Category: Parties & Events

Zesty & Fresh 7 Layer Mexican Bean Dip

This recipe is a staple at nearly every event my mom and I host.  It’s easy to make, requiring no actual cooking.  It’s always a hit, palatable to both adults and kids.

Serves: 10-20 party guests

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 0 minutes | Total time: 15 minutes


  1. 2 cans of Frito-Lay Bean Dip
  2. 16 oz. sour cream
  3. 1 packet Old El Paso Taco Seasoning (Original)
  4. 8 oz. Mexican (four cheese) blend finely shredded cheese
  5. 12 oz pre-made guacamole (or make your own)
  6. 1/2 head of lettuce, diced
  7. 4 roma tomatoes, diced
  8. 1/2 cup chopped scallions (green onion)
  9. 1 bag Tostitos Scoops



  1. FullSizeRender (29)In a medium bowl, stir the taco seasoning into the sour cream.
  2. Prepare the produce by dicing the tomatoes, lettuce and scallions.  Keep separated.
  3. In an ungreased 9″x13″ pan (for convenience use disposable), spread the 2 cans of bean dip along the bottom of the pan.
  4. Spread the guacamole evenly on top of the bean dip, using a spoon to level the surface.
  5. Spread the sour cream mix over the guacamole.
  6. Sprinkle the lettuce across the bean, guacamole and sour cream layers.
  7. Add an even layer of cheese (this should cover the lettuce completely)
  8. Add the roma tomatoes
  9. Finish with scallions (and black olives if desired)

Don’t forget the tortilla chips!


Cucumber Sandwiches from the Crab Bake

From the recipe box of Kaye Krebs:

  1. Mix 1 pkg 8 oz cream cheese (room temp) with 1/2 C mayonnaise and 25829_392994859544_2539945_n1 pkg Good Seasons Italian salad dressing mix.
  2. Beat with mixer until smooth and well-mixed. Refrigerate until flavors blend or overnight.
  3. Cut crusts from 3 loaves Pepperidge Farm white sandwich bread; cut each slice into quarters.
  4. Spread with thin layer of cream cheese mixture (room temp), top with thin slices of cucumbers (rind on) and a sprinkle of dill.
  5. Use wax paper between layers for storage or the sandwiches will get soggy.

I doubled this recipe and ran out. You can never make enough, it’s a Southern staple. Enjoy!


DIY Wedding Invites: Start with a blank canvas & fancy it up

Pricey invitations got you down?  Like most people, the hardest part of planning our wedding was making the most out of the budget we had.  I had received some great advice to make a list of the Top 3 elements you care most about, and the 3 you care least about.  That way you can shift money away from low priority items and towards what you really want.

Dead last on our list was wedding cake, but just ahead of that were the invitations.  We wanted something cheap that didn’t look cheap.  Solution: Take a simple but elegant invite and fancy it up with specialty paper, silver leaf or other accents.

target invite
Simple ivory invitation set from Target

1. Pick a classic canvas

Simple is great and can give you a quality canvas for the base of your invite.  Target, Michael’s and other online retailers sell great print-your-own invitation sets that you can format to your home printer specs.  I really like the Gartner Studios collection at Target.  The plain invites also have the benefit of being cheaper, and there’s typically more quantity in stock.

2.  Find accents to match your colors

You can buy fine papers in any pattern you can think of online or at art & craft stores.  Think about the tone you want to set for your big event – you invites will set the stage.  Don’t be afraid to go bold.  The other benefit of a simple, classy canvas is room to really show your creative side.

19bab5cca7ba22f770c4aa12ba100bd9 c5b32119f1b90e59b092cbd70fa5efef mozart_plum_1 has some great options, or check out for a breathtaking collection of fine Italian papers guaranteed to impress.

3.  Accessorize you invites

Adding a 3D element to your invites can really raise them to a new level.  Whether it’s a satin bow, wax seal, or a chrome paper clip, it’s the details that really make it your unique creation.


