Labor Day weekend recap

We lit our tiki torches to go with our campfire Sunday night.

We lit our tiki torches to go with our campfire Sunday night.

Labor Day weekend is one of my favorite long weekends. College football returns, U.S. Open tennis is on TV, the days are bathed in golden late-summer sun, and the nights are perfect for a campfire. Here’s a recap of what we did this weekend:

SIDENOTE: Years ago, I got my hands on my Grandma Peach’s journal. Since she died when I was young, I was hoping to get some juicy insights.  Instead I got this very mundane, almost court-reporter-esque, minute by minute account of her everyday doings. The errands she and her husband did. What time she picked him up. How long my dad napped. I guess now I see how satisfying that might have been for her, to document those things.

Friday, Barrak was mowing when I got home from work. And, he used the new blower he bought for himself with his birthday money. That was it. An inauspicious beginning to the weekend. For dinner, we had rotini, ground turkey meat sauce and garlic bread for dipping. Patsy had sweetly made brownies for Barrak’s birthday.

Saturday, Barrak and I both got our runs in before the Ohio State game started. Then it was a glorious college football afternoon! As is his custom during Ohio State football season, Barrak grilled brats and had many, many of them with mustard and chopped onions. I was craving the cold salmon Earth Fare carries in its prepared foods case. So after my run, I bolted over. There was ONE salmon left and boy, was it a sad sight. I still bought it but it tasted old. Bummer. For dinner, we had BW-3s take-out. I had buffalitos and the kids had sauceless wings. The kids love those things!

Barrak went to the Crew game so I took the opportunity to go visit my mom. It was good to see her. She looked so pretty. I asked her what foundation she’s wearing these days and she said it was Lancome firm-something. It’s on my list!

Sunday was lovely. Mag wanted waffles but we were out, so I made French toast for him. He was skeptical but little trooper that he is, he tried them and liked them. Believe me, it was not fancy: Wonder bread dipped in a mixture of beaten eggs, half-and-half and vanilla, and fried. Before lunch, we went for a hike in Hogback Ridge Park. The trail is wide and clear and it’s shady with lots of things to see. There’s a nature center with some stuffed, taxidermied animals.

When we got home, I made a butternut squash soup from scratch from Gwyneth Paltrow’s fantastic cookbook, My Father’s Daughter. Because there are so few ingredients in the soup, I went ahead and made the vegetable stock from scratch too. I’ve never made from-scratch stock; seems like a waste of time when you can just buy it in a box at the store. But OK, I was game. What a difference it made!

The vegetable stock called for pretty standard ingredents with the exception of a leek and fresh tarragon.

The vegetable stock called for pretty standard ingredents with the exception of a leek and fresh tarragon.

The soup called for very few ingredients. Among them, chopped butternut squash, garam masala and vegetable stock.

Gwyneth's butternut squash soup - it turned out really good.

Gwyneth’s butternut squash soup – it turned out really good.

While the soup was simmering, I fried up some bacon in a cast iron skillet for dinner (see how Pioneer Woman I sound?). Those crispy, greasy lovelies went into a perfect BLT for me, and a Havarti-on-raisin-bread for Barrak. BLTs are such a great summertime sandwich. The tomatoes are big and juicy right now. Without good tomatoes, there’s not much point in a BLT. And mayonnaise. Gotta have a generous slather of Hellman’s on your toasted (preferably grainy) bread.

Then it got even better because Barrak built a fire out back and roasted marshmallows for us. There are a few really stand-out dishes Barrak makes — among them, steak that starts in a saute pan and finishes in the oven; red wine risotto; scrambled eggs; really spicy, burn-a-hole-in-your-stomach chili; and roasted marshmallows.

He makes the perfect roasted marshmallow.

He makes the perfect roasted marshmallow.

Roasty and papery-crispy outside, gooey on the inside.

Now it’s Monday and, well, it’s always a bummer to know it’s your last day of a long weekend. We went to the zoo on our membership, the best $100 or so you could spend as a family in Columbus. We’ve been there dozens of times but we experienced a first today: the kids fed lemonade to the Lorikeets.