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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Our Sunday Brunch Cook-Out

Since we're still only gathering outdoors with our son and DIL (and they are the only ones outside our household that we're gathering with), we decided on a cook-out brunch for July's get-together. This worked out well. We were able to maintain some physical distance while spending good time together. After brunch, we set up the croquet set and enjoyed some backyard fun.

Our Menu

Make your own kabobs, using the following:
  • chicken-apple sausage (cut into chunks)
  • pork breakfast sausage
  • pork bacon (strips cut in half to thread onto skewers like ribbon candy)
  • bell pepper chunks
  • pineapple chunks
  • onion chunks
  • new potatoes, purple fingerling from garden (pre-cooked for about 11-12 minutes in pot of simmering water)
  • Chinese sweet sausage (brought by son and DIL)
extra dishes to round out the meal:

pan of overnight cinnamon rolls
quiche (baked the day before)
berries and bananas (garden raspberries and blueberries)
orange juice, sparkling water, and kombucha (brought by son and DIL)

I set up all of the food on a table on our deck. Each plate was lined with a sheet of waxed paper so that uncooked meat would not contaminate the plates from which we'd eat. My son and his wife went up to the deck to fill their plates first, then our household followed after they were done. (My son and DIL have more interactions with other people than we do, so we're just being ultra-cautious not to be in such close proximity that we're breathing directly on each other.)

We each assembled our own skewers on our own waxed paper-lined plate (threw out our waxed paper after putting the kabobs togethers and roasting). Then we each cooked our own skewers over a fire in the patio fire ring. At this point we helped ourselves to the extra dishes and beverages then ate our brunch in chairs set up on the patio.

I had almost everything in my kitchen to create this menu, only adding the chicken-apple sausage and green pepper to my shopping order for July. It was fun, changed things up, and very budget-friendly for us.

Entertaining within our current pandemic restrictions can be tricky. At least for right now, it's summer and the weather allows us to gather outdoors.

Sorry I wasn't here last week. I was busy all week, in large part, cleaning up outdoor spaces (scrubbing the brick patio, cleaning the deck, etc). I hope you all had a wonderful week!


  1. OOOOOOO, Lili, this looked delicious! What a fun "outing" and get-together for you all to share! I like the mix of make-ahead dishes and fruit with the fresh food over the fire.

    Was the "sweet sausage" lop cheong? If so, we never thought to grill it. It would probably be delicious. We always just boil it in white rice. Yummy, yummy!

    I enjoyed the previous freezer post, as well.

    Take care up there, and continue to enjoy the scrubbed patio! Love, Sara

    1. Hi Sara,
      The package for the sausage says Lap-Xuong. Is this the same thing as lop cheong? They were delicious. I used a couple of leftover ones, sliced and stir fried with zucchini, onion, and leftover cooked baby potatoes. That was tasty, too. So, when you make lop cheong with rice, you cook the sausage in the rice and water? My son and DIL left another package with us, so I'll have to find some ways to cook them.

      I didn't get all of the patio scrubbed. So I'll be working on the rest of it in the next weeks. The moss makes it a slipping hazard in the wet months, so every summer this is one of my chores. The scrubbed parts look nice so far.

      Have a lovely evening, Sara!

    2. Yup, Lili, that's the same thing. :) YUUUUUMMMMMMMMMYYY! The difference in spelling, I think my in-laws said, has to do with what country it's produced in, and/or what ethnic community it's produced for. Lop cheong is the way we learned to spell it for Chinese (but like all Asian languages, some of the Americanized spellings vary, too.) I think that our normal brand is Vietnamese, and does spell it a different way.

      So, lucky you, you have an extra package. I'm out, and our local grocery doesn't carry it. (We used to be able to get it in the Asian refrigerated section at Kroeger stores.) We always just throw ours in with the water and white rice, after we've rinsed the rice well; and when the rice is cooked, so is the lop cheong. Then we slice them up, and either serve them with just the rice and soy sauce (delicious, easy breakfast or simple supper -- we love this when camping, especially.) Or we'll also make a stir-fry or other Chinese dish, and serve them with the rice as a side dish.

      If you have a stir-fry or egg dish with the lop cheong and rice, you can allow less than one sausage per person (mostly eating it for "flavor"). If the rice and sausages is the whole meal, we usually give everyone one sausage apiece.

