Sunday Chat and the Mountain State Fair

Such a busy week this week with the State Fair. I was there five out of the 10 days it is on, with an extra day before it started to help with the quilt competition entries. It was such fun to be able to see the shows and enter the competitions this year, I have been looking forward to it for two years. Each evening I was competing, we went to the fair in the evening as the turn in time for dishes was between 6 and 7 pm. Dishes are checked in, given a number, and then wait for judging to begin at 7. The judges are behind the curtains, so the only thing to do is to go see some of the fair, have a corn dog or some ice cream, and come back at 8 pm for the announcement of the winners.

So we walked around a different section of the fair each night, seeing the livestock including the newborn calves,baby pigs goats and tiny chicks, looking for my entries in the expo building, enjoying a music show, watching the human cannonball get shot out of a cannon to a net, seeing the bird show of fabulous exotic trained birds, and walking around the heritage crafts area. Inside the event building, marvelous displays sponsored by NC Agriculture divisions were colorful and inviting.

In the back, each sponsor of one of the cooking contests had its own booth and display.

They had lots of freebies too, like cookbooklets, chip clips, key rings and more. The apple booth had a wonderful lip balm that tasted like cinnamon apples. I snagged a few of those over the course of several evenings.

Friday night was the NC Dairy Alliance competition, and the theme was Amazing Dairy Appetizers, and had to have a dairy product as a main ingredient. Remembering that ease of preparation is one of the main judging criteria, I used frozen premade phyllo shells for my Cheesy Spinach Bacon Bites. I mixed goat cheese with spinach and bacon, stuffed the shells and baked about 15 minutes. Quick and easy!

I turned in my dish, and off we went to see more of the fair. Coming back for the announcements of the winners, we were surprised to see a film crew there doing a story for a Raleigh TV station. But soon, the host of the show was done speaking to contestants and the announcements began. I was thrilled to win second place!

We all got neat swag bags with the Dairy Alliance logo. The bags are heavy and insulated, perfect for transporting cold items home from the store or on a picnic. They had stuff inside too, little cow shaped packs that can be frozen to keep food cold, or microwaved as a warmer. There was also a recipe booklet, a couple of keychains and a brochure on the NC Cheese Trail. Yes, I know you want this recipe, so here it is – Cheesy Spinach Bacon Bites.

Back home, I’m still harvesting loads of tomatoes. This was a one day haul earlier in the week. This time I picked some fresh parsley and basil to do my roasted tomatoes.

A full sheet pan, loaded with tomatoes, roasted for several hours, dehydrated down to just a half of a jar’s worth. I added the basil and parsley, then covered the top with garlic infused olive oil. This will be a pizza topping later in the week.

In a bit of free time waiting to start cooking, I piddled around with my Japanese fabrics. I made a single block just to see how they would look.

Every other spare moment was put into sewing for Autumn Jubilee. I tried one more time to get the wings recipe right, and it seems the Parmesan cheese angle isn’t going to work. Yes, these were tasty, but they still don’t have the crispy crunchy crust I am looking for, without using flour. I dipped these in egg wash, then rolled them in the Parmesan cheese. I did bake them at a higher temp as my friend Chryste recommended. Back to the drawing board. That is, if the price of wings isn’t over the moon!

Saturday was the last day I planned to be at the fair. It ends on Sunday but that is football day for me. Again changed my mind on the recipe I planned to do for the Apple Dessert contest Saturday morning knowing now that simplicity is the key, and highlighting the apple in a different way would be better. For this contest, the rules stated sweet desserts with no restrictions on sugar. I whipped up a Spiced Apple Galette instead, drizzling it as the pieces were served with Salted Caramel sauce. The recipe has cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.

Competition was fierce, with some really yummy desserts in the running. I was so excited when the judges awarded my dessert first place!!

Well, OK, if you really want it, here’s the recipe – Spiced Apple Galette with Salted Caramel Sauce

Oh, my, it has been a whirlwind of a week! Today is football and putting my feet up. Tomorrow I go pick up all my entries and ribbons. This coming week I have to get several things done for Autumn Jubilee, have a sew-in in my basement with a couple of friends, then a couple of appointments. So, another busy week ahead. What is on your schedule for the coming week?

