Author: Julie Lancaster-Whann

A Mother’s Day Aloha

A Mother’s Day Aloha

          Ke KuKuLu Ia Nei (Under Construction in Hawaiian)            

New Front Yard Landscaping Project

New Front Yard Landscaping Project

          UNDER CONSTRUCTION LITERALLY!!!!            

Going Bananas

Going Bananas








Banana Jack Shakes






Gordon and Julie’s Everyday Seafood

Gordon and Julie’s Everyday Seafood

          UNDER THE SEA CONSTRUCTION Blackened Grouper Cheek Po’ Boys          

ONO Hawaiian

ONO Hawaiian

      (I took the photo above when we first moved to Hawaii in 1986.  This is Diamond Head side of the island.) ALOHA! May Day is Lei Day When I was a Girl Scout Leader in Hawaii we made these lei’s from the 

An Artsy Easter

An Artsy Easter














Good Morning and Happy Easter

Wild Garlic Growing for Easter



Oriental Lilies



Happy Easter,

Julie and Gordon


Let’s Not Forget Dessert









Sixty’s, (Sensational or Surviving?)  We’ll see, right?

Sixty’s, (Sensational or Surviving?) We’ll see, right?

        Welcome to My Sixty’s Currently Aging to Perfection (Or Rotting and Disintegrating?  But I swear this to you, as long as there are moisturizers and Loreal Superior Performance Medium Blonde, I will always be here for you.)  🙂 When I look 

Kayaking in Florida with Julie and Gordon, Adventure, Food and Fun Blogging

Kayaking in Florida with Julie and Gordon, Adventure, Food and Fun Blogging


Canoeing Hillsborough River, Thonotosassa, Florida

Canoeing Hillsborough River, Thonotosassa, Florida








February 13, 2021

Turning 60 with a Pistachio Birthday Muffin


Canoeing Through Alligator Infested Waters

60 Today!

Julie and Gordon


We were not disappointed.  We must have seen around 35 alligators.  We would have seen more had it been a sunny day.  But we had rain off and on and that does play a factor in whether or not they make an appearance.  But always know, they are there whether you can see them or not!

 After our Canoe Excursion we Had a Lovely Picnic

Our Death Rolls, Green River Scum Edamame Dip with Snap Peas and Carrots, Kale and Veggie Chips, along with a nice Beet and Goat Cheese Cracker.

Grilled Olives

Our Homemade Dill Pickle Spears and Orange Juice

Completes our Meal

(Recipes Down Below)


Julie’s Alligator’s on a Log

The inspiration for these cookies were all the alligator’s that we saw on logs.

(Recipe Down Below)

They Really are Beautiful


Click Here For:  Salads, Seafood, and Turning 60

Prior to my actual birthday I had a wonderful day of food and fun to commemorate turning 60.

Aging is a privilege and I plan on appreciating every birthday that I have left.


February 13, 2021

It’s a rainy, overcast day…..

Headed to Canoe Escape

John B. Sargeant Park

12702 N. US Highway 301

Thonotosassa, FL.  33592


Canoe Escape Website:


Breakfast on the Go!

Something quick and delicious to eat in the car while on our way….

(Recipe Down Below)


Canoe’s at Canoe Escape

(At this writing masks are required when checking in and launching.)

Gordon, Brodie and Mackenzie getting instructions from Hunter on our canoe trip.

Brodie and Julie

(I hate that they all make me look so small.  I am almost 5’8.)

Julie and Mackenzie

(No alcohol in the park)


Hunter Giving us a Push Off

Brodie and Mackenzie

You can see that there is lots of room in the canoe whether you bring along a nice picnic or small children, or an additional adult.

If you can see in the photo of Brodie at left, he has a seat backing.  You can request those if you like.  I figured that Brodie and Gordon would be doing the bulk of the rowing so I ordered them one each.  It made their experience more comfortable.

I didn’t however get one for myself or Mackenzie because I figured we would be swiveling from looking forward to looking backward in our seats.  But actually, I was the only one swiveling from looking forward to backward so I should have ordered her one.  🙂

Gordon Looking So Intent  🙂

He said it was because of the 10-12 foot gator’s he had heard about previously that he was keeping an eye out for.

