We had a very low key Memorial Day this year. Jackson and I went to pick strawberries in the morning with a friend while Owen and Seth hung out at home. The field is about 10 minutes from our home. We all took naps in the afternoon and then had a relaxing evening together. Jackson and I made a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie in the afternoon and we grilled and ate outside for dinner. It was nice to be together on a Monday after a busy weekend. Here are some pictures from our day…

we picked 4 kgs..over 8 lbs of strawberries!

a bit runny because we couldn’t wait for it to cool! So yummy!

a la mode

It was nice this year to be able to explain more to Jackson about what Memorial Day means. He sees the Marine’s working at the Embassy so he now has some visuals of men and women serving to protect us. During dinner we talked about being proud to be Americans. Jackson announced that he was a Swiss American. We clarified that he was an American living in Switzerland. He looked over at Owen, who was chomping corn on the cobb, and said, “now that is an American eating corn”.

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Not sure if it’s officially summer yet, I know I should know the exact first day but here I am calling it early summer. It’s hot, we’re in shorts and short sleeves and we are enjoying the pleasures like picnicking, ice cream cones and our zoo membership.

A few months back we decided to buy a membership to the zoo. The boys are free so we just got one adult pass. It’s a 15 min walk from our house and the kids love it so at the time it seemed like a good investment.  It may still prove to be a good investment but I have to

be honest that I haven’t gotten as much use out of it as I have wanted.

On Tuesday, the boys and I ventured out for the morning to the zoo and then stopped on the way home to eat a quick picnic and skip a few rocks into the river. It was kind of a little boys dream morning.  I took along the camera and had some fun attempting shots while assisting with climbing and lunching.  I am enjoying capturing these moments that will be gone before we know it! I used to only take the “big camera” when Seth was going to be there so I could focus on taking pictures.   These aren’t as in focus but they are what they are!

(bring your swimsuit dad and Graham, Seth plans on going down the river with you)

It’s hard to see in this not so great pictures but the flamingos were guarding their eggs! I don’t think I have ever seen a flamingo nest!

a little scared without Jackson and sitting up

the highlight of the zoo is really the playground. It’s kind of a lame zoo from an adult perspective, lacking most of the big animals BUT as a parent I will say it is about as much zoo as the kids can do and enjoy and then the park makes up for the missing giraffes and elephants!

pb&j tastes better by the river

Jackson thought it would be nice to eat with shoes off and laying on his tummy watching the people pass by

We’ve gotten busy lately and I am enjoying those days when we decide it’s just going to be the 3 of us!  Sibling rivalry is getting to us these days but it’s these quiet walks and picnics together that I hope the boys will remember!

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My poor family is slowly turning a pale shade of green…not from seasickness but rather from an abundance of pesto. Not really, don’t worry. They are all just fine. But we are eating tons of the green goodness!

A couple of weeks ago I had thawed some chicken breasts. We were just going to have grilled chicken and some veggies. Blah. About 30 minutes before dinner I decided to get creative. I popped open the pesto jar in the fridge and spread it on the chicken. We grilled it and made the yummiest sandwiches. I used herbs from the garden to make some herb mayo which was super easy! And then threw on some sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella cheese onto slices of crusty bread. The only thing I would have changed was that I didn’t toast the bread. It may have been yummier with toasted bread.

Telling you about the above thrown together sandwich is really just a distraction before telling you what this post is really about. Tomato Basil Pie. It is our most favorite summer recipe. Seriously, our favorite. It makes a great appetizer or meal. For a meal I normally serve it with a nice green salad.

I got the recipe from my dear friend Annie in Kentucky. She got it from her friend Mary (who I believe got it from Southern Living way back when) but in my cookbook it is now “Annie’s Tomato Pie”. I think of her every time I make it!! I made the first pie of the season last week for a girls lunch. It was a hit. It was an even bigger hit for Seth….I made a double batch so he could have it for dinner. It’s one of those things that he turned his nose up at when I first introduced him but he now requests it.

Last week I tried to take pictures while making the pie….somehow I got to the end and never took a picture of the finished product. It may have something to do with the fact that I was doing it with Jackson and Owen and I had a group showing up for lunch.

you salt the tomatoes after slicing to get out some of the extra water

you can make your own crust but I cheat and buy one…this time I accidentally bought whole wheat. It was actually really good!  You poke the crust with a fork and brush it with dijon mustard.

Pop it into the oven for 8-10 mins.

While it is in the oven mix the cheese topping mixture.

When it comes out of the oven dump the first cup of  cheese on the hot crust. Then top with tomato slices and cheese, pesto mixture.

Pop it in the oven and bake for 20-25 mins or until bubbly. This is where I should have a picture of a beautiful golden brown pie that makes you salivate and buy a bag of pesto. You will just have to take my word for it.

Another variation is using a mini cupcake pan and cutting the crust to fit. It makes a great bite-size appetizer. Last year I made the mini version to serve as appetizers for the adults at Jackson’s birthday party. I used cherry tomatoes instead of big tomato slices and they worked out well! This isn’t a great picture but you get the idea!

And here ya go…

“Annie’s Tomato Pie”

originally from Southern Living (although I can’t find it anywhere)

1 15 oz pie crust

1-2 large tomatoes

2 cups shredded mozarella

1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1/2 cup mayo (I didn’t say this is healthy)

2 Tablespoons pesto       (On a side note, the beauty of ready-made pesto or even using homemade in this recipe is that you aren’t   having to chop garlic and measure out spices. All of that work is done!)

1/4 teaspoon pepper

small amount of dijon mustard for brushing crust

Slice tomatoes and lay on paper towel. Lightly salt and allow to sit for a few mins so the water can absorb into the paper towel.  Put crust into pie pan. Poke with fork and brush with dijon mustard. Bake at 425 degrees for 8-10 mins. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese. Let cool for 15 mins. Arrange tomatoes on top of the cheese. Mix together remaining ingredients: mayo, parm, mozarella, pesto, and pepper. Spread over top of tomatoes. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. And while it bakes and the smell begins to fill your home think of my red-headed sister/friend Annie in Kentucky! I always do!

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Sheesh. I happened to glance back at my post yesterday and noticed that not only had I typed it with the boys, I hadn’t reread it to see there were like 10 errors. Ooops. I went back and made changes! The lack of focus is mainly coming from being tired from our other blog project. Seth and I have been hard at work transitioning our blog to something different. Different name and format but same old everyday content!  Stay tuned. It is getting close to going live!

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