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Meryl Carver-Allmond

Stories by Meryl

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Best Breakfast Spot | Best of Lawrence 2016 | Food & Dining

The Roost knows how to make a good morning meal.

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Best BBQ | Best of Lawrence 2016 | Food & Dining

Biemer’s serves up a unique mix between Kansas City- and Memphis-style barbecue.

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Best Restaurant Dish | Best of Lawrence 2016 | Food & Dining

Limestone’s margherita pizza starts with great dough.

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Best New Restaurant | Best of Lawrence 2016 | Food & Dining

Lee Meisel began training early to be a butcher. He grew up on a cattle ranch, and one of his early jobs was at an old-school butcher shop.

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Best Mexican Food | Best of Lawrence 2016 | Food & Dining

While El Potro may appear to be a typical Mexican-American cantina, it has a little something special.

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Best Fresh Produce | Best of Lawrence 2016 | Food & Dining

The oldest continuous farmers’ market in Kansas is marking its 40th year, and market go-ers can expect plenty of celebration.

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Best Dessert | Best of Lawrence 2016 | Food & Dining

Is it their homemade waffle cones with a malt ball surprise in the bottom?

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Best Chinese Food | Best of Lawrence 2016 | Food & Dining

Encore Cafe serves Chinese food that’s more upscale than your average take-out.

Cooking from Scratch: Homemade SpaghettiOs

All the same, I couldn’t quite commit to serving up a can of SpaghettiOs for dinner-proper, as my son requested soon after learning the jingle. Instead, I decided to try to make SpaghettiOs from scratch.

Cooking from Scratch: Shortbread cookies for your sweetie

These chocolate-dipped orange shortbread cookies when tucked into a book bag or left on the counter for a late-night snack were a sweet way for my husband and I to say, “I’m thinking of you” without spending the rent money.

Cooking From Scratch: Popping up for movie night

Stovetop popcorn takes about the same amount of time of microwave popcorn and tastes much better. You don’t need any special equipment to make it either.

Cooking from Scratch: The simply huge German pancake

A German pancake is rich, egg-y breakfast concoction that puffs up impressively in the oven and only requires five ingredients to make.

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Crafting gifts: 4 easy present ideas to make yourself

The warmth of a handmade gift goes a long way toward cutting through December’s chill. But what if you’re not particularly crafty or can’t spend a fortune on supplies? Can you still give handmade gifts that your family and friends will treasure?

Family Adventures: Give the gift of cookies every month

What to get our grandmothers for Christmas — it’s always a struggle. A few years ago, I hit on a good solution.

Cooking From Scratch: Grocery store gifts

Black Friday, Cyber Monday ― blech! Call me a Grinch if you want, but I hate the mall. I'd much rather do my holiday shopping at the grocery store.

Family Adventures: Counting down the holidays with fun activities

I have a thing for advent calendars. I love the idea of counting down to anything, really, but — as I’m Clark Griswold-y about Christmas — it tends to be worse around the holidays.

Cooking From Scratch: Candied orange peels an easy, sweet holiday treat

Amidst the flurry of sugar cookies and peanut butter balls that get made over the holiday season, I always find a few moments to sneak in a batch of what is perhaps my favorite Christmas candy of all: candied orange peels.

Family Adventures: Run a 5K on Turkey Day

Thanksgiving morning is the perfect time to tug yourself out of bed before the Macy’s parade starts and find a local 5K to run.

Cooking from Scratch: Time for citrus tea

As scarlet leaves fall to the frosty, gray branches of November, my favorite comforts become knitting and tea. They’re simple treats, but, with winter beginning to hint at its coming, their importance to my morale is hard to overstate.

Family Adventures: Dinosaurs walk the Earth during Dinovember

Let dinosaurs run amok in your house by celebrating Dinovember.

Cooking from Scratch: The secret to flavorful pumpkin seeds

The novelty of roasting plain seeds no longer outweighs their bland flavor. While you can sprinkle a little salt on top easily enough, it never really sticks well. To get amazing salty flavor the seeds need to be brined.

Cooking from Scratch: Easy popcorn balls a treat from Halloweens past

These really are, as the recipe card my mom read to me over the phone proclaims, “Easy Popcorn Balls.”

Family Adventures: No match for Schaake's Pumpkin Patch

It was October 2011 and I was a new mom celebrating her baby’s first Halloween. When I asked my veteran mom friends where the best local pumpkin patch was, the answer was always the same: Schaake’s. At about 40 years running, Schaake’s Pumpkin Patch, east of town at 1791 North 1500 Road, is a fall mainstay for Lawrence families. By Meryl Carver-Allmond

Cooking from Scratch: Grandma's apple pie

The other day I got a craving for a classic apple pie. Just as I was firing up my laptop to consider recipes, my eyes lit upon my grandmother’s battered copy of our family cookbook, “Cooking With the Carvers.”

Family Adventures: Down on the farm

A good food educational opportunity for kids will be this weekend's Kaw Valley Farm Tour,

Cooking from Scratch: Risotto not as hard to make as you think

Risotto is my therapy, the ultimate antidote to a bad day at the office.

Family Adventures: Drawn together

Despite the fact that Sweet Husband and I are two make-it-with-your-hands kind of people, we rarely have “art time” with the Kid. It’s not for lack of desire. (I happen to think that coloring with crayons is one of the most relaxing activities on the planet.) It’s just one of those things we forget to think of in the mish-mush of two jobs and a pre-schooler.

