Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Post for My Cousin Jen (with Recipes)

A couple of weeks ago, Nick and I spent the weekend in Connecticut with my cousin Jen, her husband Shaun, and their daughter. We were invited for what was promised to be an "EPIC Sunday Funday." Sunday Funday is something Shaun came up with as a way to do something fun together that doesn't cost a lot of money and that doesn't involve electronics, gadgets, or TV. Not that there is anything wrong with those other activities, but Sunday Funday has become something special for their family that they look forward to all week.

Shaun is super-creative and very handy, so he's been known to build a mini golf courseturn their entire house into a board game (no joke!), and create a home-spun carnival. Not to mention that before Sunday Funday was ever invented, he even built a dinosaur bed for their daughter's room (you have got to see the pictures of it!) This is mainly something they've done during the colder months because summer tends to be fun-filled without hardly trying. Days at the beach and outside activities just seem to happen when the weather is beautiful, but they did want to have one Sunday Funday in the summer so they could invite over some of their friends, their kids, (& us!) and have a barbecue afterward. You knew I'd get to the food eventually! But more about that later.

After helping paint the wooden castles Shaun built and filling more water balloons than I care to count, the group divided into teams and proceeded to run around the yard and work together to launch the water balloons catapult-style at the opposing team's castle, in a truly epic battle. Let me tell you, it was like being a kid again and we had such a blast! Even if you don't think you're that creative, I'm now convinced it's worth trying to think outside the box and make a little extra effort to plan something fun to do with the people you love.

Jen has been chronicling their adventures on her blog, Bored Have Imagination and I do hope she writes a post about this latest Sunday Funday soon. I was too busy enjoying myself to take any pictures!

OK, I know I promised food, so here it is. Baking and desserts are kind of my thing, so I made two different cookies to bring for the barbecue. First, I made this recipe for Apricot Squares, but substituted homemade blueberry jam. Honestly, you can make it with any flavor jam you like. The only one I don't recommend is strawberry. For some reason, the flavor gets very dull and kind of lost in the baking, but raspberry, blackberry, triple berry, peach, apricot, cherry -- any of those work really well.

Second, I made a go-to favorite, Martha Stewart's recipe for Outrageous Chocolate Cookies because chocolate is always popular at a party. There's also a bit of a funny story behind this recipe. One summer during college, I worked as a cashier at a small local grocery store and a photocopy of this recipe was left at my register one day. I held onto it thinking whoever left it might come back looking for it, but they never did. After a while, I decided I might as well give the recipe a try myself! Years later, I figured out where it came from, but I'll never forget the odd way I first discovered this amazing recipe.

So whatever you decide to do and whatever you decide to serve, keep in mind that family, fun, & food are a fabulous combination!

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