sausage in a pan and drain well. Go up and down the pan once with the ketchup, and a little less mustard. Several shakes of Worcestershire sauce. Up and back also with cane syrup. Mix all the ingredients together in the pan. Cook a couple hours on low. I cover it with foil but vent one corner. I mixed these up ahead of time and took them over to Jessica & Kevin’s house to cook. I put them on 300 degrees and left them in the over for 4 hours or so, turning the oven down to 200 degrees after 2 hours. You really can’t mess them up cooking them this low and slow!

Baked Beans | Oysters & Pearls

I also threw together some ‘tater salad with some new potatoes my dad grew. I never really follow a recipe for potato salad. It usually just comes together based on what else I have in the fridge, but this version turned out really tasty and light.

Tater Salad | Oysters & Pearls


– enough new (red) potatoes to feed your crowd)
– one red onion, diced
– one bunch green onions, diced
– 8 ounces sour cream
– 8 ounces (just eyeball the same amount) of Duke’s Light Mayonnaise
– 3 or 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or to taste
– salt and pepper to taste


Boil your potatoes until you can just poke them with a fork and the fork comes out fairly easily. You don’t want them mushy! While they are boiling, chop your onions. Once the potatoes are done, drain off the water and let them cool just long enough that you can handle them to cut them into bite size pieces. Toss the potatoes, onions, sour cream and mayonnaise together, then season with the red wine vinegar, and then salt and pepper, to taste. Let it sit in the fridge to let the flavors get married for at least a couple hours. You can make it a day ahead of time, too.

Mini Oreo Cheesecakes | Oysters & Pearls

We polished off our meal with these mini oreo cheesecakes that Jess made. Maybe she will leave a link or recipe in the comments? I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard if you wanted to recreate them. The “crust” was a whole oreo on the bottom, and you could probably use any no-bake cheesecake recipe for the filling and mix it with crushed oreos. They were pretty tasty!

After all this activity (even though he slept the entire time we were at the pool), Chason was ready for supper and bed time.

Sleepy Chason | Oysters & Pearls

The cutest, I tell ya!


Jessica & Evan

Well, we made it back from Miami, where we heartily participated in Jessica and Evan’s wedding!  It was such a gorgeous ceremony, and the reception was unbelievably beautiful and fun.  Wheat and I were so thankful to be a part of their special day!

Upon our arrival in Miami Friday afternoon, Wheat, Courtney, Matt, Sara, Chris, and I went out for dinner and drinks at Dolores But You Can Call Me Lolita.  Jessica told us to request to be seated on the outside second floor deck, and I can see why!  It was a great atmosphere, reasonably priced, and the food and drinks were amazing!  Our entrees all came with appetizers, so we tried quite a few!  I think the cuban quesadilla was my favorite.  I had the ahi tuna as my entree, and it was delish.  I also tried Courtney’s salmon tartar; it was TDF.  And I think I speak for our group when I recommend the mojitos! :)

IMG_5595Sara, Matt, and Courtney at Dolores, pre-dinner.

IMG_5597Sara, myself, and Courtney, and our mojitos on the outdoor deck.IMG_5600Wheat and I at Dolores.  We were trying to take advantage of the beautiful deck and trying to ignore the humidity.  Please excuse my afro in the next couple pictures.IMG_5610After dinner, we met up with the wedding party at a bar called Blackbird.  Above: Jen, Mary Katherine, myself, Ashley, Courtney, and Sara.  Just missing the bride!  So we went and found her.  She was radiant!

IMG_5624 IMG_5640So lucky to call these pretty girls my friends!  Things got a little… messy and frizzy (?) after this.  We had the best time!

On Saturday, while the wedding party got gussied up, we hit the hotel rooftop pool.  We spent the day dodging monsoons, but after the rain, it turned into the most gorgeous day!  DSCN2697Sara and Chris – we’ll all be reuniting in October for their wedding in South Carolina, and I cannot wait! DSCN2701Courtney and I lounging next to the pool snacks I brought: Chicken cheese ball and pimiento cheese!  I’ll do a post on the chicken cheese ball next week.  It’s a staple in my mom’s family, and now in mine!  It’s also Courtney’s, Matt’s, and Wheat’s fave. :)DSCN2704The triplets ;)DSCN2708Obligatory couple pic.

DSCN2712Checking out the rooftop view and Miami skyline.

Later on, we all cleaned up and headed to the chapel!  The ceremony was at the First Presbyterian Church of Miami.  It was built in the 1800s, and was so very beautiful.  IMG_5754

The getaway car…IMG_5762

And the happy married couple!!  Isn’t Jess ridiculously gorgeous?IMG_5763


After the ceremony, we all headed to the beach for the reception!  The reception was at the Red Fish Grill, which was a beautiful setting!  I feel like I’ve already used “beautiful” and “gorgeous” a hundred times in this post, but oh well.  And please excuse the iPhone pictures; my camera battery was dying.