Cooking From Scratch: Pavlova a sweet but tricky fall treat

Pavlova — a marshmallowy cousin to merengue, reportedly named after a Russian ballerina’s tutu — is often thought of as a summer dessert. Instead, I urge you to consider making pavlova in the fall.

How kids can offer little helping hands in the kitchen

It’s more work to cook with your young kids in the kitchen helping. Fortunately, there are ways to make cooking with kids go more smoothly.

Cooking From Scratch: Preserving tomatoes

A jar of preserved tomatoes is a wondrous thing. It carries the overabundance of summer into winter, and with a few tucked away in your pantry you can have a homemade dinner on the table in the time it takes to cook spaghetti.

Family Adventures: A wild time at the zoo

Animals, education and fun for the whole family at the Kansas City Zoo.

Cooking from Scratch: Celebrate tomato season with homemade mayo

Whether you like to slice into beefy heirlooms or you’re popping cherry tomatoes into your mouth like candy, there can be no doubt that tomato season has arrived in the Lawrence area. My favorite way to celebrate the season is by making a thick, stacked bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich.

Family Adventures: Time to hit the trails

One of my favorite Lawrence amenities is the abundance of well-maintained and nearby trails. The following are some that have features that are particularly fun for kids. They're also all under 2 miles, which makes them definitely small-leg friendly.

Cooking from Scratch: Fridge pickles

Can we talk about what a wonderful year this has been for gardens so far? I haven't had to water once, yet everything looks healthy and green.

Cooking from Scratch: Cherry-infused rye whiskey for Christmas

Infused liquor is one of the simplest at-home preserving projects there is. While you can always get fancier, at heart it requires only four ingredients ― strong alcohol, some fruit, a little sugar and several months of time.

Family Adventures: Pool time

Forget the “summer learning slide” — my biggest concern these days is the slipping that's happening to our bedtime.

Cooking from Scratch: Ice cream without the ice cream maker

Until a few years ago, our little family didn’t have an ice cream maker. Fortunately, if you’re in the same boat, there are still several options for homemade frozen treats. One of those options is semifreddo.

Family Adventures: All aboard to St. Louis

I know there's still a lot of time, but I think the Kid is going to grow up to be a train engineer. We have tinker toys and stuffed animals and a miniature farm, but the only toys that really get played with are the trains. Which is why, when blessed with a free Memorial Day weekend, we decided to let the Kid see some real-live trains up close as we hopped on the Amtrak to St. Louis.

Cooking from Scratch: Make your own beef jerky

I encourage you to attempt to dry a batch of your own beef jerky. Not only is it delicious and handy for hikes and car trips but also by making your own you can control what goes into it. You’ll have a jerky with ingredients you can actually pronounce!

Family Adventures: Strike up the band

I met Sweet Husband while we were both playing in our high school band. He was a smart-aleck trombone player who loved jazz; I had fairy-tale dreams of playing my flute on street corners for a living. We were band nerds, through and through, which is probably why — even though neither of us has touched an instrument for over 10 years — the Lawrence City Band’s summer concerts are one of our favorite parts of the season.

Laying off liquor? Try a mocktail

What’s a pregnant lady to do? The first tinge of real summer is coming on, and all my favorite drinks — cocktails, white wine, iced coffee, soda — are all either verboten or almost so. Good old H2O will take care of my hydration needs, of course, but woman cannot live on plain water alone.

How to throw an outdoor party

Repeat after me: I do not have to be Martha Stewart to throw a fabulous outdoor party. In fact, summer is the perfect time to mix and match what you have to throw a laid-back gathering in your backyard. Paper plates and lace tablecloths, card tables and squirt guns­ — top it all with good food and a few bunches of fresh flowers, and it’ll be a good time for all!

Family Adventures: While the kid naps, parents can relax

If you’d like to give nap dating a try, here are a few tips.

Spatchcocked chicken a faster way to grill a bird

While I love to roast a whole chicken for an early Sunday night supper, when the temperature rises over 80 degrees, heating the oven becomes martyrdom. But cooking a whole chicken on the grill takes hours of baby-sitting, right? Not if you spatchcock the bird first.

Homemade ricotta is easy cheese

Unless you’re already canning, brewing and fermenting your own foods, the thought of making homemade cheese probably sounds intimidating. Half of you are probably thinking, “Don’t I need a cheese press and a cave for that?” And the other half, “Wait, what’s a cheese press?”

Cashew chicken meets Southern comfort food

Created by David Leong, a Chinese immigrant to Springfield in the 1950s, Springfield cashew chicken is a fusion of Leong’s native Chinese food and the fried chicken and mashed potatoes that he discovered that Southerners loved.

Easy tortilla soup utilizes on-hand ingredients

The last few times my mother-in-law has visited, she’s whipped up this easy tortilla soup. We’ve started calling it “Tin-Can Tortilla Soup” because — other than any optional toppings that you want to doctor it up with — all of the ingredients come in cans or are otherwise shelf-stable.

Parts and crafts: Everything you need to throw a craft party

Whether you create something for charity or just your own enjoyment, planning your next gathering around a craft project is a way to party with a purpose. But while an afternoon or evening of making things with friends is fun, it does require a little more planning than the average shindig.

Family Adventures: In the market for fun

Pendleton's Country Market goes out of its way to make every family's visit a fun one, and picking asparagus is the perfect excuse to head down there this season.

Morel mushrooms are a rare delight

While they’re deserving of their deeply savory and earthy reputation, morel mushrooms — which have a short season in mid-spring in Kansas — are all but impossible to grow yourself. In order to get a basket full, you either have to know how to forage for them or know someone else who does.