Traverse City Record-Eagle


June 26, 2014

Foodie with Family: Summer begins and so does grilling season

My kids have done their annual five laps around the house to celebrate the end of their school year and are busily chattering about their summer plans.

There is a heavy American Ninja Warrior influence that is obvious in their dreams. There will be hammers and nails and additions to their fort including a rock wall and a peg board. A zipline is a done deal. There is even talk of our own warped wall and double salmon ladder.

Shew. I get tired just hearing about all this.

For every exhausting idea they have comes another that makes me sigh with relief; the fishing, the cloud studying, the barbecues, and the reading stacks and stacks of books that have nothing to do with school whatsoever. Let’s make a deal, if you don’t tell them that all reading is educational, I won’t either.

On the food front, I’m happy to say that the summer produce started rolling in abundance equal to the boys' dreams. I’ve been getting enough radishes, turnips, lettuce, herbs, kohlrabi, kale, and chard to make my vegetable loving heart sing. Strawberries started showing up and they’re on the verge of exploding with juiciness. I am a happy lady.

All this means we are not spending a significant amount of time indoors. That fort won’t modify itself, after all. The grill is getting a major workout which means I want fast and furious sides that don’t keep me inside while my kids are wielding power tools. One of our favorites recently is saucy, sweet, savory Barbecue Beans with Sausage.

You can use homemade baked beans, but I like to do mine "Dinosaur Barbecue" style, and start with Bush’s Traditional Baked Beans. I know it’s a departure from my normal “do it yourself!” mantra, but everyone has a short cut on which they rely and this just happens to be one of mine in the warmer months. We do a mega pot of them and eat off of it with a variety of meals — grilled pork, chicken, sausages, hot dogs, brisket and more.

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