Our 4th of July Party

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It’s no secret that I love cooking. And parties. So when a craving for all-American food struck, and we realised that the 4th of July fell on a Saturday, well the stars (and stripes!) had aligned for our very own ‘4th of July’ party. We invited a few of our close friends to join the festivities, where the American theme was strong – and food was in abundance.

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On the menu? A selection of mains and sides (or ‘entrees’ and sides, if I was in the USA) – many of which I pleased to be able to adapt to be gluten free for one of the guests.

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* BBQ beef brisket (that was slow-cooked for most of the day), Southern fried chicken (which was actually oven baked) and ribs. Served with macaroni cheese, blue cheese dip, cornbread muffins (my favourite!), coleslaw, greens and sweet potato casserole.  Served communally – with the invitation to ‘help yourselves’.

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For dessert, it was all about pie. A key lime pie (GF) and a rather rustic pecan pie (not GF – just loaded with sugar!) – to be precise.

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To drink we served a selection of American beer, wine and soft drink (found at a new USA confectionary store that has opened).

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And, well I couldn’t resist adding some blue, red and white to our house itself – for that extra party feel.

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(blue food dye = blue water!) Kid’s table included!

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Overall – we had a grand time – feasting our way through the evening – and catching up with friends over a beer or two. I think everyone went home with full bellies, and I know Miss C was well and truly in a sugar-coma by the end.

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A fun evening all round! What about you? What is your favourite American dish?

My USA souvenirs aka food stash!

Its crazy to think that I have been back from our USA holiday for 10 days. Boy does time fly when you are back at work and back into your normal routine (not that this routine girl is necessarily complaining about that aspect!). Then, throw some plans for our house into the mix, together with some exciting news and the not-so-exciting reminder that it is tax time, and the BBB household has found itself buzzing with energy since our return. IMG_1789 But, if I ever want to be reminded of our overseas adventures, I only have to open our pantry. For while some people stock up on magnets, t-shirts and key rings while overseas, it is quite clear that I stock up on food. IMG_1791 And our recent trip to the USA proved no different. Particularly when said food comes from Trader Joes and Wholefoods (two stores Australia is sadly missing). IMG_0636  And / or is courtesy of the Great Wall of Tasty Bars! IMG_0637 So let me present to you the food stash that has now been added to the BBB pantry post USA adventures… IMG_2097 Agave nectar, caramel sauce… IMG_2101 Powerberries, GF mac n cheese, and GF flour… IMG_2099 Almond butter with sea salt and peanut butter with flaxseeds… IMG_2103 Dark chocolate covered pomegranate seeds and Reese’s PB cups… IMG_2104 And, of course, a rather impressive stash of my favourite bars (that we cant really get in Australia!) IMG_2100 And then there is this…. IMG_2108 And these…. IMG_2106 Which I assure you have already been put to good use. What about you? What sort of souvenirs do you collect when travelling? Aside from food (duh obviously) I also collect little cloth badges of the cities I have visited, with the intention of sewing them onto a blanket one day.

Holiday reflections

IMG_2001 We arrived back in Canberra around lunchtime yesterday, after a long flight from LA to Sydney,  then followed by a bus trip down the highway. While it would have been easy over the last 24 hours to focus on the lack of food options at the under-serviced Virgin Australia LAX terminal, or the lack of any decent room to move in row 45 of cattle class, I focused instead on the wonderful month that I have just had. A month that I was lucky enough to take off work and share a fantastic overseas adventure with my best friend in the world.  aka Mr BBB 😉 So as I attempt to expedite my recovery from a little jetlag (which was not helped by being  back work at 7am this morning), and as I most certainly seek to procrastinate from the large pile of laundry that is awaiting my attention, I thought a quick holiday reflection would be the way to go. You know….just in case you missed anything 😉 Santa Monica and Venice Beach IMG_0129 Disneyland – LA IMG_0233 Hollywood Hills IMG_0424 New York IMG_0524 Niagara Falls IMG_0683 Broadway  IMG_0902 Nashville / Tennessee IMG_1010  Graceland and Memphis IMG_1092 Texas IMG_1364 San Francisco IMG_1611 Las Vegas IMG_1842    Grand Canyon IMG_1973 I have no doubt that I will look back on the last month with a smile and deep happiness for many years to come. For it was a month filled with sunshine, warm weather, friends, food, biking, sight seeing, natural wonders, laughter, and relaxation. What more could a girl want?! But you know what? There is also something quite wonderful about coming home. Back to friends and family, back to kitty cuddles and back to the comfort of my own bed. And not to mention my kitchen…..oh how I have missed cooking! What about you? What do you miss most when travelling?

The final chapter – The Grand Canyon

It is with some sadness that Mr BBB and I farewell the wonderful USA today, and begin the long journey back to Australia. The last month has been a flurry of adventure and a whirlwind of gastronomical delight. From the city to the country, I really feel that we have gained a great sense of the American lifestyle, and seen a decent snapshot of several unique parts of the country. And we have loved almost every moment. I only say ‘almost every moment’ due to our cancelled flight to Vegas, and the 8 hour delay at the airport…but why focus on the negative lol 🙂 Our final ‘holiday’ day in Las Vegas (and also in the USA) was spent at a very magical place. IMG_1915 For what better way to farewell our overseas adventure than with a tour of the Grand Canyon. First, by plane. IMG_1880IMG_1862IMG_1858 Second, by helicopter. IMG_1885IMG_1938IMG_1891 Flying between the huge cliffs and landing just 300 feet above the Canyon floor. IMG_1909IMG_1912IMG_1945 And third… IMG_1955 By foot. IMG_2000IMG_1986 Where no ropes or barricades meant that we could literally walk right up to the edge! IMG_1973IMG_1984 I cannot begin to describe just how magical and awe-inspiring this place is. Truly a wonder of the world indeed. IMG_2001 And, even though it is a popular tourist destination, we were able to wander down various paths and explore the area un-guided, making us feel as if we had the place all to ourselves. I really don’t think my photos capture just how breathtaking the Canyon was, so you will just have to take my word for it. IMG_2009IMG_2017 And hey, even our lunch was eaten with a view 😉  IMG_2019 But now, it is time to farewell the sunny skies of Las Vegas, and slowly make our way back to the Canberra winter (the temperature of which, I am most certainly not looking forward to lol!) See you in a few days!