BBQ chicken

Summer Eatin’

Oh summertime! How I LOVE thee! Sitting outside on the deck in our tranquil, beautiful backyard surrounded by trees and farmland…listening to the sounds of the crickets, the wind in the trees and the happy squeals of the neighbor kids on their trampoline, and the distant crack of a metal bat hitting a baseball at the school next door–these are all things I love about summer! Summer may not quiteΒ be in Portland but it’s been giving us a tease lately with gorgeous, hot weather and sunny blue skies. My hope is that two weeks of divine weather wasn’t our entire summer. πŸ™‚

One night after I rode my bike home from work, I told Michael that I was craving something grilled. I didn’t have anything in mind, really, but something “summery” and delicious that we could cook and eat outside as the sun quietly set over the trees. Michael gave me a choice of defrosted chicken thighs or hamburgers he formed into patties and froze for future use. Hmmm. Enticing. I suggested that we make BBQ chicken thighs.

We did not have BBQ sauce in the fridge or pantry, so Michael set out to make some from scratch while I ran to the grocery store for some veggies we could grill with the chicken. Here is the recipe we used and it was AWESOME!

Classic BBQ Sauce

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Category: BBQ, calories, Chicken, Cooking, Dinner, food, Food update, Grilling, Low Calorie Recipes, meat, Memories, Michael, recipes, salads, Summer, sunny day

Servings: 6


  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • fresh ground pepper to taste


  1. Blend onion and water into a puree.
  2. Heat a medium sauce pan over a medium heat.
  3. Add olive oil. When oil is warm, pour in onion puree.
  4. Simmer until slightly browned.
  5. Add remaining ingredients.
  6. Mix thoroughly and simmer for about 20 minutes.



Nutrition Facts

Classic BBQ Sauce


Amount Per Serving
Calories About 160
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0
Saturated Fat 0
Trans Fat
Cholesterol 0
Sodium 0
Total Carbohydrate 0
Dietary Fiber 0
Vitamin A Vitamin C
Calcium Iron

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

I got home just as Michael was simmering most of the ingredients. I guess while I was at the store picking up corn on the cob, he minced garlic and onions until it was almost a puree, cooked it in the pot and then added the rest of the ingredients.

I was in charge of stirring. Michael went outside to get the grill ready and start boiling water for the corn on the cob. I tasted the sauce and it was delicious, sweet and tangy. Michael said I could make it as hot as I wanted it so I started adding a teeny bit more cayenne pepper to taste, then I’d let it simmer a bit longer, stir, taste, add a teeny bit more. The spice took a few tastes to really get the full POW! of the cayenne, but that bite was there. I loved the smokiness of the BBQ sauce, too.

So Michael and I sat outside on our deck relaxing. He enjoyed a beer and I had a glass of white wine while we ate our spinach salads and waited for the chicken to cook. It ended up taking a lot longer.

The chicken definitely took longer than expected, perhaps because there was a bone in it. Michael flipped it a few times and added some more sauce to the chicken thighs as it fell off.

Finally, dinner was ready. And the chicken with the homemade BBQ sauce was absolutely fantastic. We both took a bite and moaned “Oh my god! This is so good!” The sauce is probably one of my favorite BBQ sauces I’ve had, and so much better than anything from a bottle.

Doesn’t that look good? The grill marks were great. I ate one chicken thigh and corn on the cob. The corn was sweet and perfectly prepared.

All around, dinner was one of the best we’ve had in a long time. This will definitely be in the summer rotation this year! Give this recipe a try. You won’t be disappointed!

And on a side note, Michael and I saw The Avengers this week. I highly recommend the movie! It was such a well-done film. I thought the acting was great, the pacing for such a long movie was just right and I was never bored. There were a few cheesy moments, but nothing too over the top. I thought the 3-D technology was a lot better than the other ones I’d seen (I never feltΒ nauseous or got a headache like other 3-D movies did for me). And of course it didn’t hurt that two of my favorite guys were in it (Mark Ruffalo and Robert!).

QUESTION: Have you ever made your own BBQ sauce? Spicy or sweet?

A Tour of the Dude Ranch

For my cousin’s wedding we were all staying at the Moon River Ranch. It was actually near Waco, Texas I think, but it was literally in the middle of nowhere. I’ve never been to a destination wedding before (I think this qualifies since most family had to travel from somewhere else). This place was NUTS. I had no idea what to expect from a working ranch in Texas. My expectations were blown out of the water.

We drove through the middle of nowhere, through scant towns riddled with poverty. Then drove 4 miles down a gravel road to the ranch.

The land was like a step into history. Words cannot describe what this place was like. The main lodge was humongous and like a maze. Every where you turned there was something new and cool to look at.

The decorations were rustic, bizarre and very cool. There were stuffed animals at every corner–elk, gazelle, deer, moose, you name it. There was homemade furniture, leather chairs made with animal fur. It was truly an old-western heaven.

The bear was the hit. We were so amused by it. You better believe we took tons of pictures with the bear.

Our immediate family was in the nearby farmhouse. I think it was the original farmhouse from back in the day. Unlike the main lodge, it was very very old and authentic–not a replica. Inside there was a big living room, a kitchen (with plaid carpet on the floor). There was a master bedroom and bathroom, and then the smaller bedroom with two sets of bunk beds. That’s where us “kids” slept. Michael slept in the top loft in that bedroom and I took one of the bottom bunks.

The farmhouse was looking over the pond. There was a pair of swans in the pond and palm trees around it.

There was a pool and lounge area. There were lounge chairs all over and it was very inviting. I knew I’d definitely be in that pool during the weekend!

There were fire pits all over the place with lounge chairs. We met the friendly ranch kitty who loved attention. She was a sweetheart.

There were horses, ponies and longhorn cattle. There was also buffalo!

We arrived a little before dinner time. We had some time to explore the ranch–there was so much to see!

Michael, my brother and Lisa and I also went out in the paddle boat on the pond. First the three of them went out and I took photos.

Then Michael and I went out together and we did the whole pond loop. It’s funny because we kicked butt at the paddle boat. I think it’s because we’re cyclists. πŸ™‚

We had just enough time to get changed and cleaned up before the rehearsal dinner at the lodge.

Dinner was buffet style BBQ. There was mashed potatoes with gravy, an amazing chicken curry with rice, baked beans, corn, garlic bread, chili, and some other stuff I didn’t even try.

I ate so much but it was absolutely worth it. The food was amazing. The chicken was the star of the night: Peach Whiskey BBQ Chicken. Oh my god! I must find the recipe for this and recreate it. It was the best chicken I’ve ever had (my uncle did great!). I ate too much but it was wonderful each and every bite.

We enjoyed some cocktails and socialized with the family. It was fun to see everyone. It was mostly our family on Friday night. The groom’s family was local so they showed up Saturday. Melina had family from England and Australia and it was one big mixing pot in the middle of Texas.

It was fun hanging out with everyone. My uncle played old videos of Melina as a kid and a teenager. They were hilarious to watch. Thank goodness my parents never had video cameras–I won’t have embarrassing videos at my wedding! πŸ™‚

The sun went down early, glowing red in the sky. It was weird to see the skyline without tall trees. I am such a Northwest Girl.

Michael and I headed back to the farmhouse after awhile. Some family members stayed up really late partying. I was so tired, my head hit the pillow and I was out immediately (which never happens to me). I slept like the dead and didn’t wake up even once that night. Good food, family and fun times = sleep like a rock.

QUESTION: Have you ever been to a dude ranch? Would you want to go to one?