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Far be it from me to become a food blogger.  I leave that heavy lifting to my good friend, The Domestic Badass, who launched her official website last week.  Still, I love food.  I wish I’d
been one of those fashionistas who instead posts pictures of her latest ensembles—I’d be much more chic and thin.  Yet, while I can’t bring myself to spend $100 on a new pair of shoes, I’ll go broke for a good meal.

 Hence, much of my hot summer has been standing at my hot grill, smoking out the neighbors with everything from chicken and ribs to burgers and dogs to skirt steaks and a London Broil marinated in Coca-cola (yeah, you read that right).   Maybe it’s overkill, but when you’ve been without a grill and backyard for as long as we have, you’ll grill romaine lettuce just for the hell of it (try it with a little lemon, it’s really good!).

I’d been working at the flames since I was a kid spending summers at my dad’s in Georgia.  After a day of swimming and waiting for my dad and his friends to stop singing to the the “The Big Chill” soundtrack on the stereo, I took it upon myself to marinate the ribeyes (a splash a Worchestershire sauce, a little salt and pepper), which wouldn’t get sizzled until almost ten o’clock.  I can’t say if they turned out good or if I just wolfed them down because I was hungry.

Truth is, I’d really like to be a vegan.  I’ve read enough studies and anecdotal evidence to know that it’s healthier.  In fact, there was a time when the Hubs and I literally quit cold turkey (hot turkey, too).  After reading a book about the meat industry, he decided we were done.  We ate a lot of pasta and fake bacon after that.  Since then—and even after we resumed our carnivorous ways—I haven’t been able to cook a chicken or steak to save my life.

That is, until we got our grill.  Skirt steak is now my specialty.  It’s all in the timing, really.  And the marinade. My sister-in-law gave me her Dominican mother’s special sauce as a housewarming gift. Every Thanksgiving, she pours it over the pernil before sticking it in the oven.  Hours later, we’re all standing around the cutting board, picking at pork shreds and licking our fingers.  I doused the steak with the sauce and let it sit in a plastic bag for the day.  I cannot give you the recipe for the sauce because I simply do not know what’s in it.  And I don’t care.  I just know it looks more like something I’d find in my Grampa’s garage than marinade and tastes like a dream.  One whiff from the jar and I smell peppers, or maybe cilantro, or onion?  Does it even matter?  I’m hungry!

I corkscrewed my dogs. Amazing!

And what is summer without freshly squeezed lemonade and gallons of sweet tea?  Just me?  If you know me, you know sweet tea is my one weakness, an effect of living in the South for half my life.  I’ve had to curb my intake a little—all that tea makes me so jittery and I have to run to the ladies room so frequently that people are starting to suspect it’s not tea I’m consuming.  I bought some pint-sized mason jars just to give it that extra touch that says, “Yes, we have a car on blocks, so what?!”  These beauties became my obsession.  They’re not just for canning anymore, and I have big plans for them–including baking small pies! (Yeah, you read that right, too.)


Hubs jumped on the mason jar bandwagon, insisting he make straw holes in the lid.  This involved trips to Home Depot and lots of online shopping for grommets and just the right polystyrene straws.

The Beast is staying cool, too.  We have a hose now–funny how the little things mean so much–and after every walk, he goes over and stands by it, wondering if we’re able to read his mind.