The best BBQ chicken you’ve ever had in your life

As I mentioned in my post about our favorite chili recipe, I’m allergic to cumin – I don’t break out into hives or anything like that, but my body refuses to digest it and I feel like I have shards of glass in my stomach until I throw up. A little graphic for ya? Sorryyyyyy. I promise to lock it up for the remainder of this post. 😀photo (11)

Unfortunately for me, most store bought BBQ sauces are loaded with cumin – which is why I spent most of my life thinking I hated BBQ chicken. In my quest to find the perfect cumin-free BBQ sauce, I stumbled upon this recipe. I’ve made changes to it over the years and I swear by my version – it’s AMAZING. I’ve served it to a fair amount of people and everyone tends to agree that it’s the best BBQ chicken they’ve ever had in their lives.

My favorite sides to served with this are caprese salad and this balsamic marinated artichokes recipe. We are true California eaters over here ;). Hope you enjoy this as much as we do!


2 Tbsp worcestershire sauce

2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce

2 Tbsp teriyaki sauce (we use Soy Vay)

1 Tabsp honey

1 tsp sesame seeds

1 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp smoked paprika

1 tsp garlic salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

4 cloves minced garlic

1/4 cup of canola oil (we’ve experimented using grape seed and avocado oils too – we’ve found canola works best when it comes to grilling, but the other oils are healthier options. Don’t use olive oil – the smoke point is too low).

8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (we’ve also included bone-in breasts and legs. Just make sure everything is skinless so that the chicken can properly soak up the marinade).


Whisk together Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, and honey in a bowl. Add sesame seeds, brown sugar, smoked paprika, garlic salt, pepper, minced garlic, and oil; mix well (make sure you scrape the bottom of the bowl – the honey tends to want to stick to the bottom). Place the skinless chicken in a ziplock bag, pour in the marinade and make sure each piece of chicken is coated, seal it, and marinate for AT LEAST 4 hours in the refrigerator (the best is to marinate for 24 hours), redistributing the chicken in the marinade occasionally.

Preheat your outdoor grill at medium heat.

Remove chicken from marinade and grill until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees F (about 10 minutes per side). Ryan pours some of the marinade over the chicken as it’s grilling, but you want to keep the grill lid shut for most of the time.

A husbandless spring


This is what happens when Ryan isn’t home to grill :/

This charred chicken pretty much sums up my life during the month of April. Our foundation is unscathed and still good, but our edges are a little crispy and hard to chew. This month has sucked. In fact, I can’t say much for the month of March either. Between my mom and P’s car accident and losing my cat, its just been a rough spring for our family. I guess I should count my blessings that Porter has been sleeping through the night lately (praise the Lord for that) but life is extra hard when Ryan is gone more nights than not because he’s so consumed with studying for this darn Professional Engineer exam. I really shouldn’t say “darn” when referring to it, because passing it would mean a whole lot for our little family. You really can’t move forward in the engineering world without passing your PE, which is why they make it so difficult. Having a California civil engineering stamp is no easy feat.


But I miss my husband.

Seriously – I miss him so much. He has been rotating between spending nights at my parent’s house and his brother’s house – and on the weekends, he’s at the library. Our relationship was founded in long distance, so you’d think this would be a breeze for me. Why can’t I just revert to that long distance state of mind? Probably because we’re living in a different time and we are THAT much closer than we were before. Since that time, we have fallen even more in love with each other, experienced numerous life trials together, got married, bought a house and had a baby. He is my best friend, my soulmate, my rock, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve known people who have told me they like when their spouses leave town and I’m extremely grateful I am not in that type of a marriage. Not to say I don’t enjoy some me/girl time every now and again, but my heart hurts when Ryan can’t be with us – and I know Porter misses his daddy.


