Cravings Broccoli Salad with Cashew Dressing

She had me at cashew dressing.

This recipe is out of Chrissy Teigen’s 3rd cookbook, Cravings All Together and it’s a solid five stars. Instead of the traditional mayo dressing with bacon, which is obviously delicious, we make a dressing out of cashews to dress the broccoli. And the dressing is the star of the dish, it’s so good. It’s sort of like a satay peanut sauce but not… actually now that I think about it, I am going to make this dressing to dip chicken in.

It’s a little sweet, a tad spicy, crunchy, nutty and creamy an easy and delicious salad that almost hits all of the five flavor elements.

Plus it’s dairy and gluten free if that’s your thing.

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

2 medium heads of broccoli, trimmed and separated into florets (about 6 cups)

Kosher salt

1 cup chopped salted roasted cashews

3 garlic cloves, smashed

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

2 Tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon finely diced jalapeño pepper (preferably red, with seeds)

2 teaspoons light soy sauce

1 teaspoon fish sauce

1/4 cup thinly sliced

1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries

DIRECTIONS

Place 1 1/4 cups of water in a 5 quart saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the broccoli, cover with a tight fitting lid, and steam until broccoli turns bright green but is still tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Drain and then spread the broccoli in a single layer on a paper towel-lined plate to cool. (Don’t place in an ice bath, that will create soggy broccoli) Season the broccoli with the salt.

While the broccoli is cooling, make the dressing. Combine 2/3 cup of the cashews with the 1/3 cup vinegar, sugar, jalapeńo, soy sauce and fish sauce in a blender until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute; add water by the dressing if it’s too thick.

Arrange the broccoli on a large plate or platter, then scatter the onions and cranberries on top. Drizzle 1/2 cup of the dressing over the broccoli, then scatter the remaining 1/3 cup cashews over the salad. Serve the remaining dressing on the side.

A Little of This and That

Is the earth spinning faster than normal? Is that why time is going by at lightening speed? Wasn’t it just Halloween and now it’s Thanksgiving, I don’t understand.

This will be a catch up of whatever has happened in the last month. My memory has been failing me lately..I made a delicious curry paste from scratch and then made an even better chicken curry but I can’t for the life of me, find the recipe I used. It’s like, poof! Gone from my memory and apparently my search history too.

I do know that we took the girls trick or treating, I remember that. It was our first time since Covid and it was a lot more quiet out there than it used to be. Dark houses and the lack of kids could have been because it was a Monday, I don’t know why we can’t just dedicate the last Saturday of October to Halloween.

Like I mentioned, I made a fresh curry paste that was super flavorful and very spicy and then made a chicken curry. If I ever find the recipe, I will make it again surely. I think I served it with coconut rice but who really knows, not me.

We took the girls rollerskating with their friends and I made the most delicious Snickerdoodle sandwich cookies with cream cheese frosting. These, you guys, are ridiculously good.

Oh and we finally made it to Cutwater Spirits tasting room. The drinks were delicious, the food was just ok. Next time, because there will be a next time, there are still so many cocktails to try, we will just sit at the bar.

I also made Chrissy Teigen’s broccoli salad with cashew dressing, and it was SO good. I will post that next time.

And obviously we are watching ALL OF THE SOCCER! The World Cup is such an exciting time, especially since we finally made it back into the tournament! Big match Friday, where will you be watching our USMNT?

Mushroom Pot Pie

You guys this recipe is ridiculously good. That’s all I have to say about it really, it’s just so good. The filling is almost like a thick soup and you could eat it with a loaf of good bread if you wanted. Pie crust was my favorite, puff pastry was good but didn’t hold up like the pie crust did. However, it really doesn’t matter because the mushroom gravy, if you will, is amazing alone.

I made this in individual ramekins but you could make this in a pie plate for a holiday dinner, it will get eaten up, I promise.

INGREDIENTS

4 ounces butter, divided

12 ounces mushrooms (I used cremini)

2 cups yellow onion, finely chopped

3/4 cup celery, finely chopped

1 cup carrots (about 1 small/medium), finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons brandy 

2 1/2 cups vegetable stock

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

leaves from 3 springs of thyme

1/4 cup packed Italian parsley, finely chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 package frozen pie crust

1 egg, whisked

DIRECTIONS

Heat a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottom saucepan over low heat, then add 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the mushrooms along with a pinch of salt and cook for 5 minutes, stirring every so often to release their natural juices and soften. Remove the mushrooms from the pan, set aside, and turn the heat down to medium-low.

Melt the remaining butter and add the onions, garlic, celery and carrots and sauté for about for 6 minutes or until soft, stirring periodically.

Stir in the flour and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the brandy, stock, cayenne, and your cooked mushrooms.

Bring to a simmer and stirring often, allow the sauce to thicken, about 5 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and remove from the heat. Add in thyme, parsley, salt and pepper. Taste for salt.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Divide the filling into four 8-ounce ramekins and place on a baking sheet.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the pie crust thin and cut 4 rounds approximately 1/2 – 1 inch larger than the width of the ramekins. Spray the rim of each ramekin with cooking or spray (or you can use your egg wash) and 1/2 inch down the sides. Top each ramekin with the pie crust rounds, folding the excess over and gently pressing it against the ramekins using a fork to help seal it to the dish. Brush the top of the dough with egg wash and use a small knife to poke 3 small holes in the top of each pot pie.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Allow them to cool for a few minutes before serving.

*Recipe adapted from Savory Simple

Spooky

We kicked off the spooky season with my first visit to Knott’s Scary Farm.

We went straight to an amazing looking roller coaster. The lights were all lit up and it looked like a boardwalk. The ride was so fun we did it multiple times. The downside, the exit took us into clown alley. Yes, I know that I am an adult, but I have an irrational fear of clowns…sigh, I am not proud. It took all that I had to not look them, even when they came running at me head on…Otherwise I would have cried.

We had a such good time, rides at night are just better. Parts of the park were very dark and creatures of all sorts would follow us around breathing down our necks and jump out at us. A lot of them had on shoes with metal taps so when they ran and slid at you, it made an awful sound..basically scaring the shit out of us at every corner we turned.

We were walking through a very dark area with fog machines clouding our path when we realized why so many people run in the wrong direction in horror films. You know how we scream at those idiots? Well, we were them…We had a hard time figuring out where we were and where we were headed. If was legit in danger, I would have just fell to the ground and succumbed to my death.

However, it was fun and definitely something to do again.

The girls had fun at the store trying on masks.

We hit the pumpkin patch and we made it easy on ourselves this year. We went to one in Temecula, gave the girls some money, grabbed a glass of wine, and hung out while they did all of the things. Petting zoo, panning for gems, snow cones and all of the other shit that is a waste of money.

We no longer buy our pumpkins at the actual patch which saves a lot of money. We just grab them at a local store on our way home, the girls don’t care.

Then we carve them and then they die. {the pumpkins, not the girls.}

Luckily we got a few photos of our artistry before they wilted 20 minutes later.

The next day we made Oreo bats and I realized that the girls are almost too old for these food crafts. They just want to eat the ingredients rather than create. However, I MADE THEM HAVE FUN!

These are super simple using only 3 ingredients.

Oreos, bite size Reese’s and candy eye balls. We used the oreo filling as the glue for the wings and the eyes. Pop them into the fridge for 10 minutes to set or don’t and just eat them right away.

I think they turned out cute!

The girls have their costumes and we are excited to take them out Monday night, and then go right home to inspect their candy! {aka take all the good stuff}

Just kidding, we will wait until they are in bed.

Finally…A Farro Recipe {Farro Salad}

Why have we been neglecting farro for so long? I have been using it a lot recently because we can’t get enough of it’s chewy texture and nutty flavor. This dish here though, is the best reason to cook some up.
I promise, you won’t be mad at it.

Farro Salad with Apple, Parmesan, Arugula & Fried Shallots

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 cup whole-grain farro

2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth

1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 bay leaf

1 Large shallot, very thinly sliced

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp. dijon mustard

2 tsp. honey

Freshly ground black pepper

2 cup lightly packed arugula

1 apple, chopped

1/2 cup shaved fresh Parmesan

1/4 cup freshly chopped basil

1/4 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped

In a medium saucepan, combine farro, vegetable broth, salt, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let cook, stirring occasionally, until farro is tender and no broth remains, about 30 minutes. When farro is cooked, transfer to a large glass bowl to cool.

Meanwhile, make the fried shallots: in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine oil and shallots. When the shallots begin to sizzle, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are golden and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove shallots from oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper-towel lined plate and season with salt. Let oil cool.

Make the dressing: in a medium bowl, combine the cooled olive oil with vinegar, mustard, and honey and season with salt and pepper.

Assemble the salad: combine cooked farro, crispy shallots, arugula, apple, parmesan, basil, and pecans. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to coat.

*Recipe adapted from Delish 

Korean-Style Beef Tacos

This isn’t a new recipe. I think this cookbook is a handful of years old but it’s full of great recipes.

I made this for our weekly Taco Tuesday for us moms, however Averi was caught eating leftover steak off the cutting board.

*This recipe wants you to skewer the meat, I didn’t do that, it was just an extra unnecessary step for this occasion.

