Tag: entertaining

TeamLouka 2015: Our Virtual Christmas Card

Friends & Family,

We are trying something new this year.  Maybe it will stick, maybe not.  We’re providing a virtual Christmas card, our 2015 in review.  Just a few highlights to share some of our favorite moments.

Year 2 of 3 of our Residency Training

We stayed very busy with work this year, transitioning from Interns to “Upper levels” within the Emergency Department.  We studied for and passed Step 3 of our medical boards, and even ran simultaneous “codes” (cardiac arrests) which both resulted in “conversions” (return to a regular heart rhythm).

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Love in London

In February, we had a week of vacation, but opted to do a “staycation” and throw a London-themed Valentine’s Day party.  Jackie and Chrissy made us some amazing cookies.  We were joined by old friends, family, neighbors, and even The Queen herself!


Bought a New Car

CarMax never knew what hit ’em!  We sold Amir’s old 1999 Mercury Cougar and upgraded to a 2011 JEEP Grand Cherokee.  After all the snow last winter, we knew we needed a more reliable way to get to work in bad weather.  The Emergency Department (ED) never closes, so we go in during hurricanes, floods and blizzards.


Phoenix & Sedona, AZ

In April we both flew to Arizona for a national emergency medicine educators conference where Amir presented a patient he saw in the ED. We rented a JEEP named Jennie and went off-road.  Amir’s write-up of the adventure was published on JPFreek.com!

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18th Annual Krebs/Louka Crab Bake

In May, we co-hosted the 18th Annual Crab Bake with The Krebs, and lots of help from Amir’s mom, Julia.  A later date meant more plentiful crabs, better weather and the return of Giant Jenga.  The highlight was when little Zee crawled out on the pool cover.  Thankfully with 20+ paramedics and doctors at the party, a rescue wasn’t far off.  Ray Jr. to the rescue!


Cara & Sean’s Wedding

If you know me, you’ve almost certainly met Cara Reske, one of my two best friends since elementary school.  One of the highlights of the year was October 17, the wedding of Cara to Sean Monahan, a wonderful guy she met up in Baltimore.  Sean works as a real estate agent and is a diehard Orioles fan.


FloydFiesta Block Party 

Every day we grow to love Richmond (or RVA as locals call it) even more.  Part of that is because of our amazing neighbors.  Each year we have an old-fashioned block party where we shut down the street and bring in bands, food trucks and friends.  We’ve also come to be known for our mobile bar on wheels.  Last year we made Dark N’ Stormies; this year we made friends serving Orange Crushes, a Virginia Beach classic, and now a favorite of The Fan District.


UCI Road World Championships

Before September, I knew nothing about professional cycling, except bits and pieces of the Lance Armstrong scandal.  The Tour de France is actually part of a “triple crown” in professional cycling.  The other two events are the Tour de Vuelta, held in Spain, and the Road Worlds, which rotates locations each year.  This year it took place in our city, Richmond, VA.  We were able to participate on many levels, working the medical tent, assisting with drug testing, riding around in the “Doctor Lexus,” the chase car following all of the cyclists, and of course as spectators.  The event brought an extra 650,000 people to Richmond, and introduced us both to an amazing sport.


“Studycation” to The Inn at Tabbs Creek

In early October, we spent5 days and 4 nights at a little B&B on the Chesapeake Bay while we studied for part 3 of our medical licensing exam. The breakfasts were delicious, the crabbing plentiful, and relaxation abundant.


Tariq & Anna’s Wedding

Just this weekend, we were fortunately enough to spend a lovely evening celebrating the wedding of Amir’s brother, Tariq (the lawyer), to the lovely and wonderful Anna Kozicki. They’ve had a difficult year, so it was great to see them both smiling ear to ear.


And like most years, the days in between were filled with random dinners with friends, rescue shifts, studying to be better doctors, writing blog posts, and spending time with family.  We wish we could have seen everyone this year, but even if we didn’t, know that we think of you often.

Wishing you love & joy this holiday season,

Amir, Stephanie & Winston


Cooking for Singles

Originally posted to Facebook August 12, 2010 @7:12PM:

Kaye Krebs & Stephanie Krebs Louka

Backstory: I was whining to my mom about how difficult it is to cook healthy, quick meals for one person.  I can only eat so much broccoli in a week before it goes bad.  If you’ve been to my mom’s kitchen, you know that she has a unique ability to whip up something amazing in a jiffy.  I asked her to document her motherly wisdom.

