Blogging since 2009, I'm a 1950s housewife to the bone and I love to share what I've learned with others. I'm a lifelong foodie, raised with Sunday dinners at my grandmother's and daily scratch cooking in my childhood kitchen. I'm a nerdy homeschooling mama of 3, and a wife of 17 years.

I drink tea when I knit and coffee when I do everything else.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day!
Day 1 - Skirt Steak w/ Chimichurri
Day 2 - Top Sirloin w/ Homemade Rub
Day 3 -
Rib Eye w/ Herbed Butter
Day 4 - Rosemary Chicken
Day 5 - Top Sirloin Gyros
Day 6 - Kansas City Style Pork Chops
Day 7 - Steak and Mushroom Kebabs
Day 8 - Dad's Hamurgers, 2.0
Day 9 - Top Sirloin w/ Mushrooms
Day 10 - Kid's Lunch
Day 11 - Chicken Souvlaki
Day 12 - S'mores Cones
Day 13 - Short Ribs

Kitchen & Sewing Skills!
Intro - Syllabus
Lesson 1 - Running & Whipstitch
Lesson 2 - Cookies

Day 13 of 100 Days of Barbecue – Short Ribs

California, Domestic

Usually, when I make ribs, I roast them in the oven all afternoon. I have no yet attempted to use my grill as a smoker and I wasn’t feeling into learning how to do it on a Wednesday afternoon, so I decided to roast them for a little while before taking them out to the grill. Smoking them in a barbecue or smoker is probably the best way to do it, but I cheated a little, just to avoid rough and bloody ribs. ;)

The real star of this was the barbecue sauce anyway! It’s the most basic barbecue sauce and a great jumping off point for experiments!

Short Ribs

2 lbs short ribs
1 1/2 cups ketchup
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup vinegar
5 tablespoons brown sugar
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

Make the barbecue sauce the night before, then in the morning brush it all over every side of each rib and let that rest in a covered dish in the fridge for a few hours. Then, roast it at 375 for an hour or so and theeeen take it out to the grill.


Personally, I feel like ribs should be served with corn on the cob every time, so that’s what I always do but that is probably just my personal association. Your side combos are endless!

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Day 12 of 100 Days of Barbecue – S’mores Cones

California, Domestic, Uncategorized

When spaghetti and meatballs was requested, naturally I figured I’d just find a way to sneak in some barbecue. I’m pretty sure I figured it out actually. My plan was to make the sauce early in the day, as usual, and make the spaghetti shortly before we ate, also as usual and the meatballs are the part of the meal I’d do on the grill. My plan wasn’t to technically grill the meatballs really, but to cook them in my cast iron skillet on the grill. They’d get that smoky barbecue flavor, with no danger of falling though to the grill abyss. However, I’m a little freaked out about undercooked food. I like my steak with some pink, don’t get my wrong, but an undercooked meatball? Yuck! More importantly, my family may revolt on the whole 100 Days of Barbecue insanity if it resulted in gross meatballs. So I decided to precook the meatballs until I didn’t have to worry about them and theeeen put them in the skillet on the grill. I accidentally cooked them all the way through. Womp-womp. So, oh well? Overcooked meatballs are no good either, so I looked over my ‘desserts to grill’ list, and found these in the queue! Even better, I already had everything I needed!

The kids were all a little unsure about these since there was no marshmallow roasting going on, and as far as they are concerned that is a required step in s’more preparation. All I did was pour some mini marshmallows and chocolate chips in a sugar cone and wrap the whole situation up in tin foil. Then I put them on the grill for like 5 minutes. I didn’t even get the grill totally fired up because I only needed it to be hot enough to melt the chocolate and the marshmallow.



One of them was aaaaalmost on a little too long. It was in the middle and the marshmallows almost totally melted away. The other two were near perfect.

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Day 11 of 100 Days of Barbecue – Chicken Souvlaki

California, Domestic

Tonight’s dinner has been my favorite so far, and actually the second time I’ve made it this summer but the first time I’ve made it since Memorial Day when we started this. I grew up in Greek restaurant kitchens, so this meal was a staple growing up and thankfully when my husband started coming to my parent’s house for dinner when we were teenagers, he fell in love with it too. Chicken souvlaki is in regular rotation on our dinner menu always served with my tzatziki, occasionally in a bun or a pita, usually served on skewers with a rice pilaf and corn – which is exactly how I served it tonight! Find my tzatziki recipe over on day 5.



