What to Eat at the 2019 Indiana State Fair

It’s that time of year again! The Indiana State Fair is always one of my favorite things to attend and sort of serves as a last hurrah of summer before the pre-fall mindset kicks in. Thanks to Indiana Grown, who gave me a free ticket, I got to attend last night and try out all kinds of new foods, drinks and relived my late teen years by attending the Pop 2000 Tour which was hosted by none other than Lance Bass of ‘NSYNC.

This year’s theme is Heroes in the Heartland and it’s a fun one  – in addition to recognizing our every day heroes like our farmers, military, police and first responders, superheroes have taken over and each day features a different character.

So on to the star of the fair: the food! There are sixteen new items on the menu and while I didn’t try all of them, I did sample a few of the hotter items and have a full review of everything I ate and drank.

Let’s start with the Blue Raspberry Lemon Twister. It’s a lemon shake-up but with a gorgeous blue raspberry twist. I give this one 5/5 and could have drank the larger size. Definitely order one to go along with your Angry Pretzel Poppers.

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My lovely friend Rachael (a.k.a. Forensic Fashion Notes), tagged along to help me eat all the things. Here she is trying out the Angry Pretzel Poppers with Mad Ranch Sauce. OMG. These are a must for this year – they do have some heat to them because of the jalapenos, but they are not overly hot. 5/5 on these as well.


Next up was the Relleno de Papa, which was essentially a fried mashed potato ball with seasoned ground beef inside. It comes with or without rice; I went rice free since I wanted to save room for other food too. I give this one a 4/5 because I like spicy and it could have used a little more kick for my personal preference.

I needed a break to let my stomach digest for a few minutes, so after that, we headed over to the Ag building and looked at all the local vendors in the Indiana Grown Marketplace. So many cool things!

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Then, it was over to the 4-H building! I was a ten year 4-H member and it was exciting to see some exhibits from Gibson County (my home county) take home top prizes 🙂 These kids are really creative and 4-H is such a great program to be a part of.

Appearing on the free stage last night was the Pop 2000 Tour, featuring Tyler Hilton, Ryan Cabrera, Aaron Carter and O-Town. If none of those names ring a bell, you probably weren’t a teenage girl in the early 2000s, haha.

We watched most of the acts, leaving when Aaron Carter came on to go get funnel cakes and then going back for O-Town, who brought out Lance Bass at the end for a rendition of “Bye, Bye, Bye.”

Our funnel cakes are A MUST: I got Birthday Cake (repeat from last year) and Rachael got the Red Velvet.

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Are you going to the Indiana State Fair this year? There’s a WHOLE list of other foods I didn’t get to try, notably the Rollin’ Mac Daddy Egg Roll, Poutine and Bison Hush Puppies. Let me know if you try any of them and what’s unique to your state fair if you live outside the Hoosier state!

 

 

 

The BEST Homemade Pizza Sauce

Homemade sauces are the best. Maybe you’re fine with the jar kind, but don’t settle for second best when you can easily make your own! This recipe is one I use every time I make pizza, it literally takes five minutes and you’re good to go.

Here’s what you will need:
1 Jar of Crushed Tomatoes or Tomato Puree
Italian Seasoning
Basil – fresh is good but dried works too!
Crushed red pepper flakes
Garlic
Salt & Pepper

For the pizza: I made a margherita for me, which included fresh basil and mozzarella but you can top it with anything you like!

I make my pizza sauce the night before so the spices have time to really jive with the tomatoes but if you’re rushed on time, you can make it and eat immediately.  My recipe will make enough for two 10 inch pizzas, so if you are looking to feed more people than that, I suggest doubling the recipe.

Directions:

Pour half of the jar of crushed or pureed tomatoes into a bowl for mixing. Add red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste. I really don’t measure out the rest of my seasonings – just do a generous dump of Italian, basil and garlic then mix everything up really well.

