We had the Torres fam. over Labor Day weekend for a grill out. It was seriously the first time we had even taken patio furniture out all summer. So strange for us, but the summer just came and went before we even had a chance to enjoy our deck much with others. Liam helped me make the macaroni and cheese and was very excited over the corn on the cob or the "popcorn" as he called it. The "popcorn" was pretty much the only thing he ate even after he had 'slaved' in the kitchen with me to make the mac & cheese. Chris roasted a beer can chicken and I also made a pineapple & black bean guacamole that I would definitely keep in the dip rotation. As usual Liam liked to help with the clean-up, insisting on helping me rinse the dishes and moving his stool he uses when he comes over closer to the sink. He was taking too long wanting to keep playing/washing/stirring and I was ready to go back outside so I started walking away and he shouts to me over his shoulder while stirring a bowl of water; "where are you going, dinner is almost ready". Always cracking me up.
Fall is here and I've got my decorations out, just waiting to buy our pumpkins and mums which I'll probably pick up this weekend. I do enjoy decorating our entryway table and cake stand for each season.
We went to Harvest Fest at State Fair Park last weekend. It is much larger than it was years ago when I went. Lots of things to entertain kids like pumpkin bowling, scarecrow making, camel rides, cookie decorating, face painting, carnival rides, etc. We indulged in our first caramel apple of the season, "caramel fries" so the apple was cutup and covered with caramel, peanuts, whipped cream and sprinkles. Much easier to eat. We also had a pumpkin ice cream flurry with m&m's and it was worth the 20 minute wait for it. The actual food we sampled wasn't much to brag about, just the desserts. Of course, we bought several things from the farmer's market stands and I got myself a new scarf from one of the vendors. The weather was in the mid 70's so all the stands with the warmer fall foods were probably a bit quieter than usual. Apple cider and cheesy broccoli soup sounded so good to me, but it was just too warm for it. And I'm not complaining about that! Admission was free and I liked getting back to the State Fair Park one more time. I would recommend attending next year, but it is probably a bit more fun if you had kids with you so you could indulge in all the kid things without looking like a goof. I thought the pumpkin bowling looked so fun!
Back to summer somewhat, I have been eating the heck out of fresh tomatoes these past two months. In salsa, bruschetta, salads, sandwiches, you name it. There is a farm just a block from us that sells fresh vegetables that we have been hitting up each weekend. We usually shop off a grocery list based on our meals for the week, but no matter what, I pick up a bunch of tomatoes and will find an excuse to incorporate one with each meal. One thing I like lately is jazzing up an egg sandwich for breakfast. Frying an egg and then putting it on whatever kind of toasted bread we have with some arugula and tomato (arugula is also a favorite of mine to have on hand). I think in the picture below I had added some leftover shredded chicken and goat cheese. I throw the arugula and tomatoes into the skillet just at the end for 30 seconds or so just to warm it up a tad.
We picked up an eggplant last weekend from our neighborhood farmer's stand and decided to roast it into a dip to spread on a baguette we needed to use up. Chris made this entire meal, but this is what I understand he did:
Roasted Eggplant Dip
-1 eggplant, cut into cubes
-2 tomatoes, cut in half
-2 cloves garlic, left whole
-1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
-1/2 lemon, zest & juice
-red pepper flakes, salt, pepper
Roast first three ingredients drizzled/seasoned with olive oil, salt & pepper for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.
Place roasted vegetables in blender with pine nuts, parsley, lemon zest/juice & parmesan cheese and pulse. Add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes to taste. Serve on toasted bread.
We are still trying to squeeze in some more fun fall activities while we can, so we are hoping for a trip to the Elegant Farmer this weekend if the weather cooperates. It's time for apple picking, apple cider and riding the train with Liam and the gang.