One of the things we did right when we built The Little House is add plenty of outdoor living space so we could enjoy our natural surroundings while relaxing.
Dale and a neighbor built our deck onto our house in the burbs, but we quickly realized after hosting our first BBQ that a 10 x 12 deck doesn’t give you much room to move – particularly when your husband owns 4 BBQ grills.
When we built The Little House, lesson learned, we added a 24 x 10 party deck to the back and a 24 x 6 covered porch to the front of the house.Now I have plenty of room for patio vegetables and it also gives us room to entertain during mild weather, which is pretty common here in the Ozarks. We even spent one fair weather New Year’s Eve on the deck looking at the stars until midnight.
We also use the party deck for a lot of cooking. I guess you could say we had an outdoor kitchen before outdoor kitchens were cool!
In the city, we ate out at least three times a week, sometimes more. We had drifted from the ritual of cooking together and enjoying meals in our home.
Being here in The Little House has given us an appetite for eating at home again.
On the nights Dale isn’t working, we use mealtime – from the planning and shopping, to the preparation, to enjoying the meal – to bring our separate days together and wind down. Every dinner is something we’ve accomplished together and feels like one of celebration.
Most of the time, either the preparation or eating (or sometimes both) happens on the party deck. We have dreams of building a real outdoor kitchen adjacent to the deck someday, complete with a fireplace, running water and other amenities, but for now, the party deck is part of what make The Little House, Home.
If you would like to grill something spectacular this holiday weekend, here’s a recipe for Bacon Wrapped Grilled Tenderloin:
Take one medium sized pork tenderloin and wrap it completely with bacon. Use toothpicks to hold the bacon on the meat. Place in a shallow dish and marinate in the refrigerator for 8 hours, or overnight in a garlic marinade (we use Ken’s). Turn once to ensure the marinade soaks completely through all of the meat. Grill over white-hot coals (not open flame) for approximately 1 hour, leaving the grill covered and turning the meat at least 4 times. You can eat it with the bacon (removing the toothpicks, of course!) but we take the bacon off and give it to the dogs. For us, the bacon is simply to hold in the flavor and juices of the tenderloin. Slice the tenderloin into 1–2 inch medallions and serve with potato salad and baked beans.
Today’s Poll: Where in your house is your favorite place to enjoy food or entertain?