3 Things That Are Not In My Grocery Cart

It’s been a few days since I released the FOREVER Grocery List.  Have you had a chance to check it out yet?

Take one look at that list, and I think you will realize that I’m WEIRD when it comes to grocery shopping.  It’s true, and I admit it. I’m very fine with my own weirdness in this area.

I graduated from college in the height of the recession. After turning in about 200 job applications, a family connection landed me a job as a cashier at a grocery store.

I’m picky about what I buy, because I’ve seen what people buy.

I really don’t care if you make a million dollars a year or if you have to dump a jar of pennies on the counter to pay, BUDGETING IS IMPORTANT.  It’s the only way to get ahead and make your money work for you. I don’t throw away money at the store; instead, I try to go in with a plan and stick to it.  I’m a careful shopper, and I make sure that every dollar I spend is on nutrient-rich foods that give me my bang for my buck.

That being said, I don’t always buy the cheapest or easiest option.  We are all voting with our dollars, and there are some highly unethical practices that appear on grocery store shelves today.

The biggest issue has recently been cleaned up, but only just this year: we were purchasing goods made by slaves in other countries.  That just baffles my mind! Another: we have been purchasing items where the farmer/rancher in another country was not fairly compensated or in an unsafe environment. So many items are available through fair trade certified route: alchohol, beans, grains, chocolate, coffee, fruits and veggies, spices, honey, nuts, sugar, tea. The products that are not fair trade certified are probably corrupt.

The last issue I am going to bring up: the average food travels 1500 miles before it lands on our plate, and that’s just not ok. It’s contributing to environmental issues and global warming, and consumers have no idea what they’re actually putting into their bodies. I buy from local farmers and ranchers whenever possible. And know what? The quality is AMAZING! Gotta love life in Kansas!

So here are a few things that are typically not in my shopping cart.

Here’s a disclaimer: I’m no nutritionist.  I took one class in college, and I read, but I don’t know your specific circumstances, and I’m not at all qualified to give you nutritional advice. If you have questions at all, I would advise that you speak to a medical professional.

Here are 3 things that are not in my grocery cart:

1. Snacks!

No chips, no crackers, no cookies. Or at least, very sparingly.

Why?

(1) These foods are typically high in sodium. Did you know that 90% of Americans are eating WAY TOO MUCH and it’s probably killing us? These foods are also high in calories and low in actual nutritional value.

(2) These foods are EXPENSIVE.  You can easily spend $20 or more and with 30 minutes of mindless eating, it’s all suddenly gone. And you’re hungry again an hour later.

2. Foods containing high-fructose corn syrup.

I have a fear of high-fructose corn syrup (and yes, it’s different than the corn syrup you can buy in the baking aisle, btw).

While the rest of America is fretting over our new clown epidemic, the thought of high-fructose corn syrup hiding out in my kitchen cabinet watching me has my knees knocking.

It’s in our juice, our soda, our breakfast cereal, our yogurt, our salad dressings, our bread, our candy, our energy snacks, our tomato sauces including ketchup, our peanut butter.

Basically, our society is consuming toxic levels of this stuff, but it’s not allowed in my house.

3. Meat.

Here’s a famous, old headline for you: the U.S. could feed 800 million people with the grain that livestock eat.  But, it’s true.  It’s much more efficient to eat plants than the animals who eat plants.

I’m picky about meat.  I don’t eat chicken that is injected with saline (paying $1.50/package for salt water, btw).  I don’t eat beef that wasn’t grass fed.

I actually barely eat meat at all!

Bonus: Yogurt.

Ok, this is a bonus, because I haven’t actually made my own yogurt before, but I plan to very soon!

Did you know that you can make yogurt?  Apparently it’s easy, but I haven’t tried yet!

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Cincinnati “Skyline” Chili

This recipe has been in my family for almost 30 years! This spiced meat sauce is cooked for at least 4 hours and then served over spaghetti. Traditional toppings include cheddar cheese, diced onions, oyster crackers, and beans (we skip the beans).

