Fall Family Dinner

For September family dinner we wanted to show off some new snack recipes from our summer workshop with City Market, and we thought soup would be a good way to tie it all together. The kids have been loving black bean soup lately...
This is where the magic happens!
So I cooked up a few pots, and spent the afternoon making cheddar crackers. The preschoolers made delicious butter to spread on the crackers and bread. As always a huge thank you to City Market for sponsoring our  dinners. Thanks to them we had local cream, yogurt, cheese, and flour, and jars for our homemade butter. Recipes? You bet. Just keep reading.
We had a sunny September evening and a nice turnout, including some new families and other first-timers. We just love it when grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends show up for family dinner! Our snack guru Caroline even stopped by to say hi and taste a cracker. My family was there as well - they never miss a chance to hang out at BCS. The BCS kids hear a lot about my family. They even have favorite stories, usually involving Sadie, my youngest, that they ask me to tell again and again. So it's always a good time when the Simon family and the BCS family get together in person. We opened up all the kitchen windows, set the food up outside and let the good times roll.  Take a look...
Sadie Lou in the kitchen, visiting with some preschool friends outside

Kitchen windows overlooking the playground = lots of opportunities  for observing friends, chatting...

telling stories...

and hugs.

Black bean soup, VT cheddar crackers, strained yogurt dip, apples, bread, AND incredible samosas made by a BCS parent. That tray was empty in MINUTES!

Our fearless Program Director Jed and friend hang out in the kitchen
One of my kiddos enjoys a veggie samosa
look at those colors
Black bean soup!
families connect in the preschool classroom

Sadie digs the tree house
Teachers and kiddos 
Sandbox trucks
it's me! in the treehouse!

In other news, we continue to be so grateful for the gleaned produce we're receiving through the Intervale Gleaning and Food Rescue. This week we brought back over 50 pounds of produce, including many, many gorgeous watermelons, Digger's Mirth organic greens, yellow peppers, corn, carrots, dill and recipe cards from Hunger Free VT. We ate the salad greens, yellow peppers, and some of the watermelons with lunch yesterday, and I'll cook the carrots and corn up this week. Now that I think about it, it really is time for roasted carrots with honey.  I love fall.  
Anyway here are a few recipes we are loving lately. 

Black Bean Soup (serves a family of 5)

3 15 oz cans of black beans, undrained
1 qt chicken stock
1 small yellow onion
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp cumin
salt, black pepper to taste

Peel and dice 1 small yellow onion. Melt the butter in a large soup pot, then add the onion and stir until soft, about 4 minutes. When the onion bits are soft and clear, add the beans, stock, and spices and stir a little.  I usually use a potato masher or slotted spoon to mash some of the beans down, then stir some more. This helps the soup thicken up a little. If you have a food processor you can also puree a cup  of the soup at this point and then add it back into the pot, but it's not absolutely necessary. When it heats through add a little salt and pepper and taste. Keep going until you're happy. 

Saute small bits of just about any veggie you have on hand and add it to the soup when hot. Carrots, peppers, broccoli, zucchini or yellow squash are great. 
Grate some cheddar cheese on top.
Serve with quinoa, brown rice, bread, cornbread, or......homemade crackers!

Overnight Soaked VT Cheddar crackers (makes several dozen)

 2 ½ cups whole wheat, spelt, or rye flour, or a mixture

1 cup plain yogurt
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 Tbs. sesame seeds
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
all-purpose white flour, for rolling out crackers
Mix flour with yogurt – you may need to wet your fingers to form the dough into a ball. Cover and leave on the counter overnight, or for 12-24 hours.
In a small mixing bowl, stir together the olive oil, salt, baking powder, and sesame seeds. Knead this into the dough, using your fingers to “squish” the olive oil into the dough. Add the grated cheddar cheese and knead that in.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Generously flour a surface area to roll out the dough. The dough will be sticky, so you will be able to use a good bit of flour and re-roll dough scraps as necessary. Roll ¼” thick, and use either cookie cutters or a serrated knife to cut out shapes/rectangles. Place on parchment-paper covered baking sheet and bake about 12 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Repeat with remaining dough. Makes several dozen crackers. 
 Recipe courtesy of the City Market as adapted from Nourishing Traditions.

all photos courtesy of Sam Simon samsimonimaging.com

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