Anthony and I are reading the Classic The Wind in the Willow’s by Kenneth Grahame with the boys every night. Tonight we read a chapter that seemed to sum up my state of mind perfectly – Chapter 9 “Wanderer’s All.” It begins “The Water Rat was restless, and he did not exactly know why. There was a feeling in the air of change and departure.” The chapter goes on to speak of the harvest, the movement of the swallows and the field mice south, and an encounter with a traveling gypsy rat. The “change” in seasons – if you can call it that here in schizophrenic San Diego has brought with it some melancholy and a desire for change. My parents recently returned from a road trip up the coast and brought back stories of their own adventures that made me reflect on our family’s adventures and travels wistfully. Later this week I will celebrate a good friends dream fulfilled as she heads off oversee’s to explore her own destiny and further her education for the next year. As I read the chapter I was struck by how there’s so much truth in what fall brings. Everything seems to change and as I long for my own wandering I am so grateful for all that I have right here, now. Maybe we’ll explore a new and different pumpkin patch this year and we’ll call that our very own family wandering
With the harvest’s come a change in local produce as well – Red pears, Jonagold apples, melon’s, Valencia oranges, pomegranates, avocado, scallions, arugula or French sorrel, Swiss chard or beets, radishes or cilantro, cauliflower, cucumber, lettuce, squash and jujubes.
Here are some recipes and a menu to play with.
I like to make a soup for Sunday dinner and eat the leftovers for lunch all week. We enjoyed the Lentil Vegetable Soup from Lucinda Scala Quinn’s amazing cookbook Mad Hungry.
I served this with a modern day veggie plate – sliced cucumbers, radishes, chilled cooked beets and grape tomatoes with homemade ranch dressing. I used The Pioneer Woman’s recipe and really liked the result – I needed to use up some herbs and some buttermilk so this was perfect. The boys ate the veggies right up with the oh so fun dipping opportunity.
Uses; radishes, cucumbers, beets, tomatoes, dill, parsley, carrots
Orzo Salad with fresh french bread.
Uses; broccoli, avocado, cucumber
Leftovers or off
Arroz Con Queso *Crock Pot
I added some chicken tenders to the top of this but it would be just as good without. Super easy and kid-friendly!
1 1/2 cups long grain converted rice, uncooked
1 onion, chopped
1 cup cottage cheese
4 ounces green chili peppers, canned
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, grated, divided
Salt to taste
Mix all ingredients except for 1 cup of grated cheese in the slow cooker.
Cover; cook on Low for 6-9 hours.
Sprinkle with remaining cheese before serving.
Off or leftovers
Pizza night – ok so we cheated this time and bought a veggie pizza from Costco! We added a big fresh salad to the table and enjoyed the simplicity.
For the Sweet Potatoes, Reprinted from Cook This Now by Melissa Clark. These are delicious – I added extra garlic and everyone ate it all up!
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Put all the ingredients in a baking pan and toss to combine, then spread out in an even layer.
Roast until the potatoes are tender and browned, 25 to 45 minutes. Serve hot or warm, along with the garlic cloves.
Uses: Yams or sweet potatoes