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It is absolutely gorgeous in Kansas right now. I took a drive the other day and had to pull over to capture this rainbow on a sunny day. So perfect!

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I just love these hills.  Deep breath.

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Despite the beautiful, understated view, I have not been feeling very inspired to post recently.

There are a couple of reasons for this:

1. I’m dieting. Sort of. The baby’s half birthday came and passed. Along with that came the realization that I won’t have the metabolism of a breastfeeding mother forever. My goal is to reach the healthy BMI range, and I still have about 12% of my body weight to lose. Ug.

2. Flu season started early, and I was the only person healthy in my house. Let me tell you about how much leisurely free time I had to cook and write. None. Yup.

3. I haven’t felt inspired. My produce service was temporarily stopped. I tried some new foods, but I wasn’t happy with the results. I’m in a creative rut.

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Finally, I had an idea. A non diet friendly idea, but that’s ok once in a while.

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Instead of a new recipe, why not turn to one of the oldest recipes in my possession?

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I was born in Cincinnati. My parents lived there while my dad attended grad school and my mom taught inner city. Then they whisked me on a tour of the country that ended in a red brick house in Kansas.

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But my story started in Cincinnati, and I LOVE this chili.

There’s nothing quite like Cincinnati’s Skyline Chili. Just take a look at the ingredient list, and that’s evident.

Just try it. You won’t be sorry!

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Cincinnati "Skyline" Chili

This recipe has been in my family for almost 30 years! This spiced meat sauce is cooked for at least 4 hours and then served over spaghetti. Traditional toppings include cheddar cheese, diced onions, oyster crackers, and beans (we skip the beans).
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 1 quart cold water
  • 2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp allspice
  • 2 medium onions minced
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 lb box spaghetti
  • Toppings: cheddar cheese, oyster crackers, diced onion

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, crumble the raw hammer into the water.
  2. Add everything else.
  3. Simmer for 4 hours, stirring occasionally.
  4. Drain/scoop off excess water and grease. Cook spaghetti per package instructions.
  5. Serve over spaghetti with desired toppings.

Popcorn Trio

Introducing the popcorn trio: Dark Chocolate; Parmesan and Olive Oil; and Smoked Paprika, Rosemary, and Olive Oil.  Air popped popcorn with a light sweet or savory coating is a snack that will let your junk food craving be satisfied without excess calories, fat, and sodium. It’s as fun to make as it is to eat!

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This post is the third in a series about a six course dinner served at the Iron Clad in Wamego, KS.

Click here to read the Non-Baker contribution to this series.

When planning this event, I immediately knew that I wanted to make a salad that incorporates acorn squash and make Fancy Weeknight Rigatoni. I was stuck on a third dish.

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I wanted my final course contribution to be low in calories after heavy pasta. More than that, I wanted this dish to be something fun to make and eat.
I went to a local restaurant recently, Bourbon and Baker, and was thrilled to find truffled popcorn on the menu! Popcorn is one of my all time favorite foods! Another fun way to have a taste of Christmas in August, a savory and sweet popcorn trio! Everyone can find a popcorn that they enjoy!

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Salted Dark Chocolate Popcorn

I always forget that chocolate is messy! I was finding chocolate everywhere after making it, including on the baby, oops. The good thing is that I made every mistake, so you don’t have to.

An air popper is the easiest way to control fat and sodium intake with this snack, but pan popped or microwave popped popcorn will work.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c unpopped popcorn (or 1 microwavable bag)
  • 1 standard candy bar of dark chocolate (or less, I had more than enough)
  • 2 gallon ziplock storage bags
  • Salt to taste

Instructions:

  1. Pop your popcorn.
  2. Put the popcorn into one or two storage bags depending on how much there is after it pops. You want each bag to be half full or less.
  3. Put your chocolate into a microwave safe bowl microwave on high for 30 second increments until the chocolate is just about melted, then stir until completely melted. Chocolate burns easily, and burned chocolate is just sad, so make sure to keep an eye on it.
  4. Turn on your favorite dancing music. Pour the chocolate in the bags and shake until distributed evenly. (A workout and a fun snack rolled into one!)
  5. Place bags of popcorn in the freezer until the chocolate hardens. It should be fine after 10 minutes or so. (This was the important step that I unfortunately wasn’t warned of.)
  6. Pour into a bowl and enjoy with friends!