At first we wore our masks until we had paddled out a bit and then we took them off.


Mackenzie Looking up at the Birds

There is every color green imaginable here.

Can you spot the bird?

In these 4 photographs if you look closely you can see an alligator.  I wasn’t sure at first if I saw what I thought I saw, and had actually seen.  But, the photos show my stealthy friend.




(Kinda scary.  We saw many of them with their wings outstretched drying themselves from all the rain.)

Hillsborough River Calm as Glass

With the exception of the 4 of us, we only saw an additional 3 canoe’s and a kayak the entire time.

If you look closely you can see an alligator’s head sticking up out of the water.

The fact that this was an overcast day meant that all my photos were good ones.  If you know anything about photography a bright sunny day is probably the worst for good photos.


The Trees Were Beautiful, Everyone of Them

(I have a thing for trees.)

As the family photographer I can get away with not having to row……much.  🙂 

Although I do like the exercise.

Everything I need

Cameras, Lenses, Umbrella, Cooler with food and drink, and Survival Bag (my lucky pack)

Oh, and we brought lots of towels.  It was a rainy day off and on and I wanted lots of towels to sit on and wrap our things in just in case.  Also, our bags are water resistant to protect our camera equipment.


Staring Down a Gator

(Treat them with the greatest of respect.)


Alligator’s are territorial and will sometimes approach you because they don’t like you.  So, just move the canoe or kayak to another area, out of theirs.



Find the Cormorant

Tri-Colored Heron

(This is probably my most favorite photo that I took.)


Time for a Canoe Snack

I Always Bring FOOD…..


Our Canoe Snacks

Blood Oranges

Solar Dried Bananas

Green Swamp Chex Mix


Gator Jerky (Cajun)

with Gatorade  (of course.)

History of Gatorade

Following a request from Florida Gators football head coach Ray Graves, Gatorade was created to help athletes by acting as a replacement for body fluids lost during physical exertion. The first Gatorade  consisted of a mixture of water, sodium, sugar, potassium, phosphate, and lemon juice.


And wrapped up in an old school lunch bag.

Mackenzie’s Canoe Snacks


Julie’s Chex Mix

Homemade Chex Party Mix is probably one of my most favorite things to eat in the world.  I do feature it a lot on many blog posts on this website just because it is a favorite and perfect for taking on these trips around Florida that we love so very much.

I love the salt, the crunch, and buttery flavor, and the tang from the Worcestershire Sauce.

I do love using food coloring to help create a theme for whatever we may be doing.  For example:  I did follow the regular traditional instructions for making Chex Party Mix except I omitted the Rice Chex and baked it separately in melted butter, seasoned salt, and green food coloring. 

The rest of the Chex Party Mix ingredients (Corn Chex, Wheat Chex, Cheerios, Pretzels and Peanuts, I baked together in melted butter, seasoned salt, and Worcestershire Sauce, and I added some red food coloring in order to make it orange.

Cheerios and Corn Chex Cereals

Seasoned Salt, Food Coloring, Worcestershire Sauce, and Pretzels, Wheat Chex and Dry Roasted Peanuts

Bake in a 250F oven for one hour, removing from the oven every 15 minutes to stir so that they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

If you have any questions then just consult the traditional Chex Party Mix recipe online to help you.


After Enjoying our Canoe Snacks….

Back to Enjoying Nature

Swamp Lily

Blue Heron

What was so especially beautiful to me were all the tree trunks along the river and how they would reflect in the water.  Know that alligator live around those tree trunks so it’s best to steer clear of them.  But, you can enjoy them from a distance.

Brodie Looking Serious

Brodie, Mackenzie and the Lily Pads

Even though this river housed every shade of green there is, you could always find a flower here and there among it all.

This River Scum is the Inspiration Behind our Edamame Dip in our Picnic Lunch

I believe this to be an Anhinga.

Everything was just so beautiful!


More of these Tree Trunks that I love so very much.


