In keeping with our relaxing, no-major-plans Fourth of July, we decided to stay in last night and enjoy a home-cooked meal. And because nothing says "summer holiday" quite like a charcoal grill, we decided that cheeseburgers were in order.
Tod pulled our itsy bitsy grill out of the storage shed, cleaned it, and fired up the coals.
Don't you love how the crepe myrtle blossoms and dried leaves on the ground sort of make it look like fall? (Take one step outside and you know it's not fall, but anyway.) I'm completely enamored by the crepe myrtles this summer; they seem so much more beautiful than I ever remember them. In fact, while Tod was hard at work with the grill, I wandered around the yard like an idiot taking pictures.
As you can probably tell, I'm working on focusing on the foreground while blurring the background. I love, love, love my new camera.
Okay, back to the food. Once the burgers were safely on the grill . . .
and yes, Tod is wearing Crocs in case you missed that . . .
we busted out the cast iron skillet (one of Tod's favorite wedding presents) and sizzled up some bacon and onions.
Since we were having red meat, we figured it was only right to add white cheddar while drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon. Welcome to my brain.
While we were busy cooking, Zelda was busy being cute. (Heidi was busy hiding from the fireworks.)
When the burgers were done, we put everything together.
The old soak-up-the-excess-grease-in-a-paper-towel trick works wonders.
Tod went for bacon and onions. I stuck to onions.
Wondering about that side dish? Well, earlier in the day, I made some clean-out-the-pantry pasta salad. Here's how I did it.
I gathered the ingredients I had on hand: a bag of cheese tortellini, half a carton of grape tomatoes, a jar of pitted kalamata olives, a jar of roasted red peppers, a small green pepper from the backyard, a clove of garlic, half an onion (you saw the other half frying in bacon grease above), the remainder of a bottle of Newman's Own light Italian dressing, oregano, basil, mixed Italian spices, feta cheese, salt, and pepper.
While the pasta was boiling . . .
I diced, sliced, and chopped the tomatoes, onion, pepper, and garlic and threw them in a bowl.
I added the hot pasta to the above mixture, giving the tomatoes, onion, pepper, and garlic a chance to cook a little. Meanwhile, I chopped the olives and roasted red peppers. Then I threw in all of the remaining ingredients, tasting every so often to make sure the flavor stayed on track. The pasta ended up falling apart, but it still tasted great, and what's more, we've got lots of leftovers. I love leftovers.
And last but definitely not least, for dessert . . . peaches and cream.
Okay, I've got the day off and a closet that's just begging to be cleaned out, so I guess I'll leave it at that for now. Happy summer, folks.