Photo cred: Ashlee Gadd

April 22nd is the magic day – Ryan’s final test. After that day, we’ll have him back and this will all be over. Having that light at the end of the tunnel definitely helps, but it got me thinking about all the moms out there who have husbands with jobs that take them away on a regular basis, have long hours, or are serving in the military – kudos to you ladies. You deserve all the respect in the world. Not to mention all of the single mamas out there – hugs to you. Being a mom is the hardest, most rewarding job on the planet – and you don’t really understand the depth of just how hard and rewarding until you take the plunge into motherhood yourself.

So…cheers to April 22nd coming to us sooner rather than later. We’re almost there.

Despite this Debbie Downer blog post, I know we have so much to be thankful for. We have our health and we have each other. Despite a few setbacks, we’ve had some good times this spring – here are some highlights:

I found another cute hat for P

I found another cute hat for P

We had some fun at Jack's Urban Eats

We had some fun at Jack’s Urban Eats

We went on the swings

We went on the swings

I celebrated the warmer weather via a glass of wine

I celebrated the warmer weather via a glass of wine

And laying out (I'm stark white and it's not a good look on me)

And laying out in my backyard while Porter napped (I’m stark white and it’s not a good look on me)

The parentals' house was finally put on the market (which means they'll be moving closer, so it's a win)

The parentals’ house was finally put on the market (which means they’ll be moving closer, so it’s a win)

We sent some silly selfies to Dad while he was away

We sent some silly selfies to Dad while he was away

Porter spent time with his future wife

Porter spent time with his future wife

We had a successful visit to see the Easter Bunny

We had a successful Easter Bunny visit

I sure do love my people.

hindsight wedding advice for brides-to-be

IMG_3255.JPGI recently finalized travel arrangements for three glorious weddings we’ll be attending in the coming months. I got lucky, with two of them landing on the same weekend and are only two hours away from each other (one is in Palm Desert, the other is in Temecula). We are beyond thrilled to be road tripping it to see some good friends, drink some good wine and have a little grown-up time together. To top off our year, we’ll be heading to NYC in December for a fabulous winter wedding. Beyond excited for these upcoming nuptials!

With all these weddings on the horizon, I found myself reminiscing the day I exchanged vows with my one and only. What a truly wonderful day that was.photogfavs066

Despite my fond memories, I’d be lying if I said there isn’t anything I’d do differently. Below is some of my hindsight wedding advice for brides-to-be.