A Secret Passage, LITERALLY!

I would like for you to look very closely at this photograph.  Do you see a way forward?  Initially, Gordon tried to plow straight forward only for us to be stuck.  Brodie and Mackenzie spotted the way though by going left of that tree log thingy.  They got through, we got unstuck, and then we followed them through.  🙂

That is Brodie and Mackenzie way ahead of us.  🙂

Now Gordon is Happily Getting us Through


Following the current down the river we did encounter some downed tree branches and narrow passage ways.


This was a favorite of mine:

A stand off between a turtle and an alligator.  They stared each other down for a few minutes before the alligator fled into the water and the turtle was left standing.

Another Beautiful Tree Trunk

It’s Brodie and Mackenzie in the lead…..

More Raw Beauty



More Beautiful Knotted Tree Trunks

The water truly was like glass and the reflections were stunning.

More Tight Corners….

That lead to nice open waters.

Wild Mushrooms Growing on a Log

Cypress Knees to the left, River Scum to the right.

Gordon Got Out The Go-Pro

And it’s my turn to paddle downstream.





We paddled downstream a good 3 hours to Morris Bridge Park where we docked and then called Hunter back at Canoe Escape’s to let him know we were ready for him to come and get us and take us back to our car.

He came and picked us up and we piled into a large van.  We did our best to social distance and we all wore masks.  I even opened the window beside me to help air out the van as we drove back.


Time for our Nice Picnic Lunch

There are picnic tables back at John B. Sargeant Park where we were able to have our nice picnic lunch.

I wanted our lunch to be healthy, but delicious.

I also love all the colors that we chose for our picnic.

Gordon Snacking on His River Scum Dip

Pistachio Birthday Muffins

I made a wish for my 60th……  🙂

I hope it comes through.

(Keep Reading for the Recipes.)


Birthday Dinner

At the end of the day for my birthday dinner we ordered some take out from Tibby’s, a New Orleans food restaurant and Gordon went and picked it up.

2 Orders of Gator Bites…  🙂  🙂

My Fried Catfish with Fries and Hushpuppies and I loaded my Catfish with Tarter Sauce

Fried Catfish, Fries and Hushpuppies for me, and Chicken Po’ Boy Sandwich for Gordon


Blogging Food and Drink

Our ‘See Ya Later Alligator’ Cocktail

I’ve never done this before. 

You know, where I create food and drink that resembles what I am blogging about? 

But, here goes….

Because there is no alcohol allowed in the park we decided to create our cocktail at home.

Let’s Start With a Cocktail of Vodka and Midori Liquor

Doesn’t the bottle’s bumps and ridges kind of remind you of an alligator?  🙂

And of course one of our Skull Vodka’s look and work great here.

Cocktail’s and Snacks

I am obviously very proud of my Alligator Cookies.

Having our Cocktails with our leftover Kale and Beet with Goat Cheese Crackers.

See Ya Later Alligator


Ingredients for 2 Cocktails:

Cocktail Shaker w/ about 6 Ice Cubes

1 Shot Glass

2 Shots Vodka (Our Skull Bottle)

1 Shot Midori Green Melon Liquor

1 shot Triple Sec

1 Shot Lemon Juice

1 Shot Lime Juice


Simply shake in the cocktail shaker until you can no longer hold it because it is so cold.  Then pour into your selected cocktail glasses.


Now It’s Time to do The Recipe Write-up’s….


Our Leftover Cheese’s, Grilled Cheese’s

These grilled cheese sandwiches are made from our leftovers from our picnic on my birthday that you see in this post above.

Jars of our Dill Pickle Spears, Pearl Onions, Roasted Olives, and Cheese Stuffed Peppers.

We are starting with a lovely sliced loaf of brioche bread.

Most people know how to make a grilled cheese sandwich but just in case you don’t, then here goes.

You need a saucepan and turn the burner on a medium heat.  Place in the saucepan some butter/margarine and allow to melt.

Now, place one slice of your bread in the saucepan and while it is browning a bit then add some cheese.  Here Gordon is adding some of our leftover Green Gouda.