      Sorry there's still more moss to scrub. I know most of the West is in the same heatwave right now, so hopefully you can take your time in the cooler bits of time.

      Have a good day, Lili! Hugs-- Sara

  2. That sounds like a lot of fun. I really want to have someone over, however, the weather is so hot right now, I don't want to be outside for any extended period of time. We've had three straight weeks with temperatures over 90 and we haven't even hit our hottest month of August. But we'll see. As we all know, weather is unpredictable no matter how hard we try to predict it.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      That does sound too warm to stay outside for very long. Hopefully you won't have to wait the entire month of August for it to cool down enough to enjoy some outdoor time during the day.

      Enjoy your evening, Live and Learn.

  3. Glad to see you again Lili!

    We do only family get-togethers and they don't even involve meals. It is just might be talking or a dessert. But we do have MIL over for Sunday dinner (not even every Sunday anymore).

    It's been much too hot here to sit outside lately. Although we will have a break in the heat this week. Kabobs sound good to me but I don't think my family would like them. I might just need to try them. How long did you find they needed to roast?


    1. Hi Alice,
      We each roasted our own kabobs until they seemed done enough for ourselves, which was about 10 minutes on average, I believe. Of course, this was done over an open fire where we held the skewers, so heat exposure was uneven, unlike when placed on a grill. All of the meat was commercially pre-cooked, except the bacon strips. And I pre-cooked the potatoes so they would be firm, but cooked.

      Have a great day, Alice!

  4. This outing sounds so lovely! I know that much fun was had! Have a wonderful week as well!

    1. Hi Lona,
      Thank you. I hope you've been enjoying a lovely week where you are.

  5. Lynn from NC Outer BanksJuly 29, 2020 at 7:38 AM

    This is so clever! Never thought about brunch kabobs. I have skewers that I haven't used in a while. May be time to dust them off and use them for brunch-or dinner! Great suggestion (and menu) Lili. Y'all stay safe!

    1. Hi Lynn,
      Well, I'd never thought about brunch kabobs, either, until this last week. But since we wanted to have my son and DIL over during the day (and eat outside), I didn't see why they wouldn't work. It was fun and gave us all something to do while we caught up on each other's lives.

      Have a great day, Lynn!

  6. That sounds like a wonderful idea. I have never thought to kabob ground meat. I guess I thought it wouldn't stay on the skewer. I'll have to try it. Thanks for the inspiration you continue to share.

    1. Hi Ruthie,
      I should clarify -- all of the sausage meat was in link form, so not loose ground meat at all. If you did use ground meat, I'd think you'd need to pre-cook the meat in tight balls beforehand.

      Have a lovely day, Ruthie.

  7. Everything, so well planned and fun, from the kabobs to croquet for entertainment is the way to limit interaction.

    We refused to watch our grandkids this summer, when asked. I know our son and DIL are careful, but I am a super stickler about everyone being in their bubble and assuming they are infected, unless done right like your example. I am worried about the long term effects of this virus, so I don't want even a mild case.

    1. Hi Laura,
      I can understand your apprehension about taking care of your grandkids this summer. You have to make the choices that make you most comfortable with the risks, and that's what you've done. Fortunately, we have technology to help us stay connected to our loved ones and that may have to be enough for a lot of people during this pandemic.

      Have a great day, Laura!

  8. A brunch cookout is an amazing idea. I may use that sometime. It sounds like you have found a good way to spend time together, yet distanced.

    I'm writing from Wyoming! We decided to go on our planned vacation. We have VRBO rentals and have brought most of our own food. Everything we are doing naturally involves not being near others. During the rare times we might be near others we have noticed that mask wearing is better than I thought it would be. It's nice to have fun breaks, especially now.

    1. Hi Kris,
      Oh, what fun! Have a wonderful time in Wyoming! I'm glad you could take a vacation and still find a level of safety in doing so.

      We had a great time with the cook-out. We're trying to get together often with our son and DIL this summer, just in case it's not possible in fall or winter. I'm already thinking through our options for Thanksgiving and Christmas, should the virus be really bad.

      Enjoy your vacation, Kris!

    2. Let us know your thoughts about holiday celebrations. Summer is easier as we can get outside but I'm not sure what to do when the weather gets bad.


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