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The location was amazing, and so were the details!  I especially loved the flowers and table settings.

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And you KNOW I had to take a picture of the cake!  So simple and pretty.


We had the best time getting to know Jessica and Evan’s other friends and family, and of course, celebrating their oh-so-happy union.  I wish them all the love and happiness in the world.  Cheers!




Just sharing a random mish-mash of what’s been going on lately.  No theme in particular!

This past weekend, my parents came to town.  My dad helped Wheat put in an outdoor sink behind our shed, and my mom and I piddled and dumpster dove (in my in-laws’ front yard, no less!).  I ended up with a beautiful cut glass pitcher, a vintage sterling plate bread knife, and an antique Coca-Cola sign with a puppy and a Santa on it (two of my favorite things!) from Antique Annex.  I didn’t get pics of these though. :(  Just trust that they are all pretty amazing, and I was really pleased with my loot!  I’ve been watching the Coca-Cola sign for a while now, and since it was on sale, I pulled the trigger.  I plan to frame it and bring it out at Christmas time!

Upon my Mama’s recommendation, we also went for my first trip to a new junk store in town, “Plenty of Stuff” (on West Street in the old Henderson’s Grocery, for you locals).  Mama bought Thumper there for us me a while back to adorn our raised beds (thank you, Mama!), so we went back to see what else they had.  I scored big!

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I was SO excited to see this bike sitting out front.  I have a bike that I rode as my primary mode of transportation in college in Gainesville (Florida), and I even rode it some in Tallahassee during law school (but that was way too scary).  It’s a sweet Free Spirit bike, which is an old brand they used to sell at Sear’s, but it has lots of gears, pretty skinny tires for a cruiser, and goes fast!  It was perfect for riding to class and stuff, but I have wanted a real beach cruiser to ride to our neighborhood pool for the past year.  GOT IT!  It still needs some work, but so far we have added some white wall cruiser tires and are working on replacing the chain.  I’ll update you after I take it for its maiden voyage to the pool!

I mentioned dumpster diving at my in-laws’ house.  Bainbridge is having a “we pick up anything” day, so my father-in-law, Bruce, cleaned out their shed over the weekend.  He jokingly texted me a picture to see if I wanted to come pick through their refuse… but I happily came right over and began digging!  We came home with a kiddie pool (for Harold…. and maybe me), some plant “grow boxes” for starting seeds, some plant stands, some topiary stands (that I may use for tomato cages), some pots, a big hammered brass bucket that had a hole in the side, not one but TWO Ataris, and various other odds and ends.  I’m not ashamed.  Thanks for the goods, Bruce and Nancy!




Haven’t hooked either Atari up to see if it still works… but I’m crossing my fingers!


 We’re starting some more basil and parsley in these – I think it’s more parsley.  I can’t remember – Wheat planted them.  Guess I’ll find out when they come up!


I turned the hole-y bucket into an herb planter with some help from the herb sale at Home Depot.  Pineapple sage (back), lemon thyme (front left) and lavender (front right).  So pretty!

We also planted some oak leaf hydrangea my MIL Nancy gave us, as well as some loquat trees she gave us!  No pics of the hydrangea yet – just watering them well and hoping they take the transplant okay.  The loquat trees are doing really well though!  Loquats always remind me of my friend Thad Owens, who passed away four years ago today.  He would climb off the balcony at the Swamp restaurant and pick loquats for our table to eat while we waited for our food.  That is how I tasted my first loquat fruit.  I won’t eat another one without thinking about him!  Thinking about him today, especially.


 Finally, I may have developed a new obsession with trying to capture pictures of our beloved hummingbirds.  I may have mentioned that Wheat and I just love them, and I grew up loving them because my parents love them, and we have TONS around our house last year and this year!  We make sure to keep them well fed, and I showed you our hummingbird garden last week (nothing blooming yet, though).  Both of our feeders are right in front of our kitchen windows, and I could sit and watch them all day long.  Here’s a male and a female Ruby Throated Hummingbird, courtesy of my very amateur photography.  By the way, if you’re interested, here are some tips from the Audubon Society on feeding hummers.  It’s a 4 parts water to one part sugar ratio, and everything I’ve ever read recommends NOT using the pre-made stuff at the store, and avoiding red food coloring.  Just in case you want to feed them too!

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That pretty much catches you up on life in my neck of the woods.  I’m spending this week preparing for a trip to Miami this weekend for a sorority sister’s wedding (cannot wait!!) so hopefully that explains the random posts.  Anyway, I’m off to daydream about laying out in the hot Miami sun, catching up with girlfriends, and drinking margaritas!