bacon

We Should Have Called it BaconFest

Today was “Fall Feast” with my Triangle Fight Club (not what you think. Ha!).  I’ve posted before about our annual cookie exchange, but we also try to get together sometime in October or November for a seasonal meal.  I think we chose to have it in Fall because everyone is so busy in summer, making it impossible to schedule something but mostly because we all love the Fall and its flavors.

We don’t always manage to get around to the Fall Feast before the demands of the holidays are upon us, but this year, somehow we managed to pick a date and stick to it.  We had a small group this year with only 4 of us able to attend, but as usual, the table was groaning with a variety of yummy things.  We have stellar cooks in the group and apparently we were craving bacon since three of the dishes featured bacon.

Gnocchi, pumpkin-sausage manicotti, Mediterranean quinoa, spinach-bacon quiche, spiced apples, fruit, hummus, crackers and bread along with sangria.  We filled our plates and sat outside to enjoy the beautiful, slightly chilly Fall day.

YUM!

Too soon it was time to bring the meal to an end. It was Sunday, after all, and we all had various school and work days to prepare for.

I don’t see these ladies often enough; they’ve been with me through wedding planning, the wedding, infertility and finally parenthood. Twenty pounds lighter and much less gray in my hair.  We all look different, yet the same in all the ways that matter.

We have tentatively set the date for our annual cookie exchange and are researching how to make it revolve around our master, bacon, from cocktails to cookies.

Oh, and I volunteered to host 🙂

Thanks for a wonderful day, ladies!

My quiche recipe is Paula Deen’s (I was only slightly embarrassed to say that before; now I’m mortified). The major change I made was to sauté everything. I sautéed red onion and spinach (I also needed to use about 5 cups of fresh spinach) in the bacon grease. I also added gruyere cheese to the swiss cheese (I forgot we had thrown out my broken grater, so I had to use a zester, which worked OK).  I’m not a fan of swiss cheese, so I’d like to find a milder cheese.  I did NOT make my own crust because I’m a slacker like that.

Quiche!!

Fight Club Cookie Exchange

Getting the cookies ready

Today I attended the annual Fight Club Cookie Exchange.

Ehhh what, you say?  Fight Club?  You mean like the movie with Brad Pitt and Ed Norton (swoon)?  You beat up each other and then exchange cookies? Well at least that explains your bruises, right?

Not exactly. (Also: I’m a klutz).

Eleven years ago, I joined a message board a few months after J and I became engaged.  It was a message board devoted to ladies planning their weddings.  I met and quickly became friends with a group of local ladies who were getting married around the same time I was.  A few months later, we met in person, quelling our fear that each of us was really a dirty old man preying on nubile brides-to-be.  And the rest was history.  Over the last decade, the group has grown to include new friends while a few members of the core group have drifted away.  Many of us have children (interestingly, all boys).  Two of us have dealt with infertility. We’ve attended some of each other’s weddings. We’ve been to each other’s houses.  We have martini dinners out.  We’ve attended hockey games together.  We’ve planned baby showers for each other.  And we’ve made soap while wearing tiaras, afterwards dubbing our group “Fight Club.”

We’re an eclectic group.

We don’t get together as much as we’d like, and I am ashamed to admit that I have been scarce the past two years due to baby/toddler/work/grad school, but now that school is over and Daniel is older, I’m looking forward to reconnecting.  One tradition we started several years ago is still going strong: the cookie exchange.

Sometime in December we meet at someone’s house to eat, make merry, drink merry and exchange cookies.  We have extensive rules for the cookies based on various likes and dislikes.  I can’t remember all of them but the one that is germane to me is that the cookies don’t contain chocolate because I don’t like chocolate (yes, I know how weird that is).  We’ve since modified that rule to allow chocolate as long as there is a non-chocolate version as well.  Do you know how hard it is to find a variety of cookie recipes year after year that don’t contain chocolate? Pretty damn hard but somehow, we manage to do it, and the cookies always vary.  My cookie this year was a gingerbread-white chocolate cookie.

Today we met at Dawn’s house for brunch.  We ate gingerbread waffles (Dawn), a yummy breakfast casserole (Leigh Ann), fresh fruit (Nikki), cinnamon rolls (Tammi) and caramelized bacon (me) washed down with red and white sangria.  After a couple of hours of chatting and eating, it was time to exchange cookies (thankfully Dawn had a party to attend later or else we would have talked for hours).  We filled our containers and packed up.  Another cookie exchange had come to an end, but we were leaving with 5 types of cookies to enjoy.  The cookies are awesome, but the best part is getting to be with these ladies.

Thanks, ladies, for a wonderful afternoon!  We definitely need to do it more often!

Do you participate in cookie exchanges?  What funny rules does your group have?  What’s your go-to cookie recipe?

 

Oh-so-yummy caramelized bcon

 

Caramelized Bacon Recipe

Ingredients

1 pound of bacon

1/2 cup of brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

 

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil
  • Cut bacon in half width-wise
  • Mix together brown sugar and cinnamon
  • Dredge bacon in sugar mixture, twist and place on cookie sheet
  • Cook for 15-20 minutes until bacon is crispy