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Parmesan an Olive Oil

The second in the trio. Finely grated parmesan would probably work better than what I used, but they’re equally tasty!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c unpopped popcorn
  • olive oil spray
  • 1/4 c fresh parmesan

Instructions:

  1. Pop your popcorn!
  2. Put popcorn into a gallon ziplock bag. Spray popcorn lightly with olive oil.
  3. Sprinkle with desired amount of cheese and enjoy!

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Smoked Paprika, Rosemary, and Olive Oil Popcorn 

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c unpopped popcorn
  • olive oil spray
  • 1-2 tsp smoked paprica
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • Salt to taste

Instructions:

  1. Pop your popcorn!
  2. Put popcorn into a gallon ziplock bag. Spray popcorn lightly with olive oil.
  3. Sprinkle with spices and shake bag until dispersed. Test and adjust to taste.

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Fancy Weeknight Rigatoni

Creamy tomato sauce with a kick over rigatoni pasta.  This recipe is easy enough to cook on a weeknight, but fancy enough for our six course dinner that Anna and I served at the Iron Clad in Wamego, Kansas.  Best of all, it’s budget friendly and all of the ingredients can be found at Aldi grocery stores!

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This post is part of a series of posts about a six course dinner served at the Iron Clad in Wamego, Kansas. Please click here to view yesterday’s Kale and Roasted Acorn Squash Salad.

 

Creamy tomato sauce with a kick over rigatoni pasta. This recipe is easy enough to cook on a weeknight, but fancy enough for our six course dinner that Anna and I served at the Iron Clad in Wamego, Kansas. Best of all, it's budget friendly and all of the ingredients can be found at Aldi grocery stores!

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My sister Anna (the non-baker) and I served a six course meal to our family at the historic Iron Clad building in Wamego, Kansas.  Yesterday, I wrote about a Kale and Roasted Acorn Squash Salad with Honey Balsamic Dijon Dressing.

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Today is about this pasta. This recipe is a winner with a crowd. It’s a recipe I would consider to be restaurant quality except it’s terribly simple.

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Dinner with extended family in a beautify venue isn’t something that happens every day.  We  are mindful eaters, but we splurged and celebrated with spicy yet creamy sauce over fun to eat pasta.

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We treated ourselves, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Well, most of us did anyway. One person at the table was limited to rice cereal, and he was less than thrilled about it.

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But, he was excited about being all together.

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Except, don’t eat that butter.  There’s a line, folks.

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Fancy Weeknight Rigatoni

Creamy tomato sauce with a kick over rigatoni pasta. This recipe is easy enough to cook on a weeknight, but fancy enough for our six course dinner that Anna and I served at the Iron Clad in Wamego, Kansas. Best of all, it’s budget friendly and all of the ingredients can be found at Aldi grocery stores!

Ingredients

  • 1 16 oz package of rigatoni
  • 1 c Alfredo sauce
  • 1 1/2 c marinara sauce
  • 1 tsp crushed red peppers
  • 1/2 a package of frozen peas or 1 can
  • Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Boil pasta per package directions.
  2. While waiting for the water to boil, combine the next four ingredients in a sauce pan over a low heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. After the pasta has been drained, drizzle with olive oil to keep noodles from sticking. Spoon into bowls and top with Parmesan.