Ingredients

⅓ cup sugar

5 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce 

1 ½ tablespoons gochujang paste

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 

1 tablespoon dark sesame oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

12 ounces flank steak, sliced against the grain into thin strips

⅛ teaspoon salt

Cooking spray

8 (6-inch) corn tortillas

Quick Pickled Cabbage (recipe to follow)

3 tablespoons sliced green onions

1 fresh jalapeno, sliced for serving

Directions

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl. Add steak to bowl or combine all in a gallon size freezer bag; . Marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour, turning after 30 minutes. (Can hang out in the fridge for longer).

While the meat is marinating, make the pickled cabbage.

Pickled cabbage

3 cups chopped/shredded napa cabbage

2 garlic cloves

1/2 cup rice vinegar

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

2 Teaspoons gochujang paste

Combine 3 cups of shredded napa cabbage in a bowl with the garlic. Bring vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and gochujang to a boil in a small sauce pan. Pour hot vinegar mixture over cabbage; toss. Let stand at least 30 minutes before serving.

Preheat grill to medium high heat.

Remove steak from marinade, and discard marinade. Grill the slices of meat, 2 minutes per side.

(Thread steak onto 8 (8-inch) skewers; sprinkle with salt. Place skewers on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 2 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness).

Grill tortillas 30 seconds on each side or until lightly charred; keep warm.

Place tortillas on plate, and divide steak evenly among tortillas. Divide the Quick Pickled Cabbage evenly among tacos; sprinkle with onions and jalapenos.

Disney Presents the Lion King

The Lion King was playing for a few weeks at the San Diego Civic Center. Since we have an avid Lion King fan, I thought it would be a fun thing to do. I have only heard great things about the show so I for one was excited. The older girls however, were not and they originally said that they would rather stay home. So we decided just Aves and I would go, of course after the tickets were bought, they changed their minds. By that time it was too late, the seats were slim picking.

After dinner and on a school night, Averi and I headed downtown. After we found are seats we had to go back up to stock up on sweets and a drink.

Averi got all sorts of compliments on her dress.

The opening moments of the show were breathtaking. The music and life size animal puppets were incredible. As the African drums filled the room a herd of galloping gazelle make their way down the aisles followed by rhinos with flocks of birds perched on their horns. They were followed by thudding elephants also making their way to the stage. Giraffes came out on the stage as a yellow-orange glowing sunrise filled the stage all while a leopard made it’s away around the animals.

All of the characters were played by fantastic actors. The hornbill Zazu was comedic perfection and the young Simba was outstanding.

It was a great show.

The second act was a little slower, more talking, less singing. Averi knows every word to the show so if something was off, I heard about it. Zazu would joke, “this isn’t the cartoon!” Which made the adults laugh and the children question why.

Averi started getting tired towards then end, it was past her bedtime. We got home by 10:30 and she crashed as soon as she hit her bed.

It was a great time and I am forcing all the girls to go to the next show.

BTS

No, that’s not the BTS that the girls love, it’s the BTS us parents love.

Back to school!

I only bring this up because we had BTSN on our calendar and all I heard was ” if you take off the N, you have BTS” followed by giggles.

We have two 6th graders and a 3rd grader (gasps)!

6th grade down here in San Diego is also known as middle school which still gives me heart palpitations.

I know I know, boy have things changed. I mean sixth grade vs. kinder really is something. Something as in, we as moms had wayyyy more power over their looks back then, sigh.

Averi is at the same school but has a new building, and she was SO excited when we got to school and found out that her bestie was in her class.

They each had BFF bracelets for each other even after a summer of no contact. SO damn sweet.

The weather has been so ridiculously hot that almost all outdoor activities were canceled or postponed. I know if you don’t live here you’re rolling your eyes, that’s ok. Roll away, it’s hot AF for us San Diegan’s, we can’t cope in extreme weather.

However, we did brave the heat and attended the Family Fun Day at the Del Mar Races. My parents met me and the girls for the afternoon, luckily those clouds and a slight breeze saved us from overheating.

I think the girls enjoyed themselves, pretty sure everyone but Kaili and I won some money.

Easing back into the school time swing. Hopefully I will have a new recipe to share sooner than later. It’s definitely trial by error right now.

Rigatoni with Ricotta-Sage Pesto

The Milk Street cookbooks much like the America’s Test Kitchen and Cooks Illustrated cookbooks are almost foolproof when it comes to ingredients, flavors and photos. Obviously this is my palates opinion but I think if you read through a few of them, you’d likely agree. After our trip to Greece I got my sister-in-law (SIL) the Milk Street Tuesday Nights Mediterranean cookbook for her birthday. It seems she cooked her way through it with raved reviews. So I went ahead and checked out the Milk Street Tuesday Nights Weeknight Suppers. Flipping through it in the car I quickly realized that I was going to need to own it, that’s how many recipes struck me as delicious. This recipe was the first one that I made from the book and if you like sage, then this will be your your jam.