The secret to good souvlaki (if it’s even a secret) is to get it marinating in the morning. Full disclosure I’m often doing this still in my PJs at 7am so it’s sitting for as long as possible. I use a large pastitsio pan (I’d imagine if you’re not Greek you call it a lasagna pan) for this. I’m honestly not sure how much olive oil I use, but I fill the dish about 1″ deep. In true Greek fashion, I’m not 100% sure how much of anything I use. I can tell you I always use oregano, basil and rosemary. I can also tell you I sprinkle pretty much equal amounts over the surface of the oil until it’s pretty much covered. Then I whisk it up. I cube the chicken and slide it onto the skewers (usually ten pieces per skewer), and then roll it in the seasoned oil until it’s totally covered. From here you just cover the dish and stick it in the fridge until you’re ready to cook it.


Turning skewers on the grill can be tricky because they’re hard to get a hold of the skewers with an oven mitt but it’s also awkward to pinch and turn them with tongs. Once you develop a technique the challenge becomes about moving them around the heat evenly. Obviously, they’re going to brown faster over the flame, but they need to be cooked all the way through and no raw inside and charred on the outside. You’ll need to move them around pretty frequently and close the lid to use the grill as an oven for a while to be sure they’ll thoroughly cooked.

Tzatziki can be made the night before and pilaf can be happening with minimal supervision while you’re grilling. You can always just use a rice steamer to make rice while you’re outside if you don’t want to make a pilaf. This pairs well with corn, so you can either do corn on the cob on the grill or boil it inside. The nice thing about corn on the cob is if you boil it inside a little earlier, you can pop it in a very low oven while you’re grilling and it’ll stay warm without getting gross. Then just put everything out on the table when you’re ready to serve

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Day 10 of 100 Days of Barbecue – Kid’s Lunch

California, Domestic, Kids

So day 10 is the first day I’m not sharing a recipe. This afternoon our besties came over for a little barbecue and while nothing on the grill was made by me, we came to the conclusion that since we grilled it all, it still counts. :P

We went for a swim The kids went for a swim while the mamas broke up sibling squabbles endlessly adjusted goggles soaked up some sun before the kids came in for Minecraft and excessive pre-lunch snacking. According to Time Hop (which never lies because I’m always on Instagram so it’s a pretty accurate reflection of my timeline), the bestie and I have had a lot of ‘randoversaries’. That’s what my husband calls it when you accidentally do the same thing on the same day a year later. A couple of weeks ago, we discovered (again thanks to Time Hop) that we had hung out on that day 4 years in a row, which is really crazy because I didn’t even live here during one of those years. Anyhoo, we had a randoversary today and recreated Jarvis and Daphne chillin on a pool lounger.



I wont product link everything but I will say that we tried the premade beef burgers from Whole Foods, and Dr. Praegers California Veggie Burgers and they were both a hit. I also finally tired Trader Joes’ potato salad and fell madly in love. The kids had hot dogs and pita chips and hummus and roasted tomatillo salsa. Also! My Instacart shopper picked up brioche hot dog buns because they were out of what I ordered and they were amazing. PS if you use Instacart, use this link to get $10 for free!

Chris did pretty much all of the grilling. He actually cleaned the grill and got the coals going for me and I put the burgers on, but he took over before I could even flip them. :)



We have been back in our old place in California for about two months now and it’s still surreal to have the same friends over to the same place, 18 months later. I do miss some things about Salt Lake, but for so many reasons this just feels like home. <3

Back to actual recipes tomorrow.

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Day 9 of 100 Days of Barbecue – Top Sirloin with Mushrooms & Onions

California, Domestic

Day 9 and yes, this is the second time I’ve grilled a top round sirloin. It’s my husband’s favorite and while he is a good sport when it comes to my ridiculous cooking experiments, I need to feed him dinners I know he loves in between all the crazy. ;)

This one is a little different because I grilled mushrooms and onions to go with it and I used a little beef stock in the marinade to create a cheater au jus with it. At some point this summer, I’ll make an actual au jus and share the recipe.

Top Round Sirloin with Mushrooms & Onions

1 large sweet onion
8 oz button mushrooms
4 tablespoons butter
top round sirloin (this massive piece was 2.94lbs and we had leftovers)
1/4 + 2 tablespoons cup beef stock
your choice of steak seasoning, I used a less peppery version of my rub from day 2

Marinate your steak in beef stock and steak seasoning for at least a few hours. Mine sat covered in the fridge for about 6 hours before I grilled it.

You really don’t want to leave your grill unsupervised, so you should team up for this dinner. You could do the mushrooms and onions in a cast iron skillet on the grill if you want. I chopped the onions and mushrooms pretty thin and set up in the kitchen before I started the grill. I started about 2 tablespoons of butter and all of the onions before I even went outside. You want to put a lid on and sweat the onions for a bit first. Then I turned the heat off, left the lid on and went out to deal with the grill. Once the steak was on, I left it with Chris and came into finish off the onions. We prefer the mushrooms and onions to be separate, so once the onions are nice and caramelized I take them out and put the mushrooms in without washing the pan. The onion flavor makes them even better.