He is also adding some of our leftover ham of Black Forest and Bone In on top of the Green Gouda.

Then place another slice of bread on top of the ham.

When the bottom of the bread starts to brown you then want to flip it over and brown the other side.

When it’s nice and brown then remove, and plate.


Gordon’s Grilled Cheese Sandwich of Green Gouda, Guiness Cheddar, and Black Cheddar

Made the same way as above and also topped with Black Forest and Bone In Ham’s.


Julie’s Black Cheddar Sand

(I wanted another one.)  🙂

Deliciousness Between 2 Slices of Brioche

I do so love those Grilled Garlic Stuffed Green Olives



Cheddar Green Muffins w/ a Fried Egg, Black Cheddar, and Pancetta

….with our Black and Brown Homemade Mustard….


We have a tradition in our family that when we have an early start to a big day, we will run by McDonald’s for our usual Sausage/Egg/Biscuits or our Egg McMuffin Sandwiches with Hash Browns, to eat in the car on our way to wherever it is we are going.  The food was delicious and convenient, and very filling.  Well, this time we wanted to make our own version in order to save us some time and money and hopefully a few calories as well.  (Although I’m not sure we shaved off any calories.)  🙂

Our Delicious Version

Green Cheddar Biscuits

Black and Brown Mustard

Black Cheddar Cheese

Baked Pancetta

Fried Egg

It Hit the SPOT!


We Also Baked……

Veggie Tots Instead of Tater Tots/Hash Browns

(Healthier Option)


How We Made Them

Food Coloring is My Best Friend in my Themes

In the photo above left you can see the Red Lobster Cheddar Biscuits box, food coloring, and some sharp cheddar cheese whether it be a leftover block of it, or a grated bag of it.  And to the right we can see our Pancetta and Black Cheddar Cheese.

The first thing that Gordon did was to line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and placed a metal cooling rack on top of it.  He is now placing our Pancetta on top of the rack to place into the oven to cook.


Preheat Oven to 350F

At first Gordon placed our Pancetta into a 350F oven for 20 minutes but then bumped up the heat to 400F and cooked an additional 10 minutes.  That got the bacon nice and crispy.


Now Gordon is Making our Red Lobster Cheddar Biscuits

He is following the package directions.

EXCEPT:  When it came to adding water to the mix Gordon added drops and drops of our food coloring to the water in an attempt to get the water BLACK. 

It Looks BLACK to ME!  🙂

Except, when he stirred it up it was this grayish-green.

I told him to just add some more green food coloring to it and we will leave it there.

Gordon Adding our Yellow Cheddar Cheese

Then Drop the Biscuits onto the Baking Sheet

Bake According to Package Instructions

(The Biscuits, and the Veggie Tots)


Pancetta Ready and Out of the Oven


Green Cheddar Biscuits Ready and out of the Oven

Veggie Tots Ready and Out of the Oven


Now It’s Time to Assemble Them

Here Gordon is Adding a Delicious Seasoned Butter Topping to the Biscuits

Slicing the Black Cheddar Cheese


You can go ahead and assemble the biscuits and place into the refrigerator overnight.  Then cooking your egg the following morning to add to the biscuits.  The microwave will also warm everything up before you dash out the door.


Or, if you oppose eating in the car you can always enjoy your delicious breakfast at home before you hit the road.



Death Rolls

This is always the fun part for me. 

Coming up with foods that will fit into whatever we may be doing.  I wanted these to be rather nice and plain and healthy, but also very tasty.

The Inspiration Behind our Picnic Roll Up’s

(I did not take this photo of this spectacular alligator doing a death roll.  I found it online and added it to our post.  He is wonderful though, isn’t he?)

Our Death Rolls

Before we even get started it’s time to wash everything.  Our lovely lettuce, carrots, snap peas, spring onions, and cucumbers.  Although we didn’t take the cucumbers with us because I ate all of them.  🙂


When we decided what kind of sandwich that we wanted to take with us on this nice field trip I knew that I wanted most of it to be green.  I then thought of the Spinach Tortillas that I love so much.  I also thought of the beautiful gourmet cheese that I adore, the ones featured here.  Green Gouda, Black Cheddar and the Red wine.

