My hubby’s birthday was this week and I wanted to surprise him by freshening up our patio. We had this potentially lovely patio that just needed a little love to become our own oasis. We had nowhere to sit, we had nowhere to eat or set drinks, we had nowhere to accommodate guests. So with my idea and my surrogate MIL we made magic happen. After a trip to athome and Home Depot we had what we needed to transform our outdoor space.
While my MIL got to work on putting the tables (and benches..two in one!) together I got to work on putting together the menu (and pulling lots and lots and lots of weeds to prep the backyard).
My husband is an acts of service man… and I knew by making our patio beautiful, cleaning the house and cooking him up a meal he’d love would pour love into him.
Since we were going to be home cleaning and setting up I was able to choose cooking low and slow.
Guacamole & Plaintain chips
Oven Cooked Beef Brisket
Pecan Coffee Spiced Rub Pork Ribs
Sauteed Shaved Brussel Sprouts with Bacon
Macaroni & Cheese
Black & White Cake with Cinnamon, Chocolate Spice
As much as I love making everything from scratch, I am choosing to let go on a few things and allow the easier way so that I am not stressing about certain things.
Guac & chips was one of those. Ina Garten always says when hosting a gathering have a few store bought items and a few homemade items.
Another one I decided to buy from the store was mac n cheese. Let me preface by saying, we pretty much stopped buying mac n cheese. We are trying to de-carb in our house… but when it comes to birthdays and me overhearing Halen ask daddy what he wanted for his birthday dinner and him replying with, “Mac n cheese.” Well dad gets mac n cheese. J So Amys Creamy Organic Mac n Cheese to the rescue!
I also relied on some help with the cake… I love making cakes by scratch, but with our new(er) lifestyle eating as close to grain free as possible… well baking is hard. And I LOVE baking. So I found some tried and true gluten free boxes that have mixed already together so that I don’t have to serve my husband a cake that tastes like cardboard and grass.
The rest I did myself… I bought a brisket a few weeks earlier and shoved it in the back of our freezer… I try to space out my purchases for special occasions among our regular shopping trips to divvy up the expenses. I also bought a rack of ribs and hid those as well.
For the brisket, I covered it with a thick rub of good quality salt, cracked pepper and onion powder. I put it in the oven overnight for 12 hours on 200 degrees. Letting it cook low and slowwwww like it would at a barbeque joint.
We all woke to smelling amazing beef dancing in the air! Yum! Once these were done (around 9:30 in the morning) I wrapped the entire brisket in foil and covered with a towel and put into an empty cooler to sit. This part is crucial as slicing now would dry out the luscious meat.
Then Halen and I got to baking. Dad also told Halen he wanted chocolate AND vanilla cake… so I made that happen.
I got a chocolate brownie gluten free mix and a yellow cake gluten free mix. Halen helped with the brownie part and Henley helped with the yellow cake part. We used our unsweetened vanilla flax milk, eggs and butter.
To top the cake the girls decided to decorate it with a donut, so we used some of the batter of each to make a donut in our donut pan. The brownie donut did not work, but the yellow cake one turned out nicely!
While the cakes were baking I got my rack of ribs out of the oven and covered them with salt, pepper, and pecan roasted coffee beans from Texas Coffee Traders.
Once the cake was cooling, I started baking the ribs, they cooked on 300 for 4 hours. This was crazy good y’all!
When the cake was cool, Halen and I made whipping cream… another way for me to eliminate unnecessary sugar. With icing you have like 3+ cups of sugar, but with homemade whipped cream you only have about 1 Tbsp of sugar (and it is just so good y’all). I iced our cake into a three layer cake, chocolate in the middle. Then I took our donut and sprinkled it with a spice we made of sugar, cinnamon and cocoa powder. Once we put that on top of the cake we then sprinkled the rest of the cake with the spice. #yum
Then it was time to make the brussel sprouts, one of Evan’s favorites. I bought the packages of shaved brussel sprouts to make it easier, and started with butter and chopped bacon in the pan. Then I added chopped onion and the brussel sprouts. I let them reduce down until they were done.
For the mac n cheese, I happily followed the directions and let them keep warm until everyone arrived.
I went and got Evan’s favorite beer in a growler, Electric Jellyfish IPA by Pinthouse Pizza, filled the cooler (used to be a storage bin for trash…) with other beer and drinks for guests. We hung the banner, set the table, told Alexa to play some Bruce Springsteen and were ready to welcome home the birthday boy.
He was a pretty happy man, surrounded by most of his favorite people with an intimate backyard gathering and delicious food.
Before and after picture of our patio!