Just Google “invitation accessories” and get ready to explore endless possibilities.  If you have good self control, consider breaking out your Bedazzler!  Also, don’t be afraid to decorate your envelopes.  Just make sure you check with the USPS regarding any increased costs or anticipated damage to your masterpiece.  Depending on the postage option you choose, invites may be hand or machine sorted, so it pays to ask.

wax seal
Silver wax seal and a satin ribbon

4.  Find that one thing to tie it all together

Your wedding correspondence is a great way to set the stage for your event.  Nothing says it has to be matchy-matchy, but before you get to work on production, try to identify at least one element to tie together your Save-the-Dates, Rehearsal Dinner Invites and Wedding Invites.  It could be as simple as using the same font, or repeating a central color throughout.  In our case we repeated our colors, and changed the design big time from event to event.

Save the Date
Invitation for our Egyptian/Mediterranean Rehearsal Dinner
Bridal Shower Invitation

5.  Time to produce your masterpiece

I highly recommend recruiting friends & family to help with this step.  Create an assembly-line structure to ensure uniformity in each step and to keep things swift and fun.  Having multiple bottles of Prosecco on hand does’t hurt either.

4 frame
DIY Customized Wedding Invites – $1.06 each

Please feel free to comment with any questions or ideas that you’ve tried!  Special thanks to my mother, Kaye Krebs, and mother-in-law, Julia Louka, for creating all 240 of our invitations by hand.


The History of the Krebs Crab Bake

In the Spring of 1998, I was a 2nd Year at UVA, living in the Tri-Sigma sorority house with lots of great friends.  In the Spring, UVA always gave you the Monday after Easter off, but for my out-of-state friends, a 3 day weekend wasn’t quite long enough to make a trip back home to New England.  As the weather was nice, and Spring just showing itself, my roommates asked if we could go to Virginia Beach for the weekend to celebrate the great weather.  I warned them it wouldn’t be swimming weather, but that we could certainly partake in some very VB things like eating crabs and drinking Corona’s on a patio on a nice day.  They wanted in, and thus, the Krebs Crab Bake was born.

Since that first bake, things have changed tremendously, but some things have stayed the same.  The zen of the party has always been to show up, enjoy the weather, welcome in Spring with some great seafood, ice cold bottled beer, and spend time with friends.  Over the years, I’ve been through 3 jobs, 4 boyfriends and now 1 husband, medical school, and a move to Richmond.  Yet, the Crab Bake remains the one day of the year when all those random people from my life who are strangers to each other, come together and make new friends.  And there’s my mom, the anchor of it all.  In honor of the upcoming 18th Annual Krebs Crab Bake coming up on May 9, I decided to recap the little known history of this event.  I hope you will submit some of your favorite memories and milestones for me to add to this list.


1st Annual Krebs Crab Bake – April 11, 1998

Attendees: Kaye Krebs, Stephanie Krebs, Karen (Lee) Sippel, Sarah (Hawkins) Vrabel

Kaye bought all us girls Easter Baskets and hid them around the house for us to find.  Yes, we were 19, but it was awesome.  At the first Bake we did have blue crabs, but we hadn’t yet discovered the wonders of Frogmore Stew.

Sarah, Karen & Steph
Sarah, Karen & Steph

2nd Annual Krebs Crab Bake – April 3, 1999

  • Attendees: Kaye Krebs, Stephanie Krebs, Karen (Lee) Sippel, Cara Reske
  • Easter baskets
  • Still girls-only
  • Crabs and beer (still no frogmore stew yet)


3rd Annual Krebs Crab Bake – April 22, 2000

  • Boys were finally invited

4th Annual Krebs Crab Bake – April 14, 2001 

5th Annual Krebs Crab Bake – March 30, 2002

The Crab Bake by tradition had always been on the Saturday before Easter, because that was the UVA 3-day weekend.  So, for Year 5, in keeping with tradition, we held the Bake on March 30 as Easter was early that season, but the next day.  Little did we know, but it’s illegal to fish for blue crab in VA prior to April 1 each year, so there were no blue crabs available ANYWHERE.  Our solution (and not a cheap one), Alaskan King Crab Legs!  Memorable, but not financially sustainable.  From this point forward, the Crab Bake would always be after April 1, even if Easter fell in March.

6th Annual Krebs Crab Bake – 2003

I had just started working at Trader Publishing Company in February 2003.  Little did I know, that would be a huge turning point in my life.  A career I didn’t even know I would love would blossom, and I made some of the best friends of my life.  Crab Bake regulars made their mark, and cemented their lifetime invites.

