Grandma B’s Birthday Cookout

In my family (and probably most Wisconsin families) nearly every summer holiday involves a cookout. Memorial Day? Cookout! Father’s Day? Cookout! Independence Day? Cookout! Birthday? Cookout! Sunday? Cookout! You get the picture.

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My immediate family members are huge fans of the slow food movement. On cookout days, we will have some noshes during the day like chips and salsa, cheese and crackers, or veggies and hummus, but we mostly spend the entire time prepping for a late dinner from the grill.

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My mom’s family does things a little differently. As soon as we arrived for Grandma’s birthday, the grill was immediately started, and we were eating in about an hour. It felt weird to be eating a meal in the middle of the day on Sunday! Fortunately, my family arrived early and had some playtime before lunch.

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My mom, part time tea specialist and part time horticulturist, spent her morning working in my grandma’s yard.

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We watched. 🙂

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It was a beautiful day. Hot and sunny, just the way I like ’em, with a nice breeze to appease the hot-weather haters.

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My aunt Nita was the grillmaster yesterday and grilled up aI  mess of hot dogs, brats, and a few sundried tomato basil veggie burgers that I threw into the mix.

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I relaxed with a ‘Jamaican Me Happy’ malt beverage my aunt bought for the occasion. Not really my cup of tea, but it was cold and sweet on a hot day and went down very easily.

001I whipped up a batch of broccoli salad for the occasion, loosely based on one I made for St. Patrick’s Day from the Avoca Cafe cookbook. I blanched and shocked a bunch of broccoli, chopped up two bell peppers, added feta cheese, sunflower seeds, and topped it with a honey mustard dressing that I made with olive oil, white wine vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper.

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We had one tiny table piled with all sorts of goodies for lunch.

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I helped myself to some broccoli salad, macaroni salad, potato salad, chickpea salsa, and a sundried tomato basil burger on half a bun. After this plate, I had a few spoonfuls of fruit salad. (Holy salads, Batman!)

Then it was time to sing to the birthday girl.

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Happy 89th birthday, Grandma!

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My sister Emily made these awesome root beer float cupcakes, and I had one with a scoop of ice cream. I wanted to try my aunt’s lemon cake, but I was already full, so I passed.

Since I hadn’t got any morning exercise in, I eagerly agreed to go on a walk over the bridge in De Pere. We left Grandma to chat with her boys and hit the pavement for a nice long walk.

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Along the way, we made several stops to watch the pelicans and fish by the dam.

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And we finally got to walk on De Pere’s new riverwalk that was built last year.

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They are turning the old Locktender’s house (a man who used to be responsible for running the dam gates) into a coffee and snack shop, which I’m pretty excited about.

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It’s going to be run by one of my favorite restaurants, Kavarna, and promises picnic food, snacks, treats, and hot and cold beverages. I’m sure it’s going to be a happening place in the summer!

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We probably walked four or five miles total, and my feet weren’t thanking me for wearing flip flops, but I didn’t care. It was too nice of a day to pass up a walk! After heading back, I said goodbye to Grandma and the rest of the fam to head home…for another cookout!

One of our good friends was visiting from Elkhorn, so Dave invited a few people over to grill out. I only snapped one picture, because I was more concerned with relaxing and hanging out than taking pictures by that point…it had been a long day.

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But here’s our friend Michelle from Elkhorn cooking up all sorts of tasty things on the grill. We had brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, salmon, brats, and couscous. I was definitely spoiled with good food yesterday!

Once again, the weekend was over much too quickly. I’m looking forward to my three day weekend coming up with Memorial Day next Monday. I need a rest day!

Hope your weekend was fabulous!

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