Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

This year we made more friends and broke bread (and cheese) with them. I played hostess and crafted my finest fall cocktails. The best part of any holiday is spending it in good company, with good conversation, and good cheese. We finished the night off with a backyard bonfire and smores, naturally! 
(My hair still smells like smoke!)

 I made the above spread with, can you believe it, everything from ALDI. Seriously, they've got really good seasonal cheese. 
Here's the spread:
From Left, Brie, Toasted walnuts with salt and truffle oil
Red grapes, honey, basil and tomato cheese, salami
Middle, Smoked gruyere,  Jarlsberg, and soft garlic and herb spread
Bagel chips and wheat crackers.

The above platters were from Anthropologie, Crate and Barrell,  and martini glasses from Dollar Tree. I am quite the savvy shopper. I just have to figure out how I want to cook that butternut squash and that acorn squash. They were so adorable, I just had to. I want to point out that this season, cheese boards are the new dinner plate.

One Bad Apple Martini
1 oz Salted caramel vodka
1/2 oz whipped vodka
1/2 oz vanilla vodka
1&1/2 oz Simply Apple Cider (highly recommend this brand)
Shake over ice and pour into a cinnamon and sugar rimmed glass.
Garnish with a cinnamon sugar apple slice

Pumpkin Pie Martini 
1oz Pumpkin Vodka (or regular)
1 oz whipped vodka
1/2 oz  Irish Cream liqueur
1 tablespoon pumpkin puree
dash of half and half
dash of cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
dash of ginger
Shake over ice and pour into a graham cracker rimmed glass.

Disclosure: I mix according to intuition and taste. Try the above recipes, but adjust according to your preferred alcohol levels,
taste, and guest reaction. When my guests make "yummy noises, "
I know I just made the perfect drink.   

This morning, I used the 
 pumpkin puree for pumpkin pancakes. De-lish!

Every year there is more and more to be of which to be Thankful! 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Baking again!

   New oven alert! Our house has been with out a oven for more than a year. Frankly, I didn't care at first because I was on this raw foods kick. I had just gotten a food processor, and that was my new toy. I felt better because we stopped making that weekly frozen pizza.

My family is visiting for Christmas, and you CANNOT celebrate family holidays without baking and broiling! I mean, how am I going to heat my Honeybaked Ham?

But sometimes you just want to make some cookies, Or a lasagna. Or bake a pizza. Which is what i did after the hubbs installed our newest toy.

And the next morning I made Mac and Cheese with Cauliflower. I snuck finely minced cauliflower into the cheese sauce for flavor. You absolutely would not know the difference! I adapted the recipe from Food Babe's Home made Mac and Cheese. I used cheddar, Farmer's cheese, and added garlic powder. For the topping, I added butters cauliflower bits, and broiled at 450 degrees until brown.

 Drizzle a little truffle oil on top, and voila!
What looks like cheese and egg, is mainly cheese, cauliflower and quinoa. It was tasty right out of the oven, and I ate the leftovers for lunch for about a week, even better!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veteran's Day

  Thanks to all you veterans out there.  I'm thankful for that sacrifice, service, and the VA home loan!

My all time favorite veteran is pictured below. Please excuse the bad iPhone picture of a picture. 

We like to call the young guy below "Teenage Shawn."

Left, Teenage Shawn, right twenty one years later. I wish he had kept the blues.

On a serious note, I have been searching for organizations committed to the metal health and welfare of veterans for which I can volunteer. Check out the HELO Foundation, and see if they are at a University near you!