This summer marks the second year I planned an outdoor family gathering, only to have the weather spoil my plans. We bought a home with a community pool, that oddly enough, isn’t busy at all! I invited my husband’s family (13 kids, 10 adults) over for a pool and grill party. I bought water balloons, baby pools and outdoor gear were set up in the yard, and we had lots and lots of food. Family started showing up around 230 pm with excited kiddos already dressed in their swim suits. By 330 pm, the clouds rolled in and we never saw blue sky again. We got in one water balloon fight (our HOA closed the pool, in preparation for what was to come), before the rain dumped, and poured and blew for 5 straight hours. Hail made an appearance once or twice, and thunder and lightening serenaded the nighttime sky. All the while, 23 people were trapped inside my house, dreaming of what might have been. A sunny day, sounds of kids laughing and splashing in the background and the smell of sunscreen filling our noses, as we enjoy time at the pool.
In all seriousness, the day still turned out to be amazing time spent with family. Kids ran all over my house, laughing, screaming and letting their imagination run wild, which is what I dream of every time I host them in my home. My kids love their cousins more than anything in this world. Noah literally balls his eyes out when they have to leave. The night was also made better having watched my husband get drenched going in and out of the house trying to grill our dinner. It calmed me in a way, having laughter in me. You see, I had no plan B if the weather rained out our outdoor party. I wasn’t prepared. My inside table was covered in school work and not set up for more than 6 people. The kids crowded their table with coloring books and crayons. I hadn’t allowed the proper amount of counter space for all the food that had to be set up inside. I was a mess!!! But somehow, we pulled it off. Levi cooked the burgers and brats perfectly and kept them dry from the grill to the counter. I cooked the shrooms in the oven to save time. The kids ate. The adults ate. Our tummys were happy. And we talked and laughed and joked about how we should send the kids outside to play in the front yard, as a small stream was in the making. I couldn’t have done it without the help of family. They saw on my face I was not prepared for the chaos the weather had created. And they jumped in and helped me with my kids, helped cleaning and setting up. Helped me figure out how the pull it all together. The family BBQ may not have been outside in the yard or at the pool, but it succeeded in what I had hoped for when I planned it a couple months ago; getting together, sharing stories, laughing and cousin bonding. In those aspects, it was as successful as if it happened over a camp fire in the backyard. I’m so grateful for my family. And I hope they know that.
Ok let’s talk my kinda barbeque food shall we!!! Now I have come to terms with the fact that not everyone is interested in eating the way that I do and that’s OK!!! I’m always happy to cook for other people foods that are more to their taste. I want everyone who walks in to my home to feel welcome and comfortable. Hosting is such a joy for me! And I always hope people are as excited to come to my home as I am to have them, no matter the occasion.
This barbeque was made potluck style by the mere fact I didn’t want to do all of the cooking for a family this size 2 days after I put together a lovely tea party. So, we provided the “stuff on the grill” buns and condiments. One might think, huh well that’s easy Aubrey. Just go to Costco and buy a few packs of hot dogs and frozen hamburgers and bam! you’re done. Weeellllllll that’s not how I do things. I did go to Costco and buy buns. I also bought nitrate and antibiotics free bratwursts and organic, grass fed, antibiotics free hamburger to make my own hamburgers. I also needed a vegan option, becaue well that’s gotta happen! My first plan was to do a portabella mushroom burger, which then evolved into a portabella mushroom “everything-which”. Yes that’s what I’m calling it. It was a new version of home made cashew cheese (which tasted soooooo much like real cheese I cried when I tasted it), chives, tomato and spinach smushed between 2 huge marinated portabella mushrooms. They were SO delicious!
Oh man, this cashew cheese, it may be the best cheese I’ve ever had….well I probably shouldn’t go that far as goat cheese is still my fave. But this is a close second. I used red miso paste this time, an idea I stole off Pinterest. It gave the cheese a salty taste and I couldn’t even taste the cashews, which is usually my biggest complaint with cashew cheese. I also think it helped that it had to “age” while it sat in a cheese cloth all day. Droooool. Yum. The recipe for this burger can be found here.
My amazing sister in laws and mother in law brought pretty tasty salads and fruit, along with blueberry cobbler for dessert. If I hosted a family summer barbecue every year, even if it gets rained out, I hope it is always like this one. The rain may have brought us a little closer together.
Until next time….
Have a fabulous day!