Summer 2015 – Best Summer Ever {Photo Album}

O'Neil Summer 2015 photo recap

Last night as we returned from a 50th anniversary family cookout, Chuck and I collapsed on the couch from exhaustion and he said to me, “I had an amazing weekend with you.”  This has become an unspoken tradition we have created this summer.  That sentence has been repeated at the end of every weekend and definitely more often this summer than past summers.

The only regret is not updating this blog as often as I had hoped. I even thought to capture the moments on Instagram instead.  But you know what?  I was so in the moment living life and making memories that I didn’t do that either. It isn’t an entirely bad thing.

This has been one of the best summers in a very long time!

Mostly every weekend was surrounded by friends and family at some cookout or gathering.

So I am sharing a summer fun picture recap and I want to thank Lauren at Working Mom Magic blog for creating the hashtag and goal of #OperationSummerFun. You can read about it here and her summer recap is here.  We even made 2 cameos in the second post!

This summer, I adopted this operation to its fullest capacity.  

As Labor Day Weekend comes to a close, and fall begins to set in, I can honestly say I did everything in my power to make this the best summer it could be.

Here is what we have been up to:

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#OperationSummerFun in numbers

  • 25 lbs of Potato Salad
  • At least 6 cookouts (I lost count after that)
  • 4 days by the pool
  • 3 summer music concerts
  • 2 cookouts with requests of Broccoli Salad
  • 2 trips to Foxwoods Casino
  • Dining out (more times than I can count)
  • Unlimited glasses of Homemade Iced Tea
  • Countless laughs, smiles and entertainment

What is your favorite memories from this summer?  I want to know!  

A Blizzard Served With a Side of Fried Dough

This isn’t my first blog post that ties food to weather.  In November, I wrote about A Nor’easter, Mac and Cheese and a Birthday Cake.  Apparently, extreme weather pulls me indoors and inspires me to cook.  Most likely this is a behavioral trait I inherited from my Mother (and her Mother).  Chuck is not complaining, living in New England he will eat really well.

I grew up on this family tradition of making fried dough during winter snow storms.  My maternal grandmother would always cook fried dough for the family.  My Mother tried but often had to work during storms.  However if her schedule allowed, she would carry out the tradition. Growing up, I thought Fried Dough and Snow Storms went together like Peanut Butter and Jelly.  It made sense – to me.  When I moved 3 cities away, not so much.  I recently discovered, this is a regional tradition or perhaps a city tradition.  I talk to non-Gloucester, MA residents (where I grew up), and they have never heard of this.  For those who grew up in Glouceester, or had family there, it make just as much sense as serving Fruit Salad with Sherbet on Thanksgiving (another tradition).

As you may have heard, or experienced, a Blizzard hit the Northeast last week.  Our area was crippled with an intense amount of snow.  We had 29″ of snow in 24 hours.

#Blizzardof2015 in #beverlyma a few more hours to go. #snowmageddon

A photo posted by At Home With The O’Neils (@athomewiththeoneils) on

Chuck’s work was cancelled.  We could sleep in, we did not have to be anywhere or do anything, just be together and enjoy one another’s company.  And yes, I was making Fried Dough.  I have decided to bring this tradition into our marriage.  My husband loves it because the end result is delicious food.  It is very simple to do.  I don’t make the dough.  I assume if you wanted to go that route you could.  We have always just bough pizza dough at the grocery store.

You don’t need a Blizzard to make this, it is fun however, saving it for special occasions.

Blizzard-Friendly Fried Dough

What you need:

1 lb. Fried Dough
This was just enough for the two of us.  Double up if you have Kiddos or Guests.
2 C. Vegetable Oil

Confectioners’ Sugar
Sugar and/or

The night before:

1.)  Take the dough out of our refrigerator and cut into small chunks.

2.)  Spread out with your fingers, like mini pizzas, and place on a hand towel on a flat surface.

Fried Dough - At Home With The O'Neils

3.)  Once all the dough has been divided, place a towel over the dough. Let it rise over night.

At Home With The O'Neils - Fried Dough

The next day:

4.)  Pour 2 cups of Oil into frying pan.  Let it heat up on medium for 3 – 5 minutes.

5.)  Start taking 1 – 2 pieces of your dough and placing with tongs into oil.

6.)  Let each piece sit for a minute and then flip the dough to the other side.  You may have to do a couple times as the oil heats up.  You will know when to remove your fried dough when it puffs up and takes on a golden glow.

Fried Dough - At Home With The O'Neils

7.)  Place pieces of Fried Dough on a plate lined with a towel or paper towel to absorb extra oil.

8.)  Continue until all pieces are fried and serve hot.

Fried Dough - At Home With The O'Neils

Simple, easy and a delicious tradition to start with your family!

Side notes:

Tip 1 – Toppings are a personal preference.  I like butter and sugar, but confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon are favorites too.

Fried Dough - At Home With The O'Neils

Tip 2 –  This is a smelly meal.  Our apartment smelt like fried food for 2 days.  I would suggest you close off doors to other rooms, if possible to contain the smell.  Cracking the window for a little ventilation does not hurt either.

Tip 3 –  Always have a bag of dough on hand in your freezer for these special occasions.