Weekend (at home) Festivities

SATURDAY

This weekend there are fairs in every state. There’s a festival/fair less than a mile from my house, right now, as we speak. I can hear the music blaring from my own back yard, and I am taunted by posts on the city forums about the food, art, and rides.

This year, going to a fair or festival is not an option for us. The CDC, WHO, and AAP are pretty clear on this issue: we should be staying home, social distancing, wearing masks, getting vaccinated, etc. We’re doing what we can to stay safe and to be part of the solution, not part of the spread.

But the constant exposure to the sounds and sights of the fair were eating at me just a little bit. I wanted to ride a rollercoaster. I wanted to eat fair food. Most importantly, I wanted to eat fried Oreos.

The cool thing is, we have all the necessities for deep frying, and my dad has perfected his frying technique in the past decade or so. So with the fair in mind, we had our own “Just Eats” festival. Maybe a more accurate name would’ve been “Just Eats and also that warbled sound from the bands downtown that sound like someone is singing with a mouth full of marbles,” but that’s a bit of a- forgive me– mouthful.

We already had frozen corn dogs, french fries, and mozzarella sticks on hand. We had fresh zucchini and green tomatoes from the garden, too. I placed a grocery order on Saturday, so I added a package of Oreos and a jar of pickle spears to my cart. We made a pitcher of strawberry lemonade Kool-Aid.

While I waited for the groceries to arrive, I prepared the vegetables.

I made a bowl of Old Bay seasoned flour, a bowl of egg/milk wash, and a bowl of crumb mixture (with salt, pepper, and onion powder) to coat everything. I followed(ish) a recipe for fried green tomatoes, and used it for everything. Why not?

Unfortunately, I can’t relocate the recipe.

I sliced the green tomatoes and cut some of the zucchini into slices, and the rest into fries. I patted everything dry (and the pickles, once they arrived). I dipped and breaded everything, then set it on a plate to rest.

I also made a very disappointing pancake batter for the fried Oreos, because all of the recipes online call for Bisquick mix, which we don’t keep on hand. We make pancakes from scratch, but I didn’t have the time and ingredients for that recipe at the last minute. I improvised.

My dad got the fry set-up ready and we fried everything in order:

  • Corn dogs
  • Fries
  • Mozzarella sticks
  • Pickles
  • Green tomatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Oreos

The first attempt at the Oreos was a total bust. The batter was too thick and applied too early, so it fell off. The Oreos basically just disintegrated in the fry oil. Believe me, this is a mistake a person won’t make twice. We tossed the hollow scraps and quickly mixed more liquid into the batter.

The new batch turned out great.

Everything was delicious and it definitely made it easier to stomach marble-mouth music that sounded too loud and too quiet at the same time.

SUNDAY

On Sunday, we had a different kind of fun. My mom had collected a few cute floral/butterfly party supplies from Michael’s when they went on Clearance in the Spring (ironic, actually, because butterflies are always associated with Spring, but here in Michigan, they don’t really hang around much until mid-Summer…)

We made a last-minute plan to have a small garden dinner party.

We had DIY nachos for dinner, which is a classic and an always favorite at our house. My daughter is obsessed with avocados, they have been her favorite food since she first tried them 7 years ago. I made pico de gallo, which is my favorite thing to make.

I’d give you a recipe, but I can’t. I just eyeball it all. This time, I used about 1 small yellow onion, 2 medium sized green tomatoes (this is the secret to making the best pico, seriously), two medium sized red tomatoes, a bunch of cilantro, about 3/4 of a jalapeno, and the juice of 1 lime. Results may vary.

We made brownies for dessert, using a box mix. (But not just any box mix, Ghiradelli box mix. It makes the best brownies.)

I gathered flowers from the garden to fill three vases, going for a sort-of eclectic, boho look.

We put on pretty dresses and ate nachos, watermelon, and brownies.

After dinner, we gathered more flowers from the garden (and some straight out of the vases) to thread into flower crowns. My mother made the bases of the crowns by weaving wisteria vines into thick, intertwined circles, and then let them dry.

We ended our night with songs around a bonfire.

MONDAY

On Monday, we tie dyed. I bought a bulk order of tie dye supplies a few years ago, so I always have dye and chemicals on hand. The only things I need to replace frequently are white fabrics, rubber bands for tying, plastic bags for batching, and blue Dawn dish soap for washing.

I wrote up and printed this set of instructions, which are meant to be laminated so they can be handled during the dyeing process. You can find and download this little graphic and other information in this post about tie-dying.

I started by gathering all of my supplies and figuring out what blanks I had on hand to work with. Then, I washed everything I wanted to dye in blue Dawn soap to get rid of any oils that might resist dyes. While those were in the wash, I prepared the soda ash soaking mixture and the dye bottles. This process is extremely. Freaking. Tedious.

Next, I set up the area we were going to be tying, and the area for dyeing.

After that, we spent a few hours tying, soaking (in soda ash), waiting, dyeing, bagging, and batching. Batching takes a total of 24-48 hours. Last year, I made it 48 hours before washing out, but I’m already kind of itching to see the results. We’ll see how long until I cave.

Stay tuned for a post with our tie dye results!

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