Refrigerate over night for optimal flavor.

When you’re ready to bake your pizza, spread the sauce generously over the pizza crust.

Then top with your favorite toppings! I cut up fresh mozzarella and basil for a classic margherita pizza.

Bake in the oven until crust begins to brown – usually takes about 20 minutes. Voila! You now have a delicious, home made pizza AND sauce. Enjoy 🙂

Half Liter BBQ

There’s a new hip BBQ joint in town! Half Liter Food and Beer Hall opened in Broad Ripple a few months ago; one side of the establishment is German food and the other Texas style BBQ.

The seating is open, so walk in, find a spot and start figuring out what you want to order. During the summer, the patio doors are up and if you sit outside or on the upper level, which overlooks the Monon Trail, you will have to wait in a line to order your food.

We went on a Saturday night and the place was hoppin’! Not only can you get brisket, but ribs, pulled pork, fish, sausage and chicken are all on the menu. There’s great selection of sides and some vegetarian options as well, although no meatless options for vegans.

They also have house made beer, whisky and plenty of other cocktails on the menu if you enjoy an adult beverage with your BBQ.

We both got the pulled pork platter with sides of fries, fresh fruit and macaroni and cheese. The portions were big and everything was delicious! I especially liked a few extra smoked burnt ends in my pork – that just gives it an extra kick in my opinion.

There are three different sauces to choose from – a Texas pit sauce, Bourbon and cola and the Carolina BBQ, which is mustard based. We both liked the Bourbon and cola the best – slather it on that gorgeous pulled pork!

And once you finish your meal, hang out in the game area and play some washers or corn hole with friends and family.

The BEST Strawberry Pie

The best recipes often come to you as family hand-me-downs and this one is no exception. It’s my mom’s strawberry pie recipe that she’s been making all my life. I don’t know exactly where it came from, but she’s passed it on to me and now I am passing it on to you!

I almost always try to make a home made pie crust with my pies – people comment all the time about how hard that is, but I think they are leaving out one crucial detail when they make theirs. I’ll share my secret in this post so you can make award winning crust that will knock the socks off your friends and family next time you have a get-together.

For the Single Shell Pie Crust you will need:

1 1/2 cups Flour
3/4 cup of shortening (I use Crisco)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cold water

How to make your crust:

I HIGHLY recommend making your pie crust the night before and refrigerating it. Typically, the dough will be sticky and chilling overnight helps it roll out wonderfully so it doesn’t stick all over your hands and rolling pin. If you don’t have time, at least try to chill for a couple hours.

Measure out your flour, mix in the salt, then cut in the shortening with a fork or pastry blender. You will want to get a crumbly mixture and make sure all the shortening is mixed in well.

Add cold water. Honestly, I never measure this. I just run some from the faucet in the flour mixture and start mixing until it seems like it’s enough. If I had to guess, 6 – 7 tablespoons of cold water.

Once a dough has formed, shape it into a ball, put in cling wrap and stick in the refrigerator overnight. Then, when you are ready to bake your pie, roll the dough out on a floured surface and transfer to your pie dish.

Bake the crust on 400 for about 20 minutes. (Another trick to making sure your crust doesn’t get bubbly in the center is to weight it down with dry beans. It will leave a funny design on the bottom but no one will see it because your pie filling will cover it up!)

 


What you need to make your Pie:


3/4 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup of water
1 package (3 oz.) strawberry Jello
fresh sliced strawberries

Directions:

Line your baked pastry shell with sliced strawberries. You can add as many or as little as you like – I try to get a good layer that covers the bottom of the crust. Set aside.

Combine the Jello, water, sugar and cornstarch in a pan on the stove. Mix until thickened – this can take anywhere between 5 – 10 minutes.


Once mixture is at the right consistency, pour over strawberries in pastry shell.


Refrigerate until set – at least 5 hours. Serve by itself or with whip cream and enjoy this delicious summer favorite!