Birthday Cookout

Yesterday I went to my grandma’s house to celebrate the birthday of someone very special–my Aunt Dina.


My mom and her sister Dina were separated by five brothers and are sixteen years apart. But growing up, it was hard to believe she was that much older than my mom. She was at every birthday party, concert, and graduation party, rode every ride at Six Flags with us, and stood in line for several midnight showings of Harry Potter. In two short weeks, we’ll be taking an Alaskan adventure together. My Aunt Dina is proof that you’re never too old to have fun!

We celebrated her birthday a day early at my grandma’s house. It was just the girls yesterday: my grandma, Aunt Dina, Mom, sisters Emily and Moriah, and niece Aurelia.

011Emily and I decided to (wo)man the grill.


Dina’s grill is smaller than my own Charlie, so we cooked food in shifts and moved them to the oven inside on warm as they finished.


First up were the sweet potatoes, which were tossed in olive oil and some Garlic Pepper Salt that my sister Moriah found in the cupboard.


I slurped down three large glasses of Root Beer tea while I was there. Must have been dehydrated from the night before.


I know a person’s worth has nothing to do with their beauty, but Aurelia is too cute to stay mad at, even after she chased me around the living room trying to bite me. The little zombie baby is growing her molars and apparently I’m her choice of chew.


We snacked on some pita chip, hummus and strawberries while we sat in the almost-blistering heat.017

The little moonbeam loves her strawberries.


We also indulged in a little wine.


But given the hot weather, I opted for a beer.024

After the sweet potatoes were done, we started the protein: brats, chicken sausage, mediterranean chickpea patties, and spicy black bean patties.


Mom said she doesn’t know how to grill, but I think she just wanted to relax after her crazy days in Manitowoc the day before.

PicMonkey Collage

While the meat and fake meat cooked, Emily entertained us by juggling. I think we made her a little nervous by watching. Or it could have been because I threatened to test out her ability to juggle knives.025

I opted to split my mediterranean chickpea patty in half and force it into a hot dog bun, because those were multigrain. I rarely ever eat white bread now, unless Dave makes it homemade. 026

Mom made a really tasty noodle salad with black beans, onions and pistachios. And of course, since I didn’t bring hummus, I brought a couscous salad. Cold pasta salads are the best in summer.


Grilled sweet potatoes= always awesome.


And in addition to dressing up my patty with cheddar cheese and ketchup, I also got to use some Inglehoffer Creamy Dill mustard that my mom saw on the blog and bought. Now I have converts! 😀


Dessert was my mom’s famous no-bake cheesecake. This time, the crust was peanut butter oreos (yum) with caramel topping.


Happy Birthday, dear Dina….033

Aurelia almost caught on to the “How old are you?” part. I think she’s going to grow up to be a singer!


The cheesecake was amazing, but I was so full that I could only polish off a little more than a half. After finishing the cake and washing dishes, I headed home.

Where did the weekend go? It’s going to be a long work week until Illgenstock.


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