Category: festival (page 1 of 2)

Our Favorites & Something New: My Minnesota State Fair Post 2019

The best holidays are The Minnesota State Fair and Halloween.

To be honest, I wasn’t super drawn to the new list of new fair foods this year.

I know deep fried things on sticks aren’t light fare, but a lot of the items seemed to be very heavy like grilled sandwiches, foods that could either be very good or very bad (al pastor waffle, lahmucan) or boring (fried feta bites, boneless wings, or “build your own burger.”

Build your own burger as a new vendor? lol come on.

This year, we’re following the same philosophy as we dud last year. We’re not trying a new food simply for the sake of trying a new food because $$$. I’ll let the food critics go there first.

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What We Ate & Drank At The MN State Fair 2018

This year’s list of everything we ate at the Minnesota State Fair looks similar to last year’s. I tried one of those hyped up new foods, a couple “new to me” things, and old favorites.

I live for the excitement and new food offerings that swirl from this Great Minnesota Get Together.

Some people live for occasions like Christmas and Valentine’s Day. I live for Halloween and the Minnesota State Fair. My Christmas Eve is reading the Twin Cities food critics’ reviews of the zany new foods. I’m always amused by how foods that make one critic’s worst list will make another’s favorites.

My best advice for fair goers is to simply eat whatever catches your fancy.

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The Greek Festival At St. George Greek Orthodox Church

It’s been way too long since I’ve attended a a summer food and culture festival.

Our friends randomly asked if we wanted to check out a Greek Festival so off we went.  St. George’s Greek Festival occurred last weekend (August 18-19th).

I have no idea how many years this festival has occurred, but my guess is many.

Volunteers warmly welcomed guests and served a variety of foods and beverages.

Entrees included gyros, different types of kabobs (souvlaki), moussaka and spanakopita. We got so full on savory food that we left no room for dessert. Not even the baklava sundae.

The food and beverages here were affordable and very good. We grabbed some Greek beer and wines beforehand.

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Follow The Man Holding The Fish Sign On A Stick For Lutefisk

Last weekend, on our first cold, snowy night, I attended my first lutefisk dinner. Lutefisk is a Nordic food tradition of preserving cod fish with lye. You know, that stuff used in soap making or added to oven cleaners and drain openers? Yup. That’s the stuff. “This is totally not a metaphor,” I kept saying.

If you google “Lye” you will also find that it brings up articles related to “tissue digestion.” A friend reminded me that lye’s also used to make bagels so I felt a little better. After the fish is treated with lye, the flesh takes on that striking jello-like consistency. After a six-day soak in water, it’s fit for human consumption.

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Turning Into Pumpkins At Enchanted Acres & Katy’s Homemade Applesauce Recipe

The North Iowa bloggers embarked on their first fall adventure where some of us turned into pumpkins.

Jeni pumpkin

This weekend, Shannon Latham invited us to spend the morning at Enchanted Acres in Sheffield, Iowa about thirty-minutes south of my home in Mason City. The acres feature a patch of at least 30 varieties of pumpkins of which Shannon and her family planted by hand. Throughout the fall, visitors can pick their own pumpkins for decorating and eating, attend a pumpkin craft workshop, meet farm animals, and play on the big tractor tire playground. You can find a schedule of events on their Facebook page.

We tried our hand at decorating pumpkins. Amy created the glitter pumpkin while I attempted duct-tape polka dots.

Pumpkin Shannon Collage

Shannon Latham shows-off Enchanted Acres’ new signage which explains each pumpkin variety.

Enchanted Acres features many activities for kids. Of course we all had to try them all out.

As a {former} city girl, I became most excited about meeting the farm animals. Growing-up, we occasionally saw farm animals at the Minnesota Zoo and State Fair, but have never gotten too close. I tried posing with Nibbles, Sharon’s pygmy goat.

Nibbles Collage

He’s very friendly, but had other plans. He grabbed a mouthful of corn husks and ran away. I also got to hold my first chick and my first bunny.

Chicks Collage

Enchanted Acres just got chicks from Hoover’s Hatchery located nearby in Rudd, IA.

It was pretty much the best thing ever and definitely a personal bucketlist moment. Possibly not as giddiness-inducing for the bloggers who grew up on farms.

Blog Collage Collage

Showing-off our crafty pumpkin handiwork, making pumpkin pie in a bag and meeting the animals.

Shannon also sent us home with goodie bags filled with treats guests can purchase at Enchanted Acres such as homemade strawberry jam, beer bread mix and salsa dip seasoning. Jake and I hit the chunky strawberry jam immediately.

Jam

In the spirit of the changing seasons and blogging collaboration, I invited Katy to share one of her favorite fall recipes. She blogs at Learning As I Go: Learning About Life Being A Wife, Step-Mom & An Adult and offered to share her recipe for homemade applesauce:

Katy and Jeni

Katy’s Homemade Applesauce
It’s Iowa, and, although summer hasn’t officially ended according to the calendar, it’s fall in my home. School has started, the first football games of the year for my step-sons are next week. . . it’s fall!! When I think of fall, I can’t help think of pumpkins, apples, goodies baking in the oven, cinnamon, and crisp smells. This past weekend, I was given a large bag of fresh home-grown apples. While I knew that I wanted to freeze some for apple baked goods (pies, crisps, etc) this winter, I also knew I wanted applesauce.

I’m actually snacking on it while I type this post and it’s delicious. It tastes like the best homemade apple pie filling. I hope you get a chance to enjoy some fall food and baked goods this year!

Katy's Applesauce watermarked

Ingredients:
5-7 apples
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Peel, core, and slice apples, cutting out any bad spots. I like to leave a little skin at the tops and bottoms for texture and flavor.
  2. Place the apples in my two qt sauce pan (I didn’t have the need to chop them and you’ll see why later).
  3. In the pan, add butter (yes, butter, no margarine!) and about ¼ cup granulated sugar and two tablespoons of cinnamon. The amount of cinnamon that you use is obviously up to your liking.
  4. Turn burner to medium heat, cover the pan with a lid, and let everything start getting happy.
  5. Simmer until the apples become soft then break them up. I like my applesauce chunkier, so cooking them whole was perfect and it saved me a lot of time not having to chop them.
  6. Simmer about two minutes longer. If you like smoother apple sauce, just continue to cook and mash as they cook.
  7. Remove applesauce from the burner and package it in Tupperware containers. Freeze for later or refrigerate. I enjoyed a small bowl right away.

Katy’s Apple Freezing Method:
Chopped any peeled and cored apples you want to freeze into a sink full of water. Add about one tablespoon of salt and a good splash of cider vinegar. Let them have a nice bath in that mixture (this was my Grandma’s secret to freezing apples so they don’t get brown). After they soak for about five minutes, place them in a strainer and rinse with plain water. Bag them up and put them in the freezer.

*Special thank you’s to Shannon for graciously hosting us at the farm and to Donna Hup for helping me take photos. If you see me in a photo, Donna took it:) 

My Fellow North Iowa Pumpkins:
Amy, Modern Rural Living
Beth (in absentia), It’s Just Life: Finding The Extraordinary In The Ordinary
Donna, Donnahup.com
Katy, Learning As I Go: Learning About Being A Wife, Step-mom & An Adult
Sara, All In An Iowan Mom’s Day & Travel With Sara
Val, Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids

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