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Roasted Beets with Feta: Saving Second Base

My Grandma is 82. She lives far away from me, but she is, and has always been, one of the most important people in my life.

Until I was 9, my sisters, parents, and I lived in a trailer on Grandma’s 100-plus acres in northwest Pennsylvania. My parents tended an expansive garden near our trailer, and Grandma tended an even larger one at her house.

I have more Grandma stories than I could ever recount. Baking her a birthday cake (full of eggshells) with my cousins. Falling in the creek “by accident.” Mowing her grass. Showing up at her house so early in the morning that she and Grandpa were still asleep.

So many of my memories from those years involve Grandma’s garden, like the year my dad came home with 300 cabbage plants. Pulling weeds. Picking rocks out of the garden. Getting yelled at for stepping on the plants. Digging up a 26-inch long carrot.

A few years ago, Grandma stopped planting her garden and let it grow up into a field. She doesn’t need all that food any more, and she doesn’t want to do all the canning she once did. She’s 82, after all.

Grandma's kitchenFor nearly fifty years, Grandma canned her harvest. When Joe and I became interested in canning, she shared her recipes for chili sauce, apple butter, spaghetti sauce, pickled beets, sauerkraut, and many others.

I could tell you why I love each and every one of those foods. Really, I adore them all. They are the foods of my childhood memories.

Thinking back, though, there’s one food that we ate all the time. We ate it for nearly every holiday, every time someone special came to visit, every time we celebrated something. It’s pickled beets.

How I love my Grandma’s pickled beets.

The unfortunate thing about pickled beets is that they are tough to make unless you have 7-8 pounds of beets. It makes so much that you’d really need to can them.

If you want to try your hand at canning pickled beets (it’s easy!), Grandma uses the recipe straight out of the Ball Book. If want a preview of the process, there is an illustrated tutorial at PickYourOwn.org.

I know that many of you just aren’t interested in canning, so I wanted to come up with another way to enjoy the flavors that remind me of my Grandma.

Roasted Beets with Feta Cheese

That’s where this recipe came from. I took some fresh beets, cleaned and prepared them, and then roasted them. You can make this recipe with just a couple of pounds of beets, just enough for a side dish at dinner time.

Roasted Beets with Feta Cheese

  • 2 pounds of beets
  • Balsamic vinaigrette (you could also use plain olive oil and balsamic vinegar)
  • 6 ounces of crumbled feta cheese
  1. Clean and peel the beets. Cut into 1-inch chunks.
  2. Toss the beets with a generous amount of balsamic vinaigrette.
  3. Wrap the beets in a large bunch in foil. (I didn’t do this, and I thought my beets were a little on the dry side. I’m going to do it the next time to prevent that.)
  4. Roast the beets at 375 for 30 to 60 minutes, until tender. (My smaller pieces were done in 30 minutes, but the bigger pieces weren’t done until about 60 minutes.)
  5. While the beets are still hot, toss them with some additional vinaigrette and the feta cheese.

I ate these beets hot (for dinner) and cold (for breakfast the next day), and I thought they were tasty both ways.

Saving Second Base

So. What does my awesome Grandma and her mouthwatering pickled beets have to do with Saving Second Base?

After thirty years without a mammogram, my Grandma noticed a large lump in her left breast. She will tell you that she really should have known better; her own sister had a radical mastectomy to treat breast cancer decades earlier.

Alas, Grandma had ignored the issue and sought no preventative care.

The day she found the large lump to the day of her mastectomy was less than four weeks. Everything happened quickly; the tumor was aggressive, forming tendrils that would eventually spread malignant cells throughout her body.

In the years following her surgery, my Grandma healed. Her lymph nodes had been clear, a veritable miracle under the circumstances. She didn’t need chemotherapy or radiation, only Tamoxifen (which she took for 5 years). She did suffer some hair and bone loss as a result of the drug, but the results were so much better than they could have been.

Grandma’s results were so much better than her niece’s. They were diagnosed around the same time, but Toni’s lymph nodes weren’t clear. She suffered through chemo and radiation. And then her cancer recurred. She endured more surgery, more chemo, more radiation. Twice.

The last time, the diagnosis wasn’t good. The cancer was terminal. For 12 years, she’s battled breast cancer, with all of the sickness and pain and grief it brings.

My heart breaks for Toni, her husband, and their family. She has constant pain from the cancer, but still she fights with grace and courage.

Cancer is an ugly, unfair disease that no one should have to endure. Please get involved with an organization like Susan G Komen Foundation.

Tara is a wife and mom who has been publishing Feels Like Home since 2007. She writes a variety of posts: food and cooking tips, craft ideas, and a myriad of parenting (mis)adventures help make readers’ lives easier – or at least make them laugh along the way.

You can learn more about Tara at Feels Like Home.

**Also @KitchenAidUSA is running a promotion all month long on Tuesdays for Breast Cancer Awareness Month – simply tweet with the hashtag #CookForTheCure. Perhaps you could tweet something like “I’m participating in @savingsecondbase to #cookforthecure!” They are going to be giving away pink product to randomly selected tweeters that use that hashtag during the day (and TODAY is Tuesday)! Go tweet!

Want to know how you can help? or be a part of this project?

  • LIKE the Saving Second Base Facebook Fan Page!
  • We’re on TWITTER!!! @Savng2ndBase (i know it’s missing an i but someone already HAS saving2ndbase and isn’t using it :-{ ) Follow us and spread the word!
  • Post our button
  • Send us your story and recipe: one that reminds you of/celebrates someone who has fought with, is living with, is fighting cancer, has lost the fight…. send a story, a recipe, a blurb with recipe, a memory with recipe, a tribute with recipe… and pictures.. a picture of the person.. a picture of the recipe (preferably both) but either works. Please send this to: Breastcancerebook @ gmail.com and we’ll post your recipe/story and send you a release for inclusion in the eCookbook.
  • We’re going to post at least one recipe and story every. single. day in October on A Southern Fairytale and on Once A Month Mom and then we’ll compile all the stories and recipes into an e-book that can be purchased and ALL PROFITS. ALL OF THEM. will be donated to the Susan G Komen Foundation. (Rachel and I are not taking a single solitary cent for any of this)
  • Tweet with #saving2ndbase

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2 Responses to “Roasted Beets with Feta: Saving Second Base”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by triciacallahan, triciacallahan. triciacallahan said: Today's #saving2ndbase recipe from @feelslikehome – Roasted Beets w/Feta – & great story about gma! http://bit.ly/cpdtOk [...]

  2. [...] hope you’ll visit my guest post at Once a Month Mom (available after 8am on Thursday) and please consider buying the e-cookbook when it is released at [...]

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