I also wanted the meats on the sandwich to be appropriate.  Black Forest, and Bone In Hams.  Yum!

Green Gouda and my Red Wine Cheese

Also, if you look to the right of the photo at left you will see a jar of Tostitos Spinach Dip.  When we were thinking about what we wanted in these Death Rolls I told Gordon that I didn’t want any kind of mayonnaise or mustard.  I wanted something different.  That is when I remembered the Spinach Dip.  Perfect!

Cutting The Cheese  🙂


Time to Assemble the Death Rolls

Because we were making them the night before I told Gordon that I didn’t want them to get soggy overnight in the refrigerator so let’s find a way to assemble the sandwiches so that it doesn’t happen.

Here, Gordon placed the Lettuce on top of the Spinach Tortilla and then spreading the Spinach Dip on the Lettuce so as not to get it on the Tortilla.

Next, Gordon placed the Hams on top of the Lettuce with the Spinach Dip.

Next Comes All the Cheese’s

Now Gordon is Rolling up our Death Rolls and then Slicing Them in Two


Securing Them With Toothpicks

Now it’s time to put them into their own containers for our picnic the following day.

Our system worked and the sandwiches didn’t get soggy.  🙂


Because we adore accompaniments, here are our homemade Dill Spear’s and our Grilled Garlic Stuffed Olives to go along with our Death Rolls.


Green River Scum Edamame Dip

(My Inspiration)

w/ Carrots, Snap Pea’s, and Kale and Beet Crackers

This was really good! 

I thoroughly enjoyed this, especially with the snap peas.


Our Green River Scum Edamame Dip


2, 16 oz. Frozen Edamame

Hawaiian Sea Salt (for boiling water)

2 Spring Onions, Chopped

Fresh Cilantro about 1/2 Cup

2 Whole Cloves of Garlic

4 T. Water

2 T. Canola Oil

Juice of Two Limes

Zest of One Lime

1 T. Honey

Salt, About 1 Teaspoon

Freshly Ground Black Pepper to Taste


Our Frozen Edamame, Thawed

Bring a pot of water to a boil, about 8 cups of water. 

And add your Hawaiian Salt or any that you so desire.

Now Add Your Thawed Edamame and boil as per package instructions.


When done pour into a colander and rinse with water.


Now you want to shuck the pods and place the Edamame into a blender.



When all the pods have been shucked…..

Time to add our chopped Spring Onion,


Garlic Cloves, Water,

Canola Oil, Lime Juice and Zest, Honey,

Salt, and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Now, blend together,

add more water if you need to thin it out some.


When ready then decant into your containers.  We made exactly enough for 4 people.  It was the perfect amount too.

I placed some Chili Powder into the top level Tupperware ledge and not directly onto the Edamame Dip.  That way we could all distribute exactly how much of the spice that we wanted ourselves onto our dip.

We also gave everyone a choice of fresh veggies and crackers for their dip.

This truly was one of the best things I’ve eaten and I really did enjoy it.


Julie’s Alligator’s on a Log

Aren’t They Cute?

This is the easiest roll out cookie dough I have ever made.  Normally I’m really lazy and I hate going to all that trouble just to make cookies but this was such a nice easy and fun recipe.  And the dough smells wonderful!  And taste’s delicious!



8 oz. Unsalted Butter, Softened (I used KerryGold)

1 Cup of Confectioner’s Sugar

2 Cups of All Purpose Flour

Pinch of Salt

2 t. Vanilla Extract

3/4 Cup of Mini Chocolate Chip Morsels

Several Large Chocolate Chip Morsels for the Alligator Eyes


When the Butter has softened then place into the bowl attached to your mixer and blend on a low to medium speed until creamy.  Now add the 1 Cup of Confectioner’s Sugar to the Butter and mix on a low to medium speed until well blended.


Now add your 2 teaspoons of Vanilla Extract and a few drops of green food coloring, and blend together.