What I Stock in My Kitchen

By Your Mother


Basics:  Eggs, large sweet onion, garlic cloves, butter, milk, half and half, whipped cream cheese, sour cream, chicken stock base and all my bread (except what I freeze)fridge

Condiments:  Mayo, ketchup, yellow mustard, Dijon mustard, sweet relish, bottled lemon juice, capers, horseradish, sweet pickle relish, Major Gray’s chutney, and Worchester sauce

Deli Drawer:  Bacon, hot dogs, American cheese, Swiss cheese, crumbled blue cheese or Saga blue wedge, cheddar cheese, fresh grated parmesan or parmesan reggiano wedge or assaggio wedge, sometimes feta cheese, and a ham steak slice

Vegetables: Baby carrots, small head iceberg lettuce, celery and one bag of specialty lettuce (spinach, arugula, field greens, baby lettuces, romaine, etc.)  Two white potatoes and two sweet potatoes


Breads:  Hot dog and hamburger rolls, raisin bread, small Lender Bagels (onion and plain), a loaf of Arnold’s hearty multigrain bread, Phyllo dough and English muffins

Meat/Fish:  Individually wrapped boneless chicken breasts, pork chops hamburger patties, Canadian bacon, sausage, cooked and peeled shrimp and tilapia filets

Vegetables:  (The kind in a bag, not “block”) Baby peas, chopped spinach, french green beans and strips of red and green peppers

Other:  Homemade soups, stews, chili, taco spiced ground beef and spaghetti sauce.  The only pre-made dinner products that I buy (and they’re excellent) are Stouffer’s Escalloped Chicken and Noodles and Stuffed Green Peppers with Tomato Sauce.


Canned Goods: Small cans of mushrooms, albacore tuna, white crab meat, minced clams, water chestnuts, corn, black beans and pimento.  Diced tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, kidney beans and white cannellini beans.  Soups:  bisque of tomato, cream of mushroom, cream of chicken, cream of celery and cream of asparagus.  Fruits:  mandarin oranges, whitePantry2grapefruit, and pear halves (not the kind packed in heavy syrup)

Dried Goods: Pasta, lentils, peas, panko crumbs, corn bread mix, Italian style breadcrumbs white rice, Top Ramen noodles, crackers (at a minimum saltines and Ritz or a flavored cracker) and peanut butter.  Nuts:  pecans, walnuts, cashews and peanuts.  Fruit: cherries, cranberries and raisins.  Cereal and cookies

Other:  Soy sauce, sesame oil, peanut oil, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, rice wine, dry sherry, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, flour, sugar, artificial sweetener and salt.  Essential spices: basil, dill, tarragon, parsley, oregano, peppercorns (for a pepper mill) and freeze-dried chives.

Some Tips for Inexpensive, Quick Wonderful Food

1.      Buy lots of small freezer bags and Glad plastic containers.  Mark and date what you freeze for easy identification.  Because you’re cooking for one, you’ll want to freeze the rest of that jar of spaghetti sauce or the extra diced tomatoes.   My rule is 6 months for frozen, 5 days for refrigerated leftovers.

2.      If you’re cooking, make enough for a second or third meal.  img_5013It doesn’t take any longer, other than to package and stick it in the freezer.  Things like stews and chili are actually better the second time.

3.      Pack meat and fish individually in freezer bags.  For fish and seafood, be sure to ask if it was previously frozen. Don’t refreeze if it was frozen and thawed at the fish counter.

4.      All the things I keep in the “deli drawer” will keep a long time.  Bacon and the ham slice have been cured.  Cheeses will keep too as long as you have them in a well-sealed baggies.

5.      Obviously, you can’t buy everything on this list at once, but keep in mind that you are stocking your kitchen each time you go to the store.  So pick up a couple of things on the list each time.  You can start with one vinegar or oil, then add others later.

6.      I haven’t included fresh fruits and vegetables.  Buy what’s in season.  They’re cheaper and better.

7.      Use your toaster oven instead of the big oven when you’re eating alone.

8.      That Sunday afternoon when you’re doing laundry and lounging around, make soup.  It’s fun and wonderful eating.  (Or you can come here and raid the freezer.)

9.      Buy a rotisserie chicken.  Eat it sliced the first time.  rotisserie-chicken2-webThen make chicken salad, chicken a la king, chicken sandwiches, or toss it with some pasta, those leftover mushrooms and Parmesan cheese.

10.  Make salad dressings, don’t buy them.  Mix oil to vinegar about 2 to 1.  Taste it, add salt and pepper, maybe Dijon mustard.  Remember that great dressing from Bodega?  Use sherry instead of vinegar with your extra virgin olive oil.   Maybe add some blue cheese crumbles.  saladdressingOr, if you like the creamy kind, start with a little mayonnaise, add a little sour cream and blue cheese.  Too thick?  Add a little milk.  Or make a dressing starting with mayonnaise, add ketchup and lemon juice.  This is the dressing you like on that shrimp salad (iceberg lettuce, shredded cheddar, chopped tomatoes, a little sweet onion).  Add a little horseradish for an extra kick.  If you want Thousand Island dressing, add sweet pickle relish to this.