Kale and Roasted Acorn Squash Salad with Honey Balsamic Dijon Dressing

This salad–kale, roasted acorn squash, goat cheese, sliced pears, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and honey balsamic dijon dressing–is dramatic yet packed with fiber-rich superfoods. An attention getting show-stopper that is perfect for any meal or event.  It is the remedy for the end of summer blues and eases the transition to fall. Save this recipe for the honey balsamic dijon dressing alone! So yummy! Thank you to Iron Clad in Wamego, KS for allowing us to use your beautiful facility!

This salad--kale, roasted acorn squash, goat cheese, sliced pears, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and honey balsamic dijon dressing--is dramatic yet packed with fiber-rich superfoods. An attention getting show-stopper that is perfect for any meal or event. It is the remedy for the end of summer blues and eases the transition to fall. Save this recipe for the honey balsamic dijon dressing alone! So yummy!

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My sister, Anna at Non-Baker, and I are celebrating the end of summer with a six course dinner for our immediate family at Iron Clad in Wamego, KS.

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Life gets busy again over the next couple of weeks. Schools will be resuming, and pools will be closing.

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Almost all of the family works in education in some capacity. We have the blues because summer is ending.

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This salad welcomes fall flavors with outstretched arms.

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Thanks to Iron Clad Coworking and Events for allowing us to use this beautiful facility. Keep them in mind for your next event. Or, consider coworking in their facility if you work from home or crave work in a beautiful creative space. They are great to work with!

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Kale & Roasted Acorn Squash Salad with Honey Balsamic Dijon Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 2 pears
  • 2 large bunches of kale or one large prewashed bag
  • 1/2 c dried cranberries
  • 1/3 c dried pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 c goat cheese crumbles

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 4 tsp dijon mustard or 1 tbsp + 1 tsp... I was trying to save you from having to wash two measuring spoons for 1 ingredient.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash the acorn squash, and pierce the skin with a knife in 10-20 places. Place on a microwave safe dish and cook on high for 10-15 minutes on 5 minute intervals, depending on the microwave. (We just want to soften the squash so that it's easier to slice.
  2. Once it is softened, cut off the top and slice into rings. Use the knife to remove the seeds and pulp.
  3. Lay out rings onto a greased cookie sheet and bake about 15-20 minutes or until tender. Slice pears and combine other ingredients while squash is baking. Combine all dressing ingredients into a mason jar and shake.
  4. Place squash atop salad and serve.

Read Anna’s post on Monday Inspiration: The Importance of Family Togetherness!

Christmas Breakfast Casserole

Festive, sturdy breakfast casserole, with eggs, sausage, and cheese, is delicious enough to save for a special holiday, but this practical recipe is also perfect for weeknight meals too!  Make ahead and refrigerate overnight so that the flavors meld — it’s a little bit of Christmas that can be savored all year long!

I didn’t plan on baking this and photographing this in the middle of the night, honestly.  Last week, when I promised to share the recipe in which I used all the leftover sandwich crust from our tea party, I did not imagine my pajamaed self tip-toeing around the kitchen, silently, desperately cooking in the middle of the night.  Oh, parenthood.

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So don’t mind my dark pictures here.  Just get a chuckle at imagining me fumbling around trying to take the time to photograph this before gulping it down.

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I feel like I’ve been hungry since the day before the baby was born.  The other night, when a sleepy meltdown monopolized the evening and overtook dinner, I was starving.

I was so glad that I had this casserole in the fridge ready to just pop into the oven!

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Because who says that you can’t enjoy breakfast for dinner?

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Seriously, who?  I need a name?  Because I’m pretty sure that person is Bizzaro Brohgan.

(Don’t worry, I’m using the term “bizzaro” correctly.  I looked it up.)

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Note: I’ve had this recipe on my Pinterest board for ages. I think it originally came from a forum about favorite holiday recipes?  I don’t have the link to the forum, but here is the jpg for the original recipe:

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Thank you, Sherry McClure, whoever you are!

Festive, sturdy breakfast casserole, with eggs, sausage, and cheese, is delicious enough to save for a special holiday, but this practical recipe is also perfect for weeknight meals too! Make ahead and refrigerate overnight so that the flavors meld -- it's a little bit of Christmas that can be savored all year long!

