Inspiration can strike you from the unlikeliest places. On a run a few days ago, we just happened to jog by a family grilling on an itty bitty (and totally cute, but don’t tell Cute Banker) little kettle grill. We looked at each other and were simultaneously struck: if we get one of these one of these mini cookers, we can take it anywhere. As we’ve been doing a lot of outdoor living lately, I felt this idea was particularly marvelous. Cute Banker loves to grill and I do NOT like to make and pack entire meals. This way, we both get our way: he grills, I just pack raw ingredients into a cooler and go. We can do it all on a tabletop, outdoors!
We had planned to run early this morning and then stop for breakfast. Well, the run didn’t happen. (It just didn’t, okay??) The morning quickly slipped away. We declared our breakfast a “brunch” and suddenly we were a success again! High five. (Sorry I yelled).
We loaded the wagon up with the essentials: new grill (cute, see?), utensils, food, picnic blanket. The kids bounded into the stroller. It was so easy you’d think we planned ahead or something equally preposterous.
Sidebar: If you’re looking for a fantastically useful, fun, long-lasting gift for a very young child, this is it. A red wagon. They play in it, they love it. You pull a boatload of crap in it with ease, you love it. Seriously, it can get you from your home to the pool, from your car to your picnic spot, from the sidewalk to your perfect place in the sand. Love. It. (Thank you, Nana and Gigi!)
Our menu was:
-pancakes & syrup
-bacon (the smell of bacon cooking outdoors is one of my greatest pleasures in life)
-freshly Vitamixed oranges (AKA fresh whole orange juice with all the good fiber)
-iced coffee (courtesy previously frozen coffee cubes from that one time I got organized) with sweetened condensed milk
-a spot of champagne (It’s a Brunch!)
The secret to the ease of this menu was decanting just enough of everything into reused glass or plastic containers. I cracked exactly enough eggs and poured them into a jar. I mixed half a batch of pancake batter. There was a tiny jar of syrup, a half stick of butter and a package of bacon cut open at home (no need to pack scissors!) and put into a zip top bag. Then put all your little containers into a box, à la Costco, and you are off!
If you want to, you can toss them all into the recycling bins wherever you’re going and not even have to pack them up and bring them home. Easy!
Another key element to this fine, easy plan, is a tablecloth. First of all, those public tables are disgusting so wipe them off with a paper towel, then cover them with a paper cloth. When you’re all done, and your baby is finished spilling his fresh whole orange juice with all the good fiber, the syrup has dripped, the bacon has dropped, and you see so many crumbs, you wonder if anyone got anything into their actual mouths, you just roll it up and throw it away. Cute Banker suggested finding a reusable tablecloth that can just be wiped off – this would also be convenient and very responsible of you. Not having one of those, I dearly enjoyed just tossing the entire mess!
This Chimney Starter is Cute Banker’s new discovery. It is not new to you, I’m sure, because it turns out it’s pretty essential. It reduces your need for lighter fluid from approximately one entire can to none.
Pay attention, kid. This will save you millions on lighter fluid.
Poor, lonely, crusty, public grill. The picnic table is higher, so you don’t have to bend over to cook.
My boy, with his “fishing pole.”
Have you ever eaten pancakes cooked in the same pan you just cooked bacon? I recommend you do so immediately.
Eggs out of a jar, sunny side up.
Other items that make your tabletop grilling life happy are:
-cast iron pan (with lots o’ butter, if you’re doing eggs)
-empty can or jar to pour off extra bacon grease
-roll of paper towels
-a close bathroom!
-a book and the understanding that with small children you won’t be able to read more than one page, but any page read under the trees is infinitely more enjoyable.
Nice day for a picnic (also a good way to use up the birthday party plates).
Save half your iced coffee for a pick-me-up on the way home. Perfect!
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