Y’all are too kind. [:)][:I]
I hope I haven’t gotten your hopes up about the "wonderful" meals we cooked. To me, they were wonderful, but they may come off as rather plain to many. I love to cook, as do many in my extended family, but it’s all just something we enjoy. I don’t claim to be a great cook and have certainly never had any training.
For instance, the Sunday dinner we had with the family and some invited friends consisted of BBQ and some sides. My brother-in-law smoked a few racks of baby-backs the day before, then smoked a chicken that morning. He also baked another chicken for those who preferred it without the smoky flavor (yeah, there are a few weirdos in my family [:D] ). I had brought some Salt Lick BBQ sauce from Texas, so we used that with his meats.
He made a big pot of green beans out of his garden, with new potatoes (flavored with bacon, of course). He made some marinated cucumbers (also from his garden) and onions using our family’s simple recipe of vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and pepper. My sister made an oriental-style slaw using green and red cabbage, sliced almonds, and crushed ramen noodles with a dressing she made. We had a big plate of sliced Missouri tomatoes. Homemade sweet tea to drink, and homemade peach cobbler with Blue Bell vanilla ice cream for dessert. (They can get Blue Bell in Springfield now.)
Another night at a friend’s house, we grilled brats and burgers, and served them with a big salad, homemade potato salad, baked beans, and sliced tomatoes and onions (I had found some big, beautiful, locally-grown Beefsteak tomatoes at a farmer’s market that morning). One note about the baked beans; she made them using a fairly "standard" recipe, but used pork n’ beans, canned baby limas, and canned kidney beans. I’d never had baked beans that way, but they were pretty tasty.
Breakfast there was usually lots of coffee and fresh fruit from the farmer’s market. (A local Amish family grows and sells some AWESOME cantelopes, so we ate a bunch of those.) Of course, as mentioned above, we had donuts one day.
So, not much excitement there, but when you’re eating good food with a group of people you enjoy, it makes the experience very nice.