Let’s Talk Food

Yes, I know we all just ate an excessive amount of food.

Whether you devoured the traditional Thanksgiving classics, decided to go global with your menu, or maybe you just said f*ck it, and ran off to Vegas for drinks and chips, the other kind ch$ps.

It takes awhile to get back in the mindset to meal plan again, I know because I’m struggling.

But, I do have a couple of recipes for you to jot down, you know, for when you’re ready to eat again.

Starting with….

Whipped Feta Dip with Olive Oil, Thyme and Roasted Toms

*recipe adapted from https://www.spendwithpennies.com/whipped-feta-dip-with-roasted-tomatoes/

INGREDIENTS

TOMS

1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes

3 tablespoons olive oil

3-4 cloves garlic crushed

3-4 sprigs fresh thyme (save some for garnish)

Salt and Pepper to Taste

CHEESE DIP

1 cup feta cheese, crumbled or cubed (room temperature)

4 tablespoons cream cheese ( room temperature)

1/4 cup olive oil

1 medium lemon zested & juiced

1 clove garlic minced

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven 400 degrees Place the tomatoes (toms) on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Add crushed garlic cloves and Thyme. Toss to combine, then roast for 20 minutes OR until tomatoes soft and begin to burst. Allow to cool as is, then remove the thyme and garlic.

While the tomatoes roast, prepare the cheese. In a small bowl, combine the minced garlic with the lemon juice, only if you want.

Combine the feta and cream cheese in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the cheeses are mixed and smooth. Drizzle in the olive oil while pulsing, followed by the honey. Then add the lemon juice and garlic mix, salt and pepper.

Process until smooth and airy.

Transfer to a serving dish. Refrigerate until the tomatoes have fully cooled. 

Top the Whipped Feta Dip with cooled, roasted tomatoes.

Serve with anything, pita, crackers, toast, or even just your fingers.

On the Road Again

I pulled Kaili out of school a tad early so we could hit the road, destination Walla Walla.  The girls did good, better than I expected to be honest. After a pretty decent dinner in Stockton, we finished up the days drive in Dixon, a town outside of Sacramento. It was 8:30 p.m by the time we were all ready for bed and the girls crashed without a peep.

fullsizeoutput_39
Dinner at Harvest Moon, Stockton, Ca.

After a quick hotel breakfast we were back on the road again by 8:00 a.m. It was a long day in the car and the weather wasn’t great. We saw Mount Shasta and a few beautiful rainbows but besides that our sights were set on Newport, Oregon.

fullsizeoutput_3afullsizeoutput_3c

We hoped to get there while there was still daylight but by the time we checked in to our hotel and made it down to the bay front for dinner, it was pitch dark outside. Dinner was good, we have been wanting to try Mo’s for a long time, it was fun to check that box.

img_0589img_0588fullsizeoutput_3d

Too cold and dark to walk around, so we went back to the room to get the girls and myself in bed. I fell asleep before 8:00 p.m.

Kaili woke up around 6:00 a.m so we had an early start to the day. With cheese and ice cream on the mind, we made our way to the Tillamook factory. Kaili seemed to enjoy watching the cheese packaging process and pretending to milk the fake cow. Averi was just enjoying being out of the car and neither of them seemed to care about the cheese. We were disappointed to find out the cafe was only serving breakfast since we had our minds set on grilled cheese, so we settled for ice cream instead.

fullsizeoutput_3efullsizeoutput_3fimg_0602

img_0837

The only other stop we planned on before arriving in Walla Walla was Multnomah falls.  It was a perfect spot for a bathroom break and a stretch of the legs.

fullsizeoutput_42fullsizeoutput_43img_0850

On the third day and the final stretch  of the trip, Averi decided to give into a nap. It was bliss.

fullsizeoutput_2d

We made our arrival into the town and conveniently drove by one of the wineries we are members of, so of course we had to stop.

fullsizeoutput_46fullsizeoutput_49

It’s good to be here and it’s good not having to get back into the car for another day of driving tomorrow. Maybe wine tasting downtown instead.

 

Cauliflower and Brussels Sprout Gratin

I am on a brussels sprout kick. I especially like them roasted with a little olive oil and garlic salt. Then one day I came across this. Healthy? Nope, good? Yes!  The cheese sauce is so amazing, you could pour it over anything and it would be good. Pasta, potatoes, asparagus. Ooh, roasted asparagus with gruyere cheese sauce, now that sounds good. Reel me back in…Ok, so back to this recipe. Kaili loved it, a good way to get the kiddos to eat their veg is you have picky monsters at home, or husbands.

*recipe from A Cozy Kitchen

Ingredients

3/4 head of cauliflower, cut into large florets
3/4 lb of brussels sprouts, trimmed, and quartered lengthwise through core
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
a pinch of grated nutmeg
3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese, divided
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Prepare a large bowl filled with ice water and ice.  Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain. Throw the cooked cauliflower into the bowl of ice water to stop them from cooking any further.  Bring the pot back up to a boil and put in the quartered brussels sprouts and cook for 3-4 minutes.  The cauliflower should be completely cooled.  Drain them and set aside. After the brussels sprouts are done, throw them in the bowl of ice water and ice.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until it comes to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened. Off the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the Gruyere, and the Parmesan.

Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8 by 11 by 2-inch baking dish. Place the drained cauliflower and brussels sprouts on top and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top. Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyere and sprinkle on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over the gratin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned.