Monday, August 26, 2013

Summer is Fresh Peaches

Time once again to try to fit all of the events from the past several months into a blog post or two.  Actually, I think I'll just write about what I'm currently excited about, and then try to go through and find pics of our favorite summer events later.   
We went to the Salt Lake City area last week and spent some much needed time with family.  It was great to not have to rush.  We were able to just hang out together, and find some fun things to do with our kids.  We went for cheap this time.  My sister suggested we take the kids to Scheels, which we thought was crazy because for the most part we are not an athletically inclined family.  But she explained that they have ferris wheel rides for a dollar and all kinds of fun free and cheap things to do.  The kids thought we had taken them to the best place on earth.  So nice when they're so young you can trick them like that.  We all rode the ferris wheel, even though some of us don't like heights (my toes are tingling just thinking about it).  We did the fake shooting range for a buck each, saw all the unfortunate stuffed creatures, and some creepy talking robot presidents, and got super yummy ice cream cones for 80 cents.  They also had a little play area and dance dance revolution for free, and a giant fish tank.  Now as far as destination fun goes, many people wouldn't be that impressed, but it was just the right little stop for us.  We also took them to Mama's Plantation for chicken and cornbread, and went to a little splash park by my sister's house.  I like the country and smaller towns best, but I can definitely see the advantages of city life.  There is so much to do (and eat), and you can get great deals too.  Next year maybe we'll do the pass of all passes and spend more time playing there.  I think SLC has it's own beauty too, especially when you look out over the mountains towering over the valley filled with twinkling lights.  I just hate driving around there, and the endless succession of strip malls and housing developments kind of creeps me out.
We went to Ikea for the kids eat free Tuesday.  That store could drain your life away before you even found your way out.  It's fun to eat there, but I'd recommend going about two.  We waited in line a very long time with very wiggly chiddlers.  It's fun to go to the market and buy a few inexpensive kitchen items.  Of course I had to pick up these bowls, with their perfect yellowey stripes.  Wild sunflowers are growing at back of our yard this year.  I love them.

My fun, apart from seeing my sibs, was the fruit stand in Brigham City.  It took me back to when I was a kid, stopping with Grandma while she picked out her fruit.  We got a couple boxes of fragrant Regina peaches for a great price.  I was nervous that I wouldn't know what to do with them and they would go bad.  But my good friend came by and taught me to bottle them with the water bath method.  It wasn't as painful as I had anticipated.  One confession:  I used old lids.  Upon learning that this was a definite no no, my paternally ingrained fear that I would kill us all with my botchellism fruit overcame me.  But they are sealed, and I think we will live.  Gotta learn somehow, I guess.  I just sometimes feel like I make more than my share of mistakes in life.  I also made peach freezer jam.  I screw that up about half the time too, but you can still eat jam that is runny, and you won't die.  We ate some yesterday on fresh Grandma Katie rolls and we all loved it.  I cut a bunch in halves and froze them for smoothies and peach crisp later, and I made praline baskets with vanilla bean ice cream and fresh cut peaches on top.  It's a tricky recipe, but a family tradition so you gotta do it occasionally.  Oh, and we all bit into as many fresh peaches as we could and tasted that rare little bit of heaven.  Only a few peaches went bad, so I think we can call that success!
I hope I don't get in trouble for posting secret family recipes, but I think I have to post it.  It may take some practice but it is rather an impressive looking dessert, and it is yummy.

Grandma Katie's Praline Baskets (or Ice Cream Lingere)

preheat oven to 325 degrees

Bring to a full boil:
1/4 cut sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup light karo syrup
1/4 cup butter

Take off heat and add:
3 1/2 TB flour
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans

Use dark-colored not stick cookie sheet, you can try greasing and flouring a regular cookie sheet but can be problematic.  (I used a baking stone, BUT the key for me was using parchment paper.  I cut it into two pieces so I could take it from the stone, let it cool on the cold granite countertop for a SHORT time, then pick it up and drop it over the glass)

Measure about one TB of mixture on to cookie sheet fore each praline dish.  You can fit two at a time.  Bake for 4-6 min. (mine took longer, maybe because it was a stone? just watch carefully and it will get bubbly, and the edges will start to brown a little).  When done, set out on the counter to cool for about one minute.  Remove with a spatula while still soft and flexible.  Lay on top of an overturned glas and let the edges ruffle down around.  Remove when cool. 

Serve with vanilla ice cream and fresh or frozen peaches, or try other fruits, chocolate sauces etc. 

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