Where did our vacation go? Let’s see, there was fishing, camping, touring, shopping, sampling, grilling, partying, relaxing and more. That’s where it went. Yessiree, I’m back and missing home (Indiana). How are you?
Feeling melancholy about leaving home hit an all-time high this morning when Greg went back to his work routine (up crazy early) and I woke up alone, with a dreary day to face in a chaotic apartment, after days and days of sunshine and being surrounded by loved ones, attempting to get back into my daily routine. It just goes to say that that is how great and memorable our visit was.
Now, I’m adjusting and transitioning to fall. I love this season.
Before we left a few weeks ago, we had fans in the window and the air conditioner was on. Upon our return, the temperature was probably 20 degrees cooler and we had to add another blanket to the bed. Greg and I find the need to cozy up, with the blanket my mom made us, on the couch in the evenings. Fall officially begins Wednesday. I’m officially wearing cardigans and boots now. Yay!
You’ll have to excuse me. After 7 hours of editing my pictures on our way home, I am still not even close to sharing more than a few. I spent most of Sunday preparing, organizing and sending photos to family and friends. While we were home, I picked out hundreds of family photos to scan and share with a plan to make a cd for each family member. No kidding, I have at least 4 large projects to tackle. Excited and overwhelmed pretty much wraps up my emotions about those tasks.
Here are a few things I can share about our trip:
1) I am in love with our nephew Nolan (he’s over a month old now) and cried when I thought about the fact that I don’t know when I will get to see him and our family next and that Greg and I will be missing out on his life until then.
2) I cried when I left my parent’s house and kept crying in the car for quite some time Saturday morning.
3) We drove around Indiana just as much, if not more, than it took getting to the state from Minnesota. (IU in Bloomington, Purdue in West Lafayette/Lafayette, Broad Ripple near Indianapolis and Ball State in Muncie were just a few of our destinations.)
4) Greg and I befriended an old pal we had a fight with years ago and left Purdue feeling lighter and brighter on that subject. If you’re reading, I’m glad you’re back in our lives.
5) Oops, we spent more money than planned. In our defense, some of it went towards 2 chiropractor appointments for Greg, a trip to a cherished Indiana winery (left with a mixed case of wine to share) and our beloved Lafayette Brewing Company (left with a few packs of the microbrew to share too), coffee mugs from our alma mater with our names on them (you have to get those, right?), much needed clearance clothing, props for the dabble pics, and “practice glasses” that will prepare me to wear actual glasses soon (again).
So I created that last one but I do love to wear these new glasses. Greg says I look professional like “a business lady/sexy librarian.” He’s cute. Just as much as we bought, we were given from family and friends. Cookbooks, magazines,
vintage beer bottles from breweries that no longer exist (we didn’t know they existed at all), antique cookware, decorations for upcoming holidays, salsa and much more. Thank you-we love it!
6) Lastly (I could keep going) but most important, thank you to my parents and anyone else that housed us for the past 2 weeks. Laundry, dishes, cleaning up after us, cooking, buying us things and everything else….major thanks. We love you.
We add our apologies to those that we didn’t get to see or spend nearly as much time with as we would’ve liked. I’m telling you, two weeks can fly by as if it were two days.
Congratulations to our friends Zach and Carrie who had a baby girl less than a week ago. She is beautiful.
My mind is almost ready to jump back into the dabble and I’ve created a new gameplan, including updated versions of things that you probably won’t notice (no offense…it’s on my side and basically makes things flow smoother), better pictures (even though my time in natural light is fluctuating with the season change) and more intros about food with less chitchat…for some period of time, this will be the way. (Except today and most likely this week when I talk about our trip, please let me get back into the groove first.)
Today’s recipe comes from my grandma and her grapevine. The pie was gone before the thought to snap a picture even popped into my noggin. Delicious, tart grapes in a buttery crust and only 4 ingredients beyond the pie crust. I remember this pie from my childhood but Greg experienced it for the first time on our trip and thoroughly enjoyed this mouth-staining, super-grape flavored dessert. Find some Concord grapes-it shouldn’t be too hard this time of year-and try this recipe.
Concord Grape Pie
4 cups Concord grapes
¾ cup to 1 cup sugar (depending on the tartness of the grapes)
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp lemon juice
9-inch pie crust (recipe below-make the day before)
Prepare the pie crust the day before if not using a store-bought crust. See the pie crust recipe below.
A few hours or the day before preparing the pie, remove the grape skins and reserve them for future use. You can do this by blanching them in boiling water for a few minutes and placing the grapes in cold water.
Preheat the oven to 425F.
In a saucepan, over high heat, add the grape pulp and bring to a boil. Stirring occasionally, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, continuing to stir. Place the pulp in a sieve and remove the seeds. Add the pulp back to the empty saucepan and add the skins, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Mix well. Place the grape mixture into the pre-baked homemade pie crust or store-bought crust and bake for 25 minutes until set.
Pie Crust from Real Simple by Sara Quessenberry
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus more for rolling the dough
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water (Add an ice cube to keep the water cold but don’t add cube to mix)
In a food processor, pulse the flour, butter, sugar, and salt until the mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pea-size clumps of butter remaining. Add 2 tablespoons of the water. Pulse until the mixture holds together when squeezed but is still crumbly (add more water, a little at a time, as necessary). Avoid overprocessing, which will make the dough tough.
Place the still crumbly mixture on a sheet of plastic wrap. Shape it into a 1-inch-thick disk, using the plastic wrap to help. Wrap tightly and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. (The dough can be frozen at this point for up to 2 months.) If frozen, place the dough in the refrigerator the day before and then at room-temp the day of baking.
Day of: Place the dough on a floured piece of parchment or wax paper. Using your knuckles, make indentations around the dough (this will help prevent cracking when you roll the dough out). With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into an 11- inch circle (work from the center outward, and use the parchment to rotate the dough). Flour the rolling pin, parchment, and dough as necessary to prevent sticking.
Loosen the dough from the parchment and carefully transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Fit the dough into the plate. Trim the dough to a 1-inch over-hang and tuck it under itself to create a thick rim, if you’d like. I like a rustic crust edge so I didn’t follow the remaining instructions. There are several websites out there with instructions for beautiful edges and the one coming up is a nice, simple edge.
With the index finger of one hand, press the dough against the thumb and fore-finger of the opposite hand; continue around the perimeter of the crust. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days before using.
Day of: Take a fork and puncture the bottom of the crust. Pre-bake crust for 20-25 minutes at 350 and then allow to cool.