Passionately Inspired …

During quiet time one morning after a run (yes, these are my green running shoes), I was passionately inspired. Even though I love coffee table books, and this particular book happened to be sitting right in front of me (above photo), on this occasion my inspiration did not come from this party-planning book (although I love the beautiful cover!).

My inspiration came from my daily reading, the tiny window of nice weather we’ve recently had, and the fact that my family was going to be together for dinner that night.

Early morning is when I often think about what I will serve my family for dinner. Spring has sprung – alfresco dining has been an aspect of our evening meals in the last couple of weeks, and this night would be our first BBQ of the year!

I had purchased a package of tri tip beef from Costco, and found I didn’t have time to marinate it like I usually do. I quickly remembered a secret that my Auntie Ellen had taught me years ago. It’s a winner of a recipe that you may want to try yourself, when you don’t have the time to marinate your meat!

Tenderize meat, both sides
To one side add EVOO, rubbing into the meat
Sprinkle sugar on top (1/8 cup at most). I used Stevia, but a smaller amount!
Sprinkle heavily with your favorite seasoning (Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, or I used Kirkland’s (Costco) Steak Rub, which is a combination of sea salt, garlic, paprika and savory spices).
Flip your meat over and repeat all steps
The meat is READY TO BBQ! (of course the secret to juicy meat is to not overcook it!)

The aroma that we inhaled from the BBQ made us all giddy and happy. We were excited not only about the yummy steak dinner that we were about to consume, along with salad (from our garden) and BBQ’d veggies (herbs from our yard), but there was also just something special about the smell of the first BBQ of the season.

Having dinner with just our immediate family is becoming a priceless experience as of late, as Paul and I realize our years together as a young family unit are dwindling down. Recapping the weekend, sitting and listening to one another, watching facial expressions and passions rise about certain subjects – it’s what happens when we take the time to interact with and focus on each other.

We are firm believers that “children need to be heard and seen,” (see post, here) and these seem to be very important years. Much nurturing takes place around our dinner table, and Paul and I hope that through our living examples that our kids are witnessing faith in action.

I’d love to hear about your first BBQ of the year? Was it with your immediate family, or did you include guests?

(I love vibrant green colors! Photos: Fun entertaining book that I picked up on clearance at Ross Dress For Less; the tastiest salad greens you’ll find in our town – smack dab in the Coughlin garden; tri tip marinated Auntie Ellen Style (read about Aunt Ellen, here); Paul mixing up the veggies – with yummy herbs)

24 comments on “Passionately Inspired …”

  1. P.S. One very awesome late winter day we had in late Feb. my son’s Godparents (Godfather is a fisherman) came over with 3 live lobsters and 5 fresh crabs. We pretended it was summer and sat outside and watched the kids play on the trampoline…while talking and laughing together. He made a butter/garlic sauce for the lobsters and grilled them in a foil boat. We steamed the crab and had simple accompaniments of drawn butter with garlic pieces, salad of romaine & tomato, avocado, and home-made ranch dressing, and sticky white rice. The kids were very interested in the live lobsters, the weather was nice, and the company was awesome (not to mention the food).

  2. Our first two bbqs went like this:

    1. My in-laws came to visit us (difficult history with my mother-in-law…I love her but there has been difficulty in the past). I wanted them to feel comfortable, relaxed, and have fun. They love to be outside, so now that we have a big, fun backyard to hang out in, it was great! We just did simple hamburgers and salad. We had great weather and were all very relaxed and enjoyed each other’s company! It was a special day!

    2. With my parents. My dad bought a bunch of pork and beef ribs and he bbq’d them up at their house. We spent the dinner hour in their backyard eating, talking and relaxing. We had great weather again and enjoyed each other’s company.

    I love this season & I can’t wait until summertime.

  3. L-O-V-E the shoes!!!

  4. We grill year round — and we use a charcoal grill! Good old fashioned flavor. We also use hardwoods soaked in water to give a smoky flavor — oh, my — sooooo good!

    I use this same technique with flank steak or london broil (I don’t think I’ve tried tri-tip, unless that’s the same as flank steak).

  5. BTW, Cindy, my running shoes are Brooks! :)

  6. I am really looking forward to the days of having great dinners with my children – conversations, laughter, eating HOT food instead of cold :). Right now we are in the season of cutting up food, nursing while eating, “take another bite, honey”, and high chairs. That being said, some of the funniest moments with our children have happened around the table. It will only get better, I just know it!

    I could almost smell your BBQ! It looked and sounded wonderful!


  7. I am moving into my own place in June and can’t wait to have my first dinner party. I am aiming for sometime this summer. You are truly an inspiration to me. I hope to one day be a great wife, mother, hostess, and most importantly woman of God!

  8. Love YOU!!! I found you via Like Merchant Ships and you share my ideas so much on entertaining. I love to have people over. I have 5 kids and the oldest is a senior. We always have someone that I didn’t birth at our home. I was talking to women from church and they said they freak out about what to have so they never have anyone over. I am very laid back in this area and just throw on more for whoever comes. I don’t feel as if it has to be elegant or perfect, it is more important that they feel welcomed and loved. I love to find someone rummaging in my refrigerator or cabinets helping themselves- it shows they are comfortable enough in my home. We have always entertained starting in a tiny one bedroom apartment on to our now large home we have been blessed with. It is not the home size or decorations- it is the warmth and openness to share time and life with others. I love to find garage sale dishes and themed decorations to change things up.