The additional 2 tablespoons of beef stock was poured into the dish I put the cooked steak in while it was resting. It soaks up a little and then as it’s cut and shared, each person can tip a little onto their place if they feel so inclined. I served this steak with boiled corn on the cob and roasted potatoes with Greek yogurt and chives.

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Day 6 of 100 Days of Barbecue – Kansas City Style Pork Chops

California, Domestic

Once you start researching the different kinds of barbecue sauces there are, and where they come from and the traditional recipes they’re made from, it’s like information overload. Actually, it’s part information overload and part opinion overload. I’ve tried to get to the root of what makes certain sauces different from others. This is my take on the Kansas City style barbecue sauce.

I know that DIY barbecue sauce can seem like a really daunting task, but it’s actually incredibly simple, and so worth doing that you may never go back to store bought.

We don’t do a lot of pork chops, but I knew I wanted to include them in this 100 Days of Barbecue project because grilling pork chops is such a classic summer time event I couldn’t leave them out. All I did to these pork chops was brush the barbecue sauce on when I first put them on the grill and every time I turned them. Beware, this means more than an average lazy cleaning of your grill when you’re done.

Kansas City Style Barbecue Sauce

3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup onion, chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1 can tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper

This barbecue sauce starts with melted butter, so it’s got to be serious, right? Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then add everything else in and cook for about half an hour on low to medium-low. You want the sauce to thicken enough to spread nicely. Now you can either blend this in your blender or use an immersion blender. I’m madly in love with my Kitchen Aid immersion blender, so I went with that.


I grilled these pork chops for about 10 minutes. When you’re grilling (or even cooking something in the oven), remember that the meat will continue to cook once you’ve removed it from the heat. If you leave it on too long, it’ll overcook while it’s resting.

I served these with sweet potatoes and brown beans!

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Day 5 of 100 Days of Barbecue – Top Sirloin Gyros

California, Domestic, Uncategorized

I know better, I really do. Gyros are made with lamb, not beef. I know people make them with beef, but usually I would never be a part of such a travesty. However, I had already started preparing the sirloin, which was actually sliced very thin, when the suggestion came up and then we all very much wanted a gyro! I had already made the tzatziki, and we had enough pita bread, so that pretty much sealed the deal.

All I did to the meat was give it a little bath in olive oil with oregano and basil and a little garlic. I grilled it for about 10-15 minutes and once it had rested, I sliced it into strips and served it with fresh tomatoes, onions and tzatziki. So simple, and so good. I think the real recipe here is the tzatziki, though keep in mind that most people also use dill and I tend not to.

Beef Gyros with Tzatziki

thinly sliced top sirloin (or whatever other cut of beef you’d like)
3/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon basil
3 cloves garlic, minced


For the tzatziki
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced very small
5 cloves garlic, minced

For the meat, I just whisked the oregano and basil into the oil and then placed the meat in the dish. There were so many pieces in the pack I had, so I flipped them over and made sure they were pretty evenly covered before I added the next one in. Then I sprinkled the garlic bits all over and mixed them all up a bit with a fork.


With the tzatziki the only ‘secret’ to it, is time. The earlier you make it in the day, the better it will be at dinner. A word of caution though, garlic gets stronger the longer it stands, so the next day it’ll be stronger (and in my opinion better), but the following day, it may be too strong for the average bear. ;)

If you like chunks of cucumber, you can go ahead and add them at the end. You really want to cut most of it really small and add all the juice from the cutting board as well. I often will take another 1/4 cucumber, peel it, and grate it on the smallest part of my grater to get some cucumber juice in there as well. The garlic, you can use the jarred minced garlic, or chop it yourself. If you’re using it from a jar, that liquid it’s floating in is good for flavor, so add a splash of that if you are so inclined.

Only 5 days into this project and I have so many fun ideas I can’t wait to try out!

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Day 4 of 100 Days of Barbecue – Rosemary Chicken

California, Domestic

Usually, when I roast chicken legs or thighs, I do it in my big roasting pan with root veggies, some oil and poultry seasoning and a generous heap of rosemary. Lately, I’ve been growing rosemary on my kitchen counter and it smells so good I want to put it in everything. My kitchen window is usually open if I’m in there cooking or baking so the breeze blows through my little plant and makes it even more inviting.

For the first three days of this little project, I’ve grilled beef so today I wanted to do something different and immediately knew I was going to use rosemary if I was going with chicken. This is hardly a recipe at all, all you’re really doing is marinating it in some olive oil with pepper, basil and a whole lot of rosemary. I used both fresh rosemary from my little kitchen plant and ground rosemary from the pantry for a bigger kick of flavor.