11.  When you don’t feel like cooking, eggs and/or cheese is your answer.  Make a nice omelet.  You have ham in your deli bin, there are lots of cheeses to choose from and onions or chives (in the spice rack) or maybe you want to use some of those leftover mushrooms..  Or, maybe you have a fresh ripe tomato that would go great with Swiss, Brie, or mozzarella.  Take out some of that 12-grain bread from the freezer.  Get one or two of those green or red pepper strips while you’re there for the omelet.   Maybe whip up a little spinach salad with some pecans, dried cherries, a bit of apple and some blue cheese with the Bodega dressing.  Add a glass of wine.  Wow, what a great meal!

12.  What else can you do with eggs?  Egg salad or a BLT with egg sandwich, If you really want to get fancy, how about a cheese soufflé?

13.  What else can you do with cheese?   Well, of course, there’s American cheese for a grilled cheese sandwich (wonderful with your bisque of tomato soup and a few pickles).  But you might try a mixture of cheeses for your grilled cheese.  Or, take that plump ripe tomato (in season), put it on some toasted 12-grain bread from your freezer and top it with some Swiss cheese and put it in the toaster oven to melt the cheese, adding some Mayo before you close it.  Wonderful.  Or, get one of those bagels, toast it, cover with cream cheese and add a big tomato slice with salt and pepper.  (Kristin taught me this.)  Too good to describe.  Or maybe just get some good crackers, some fresh pears, grapes or an apple, and a hunk of cheese and go at it.  A nice glass of wine too.  Who needs a hot meal?

14.   Knowing how to make “white sauce” is essential. This is a basic of French cooking and there are three kinds of white sauce: thin, medium and thick.  bechamel-01-2500There are 3 ingredients: butter, flour and milk.  The basic recipe uses 1C of milk.  For thin 1 T flour and butter.  For medium: 2T flour and butter.  For thick: 3 T flour and butter.  Now, you want to add salt and pepper to taste.  (You may remember the dinner you, Jackie, Kara and Kristin Dennis made for all the parents.  You made a basic medium white sauce and added champagne.  This was the sauce you poured over your chicken.) Or, you can add a little sherry, if you like that flavor (I do.)  Quite honestly, I have never made a thin or thick white sauce.  The medium is always right for my purposes.  So now that you’ve made it, what do you do with it?  Well, you could chop up some of that leftover rotisserie chicken and put it in that with a little pimento or leftover mushrooms, maybe some onion that you’ve sautéed.  You could even add some of those baby peas from the freezer or a couple of chopped strips of red or green pepper (also in the freezer) and/or pimento….good too.  Now you have chicken a la king, which you can serve over an English muffin (also in your freezer) or toast points.  One of your dad’s favorite quick dishes is tuna fish (from the can) with just white sauce and salt and pepper on toast or English muffin.  You can add chipped beef (get it from a deli) to the white sauce too, serving it over toast.  When I make baked chicken potpie, I use white sauce with some tarragon (to taste…..add a little, then more until you like it).

15.  So what else can you make when you don’t really feel like cooking?   Well, you can stir up a “stir fry”.   exps152485_SD132778B04_12_4bTake those veggies that have been languishing in the fridge, maybe you bought some broccoli or fresh green beans or snow peas.  Put a little pan of water on to boil and start a skillet (you don’t need a wok) with peanut oil.  Chop up some carrots and onions.  Sauté some shrimp from the freezer, leftover chicken or even hot dogs.  Add the veggies to the stirfry (there are no rules here, just leftovers).  Put the Top Ramen noodles in the boiling water until they are soft……maybe a minute?……drain, then throw them in the pan with the veggies and add a little soy sauce and sesame oil.  Dinner, in 10 minutes, Chinese style.

Well, I could go on and on about the wonderful dishes you can make with these ingredients, but you will have fun discovering them, as you become an excellent cook.  (One of the benefits of regularly eating “in” rather than “out”).

You may notice that I didn’t list much for desserts.  Of course, my dad was a diabetic so we never had much in the way of desserts, but I always have fresh fruit and cookies on hand.  Cookies are great because you can eat a couple and that seems to scratch that “sweet” itch.  And of course, fresh fruits, in season, are like manna from the gods.

Much love,

Mom  ❤

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!


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?