At the moment I seem to be traveling around the country enjoying what my daughters have cooked. Arrived in Atlanta last night to be of help with car issues this week and this wonderful appetizer was almost ready. There are millions of recipes floating around out there in magazines and on blogs and other other online sources. Jessica has a good sense for which ones will be really good. She was dead on with this one. And it is simple to prepare, too.
You might want to file it away to try during the holiday season. But note that the recipe says "serve immediately." You can make the salsa ahead of time, but you do need to assemble them just before you serve them. (Might be the perfect recipe when you have a few friends over, but maybe not for a huge hors d'oeuvres buffet.)
Sweet Potato Crostini with Goat Cheese and Grape Salsa ...recipe from My Recipes.com 20 large frozen waffle-cut sweet potato fries 2 tablespoons red pepper jelly 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 1 cup quartered seedless red grapes 1/4 cup finely diced yellow bell pepper 2 tablespoons finely diced green onions 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro* 1 (4-oz.) package crumbled goat cheese
1. Preheat oven to 425°. Bake potatoes in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet 12 minutes; turn potatoes, and bake 5 to 7 more minutes or until crisp and lightly browned. Remove from pan; cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. 2. Meanwhile, whisk together pepper jelly and lime juice in a small bowl; stir in grapes and next 3 ingredients. 3. Arrange potatoes on a serving platter; sprinkle with goat cheese. Top with grape mixture, using a slotted spoon. Serve immediately. *Adjust or omit cilantro to suit your tastes. Jessica said she only used 1 teaspoon tonight because she know I "like" it--as opposed to "loving" it. Daddy-O hates it. Had he been here, she would have left it out completely. Jessica has lots of good recipes on her own blog. P.S. If you like goat cheese, don't forget the even easier recipe that a friend shared with me last year and I posted here. It is also most delicious.
At this time of year, I seem to pull out the orange yarn. It's time to make a pumpkin hat! While we were out visiting Baby Sister, she wore her pumpkin hat a lot. She wore it the day we went to the craft fair.
And several times, ladies stopped us to ask where we had bought it. They thought we had found it at the fair. One lady, when told that I had made it, wanted to know if I would make them for her. She owned a pumpkin farm! But I don't make them to sell. (You don't even want to know what I would charge.)
I just make them for the cutie pies in our family, like my 6-month-old great-niece who got hers in the mail a couple of days ago. She's the only one with leaf on her hat--because last year, I didn't know how to knit a leaf. Sometimes it's nice to be third in line.
While we were visiting Mommy, supper plans changed quickly one night. So she whipped Miss Susie's Chicken Casserole out of the freezer. (I didn't know you could cook it straight from the freezer, but it worked. Takes about an hour in the oven for an 8x8-inch foil pan.) And then she made a recipe that her family likes. Brussels sprouts! How many children like brussels sprouts? Who keeps brussels sprouts on hand?
But this recipe was wonderful. If you think you don't like this vegetable, it's worth trying them one more time. These are shredded first which I think changes them completely. I am definitely adding this to my own recipe repertoire. You're not going to believe how good this is.
12-14 large brussel sprouts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
pinch sea salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup roughly chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted
Slice each brussels sprout very thin until you have a mound of feathery brussels sprout ribbons. Heat olive oil over medium hight heat in a large skillet and saute the garlic for 30 seconds. Add the brussels sprouts and continue sauteing for another 4-5 minutes, until bright green and tender. Add the sea salt and brown sugar and toss together. Finish by adding the toasted nuts.
Serves 4 as a side dish. Thank you Mommy for sharing a great new recipe. Have any more I don't know about?
Mommy and her family have a tradition of going to the pumpkin patch each year to find the perfect pumpkin. This year they had to find a new patch. This one had some features that the one here at home didn't offer.
Like the pig races.
It turned out to be fun to watch. The pigs were in classes by weight.
Even the little piglets got a turn.
There were pony rides for the little kids.
On the way home, Baby Sister kept saying, "I ride the pony!"
She was all smiles the whole time.
She had a go at petting a goat in the petting zoo.
That was not as much fun as the pony ride.
Because she spent so much time here at our farm,
Baby Sister loves tractors.
"Trac trac" was one of the first things she learned to say.
At this pumpkin farm, she got to ride in a wagon behind a tractor...
...and get up close to the cows that looked at lot like the ones at Daddy-O's farm.
We have never decorated our hay bales, but they always look cute,
The last activity of the day was going through the corn maze.
Thanks to Big Sister's good sense of direction
(and a little help from a 10-year-old boy that we met
about halfway through--"4 rights and a whole bunch of lefts")
we got out in time to get home for the football kick-off.