Rosemary Chicken

enough oil to cover your chicken in your chosen dish
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons basil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons ground rosemary

I grilled these chicken breasts for almost half an hour because I’m terrified of undercooked chicken. I personally wouldn’t grill them for any less time than that, but it really all depends on the thickness of the breasts as well.

I served this with corn and a rice pilaf because my mother is Greek so I pretty much always serve rosemary chicken with a rice pilaf.

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Day 3 of 100 Days of Barbecue – Rib Eye with Herbed Butter

California, Domestic

I didn’t fire up the grill on day 3 until almost 9pm because time flies at my bestie’s house. ;)

We didn’t let that get in the way of the 100 Days of Barbecue though! I had already been marinating the steaks all day, so they were ready to go when the kids and I got home. The time of night and our backyard lights made for some pretty pictures!

The marinade itself was very basic, but I figured since there was so much going on with the herbed butter, I didn’t want to complicate it too much. I used a base of canola oil, cracked black and pink peppercorns and a sprinkle of yesterday’s homemade rub. Important note, I did not rub this into the rib eyes, I literally just sprinkled it on top. There is a serious difference when it comes to flavor, so don’t rub it in!


Just like with all steaks, how long you grill it is 100% your personal preference. I left these on for a full 20 minutes, because that’s what my family requested and while they were a little more done than I’d normally aim for, there were still some pink pieces and it wasn’t tough at all.


The real star of this dinner is the herbed butter. I can’t give a recipe for it with any authority because it’s just butter and whatever herbs you love. I used a lot of rosemary, thyme and basil. You can either use a spatula to mush the herbs into your butter or you can melt the butter and add the herbed to the melted butter. To finish the steak off, you have two options. You can either finish cooking the steak in a pool of the butter in a cast iron skillet on the grill OR you can just pour the melted butter over the steak at the table. I opted for the second choice because no one else was interested in the butter on their steak so it wasn’t really practical for me to do that. It was fantastic, but I bet it would be even better cooked in the butter.

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Day 2 of 100 Days of Barbecue – Top Sirloin with Homemade Rub

California, Domestic

Day 2 was pretty easy because it’s my husband’s absolute favorite barbecue dinner and I’ve made it so many times over the years I’ve lost count. Top Sirloin with my homemade rub, baked potatoes with chives and parm and a caesar salad. I actually hadn’t made it since we moved back to California, so he was so happy when he saw me working on it this morning.

Making a dry rub or a paste yourself is one of those things that seems like too much work until you just do it. It does require a lot of ingredients, so you can either do it and create a well stoked pantry at the same time or you can buy some of these spices here and there until you have collected them all. Also look for spice blends that cost the same as one jar but have three or four spices in them (like an ‘Italian blend’ will have oregano and basil, for example). I just literally whisk all of these together in roughly equal parts with the exception of cayenne pepper and cumin, for those two I use much less. Their flavors can be overwhelming and while I do think they add to the overall flavor of the finished spice mix (or I just wouldn’t use them), you really don’t need much. The garlic though, I use fresh and I slather it on the steak with the back of a spoon.
sea salt
black pepper
dill seed
red pepper flakes
dehydrated onion flakes
celery seed
cayenne pepper (just a pinch)
dry mustard
cumin (just a pinch)

Other than these spices (or mixes or a prepared dry rub) you’ll need…

enough canola oil to almost cover your steak in whatever dish you’re marinating it in
3 teaspoons minced garlic
top sirloin steak


I always start by pouring some canola oil in the dish I’m using, and then placing the steak on top to see where the oil level is. I don’t really want the steak swimming in it, because it’s just not necessary, but I do want to make sure it’s getting enough. Then I flip the steak so there is oil on the topside, and I gently rub a very small amount of the spice mixture onto the steak. I use the back of a spoon to spread about half the garlic over it and then I flip it over and do the same. I usually check on it every few hours, sprinkle more spice mix on it, flip it, and do it again.


Now, you fire up your grill. For years we used gas grills, but I am so obsessed with our new Weber charcoal grill. One of our neighbors has one and he was always experimenting with flavors by adding different kinds of wood chips to his charcoal. We decided that since we needed a new grill anyway, we’d get the best charcoal grill we could find and really get into it. More on that later this summer, right now I am still getting the hang of heating all my coals evenly and getting them to hold a flame. I was way better today than yesterday, so I’m making progress.

How long you cook your steak is entirely up to personal preference, of course. If you like it very rare, you will not need to cook it long at all, and if you like it very well done it’ll be on there longer. Totally up to you. We usually cook until medium rare and then take it out to rest. Remember that meat will continue cooking for a little while from the inside out after you’ve removed it from the heat. Catch it just before you think it’s ready and by the time you cut it, it will be.

Serve with whatever sides strike your fancy! I always serve it with baked potatoes and a ceaser, but I usually also have corn on the cob as well. I couldn’t find any this week!