Rigatoni with Ricotta-Sage Pesto

INGREDIENTS

6 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup chopped fresh sage

3 cups lightly packed fresh parsley

2 tsp grated lemon zest

1 ounce finely grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta

salt and pepper to taste

12 ounces rigatoni

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

DIRECTIONS

In a small microwave safe bowl, stir together the oil and sage, making sure the sage is completely submerged. Microwave on high just until the oil is hot and the sage is fragrant, about 1 minute. Cool to room temperature.

In a food processor, combine the sage oil mixture and the parsley. Process until finely chopped, about 15 seconds. Add the lemon zest and Parmesan and process until well incorporated. Transfer to a large bowl, stir in the ricotta, one teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper.

Bring your water to a boil and add pasta, cook until pasta is al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid, drain the pasta.

Add the pasta to the ricotta mixture, then stir 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid. The mixture should be creamy; if needed, adjust with additional cooking liquid. Serve with walnuts and additional Parmesan.

Don’t be so Prickly

We took two days to soak up the desert heat and wade in water. Good times and tan lines. We have a favorite hotel in Palm Springs but it was booked for the dates we wanted so we decided to try out the Saguaro hotel. We thought about stopping in Temecula on the way out there for a wine tasting, but decided to just hightail it straight there to be poolside.

The Saguaro is a super trendy hotel that has a retro vibe, aesthetically eye pleasing with blocks of color everywhere. We asked for a pool view room so we could have an idea of how early people trickled down to the pool. Shade was sparse so we wanted to stake our claim on a proper poolside lounger.

Once we were checked in we swiftly changed into our suits and headed down to the crowded pool. See those loungers in the bottom of the photo? One of those opened up so we dropped our stuff and hot stepped literally into the pool. You guys, it was 110 degrees out and I’m pretty sure the pool water temp was 95 degrees. I honestly didn’t think I would make it there for two days, however I adapted. We brought our own adult beverages and our frost buddy cups which was a lifesaver. They have a poolside bar but it’s super pricey and the bartenders are green. Tip 1, bring drinks and a cup. Tip 2, get a poolside room. That was the biggest mistake we made. Each time we wanted to go to the room it was through walkways, key cards, stairs and around and through and down stairs and key cards etc. EVERY TIME….That got old fast. Meanwhile the smart ones were just hopping into their poolside rooms.

We learned that Palm Springs had a two day, two weekend musical festival called Splash House. The Saguaro hotel was a location, our favorite (sold out & now we know why) hotel was a location and one other hotel were all home base for this house music situation. Luckily we were checking out the day it started, phew. The pool wasn’t big enough or cool enough for 80 + drunk people and their floats or their urine.

We spent the entire afternoon in the pool talking and making new friends. We were deep in a conversation when I saw this in a friends sunglasses. I told him to stand tight so I could take this picture. Summer in a photo.

Eventually the sun set and it was finally only 100 degrees outside. Everyone trickled out of the pool putting a period on the day. We made our way to our room for dinner.

The next morning we claimed some pool chairs and went for breakfast. We weren’t impressed but we were fed. We hit the pool and read and sweated and read. I was almost done with my book and the pool was filling up, I told Shawna I needed to finish it before our friends showed up. I ended up crying in the pool, damn book…. but I did finish it.

We took advantage of the hotel restaurants happy hour, we slightly dried off and headed in for tacos and drinks.

Back in the pool we talked and talked until time slipped away and once again the sun went down, funny how that works. We ended the night, ordered a pizza and fell asleep watching the death channel.

The next morning we had a nice lie in, and then hit a recommended spot for lunch before heading home. We were told we MUST try El Patio.

So we did and it was delicious. Shawna got breakfast but me, not me. I ordered the Del Mar for us to start with. Fresh ceviche of crab, octopus and shrimp mixed with cucumber, tomato and the sweetest mango topped with avocado and pickled onions. SO GOOD!! I asked for the trio of salsa’s (I don’t think thats the right name) but it’s not on the menu so make sure that if you visit, ask for it! Finally, I had the fish tacos and they were perfect. We thanked our new friends for the suggestion and will most definitely be back.

As for the Saguaro hotel, I’m not sure if we will be back. One thing that I didn’t mention was the music at the pool was terrible, really bad IMHO. Maybe it was the music of the DJ’s that were going to be playing at the festival, either way it was not good. You guys, that’s all that played for two days, the same playlist over and over…I wanted to go find someone and pay them to change it. Other than a handful of negatives (working ice machines were limited) it’s not a bad hotel, we did have a great time.