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Christmas Breakfast Casserole

Festive, sturdy breakfast casserole, with eggs, sausage, and cheese, is delicious enough to save for a special holiday, but this practical recipe is also perfect for weeknight meals too! Make ahead and refrigerate overnight so that the flavors meld — it’s a little bit of Christmas that can be savored all year long!
Servings 10

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs beaten
  • 2 c grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 slices of bread cubed (if you have leftover crust for some reason, like I did, you basically need enough to fill the casserole dish)
  • 1 lb sausage browned and drained (I recommend turkey sausage.)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 c milk
  • butter flavored cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Mix all the ingredients and put into a well-buttered baking dish (I used spray to save calories!).

  2. Let set 12 hours in refrigerator.

  3. Bake for 45 minutes at 350. 

  4. Whether it’s Christmas morning brunch or the middle of the night in summer, serve and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Don’t use multigrain bread or bread with seeds that doesn’t have a soft texture. I did that once, and the change in texture isn’t something that I would recommend. I’m normally willing to sacrifice in the name of health, but this just wasn’t worth it. White bread or soft wheat bread is best.

Summer Vegetable Ravioli Salad

A time saving weeknight dinner to save for the upcoming back to school nights! The simplest of recipes: frozen ravioli, steamed fresh summer vegetables, bottled pesto, and parmesan cheese. So yummy, nobody will believe that it only took minutes! Leftovers make great cold lunches too!

A time saving weeknight dinner to save for the upcoming back to school nights! The simplest of recipes: frozen ravioli, steamed fresh summer vegetables, bottled pesto, and parmesan cheese. So yummy, nobody will believe that it only took minutes! Leftovers make great cold lunches too!

 

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I have alluded to the fact that I often avoid the traditional grocery store when it comes to buying food, especially produce.  I did my time working at a grocery store after college, and as someone who has worked the back end of a produce department, I’m really not impressed.

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I started using a national produce co-op called Bountiful Baskets about five months ago.  The co-op is saving us money while encouraging us to eat more produce.  It is not local, but at least it is generally fresher and better quality than my local grocery store produce. My goal is to finish the co-op produce within the week to ensure that we’re getting enough fruits and vegetables in our diet. The co-op basket is often the inspiration for recipes that I come up with that week.

I’m not getting money for representing the co-op or anything. I just think their service is good and worth mentioning.  (Note to local readers: they normally deliver to Manhattan, but the local coordinators took a break for the summer, so I had to pick it up in Junction City the last couple of months.)

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The other night I just tossed a few of our co-op vegetables into the steamer basket and pulled some cheese ravioli out of the freezer. The entire dish only took about 3 minutes plus the amount of time it takes to boil water.  Way easy.

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So simple! So pretty!

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Sooooooo yummy!

Ingredients

  • 3 c summer vegetables, chopped. I used yellow squash, bok choy, and broccoli, but sweet potato, cauliflower, peppers, kale, spinach or other types of squash would also be yummy.
  • One bag of frozen cheese ravioli
  • 1/2 c Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Put a large pot of water on the stove on high and bring to a boil for the ravioli.
  2. Chop the vegetables.  Add an inch of water to the bottom of a medium pan with a steamer basket. Add vegetables to basket and bring to boil. Steam until desired texture is achieved.
  3. Add ravioli to boiling water and cook per package instructions or until all the ravioli begins to float.
  4. Drain ravioli and return to pan. Add steamed vegetables, cheese, pesto to pan and gently stir to combine. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve immediately. Serves 4

Optional tip: spoon leftovers into small containers to use as lunches throughout the week! Leftover ravioli salad is great cold too!

Have you ever tried a meat or produce co-op before?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  The comments are open!