55 thoughts on “Sunday Chat and the Mountain State Fair

  1. Marilyn Penrod

    Congratulations on all your beautiful ribbons! And thank you for sharing those recipes with us. I will definitely be trying them.
    This week was our county fair and I got a few ribbons myself with my quilt entries and hand embroidery entries. One quilt took best of class and another took best of show. My embroidery both took ribbons, one was first place and the other was best in class.
    I love the fairs.
    again, congratulations on your ribbons and thanks for sharing the recipes.

  2. Congratulations on your wins. You had a great week. We’ll have to try yo get up there next year, it all looks like fun. The last state fair we’ve gone to was when we lived in I’ll. and went to the Wisconsin Fair. That was a long time ago, we even saw Kenny Rogers singing there. A very long time ago. My son was 5, he’s 45 now.

  3. How exciting for you to win first place with your apple entry!! Two ribbons for your cooking skills! That is awesome! Congratulations. Have fun with your sewing friends. I’ll be helping a friend cut out her “newest” grandchild’s first quilt on Tuesday. She is afraid to make mistakes, and I think just needs the confidence to do it, so; hopefully I can guide her along the way without wasting fabric. I’m on Grandma duty Wed & Thursday with appointments scattered in between. 🙂 Rest well today and enjoy your football games. My sister has a trick in the air fryer with baking powder to get things crispy with no breading. She tosses her wings in baking powder & sprays them with oil. I might also suggest a light spray of your favorite oil (I use coconut spray and avocado spray) in my air fryer, and I think that might work in your oven as well.

    1. I know you don’t want to use flour, but have you considered seasoned bread crumbs? I highly recommend the 100% Whole wheat seasoned ones. They are seasoned with pecorino romano cheese and make the plainest foods taste delicious. Alternatively, if you are looking for a gluten free option, use the Gluten free bread crumbs mixed with your shredded parm.

  4. karenfae

    congrats on your ribbon win that is fun! I will check out the recipe for the apples — it looks like you had a bit of fun

  5. Congratulations on your ribbons at the fair. Very exciting to see that your last minute recipe change won a Blue a ribbon!

    I do so enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for all the work you put into it.

  6. Melissa Mathews

    Congrats on ALL your ribbons! You put a great deal of time, thought and creativity into your entries. Son David and I enjoyed hunting for your entries last Sunday when we attended. My week ahead is super busy again with testing new AccuQuilt dies, a DAR luncheon and several Quilts of Valor awards.

  7. Congrats on your ribbons! I look forward to trying your recipes. Thanks for sharing. It sounds like your fair was a great success. Fun times. Have a great week!

  8. Cathy Walker

    Congratulations on the ribbons! Looks like your hard work paid off. Looking forward to the Jubilee pattern. I really enjoyed last year’s.

  9. Donna

    Congratulations again!!! Thank you for sharing your recipes! I know people who never share their recipes! I will make the apple dessert as soon as it cools down here! It looks so good!

  10. Congratulations on your ribbon wins… very exciting!
    I enjoyed reading this blog post and hope that we are able to return to in person fall fairs next year. I have really missed this special ritual to celebrate fall.

  11. Carolyn Kassanitz

    Congratulations, it was so nice to see your sweet smile as you displayed your MANY winning entries. In my opinion, it couldn’t have happened to a most deserving contestant.
    Carolyn K.

  12. Kathleen M Cuilan

    A super big congrats to you for winning 1st and 2nd place for your food and dessert entries. You deserve these for all your hard work and effort. I will definitely try making them myself soon! Blessings.

  13. Melanie

    One energetic gal packed full of talent! Congratulations, Carole. Both dishes look fantastic, and love the pictures of you and others, along with your sharing the winning recipes. Your pizza is going to be yummy! Happy Sunday!

  14. Marilyn

    Congratulations on your entires and winnings. Awesome. Going to be exciting to try to make your recipes. Won’t be in the running for any prizes but know that they will be delicious Thanks for including them. Put your feet up, rest and relax, and enjoy that football game.

  15. Susan T

    Wow! That is so exciting that you won so many ribbons! You deserved them all. Ohio didn’t have their state fair this year and I missed the local ones, darn it. I especially loved your cute idea for the hand embroidered design with the wooden spleen and I think the Big Dream leaf panel should have scored higher. That was my fav. Excellent work.