    I went to a women’s retreat many years ago and that is what the speaker’s message was – Are you a balcony or a basement person? So, I might steal your idea and start a group with my 11 year old daughter. We used to have an American Girls group when we lived in FL and we made crafts and food and hung out once a month. She kind of outgrew that so this would be perfect.

    Sorry to hijack your comment section I am just so excited to meet you and find a kindred spirit. My good friend is in Klamath Falls, OR. I haven’t seen her in about 8 years since they moved. She is one of 10 kids and was wonderful at entertaining.

    God bless!

  9. The first BBQ of the year? That would have been Jan 1st!!! Being transplanted Californians, and having grown up on grilled meat—we barbeque year round, probably once a week—no pots and pans–ya see :-)
    In the winter, the Weber sits under the patio light—and Doug braves whatever weather—of course you know he works outside a good bit of the time, so he’s used to it.
    Blessings on ya’ll as you see the seasonal renewal of things all around.

  10. Our first BBQ of the season was supposed to be burgers, but when Hubby went out to light the grill…yep, outta propane. I cooked them inside on a griddle. MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT!!
    Oh well, we will try it again soon :)

  11. And, also, I’d love to hear specifics about your garden. Like…how much sq footage devoted, length of season, varities you grow, do you use raised beds, what zone are you in, anything and everything!

  12. oops, deb meyers above

  13. We are, with our kids, standing at the time threshold of where your family is. I find it sobering and wistful and joyful all at once!

    Haven’t BBQ yet, but do have peas, swiss chard, garlic and strawberries coming on in various stages. OOOOO, I want your climate!

    Sandy, how long have you been running? I’m looking for an inexpensive fitness choice that will sustain through all seasons and I can keep up long after the kids are gone. My thinking is that running is hard on an over-40 body (that would be mine)… I walk and do agressive step aerobics, but step requires a teacher and gym time. Do a post on running : )

  14. Beautiful!
    I’m inspired, now. :)

  15. first of all, i’m loving the green shoes. :)
    more importantly, who doesn’t get giddy from the smells wafting off of grilling meat? boy, i know i do. :)

  16. We grilled the Costco Sirloin burgers last week with roasted sweet & red skin potatos, and toss salad. Very simple, but yummy!

  17. Apologies beforehand to those who live in “snow country”. We BBQ year round here in California. One of our favorite things on the grill is fresh veggies. Somehow everything tastes better when cooked outside on the grill :-)

  18. I will be able to tell you about our first bbq, when it quits snowing! This is the latest we have ever had snow here :(
    So, hopefully by the end of May, it will be nice…. we are having a graduation bbq ! If you have any ideas, please send them my way !!

  19. Oh Yes… we are a BBQ family both with and without other’s joining us! Even though we are still having snow off and on we’ve already had a couple BBQ’s this year! :-)

    Our first one this year was our immediate family. The smells and tastes made it feel a bit closer to summer even if the weather didn’t feel like it.


  20. If that book was at Ross, I’d better run over there! What a beautiful gift for someone who loves to entertain.

  21. Would you mind sharing where you found those shoes? They are so cute…

  22. oh that all looks so amazing and i must say those veggies are inspiring!!! yes, meal times lately for us are the same around here…it is always such a lovely thing when we can all be together at the dinner table…
    blessings to you and your beautiful family sandy :)


  23. Interestingly enough – we had our first BBQ use last friday. my husband is a pastor and we had all the pastors and their wives over for dinner….we had a great time laughing, talking, eating…No purpose to the evening other than fellowship. and that we did!

    And, believe it or not – we had tri tip too! here is my FAVORITE tri tip recipe – it is sooooo fabulous!

    Lime Marinated Tri Tip

    6 servings

    juice of 6 limes (about 3/4 cup)
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1 tsp cumin
    1/2 tsp garlic powder
    1/2 tsp onion powder

    1 1/2 to 2 lbs of beef tri-tip, trim fat if there is

    2 tbsp kosher salt
    2 tbsp pepper

    Combine 1st paragraph of ingredients in a zip lock bag
    and put the meat in with it. refridgerate for at
    leats 6 hours

    When done – throw away the marinade and bag. Press
    salt and pepper into all surfaces of the meat. You
    can refigerate this for an hour as it is (it will
    enhance the flavor) or grill immediately.

    Let grill get very hot. Then spray with nonstick
    spray or brush lightly with oil.

    Grill to desired doneness. Remember that the meat
    will cook slightly more when you remove it from the
    grill. Remove it fromt he grill and set it on a
    cutting board with a “tent” of foil for about 10

    Cut across the grain and enjoy! Good cold or hot !
    Great in sandwiches and for a crowd!

  24. Well, I’d love to tell you about our first BBQ of the year…if we ever get around to having it. With this weather, I don’t know when that’ll happen. (We don’t have a good covered area where we live right now). But I do love to bbq.

    Your BBQ looks amazing!

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