Reflections over Tea

This is the last post in a week long series titled The Tea Party.  This series was a collaboration between Non-Chef and Non-Baker.  Non-Baker.com is a food blog by my lovely sister, Anna Grace.  Please, visit her site! Her yellow cake is honestly one of my favorite deserts now after this tea party. And she’s one of my favorite people and favorite writers. You won’t be disappointed.

The tea party is over.  The leaf has been taken out of the table, and the standard lace over green tablecloth has been returned to its rightful place. The decorations have been taken down.  The girls are playing the Headbands game on somebody’s phone in the living room.  Anna and I are washing grandma’s delicate tea things in the kitchen.

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White tea plates and clear glass tea cups are carefully stacked in the dishwasher.

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The platters, each with it’s own unique story, are gently washed and put back into their cupboards.

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The one that carried the egg salad sandwiches and the one that bore the custards were my favorite.

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The tea set needs to be completely dry before it is stored.  Who knows the next time it will be used.  When was the last time it was used?  Maybe long before I was born. Not many people are making time for tea parties these days.

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I hold a degree in English literature, and I did not shy away from any of the English major stereotypes. Most of my college studying was essentially me reading a novel very closely over a cup of tea or coffee.  Or gathering with other people who liked to talk about novels and writing over cups of tea or coffee.  Lots of tea and coffee and words.

But, I have never been to a tea party before. Actual tea cups, an actual tea set.  We brewed the tea in the teapot.  We spooned in sugar as desired. An array of delicate sandwiches and lovely desserts. Flowers were everywhere.

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The tea party wasn’t perfect, but it was significant.

There are a few things that I have fond myself reflecting on as I wrote about this event this week.  Firstly, the portion sizes.

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Small cups and small plates meant we collectively indulged on less, but it certainly didn’t feel that way!

We only used one pot of tea.

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I went to the party with two small containers of lemonaid believing we would run out.  It was 100+ degrees outside.  We filled the pitcher twice, but I still went home with one and a half containers of lemonaid.

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For 10 people, we only ate a half a loaf of bread.  That’s not even a full sandwich each.

 

I know we had plenty of leftover dessert, because we enjoyed it again at the next family gathering. At least a half of all the desserts were left.

Yes, we indulged. We partied. But it wasn’t overdone.

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The other thing I realized as I chose pictures: we truly made memories at this tea party.  You can just see it in the girls’ faces. Actually, you can see it in all our faces!  The tea party was surprisingly significant.

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I was busy bustling around, because when I wasn’t preparing some food or taking pictures, I was taking care of the baby.  But when he finally dozed off, and I sat down and just enjoyed myself sans camera, I realized how precious that moment of coming together really was.  I’m glad I sat and just enjoyed for a bit, because that was the best part.

I can’t wait to do it again sometime.

When grandma started talking about moving, one of the first things she started fussing over was the collection of copper kettles.  She finally decided that each of the eleven copper kettles would be matched with the eleven branches that make up our family tree, meaning every family gets a copper kettle.

I don’t think the copper kettles mean nearly as much to any of us as they do to grandma.  Some of my relatives are probably rolling their eyes right now at the thought of the copper kettle that is about to be  shipped to them. I brought mine home with me the other day and wondered what on Earth I would do with it.  I finally plopped it on top of a bookshelf because there was a space there, not really knowing what else to do with it.

But I’ve started looking at that copper teapot a little differently this week as it stands guard over my Norton Anthologies, my Bible, and my other favorite books.

Has anyone ever used it? Should I try and use it?

I caught myself imagining if someday I would take the kettle off the shelf and pull out those tiny white teacups and saucers that grandma gave me as a wedding gift, all mismatched whites like I specifically asked for, and replicate a special tea party with some other important women I love. I have a long list of people I would invite.

It’s not at all about the things or even the place or the table.  It doesn’t have to be perfect looking or tasting.

This tea party is significant because it brought together women, and women-in-training, who have dedicated decades to investing time and love in each other, in me.

There is power in matching words of gratitude with the good in your life.