7th Annual Krebs Crab Bake – 2004

8th Annual Krebs Crab Bake – April 9, 20053272_72962725868_7188340_n

This was the one and only year we tried to have the bake without Kaye.  She was off in Gatlinburg, TN at the ACBL Regional Bridge Tournament.  Cara Reske, Steph (Krup) Repole & Dave Lowery and I thought, “how hard can this be?” and decided to have the Bake without Kaye.  Let’s just say there’s a reason we’ve never had one since where Kaye wasn’t there.  3272_72962700868_8378166_n

I sent Steph and Cara out to Bubba’s to pick up the fresh crabs.  I guess I wasn’t explicit enough in my instructions, because when they got back to the house, I reached into the bag and almost lost a finger.  I had failed to mentioned they should ask for the crabs to be cooked there with Old Bay.  They brought home 4 dozen live crabs that I didn’t have the heart to kill myself.  They hopped back in my VW Cabrio, went back to Bubbas, had the crabs cooked, and then returned to Thoroughgood.  Ooops.

9th Annual Krebs Crab Bake – 2006

By 2006, I had made A LOT of new friends at Trader, and the Crab Bake attendance had expanded accordingly.  In her wisdom, my mom went searching for a better way to feed 40+ people crabs at roughly the same time.  Behold:  Frogmore Stew.  A new tradition was born.

10th Annual Krebs Crab Bake – 2007

To celebrate a decade of Crab Bakes, Allen & Suzanna McGrath gave my mom a commemorative rock with an inscription honoring 10 long years of good food, cold beer and friends.  Unfortunately, the weather was 38 degrees, but we didn’t let that stop us.  We broke out the fire pits to keep warm, and created another memorable event.  I think there may have even been snowflakes.  Year 10 was also the 1st year for Cornhole Boards.


11th Annual Krebs Crab Bake – April 12, 2008

Zoe Bertolacci officially became the first loyal baby/kid attendee.  By Design – Kevin Strange, Muj, Zach and Nick’s band played for the first time.  Kaye & Gary were hosting Obama campaigners because it was election season. They joined the fray late night.


12th Annual Krebs Crab Bake – 2009

13th Annual Krebs Crab Bake – April 11, 2010

For Lucky #13, Bartender Steve from Tautog’s and his lovely girlfriend Vanessa joined the crowd.  Steve tried to rival Kevin Freet for best bloody mary.  The Trader crew remained loyal attendees, even though I had stopped working there back in 2007.


14th Annual Krebs Crab Bake – April 23, 2011

In the Fall of 2010, I started medical school at EVMS, and with that came a whole new crop of friends.  14 was also the first year with it’s own logo designed by Nick Valese.  We had about 60 koozies made, which were a huge hit!

Design credit: Nick Valese


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15th Annual Krebs Crab Bake – April 14, 2012

Year 15 was the year Jackie started bringing her delicious and adorable cookies for all to enjoy!  Back by popular demand, we ordered koozies again.

Design credit: Nick Valese

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16th Annual Krebs Crab Bake – April 13, 2013

Year 16 we had a lot more EMS people in attendance.  Jackie was VERY pregnant with Ethan and Jacob.  It was also the first year Amir and I were officially together.  The financial strain of Medical School was catching up, so we opted to forego koozies this year.


17th Annual Krebs Crab Bake – April 19, 2014

The year of Giant Jenga and snow crab legs – AGAIN!  Apparently all the cold weather and storms stirred up the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay, creating an uninhabitable environment for the crabs to breed for the season.  We called around to 12 different crab distributors with no luck.  There were no blue crabs to be had across the East Coast from MD to NC.


Chad and Delia Kloefkorn


Dwayne, Stephanie & Amir

18th Annual Krebs Crab Bake – May 9, 2015

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Design Credit: Nick Valese

ADDENDUM: 04/10/2016

19th Annual Krebs/Louka Crab Bake – May 7, 2016

Design credit: Nick Valese

This year’s crab bake was complicated by the sale of the Thoroughgood house.  Fortunately, the timing allowed for the party to take place as planned on May 7.  For a while, everything was up in the air, but with a new house purchased and the Thoroughgood House sold in only 3 days, the 19th is on!


Still wondering:

Who knows the date of the one and only “1/2 Way to the Crab Bake Party” we had back in 2007/2008/2009 time frame?