Use as much of the Green Food Coloring as you like to get the color you want.

In another bowl mix together the 2 Cups of All Purpose Flour and a nice sized Pinch of Salt.  Whisk that together.

Although I don’t have a photo of it, add the flour and salt to the bowl, mixing as you go a little bit at a time until everything is well blended.

Like So

Now add your cookie dough mixture to a large bowl and add about 3/4 Cup of the Semi-Sweet Mini Chocolate Morsels and mix together.

Form a Ball and Wrap in Saran Wrap,

then place into the refrigerator to harden up a bit.

I actually kept this in the fridge for a few days before I made the cookies.


Pre-Heat Oven to 350F

Time To Make The Cookies

Flour the surface you will be using to make the cookies and get out your rolling pin.  You can also rub some flour on your rolling pin to help the dough not stick to it.

You want the dough to be about 1/4 inch thick. 

Use cookie cutters to place on top of the dough to cut out your pattern.

Here Gordon is Rolling out the Dough


Line your baking sheets with parchment paper and place your alligator cookie cut outs on to the paper.  These cookies do not spread very much so you needn’t worry about them all running into each other.

Large Milk Chocolate Morsels

Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, then remove from oven to let cool.  While the cookies are still warm place a Chocolate Chip Morsel into the cookie to look like an eye.  Continue to allow the cookies to cool in the baking sheets.

Do Not Remove From Baking Sheet Until Totally Cool


Cookies Cooling and I’ve got my “Logs” Ready


Julie’s Gator’s on a Log  🙂

See Ya Later Alligator





Salads, Seafood, and Turning 60

Salads, Seafood, and Turning 60

            February 13, 2021 ————————————————————————– Happy 60th. Birthday to ME! Cake Presents and Flowers 60 Who Knew Turning 60 Would be so Much Fun? ——————————————————————————— The Spice Cake my daughter Veronica made for me. Spice Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream 

Our Purple Sweet Potato and Taro Stuffed Steamed Buns and Asian/Pacific Sliders

Our Purple Sweet Potato and Taro Stuffed Steamed Buns and Asian/Pacific Sliders

            Do You Love Steamed Buns As Much As We Do? Then You Are Very Welcomed Here This Purple Sweet Potato Steamed Bun was born out of a recipe that we discovered back when we were living in Hawaii.  The 

Julie and Gordon Whann Way Mexicana Cuatro

Julie and Gordon Whann Way Mexicana Cuatro







En Construccion

Sometimes It’s Nice Just Picking up Dinner at The Latin Supermarket



Tortilla Maker


Baked Spicy Cod in Marinated Mojo Cabbage


(Recipes Down Below)


Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Shrimp

Cheese Stuffed/Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Peppers



(Recipes Down Below)



Julie’s Mole Verde Deviled Eggs



Just a Snack

Green Jalapeno Peppers and Red Tomatoes


Marinating Cocktail Sausages

(You can see them marinating in that baggie to my right, your left.)

In order to make my Mexican Sausages I simply marinated them in our Spicy Hot Mexican Cranberry Sauce

Click Here For:  Spicy Hot Mexican Cranberries

I also used the juice of probably 2 limes and marinated the cocktail sausages for about 24 hours prior to.

I then just placed them into a casserole dish and baked in the oven uncovered for close to an hour in a 350F oven.  I would remove them every 20 minutes to stir them around.  I knew they were ready when they were all plump.

Into the Oven They Go

And When They Are Done


Grilled Tequila Wings and Drumettes

Our Tequila Wings Marinade Cooked Down to a Dipping Sauce

Spicy Scallops Ready for the Grill

Spicy Grilled Scallops

Also a few Grilled Tomatoes

The Tequila Wing and Drumette Marinade Dip for Little Toasts

A Very Easy, Tasty Light Meal

(Recipes Down Below)


Stuffed Sweet and Jalapeno Peppers


Our Baked Spicy Cod in Marinated Mojo Cabbage








Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Shrimp













Adding the Garlic and Thyme

Bay Leaves From Gordon’s Sister Heather’s Backyard Tree