That’s why I want to speak a bit about these exceptional women and their adorable girls. They just happen to be related to me, and it’s very special. Thank you all for attending a party with me! I am so thankful to be surrounded by the kind of women who make time on a whim for a tea party just because.

Maybe we’ll even let the boys come next time, if they promise to use their manners. 😉

 

PB&J Heart Sandwiches

This post is the fourth in a five day collaborative series with Non-Baker titled The Tea Party.  Go to Non-Baker to read about the delicious cakes and custard that we enjoyed at our Tea Party and about how to find happiness in the kitchen!

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Yesterday I wrote about kid-approved “Deviled” Egg Salad Sandwiches.

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Today, I am going to write about the other finger sandwich that I contributed to our tea party: peanut butter and jelly hearts.

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Remember, I was aiming for simpleKeep it simple, and bring people together.

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Use a cookie cutter on your bread.  I found if I cut it out just right, I could get three hearts out of a single piece of bread. (Don’t worry, I saved the crusts for a breakfast casserole recipe that I will be posting next week after the series is over!)

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Peanut butter first, and then top with jelly.  Keep it simple, and bring people together.

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I put the jelly in a sandwich bag and clipped the corner to make it go on more easily.  It’s certainly not anything like decorating with frosting, because it’s essentially made out of very stretchy chunks, but it worked well enough.  In other words, I had to squelch my inner control freak and go with the flow. Keep it simple, and bring people together.DSC_0978IMG_0827

It all worked out to be lovely in the end.

Cheers from the farm,

Brohgan

Please go to Non-Baker.com to view additional contributions to the series The Tea Party!

“Deviled” Egg Salad Sandwiches

This post is a part of a collaborative series with Non-Baker called The Tea Party.  Have you guys checked out Non-Baker yet? It’s great! And I’m not just saying that because Anna is my sister… I’m saying that because everything she bakes is super yummy.

Hey, can you keep a secret?  Lean in so I can whisper it in your ear.

Shhhh, here’s the secret: there’s no difference between “deviled” egg salad and regular egg salad. Don’t tell!

I don’t cook for children very often. My son is only 5 months old, so we haven’t had to worry about him being a picky eater yet. So when I was thinking of little finger foods to make, bruschetta or cucumber sandwiches didn’t seem like they would go over terribly well with my younger tea party guests.

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I mean, I was competing for attention with Anna’s cake, after all…

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So I thought back over the things that tend to disappear first at Grandma’s Sunday dinners. Anything sweet, of course. Cake, ice cream, cookies, all gobbled up quickly. All forms of the potato are always a hit, as well as anything covered in cheese. These kids have good tastes!

  
And deviled eggs. There is never a deviled egg left by the end of dinner.  Normally a couple are suspiciously missing from the plate before dinner even starts. Easter is a very popular holiday!
 I already had a favorite egg salad recipe that is tried and true. When you think about it, egg salad really isn’t all that different from deviled eggs.

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And know what? All those deviled egg salad sandwiches disappeared.

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The youngest girl even took it upon herself to eat the egg salad out of the middle and leave a little pile of bread squares… until mom stepped in. You have to use your best manners at a tea party, of course. 🙂

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Between me and you, can I let you know another little secret? I steamed the eggs so they would peel more easily!

Fifteen or sixteen minutes in the steamer basket over a boil, and my extremely fresh eggs peeled very easily.  I may never truly hard boil an egg again.

I tripped the recipe for the tea party, but ended up having about half left over after arranging the sandwiches.

Ingredients:

  • 3 chilled hard boiled eggs
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise 
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (to make it a deviled egg sandwich)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 pieces of bread

Instructions:

  1. Peel, and dice the eggs. Just a tip! To easily dice, put a wire baking rack over a bowl and push the eggs through the squares. Start toasting bread, if desired.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  3. Smooth egg salad onto slices of bread and serve. 

This post was part of a week long series titled The Tea Party. Please come back or visit Non-Baker for more recipes and tips in this series!