Outdoor Cooking Must Haves

In my household, life revolves around the patio and garden. A lot of attention is paid to their care and upkeep. The kids have elected to do outdoor chores instead of those I usually require inside like dish washing and drying. They of course have to clean up their rooms, but they hate detailing the car with dad. I do the vacuuming and floor waxing—any of the heavy stuff. Rather, they would like to weed the backyard plants with mom. When finished, they get rewarded with lunch on the patio. I have everything needed to prepare the most elaborate meal. We have always had a large user-friendly barbecue and grill, but I have installed a kitchen to rival the one in the house. I love that I can prepare food and clean up afterward without having to cart everything, stacked in my unsteady hands, indoors. It is a time saver and also fun for the kids who like to participate in any activity that takes place outside. During the warm weather, I can’t get them to go inside even for video games and TV.

I have a tile countertop that is easy to clean that houses a nice stainless sink and the Finest Faucets. I can get hot and cold water with one touch as well as filtered water for drinking. If someone wants a cold drink, there is a sizable under-counter fridge. Dad puts in his favorite wine and mom stores her lemonade. Soda for the kids fills any remaining space. A cupboard to the side contains snacks like chips and cookies. If someone drops by, we are ready to entertain them. The barbecue and grill do most of the cooking but I also have one burner just in case. It is all compact and convenient and so easy to work with. I have a blender to make smoothies under the sink and faucet that can be dragged out in seconds for kids’ snack time. I let them make their own out of fruit I set out in a large bowl. There are apples, raspberries, kiwis, strawberries, lemons and oranges. They grab yogurt or milk as the binder from inside the fridge.

It is a real luxury to have an outdoor kitchen complete with state-of-the-art faucet to supplement the grill. I can make barbecued ribs or chicken while heating potatoes in the oven. The dog loves to sit at my heels and watch the entire process. I keep a glass jar with treats if he is obedient. Next to it is a jar of jelly beans for the kids. I love all the colors and nibble at them from time to time when I am alone working in the yard. I love to lounge by the pool with earphones for music. If the kids are in the pool, I am super vigilant and enjoy getting my summer tan. Life is wonderful if you have a backyard you can convert into a personal oasis for family and friends.