Cooking on a Near Perfect Summers Day

Although we've been experiencing summer-like temperatures for months now, Sunday felt like the quintessential summers day. 
A day to measure all others against. 
A day to repeat every weekend from now until August 24th.  

It started simple enough, with a low key family hangout session on the new deck. 
Yes, we are so thrilled with the progress on our back porch (just a peek here, but more details to come!) makeover we literally drag temporary chairs and tables outside on a daily basis, just to enjoy the new space. 
Coffee, magazines and menu planning…off to a good start already.

In the afternoon, we all headed up town to check out a Charlotte Knight's game in their new stadium. After living in Chicago for a number of years, a baseball game has a lot to live up too. The Knights game did not disappoint. Great game, good crowd, super clean stadium, good food and drink - we all had a great time. Despite the very muggy temperatures. 

Back home, the girls cooled off under the sprinkler while John set up the fire pit to do some summer grilling over the open fire. 

Of course, we usually use a gas grill just like everyone else, but it's out of commission at the moment due to the porch project - little details like that won't keep us from grilling!
Interested in the camp grill - I added the link to my sidebar under "Lovin' Lately".

{Check out that pergola …}

John used the buttermilk brine recipe from Easting Well Magazine. We just swapped out a whole chicken, that he spatchcocked, for the recommended chicken breasts from the original recipe. 

No grilling experience is complete without something to sip on so we whipped up these blueberry mojitos. As one does :)
But seriously, I made an interesting blueberry desert (more on that later) and we had left over blueberry juice - hence the drink.

Y'all, dinner was so good and so easy. This may very well be our staple family BBQ meal from here on forward!
Here are the recipes we used.
Buttermilk brined chicken with basil-mint sauce - chicken was moist and delicious while the sauce was a lighter, fresher take on your standard chimichuri sauce.
Watermelon Feta Orzo salad - this one was a big hit, like real big. I'll be making this one again and again. 
Quick Pickles - a family favorite that I always bring out to ensure the kids will eat something of value during dinner. 

If dinner was a massive success, than I could only call dessert an epic failure. To say the Whipped Berry Pudding from Eating Well Magazine didn't go over well with the girls would be a huge understatement.
 In truth, the recipe sounded really interesting to me (essentially blueberry juice thickened with cream of wheat then whipped into a fluffy state) which should have been my first clue the girls wouldn't appreciate it. Oh well, you win some and you loose a lot. 

But, I'd definitely give it another try for an adult event.

What a lovely way to spend a Sunday. Only 6 more days until we can do it again.
Hope you had a great weekend as well. 

until next time,