  1. Hire a videographer. I cannot stress this enough. I know it’s easy to dismiss this as one of those “extra” things you don’t really need, but just do it! Why? Because it’s the only way – THE ONLY WAY – you will be able to relive that night. You think you’ll remember everything, but you won’t. The years cause those memories to fade and although pictures give you somewhat of an idea, a video truly takes you back to everything about your day. Just do it – you won’t regret it. Here’s a shortened version of my video, by Ryan Eytcheson, if you’d like to take a look. 🙂receptiondancing379
  2. Choose your photographer wisely. I LOVE my wedding photos and truly believe my photographer is beaming with artistic talent given to her by God himself. However – this process taught me that there is much more to look for when choosing a photographer; namely, organization. Make sure you find someone who is organized, or has someone they’ve hired to keep them organized.posed471
  3. Have a sweetheart table. I went with the more traditional head table, but if time travel was possible, I would have a sweetheart table. You spend most of the day surrounded by everyone but your groom – some alone time with some dinner would have been nice.reception002
  4. Don’t buy a photo album through your photographer. I just got my wedding album last month. My wedding was in September of 2011. Yes, that’s how long it took me to get my album. While I realize this is an unusual situation, it’s still a chance you take when the power is in the hands of anyone but you. Also, my album wasn’t anything I couldn’t have designed myself. If you have a creative side, just cut out the middle man and work with the album designer directly. You’ll save time, money and frustration.
  5. Choose your bridesmaids wisely. If you suspect that anyone in your wedding party is talking behind your back, seems mad, bitter, or competitive about anything to do with your wedding/engagement, it’s time to get the scissors and do some cutting. Don’t make excuses and tell yourself it will get better once your wedding is over. It won’t. Weddings often force true colors to shine through – make the cuts before these people end up in your wedding photos. The comparing/competing won’t end with your wedding. “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.” – Maya Angelouphotogfavs094
  6. Don’t put pressure on yourself to say hi to every single guest. Many weddings are only four or five hours long and it’s going to fly by faster than you ever imagined. Every bride and groom says this – so believe it to be true. You’re on a timeline and your guests know this. They won’t be offended if you can’t say hi to them – and if they are offended, they’ll get over it. Spend your time however you want – it’s the one night of your life where it really is all about you (and the groom), but mostly you.
  7. Go dress shopping with an open mind. You might think you know what kind of dress you want, but you won’t really know until you start trying them on. Keep an open mind. My dress was pulled by one of the sales people and I would have NEVER picked it out for myself.
  8. Be very careful in choosing your DJ. My DJ got good recommendations online and was highly recommended by my photographer, but I had a weird feeling about them and I wish I had just listened to my gut. My DJ completely butchered the names and introductions I wrote for my wedding parties. It’s like the man didn’t know how to read. There were other issues about them that night, but I won’t get into details. Just be careful and don’t rush into choosing a DJ. The good news is that most of the guests I talked to didn’t seem to notice, and there was still a good dancing vibe – check out the moves on my father-in-law below.receptiondancing356
  9. Make sure someone puts your purse into your getaway car. Funny story – I thought the wedding coordinator at my venue would take care of something like that. Little did I know, she was getting wasted as the night progressed (she was since fired from my wedding venue, Bella Piazza Winery). Ryan and I were locked out of our B&B – and there wasn’t anyone on the premises to let us in. We laughed it off and played checkers on the front porch (randomly, there was a giant checkers board) until some of our wedding party met up with us to give us our stuff, but it still sucked. Make sure you task a trustworthy bridesmaid/family member to put your stuff into your getaway car.

    Here’s the wedding coordinator that got so wasted at my wedding that she was slurring her words at the end of the night. Oh, she was also spotted selling bottles of wine to guests that were already purchased by my family for the night. She’s a winner.


  10. Use a lip stain instead of lipstick/gloss. You don’t want the groom to worry about lipstick transfer during your first kiss as husband and wife. You also don’t want to worry about it getting on your teeth, reapplying, or getting your hair blown into your lip gloss during pictures/walking down the isle. Just get a lip stain and be done with it. I used this one from Benefit.photogfavs056
  11. Have your hair and make-up professionally done. It’s natural to have some jitters before you walk down the isle. For me, the jitters were 100 percent related to my anxiety about so many people staring at me. Being able to relax, drink a glass of champagne and enjoy your bridesmaids is a much more calming way to spend the day – just make sure you do a test-run session with your glam girl/guy before the big day. I used Tania Voochen of Byuti Salon. You can learn more about her through this feature on Girls on the Grid. She’s amaze-balls.getting ready

    Having a moment with my dream team - Jeni, Jenn, Phoebe and Nicole

    having a moment with my dream team 🙂

  12. Consider doing a boudoir photo book as a wedding present for your hubby-to-be. Many women have the best bodies they’ve ever had during their weddings. Why not document that with some sultry photos for your husband to enjoy? I felt kind of silly during the photo shoot, but they turned out to be stunning and Ryan loved them! Plus it was totally fun shopping for lingerie! Men are visual creatures – your groom will be beyond thrilled to have a private booklet of the woman he loves. Coming from someone who is sleep deprived and currently rocking a post-partum body, trust me – you’ll be glad to have those photos. An added bonus is presenting the album to him at your wedding with your photographer capturing his reaction in the background.photogfavs058
  13. Treasure the moment. Your day is going to be full of craziness – no mater how well you plan. Ryan and I took a moment to be alone during our reception and it was so special to reconnect through all the chaos and cherish the moment together. I’ll never forget itreception200
  14. Have fun!

    Photo cred: Natalie Masciale

    Photo cred: Natalie Masciale