  16. Mary Ed Williams

    Well done, Carole. That looks like a fun fair. And you did some great entries!

    Mary Ed

    Blocks in the mail tomorrow, hopefully.

  17. Joan Sheppard

    Super Wow!!!! The Puffs look so good I want to reach in and snag one! (okay I’ll also take a couple of the chix wings and of course the apple galette.) So happy the judges recognized all the effort you put into this. I’ll have to put this on my calendar for next year! Thanks!

  18. Felt like I was experiencing your state fair with you! So happy you earned ribbons! Thank you for the recipes!

    On the chicken wing challenge, have you tried ground seeds like pumpkin, sesame or flax? I have a dedicated coffee grinder I use to make flour with seeds. 1 Tbsp of flax has 3 grams of carbs vs. 6 grams for wheat flour.

    Will be quilting charity tops for kidney donors and recipients next week.

  19. Jill King

    Hello Carole
    A big CONGRATULATIONS from New Zealand for your two placing in the cooking section of your State Fair. Great achievement. Thank you for sharing your dessert recipe. It looks and sounds yummy. Congratulations again and the very best wishes. Kindest regards Jill King, Omokoroa, New Zealand

  20. Oh my goodness, two delicious food wins! I’ve printed both out and also sent to my best friend in Nevada. Congratulations! Now to add some items to my grocery list…

    I’m quilting my Pumpkins & Cream quilt on my Juki 2010Q home machine, using the DM Quilting Winding Way ruler which is an easy all over design. Although ruler quilting (for me at least) is a slow process, I like being able to make my quilts from start to finish. That may change as I continue to age, but for now I’m still able to do it and I’m not in a hurry. I use the pool noodle process on my dining room table on risers, to get my backing, batting and top sandwiched and spray basted. I just can’t do it on the floor anymore. That part is the only part of quilting that I don’t enjoy.

    So once again, a big Congratulations on winning two food categories, and many thanks for the recipes!

  21. Mary

    Ribbons!! How wonderful and exciting. Well done. Your beautiful work was duly rewarded and made the Fair more exciting. And you looked so pleased too. :))

  22. I’ve loved reading all your posts on the State Fair. Congratulations on all your ribbons. It’s great to see you entering so many sections, as that is what makes a show. Our local show is much smaller, running over three days, but we do love to attend and participate. I was intrigued by the style of cooking competition. Ours only has baking and preserves. Now you will have to get busy again to have plenty of entries fo next year.

  23. Nancy Roberts

    Congratulations on earning the ribbons! It looks like the fair was worth the wait. I like the idea of different categories of cooking competitions each day. And the farm/produce exhibits- they look terrific. I was just talking with a friend about Grange and the exhibits the various groups would do at county fairs each year. Does Grange even exist anymore? Lots of rural things fade away it seems. So glad to see rural lifestyle presented so beautifully at the fair.

  24. BIggest WOW! Congratulations — that’s absolutely terrific. And yes, thank you for including the recipes because I DO want both of them! You look so happy with your ribbons! Where on earth do you keep them after the fair? Because you must have a TON of them! I’m delighted for you. (I might have to take those bacon/spinach ones to our next Cork Poppers!)

  25. Ok this is a much grander show then ours….. More on the scale of the Sydney royal…… Congrats on your cooking win……. What’s the caramel stuff you poured over the apples? Might give that a try and I made some spinach pastry quiches the other day


    Congratulations. I will be trying both recipes. I haven’t been to a fair for a very long time. Maybe next year.

  27. Susan Nixon

    Congratulations on your two cooking ribbons! Both look delicious. My week is unplanned except for one doctor appt. and one afternoon bloomin’ onion with a friend.

  28. Phyllis Smith

    Sorry to be so late in getting back to you. You were quite the busy lady weren’t you. The apple galette is something I feel I could get right into, so delicious looking and sure it smelt just as good as it looked. Happy for your red ribbon for you. Tried to get the apple recipe but it wouldn’t come up for me I’d like to try granny smith apples with it or the mackintosh or Winesap apple, I like tart taste. I have missed participating in the fairs myself since moving here to Ga. Trying to get my health back into good shape before trying to do to much. Have a great week. Phyllis

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