Spinach Stuffed Tomatoes

Oct 9th

These little tomatoes are such a colorful vegetable treat. They make a great side dish for any time of the year. They are also very beautiful to serve around the holidays. The presentation is beautiful and the effort to make them is very little. I know some of my recipes are a little more complicated but I promise these are very easy to make and if you don’t like them, well sue me! We are counting down our days here in Michigan. Two more, boo hoo! We are stopping back in the town that Pete and I grew up in and first met, Bloomington Illinois. We have several friends that still live there and quite a few of our parents friends still make their home there. There are two couples that come to mind that I have very fond memories of. The Hoeferles, Nancy and Harold, and the Barkers, Arlene and Al. We were not going to stop in Bloomington on our way home because Pete needs to get back to work so we can do this again next summer, but I spoke on the phone yesterday to the two ladies mentioned above. I got very homesick and honestly life is way to short, you never know when you might see someone again. So, Pete and I decided we would go back for one day. Nancy and Harold Hoeferle were my Mom and Dad’s best friends when I was growing up in Keokuk Iowa and then in Bloomington. They have a fairy tale love story, they met as teenagers and have been married for 52 years, they are such an inspiration to us. Not many people can say they have been married to one person for that many years. Pete and I would have to live to be in our nineties to make it. Harold, or Haredid, as I called him growing up had a stroke two years ago. Nancy has been taking such good care of him and it is just not his time to leave her yet. Just like my Grandmother did for my Grandfather it conjures up memories of love and devotion to the love of your life. The other couple that I grew up with, Arlene and Al, I also have many fond memories of, going over to dinner at their house with their daughter Nancy, and I always envied how clean her room was. As most people know I love to cook but have always hated to clean. When I was a teenager Nancy would come and clean my room, and her Mother Arlene bought me my first obscene poster, F Housework! We had many a fun vacation with them also, one of those trips was to the Cayman Islands when I was a teenager. Food was very expensive over there, as is everything else, and we brought our own food. Our lovely Mothers made us boxed mac and cheese for dinner, all of us kids were eating it and they were dying laughing. Evidently, the noodles had bugs all over them and they just washed them off! Of course they were not eating it! We also had a great time with the Barker family on a bareboat sail cruise all over the Virgin Islands. Arlene and Al are another inspiring couple being married for over 50 years! I so look forward to seeing these great people, friends, and really what I consider my family. Thanks for all the great memories over the years and hopefully we will meet up again soon! Here’s to you guys that gave my childhood such happy times! Love, Stacey

Spinach Stuffed Tomatoes: This recipe is from the cookbook Sunny Side Up, The Junior League of Fort Lauderdale

2 pkgs. (10 oz. each) frozen chopped spinach

6 slices bacon

1 medium onion, chopped

3/4 cup sour cream

Dash Tabasco

6 medium tomatoes

4 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated

salt and pepper to taste

Thaw and thoroughly drain spinach. Cook bacon until crisp; drain, reserving 2 Tbs drippings. Crumble bacon; set aside. Cook onion in 2 Tbs drippings. Stir in spinach. Cook covered for 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in bacon, sour cream, and Tabasco. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let cool. Cut tops from tomatoes. Remove centers, leaving only a shell; drain on a paper towel. Salt the shells; fill with spinach mixture. Place in baking dish. Bake 375 for 20 to 30 minutes. Top with grated cheese; heat until melted.

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