The only thing missing from the day were the pumpkins! This patch had been cleaned out by people who must have gone days/weeks earlier than us. Only tiny ones were left. But we had fun and that was the main thing. Mommy and Daddy will have to shop for a huge pumpkin somewhere else this weekend and send us pictures of their jack-o-lantern.
When you live in a state that has vacation destinations like Hilton Head, Charleston and Myrtle Beach (and wonderful small beaches in between) and you are even closer to the North Carolina mountains and the wonderful city of Asheville, it is easy to forget that other parts of the country can be great vacation destinations. But we found beautiful places here, too.
Our visit to see family just happened to coincide with the largest craft fair in the midwest. People were arriving by the busloads to shop at the NINE craft fairs going on this one weekend. We just made a quick visit to the biggest of the nine, which is held on the grounds of an old gristmill.
It is hard to explain how many people were there. And we went on the first day just as it opened. There were even people tailgating in the parking area. I think they were expecting 200,000 visitors.
Our purchases were food---kettle corn (the best ever) and fudge. If you wanted it, there was also Indian food and Greek food along with the more expected corn dogs and lemonade and fried Oreos.
There is no way to tell you all that we did and saw last week. Here are just the highlights. When I was there in July to help with the move, I mostly unpacked boxes, hung pictures and helped set up a house. This time I got to see where they live--as in their town. While there is plenty of shiny new shopping (with the stores that mail you all the catalogues) only five minutes from Mommy's house, the actual town is like many here at home. It is an older area trying to reinvent itself. They have done well. There were quirky shops and galleries and interesting restaurants. We still have places to check out next time.
Lunch at Heirloom, where everything is fresh and local.
But most of our time was spent just visiting and playing. Baby Sister was so excited to see Daddy-O. She was glad to see me, too, but she and Daddy-O are true buddies. She can do so many things now that she wasn't doing in July. She talks so much more and in sentences now. And she sings all the time. She goes to Kindermusik each week. I loved listening to her version of "Skidamarink a dink a dink, I love you." She sings it, "Stinky winky do, I love you." I just love it. I don't know the "Wishee wishee weeeeee!" song but I heard that line many times last week.
I realized one thing we're missing by not seeing her often is watching her language develop. Right now, all cake is called "pancake." She watched Mommy make a cake. In a pan. And Mommy put cake on a plate. From a pan. Hence, PANCAKE. Makes perfect sense, doesn't it?
Big Sister likes her new school. (But doesn't like having her photo made now and I'll respect that.) I was worried that starting middle school in a new state where she knew no one would be so hard. But while we were there, she was elected vice-president of her team of classes. She's on the quiz bowl team and sings in the youth choir at church. I didn't need to worry. At all.
Here is a quick look at some of our family time. I'll share the sight-seeing next.
Baby Sister loves my iPad. She knows how to use it nearly as well as I do.
She loves hats. Even the Krispy Kreme hat we brought her.
Wait until she finds out they sell doughnuts, too.
There was lots of time for reading books.
And playing games.
Like the silly one where she would put the wrong color on a post
and cut her eyes around at Daddy-O and wait for him
to say, "Nooooooo....." She thought that was so funny!
For years we have watched the British comedy, Last Of The Summer Wine. Those words came to mind yesterday when Daddy-O walked into the kitchen with an armload of peppers--about the last of the summer garden. He went to see if he could find just one cucumber for our salad. No cukes left, but we still have lots of peppers.
So today after church, I put them in the freezer. Even if you are not into food preservation, you can do this. You might not have a boat load of peppers in your backyard, but maybe you bought a tri-pack of peppers and only used one. Or a big bag of peppers was on sale at the store. You can freeze what you don't use immediately. Here's how:
Dice the peppers and spread them in a single layer on a cookie sheet.
I lined the pan with parchment (or use foil) to make pouring into the bag easier.
Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for an hour or so.
Pour peppers into a freezer bag.
Press out as much air as possible and close.
Label and date. That's it.
That is a gallon-size freezer bag. I think I'm good for a long time. I had so many peppers that I made layers with foil so each cookie sheet had three layers of peppers. You want the pieces to freeze separately so you can pour them out later. When you have a recipe that starts with sauteed peppers and onions, you'll be glad these are in the freezer. Don't thaw; just use them straight from the freezer.
I thought I might see what else in the yard is hanging on bravely. There are still a few flowers in our yard. Come walk with me and take a look at the last of the summer blossoms...
BONUS TIP: Years ago when our girls were young and very much into dollhouses, a friend who was a serious about miniature houses told me that if you let bell pepper seeds dry, they look just like tiny potato chips. She was right. So our doll house soon had a couple of bowls of "potato chips" for the doll family.