Saturday, October 31, 2015

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce

I have to confess that I have a tiny tendency to over-garlic.  On occasion.  I can't help it.  I love garlic with a capital L.  Unfortunately for the hubby.  Especially when he doesn't indulge in the garlic party.

I was guilty of over garlic-ing on this latest dinner experiment, which thankfully was a solo experiment since the hubby was working late that night.  Thank God for him!

I discovered a recipe for creamy cauliflower sauce on one of the many food blogs I follow, called Pinch of Yum.

It's not too far from cauliflower mash, which I've made before and is fantastic.  This sauce is basically cauliflower mash with more liquid added, so it becomes more sauce-like.

It would have been better if I could have controlled myself with the garlic!  I made rigatoni with broccoli and tossed it with the cauliflower sauce and a healthy dose of Parmigiano-Reggiano.  I used this recipe as a base with a few tweaks here and there.

It was good, but I decided what it really needed was some bacon.  Just a strip or two, crumbled up and mixed in would have put it over the top and made it memorable.

So, the next night for leftovers I cooked up some bacon, chopped it up, sliced some cherry tomatoes & tossed it all together with the cauliflower sauce & the rest of the rigatoni and a little more Parmigiano-Reggiano.

It was definitely better.  Because bacon makes everything better.

Not a bad dinner experiment - over garlic-ed or not

So, I think the clear take away here is simple.


Ta-ta for now.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Bacon Egg Cups

I get into breakfast ruts every so often.  I've been in a mini-one lately.  So, I tried a new egg recipe the other day, courtesy of a blogger/business woman I discovered named Wellness Mama.

She's a little nutty in some of what she puts out there, but her recipes are generally more mainstream than some of her more unconventional posts.  I've found plenty of her tips and tutorials invaluable, but I wouldn't jump feet first into everything she recommends!

Anyway, enough about the slightly wacky Wellness Mama.  I was intrigued by one of her egg recipes and decided to try it out a few days ago.  It helped me climb out of my breakfast rut, and it was easy & tasty.

Mostly because bacon.  It's easy to put together, and you can make a little more than what you plan to eat in one sitting to reheat during the week.

The gist is this.  Chop up some onions and peppers, (or whatever veggies you prefer) line a few sections of a muffin tin with bacon, & put the vegetables in the bottom of each muffin cup.  Beat however many eggs you're using with a little bit of milk and salt and pepper. (one egg per muffin cup - so I used four)  Last, add the egg mixture to each muffin cup.

Raw and ready for baking

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until the eggs are set.  I topped ours with cheddar in the last five minutes of baking for a little cheese love.

Hot & bubbly, right out of the oven

They really puff up in the oven.  The eggs got surprisingly fluffy, sort of like a quiche.  And the bacon really makes it.

How about this love?

You might also like this baked egg recipe I wrote about not too long ago.  If you find yourself in a breakfast rut, consider one of these as a remedy - It worked for me! 

Ta-ta for now.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Classic Monster Pumpkins

I decided not to do any pumpkin carving for Halloween this year.  Instead I tackled painted pumpkins.  I went with classic monster characters for this year:  Dracula, Frankenstein, a mummy and a vampire bat.  What fun this was!

Certain parts turned out to be a little more challenging than I expected, and I wasn't really crazy about how some of the eyes turned out.  Eyes are hard! 

I used paint, felt, crafting foam, and hot glue.  I don't have much of a step-by-step for these because I just used pictures I found online for inspiration.  The rest I sort of free-styled.

I think I like the carved pumpkins I've done over the last few years better than my painted project for this year.  But out of the four from this year, my favorite is the mini-bat pumpkin.

Just too damn cute.  The hubby thinks it looks like Toothless from the movie How to Train Your Dragon.  I can see it!  So, along with the bat, as I mentioned already, I painted a Dracula...

And a mummy...

And a Frankenstein...

Those eyes!  They make him look a little...special.

My favorite part of Frankenstein is the bolts in the side of his "neck."  In this case we're working under the assumption that pumpkins do in fact have necks.  I can't help making the MREEEEEHH Frankenstein moan in my head whenever I look at him.

So, here are all of my monster pumpkins out on our table in the front.

These were fun to do, but like I said earlier, I think I'll go back to carving next year.  They're cute, but I think last year's zombies and the year before's vampires came out better.  19 more days till Halloween!

Ta-ta for now.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Another Roll of the Dice

Lots o' options!
A question I'm asked often is some version of, "How do you know where you'll go next?"  Or, "Do you get to pick where you go, or does the Coast Guard just send you where they want?"

Unlike the title of this post, it's a little more strategic than just rolling the dice.  The gist of it is this.

We're in the very early stages of PCS, (Permanent Change of Station) so we just received the official "shopping list" for our next tour.  Which basically means what positions and locations will be available to transfer to in the summer of 2016.

Availability is based on the hubby's rank and position, and more importantly the needs of the almighty Coast Guard.  Because home is where the Coast Guard sends us.  Which is kind of part of the fun.

The potential billets totaled 8 different locations and ranged from Washington D.C., to another tour in a different part of Alaska, to Puerto Rico, among others.  The next step after learning what our options were was to submit our "dream sheet" based on the available slots.  Essentially what our picks are for the next four years.

We ended up submitting for 6 locations - from California, to Oregon, to North Carolina and a few others.  What's nice is that because we've spent the last 3 years outside the continental U.S, we'll have precedence for the next set of orders.  So the chances of us getting our first pick are good.  Our first pick is Sacramento, California.

I've been prematurely researching all the different potential locations, well because it's kind of fun to play the what if game.  Honestly, I just want to get back to civilization again.  I was so excited to see all of the restaurants, pubs, and live music venues in a bunch of the locations we could end up at.

Civilization and the prospect of more than 132 average days of sunshine per year is...more than alluring!   Our time in Kodiak has been unbelievable, and I'm so thankful we had the opportunity to experience living here.  I've had the privilege of immersing myself in a completely different culture through my work experiences here, met some wonderful people, and I've seen some of the most stunning natural beauty I've ever laid my eyes on.  It's been unforgettable and I know we'll remember this tour fondly for the rest of our lives.

But on the other hand, I'm also ready to move on.  The challenge now is to tame the restlessness that's inevitable when we're right on the edge of transition.  I'm doing my best to live in the moment and not spend too much time focusing on what's to come.  Because as we all know, tomorrow isn't promised.  Okay, no more Deepak Chopra for you.

We'll find out what the next set of orders will be sometime around Christmas/New Years.  I think of it as our Christmas present.  I already know that the next roll of the dice will be another excellent new place to call home.  Because I refuse to accept anything else!  Take a look at this & you'll understand what I mean.  Stay tuned!

Ta-ta for now.