Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Hello Fresh Box and Sunchoke, Kale and Quinoa Salad

My Hello Fresh box arrived last week and I have to say, I'm impressed.

Vicki had posted about her experience with Hello Fresh on her site, check it out HERE. I was fortunate enough to be one of the lucky winners as she was able to give away an introductory gift.

It's packaged very well with heavy duty ice packs surrounding the food.

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Each meal has an easy to follow recipe card and all the pre-measured ingredients inside. It was a snap to get going and serve.

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We've had two meals from it so far - the Quinoa Salad with Sunchokes and Kale and the Jamie Oliver verison of Aloo Gobhi. Both were excellent.

Here is the Quinoa Salad chock full of kale and sunchokes. I may adapt this next time I make it and use spinach instead of kale.

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I didn't know what sunchokes were, turns out they are Jerusalem artichokes. Mystery solved.

Will I continue with Hello Fresh deliveries? Possibly. Everything you need to get a meal on the table is included and measured. It's good quality food too, fresh ingredients.

This recipe is so simple - you cook the quinoa while the sunchokes are roasting, approximately 20 minutes for each. While that's going on you cook the kale and onions, add seasonings and them combine everything. Included are green onions and dried cranberries for topping. It was a hit!

I will be joining Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday series. This week's linkup may be found HERE.


Monday, October 17, 2016

A fun ride on a pretty day

See the end of this road? If you look closely you'll see water. It's the Gulf of Mexico and this road dead-ends right to it. What a sight.

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Highway 98 is just gorgeous to ride along and enjoy the gulf breeze, watch diving pelicans and see boats drifting along.

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Doug's beard is getting longer so these ties are just the ticket to keep it from blowing around when we are riding.  I like this look.

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This is a snap heading up the bridge towards Apalachicola.  I wish I kept my phone out for the ride home because the scenery is stunning.  The temps ended up higher than we anticipated so I took my jacket off, that's where I keep my iPhone for handy access, rode home with a shirt and no place to hold my phone.

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We like the oysters at Boss Oyster but they are expensive, so we took the advice of a coworker who said Papa Joe's is way more reasonable.  Very true.  While Papa Joe's doesn't have the ambiance or a view of the water, they were better price wise.  Our oysters were good and salty.

This carved head was for sale, just inside the door at Papa Joe's.  They also had beachy type jewelry such as puka bead necklaces and t-shirts for sale.

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We passed this campground on the way and I thought again about how much fan we had camping years back. We don't ever seem to be able to balance fun activities for whatever reason. When we got the Sportster and then other motorcycles we just rode each weekend instead of camping now and then. Eventually we sold our Sunnybrook.

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In the upcoming retirement years (we're almost there!) it might be nice to get a small Class-C camper with the ability to pull the trike on a trailer.  We want some good trike road trips too but a camper would be nice to get us to states that are very far away, such as Montana or Washington state, and we could ride out and explore from a base camp.

I also like the idea of having our own bed and the ability to control our diet.  Cooking our on meals and of course, campfires!

So there you go....dreaming again.  I'm so close to retirement I can taste it so consequently, I do a lot of dreaming.

Hoping you are well in your part of the world and enjoying life and some good Autumn weather.


Friday, October 14, 2016

No Cedar Key Vacation for us but .....
I do have a Sweet Potato-Spinach Frittata recipe to share

Happy Friday to you all! This is my first evening of vacation. Unfortunately our plans to visit Cedar Key were cancelled for the second year in a row. We like to spend the third week of October away from our humid little neck of the woods. Last year the Lo-Key Hideaway canceled on us for remodeling. This year it was due to disaster.

Hurricane Hermine just about destroyed the Lo-Key Hideaway where we had reservations. The rooms were flooded and so all furniture had to be tossed. There was mud in the rooms and offices....a huge clean up job so, we won't be going there this vacation.   We will take lots of rides and eat at places we've never tried, pick up the remains of a tree in the field (Hermine did it) and read. And eat. And imbibe.

Now let me share a good recipe.  I got the inspiration for this dish from Pam at Sidewalk Shoes. Thanks, Pam, we loved this Frittata!

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Ooey, gooey forkfuls of yummy sweet potato and spinach. Cheesy enough but not too much (can there be too much?)

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What I need is a smaller frying pan then this frittata would be taller. I have a very small cast iron and then a 14 inch variety. Medium is what I need so I may just buy one this weekend. Served with a hearty bread and you have an excellent meal.

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I'm making this again for sure. Next time I am adding smoked dried tomatoes.

I am sharing this with Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series .

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Essence of India

Recently we had a great culinary revelation - it's about Indian cuisine. Years back we tried this one Indian restaurant and it just didn't sit well with us. It was a little too spicy and we just didn't like the food. The reason we tried it was inspired by the Food and Flix movie Today's Special, hosted by Deb at Kahakai Kitchen.

Since we have cut back so much on meals featuring meat and eating more vegetarian fare, we decided to try a different restaurant. Are we ever glad we did. Essence of India is located in Tallahassee and it's now one of our favorite restaurants. Here is my plate from last time we had lunch there.

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Normally I try and stay away from buffets as there is always the penchant for overeating. In this case it's perfect. So many food items I am unfamiliar with and I can try little bits of each one, learning which are my favorites. And yes, one day I did overeat and paid the penalty!

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The owners and waiters are wonderfully friendly and helpful. When I had a question they were great explaining and educating me on the cuisine, the heat and spiciness of certain dishes and the correct pronunciation of the meals. I am a fan.

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This has inspired me to check out a few Madhur Jaffrey cookbooks from our library. We'll see if I can duplicate some of our favorites. So, here's the question....anyone out there a fan of Indian foods who can advice me on a few good recipes that aren't uber spicy? I have low tolerance for too much heat so if it's like eating fire ants, I can't manage that. But any advice would be very welcome!

Friday, October 07, 2016

Cassoulet the Vegetarian way!

We certainly love sitting on the patio and enjoying a good meal with wine. The weather had cooperated and we moved out there right away.

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This recipe for cassoulet may seem unusual as it doesn't have any meat. That's right, a recipe considered a meat-fest and prepared all sorts of ways in France has been adapted for vegetarians. I guarantee you, everyone will love this rich stew. It's become one of our favorites. I'll post the recipe at the end, it's super simple to put together and the slow cooker does all the work. Winner!!

Mix up all the ingredients in a slow cooker. Just give it a gentle stir. By the way, this called for sun dried tomatoes and the smoked ones are amazing. Highly recommended.

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It wasn't until we shopped at Publix and were browsing in the fresh produce section that we realized we could get the veggie sausages the recipe calls for. More like fat Italian sausages with basil and garlic.

So, when I made this, I just added these breakfast "sausages".  They were good but I'll bet the others are better.  Next time.

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And here you have it. A big bowl of protein in the form of beans and veggies and delicious juices that need mopping up with a good fresh bread.

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Here is a snap of the recipe I used from a Betty Crocker cookbook.

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Linking up to Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday and with Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series.


Wednesday, October 05, 2016

The Ultimate Black Bean Burger

There is a little food co-op in Tallahassee we like to frequent. It's called New Leaf Market and they have some great local fruits and vegetables, loose stocked grains and flours and so many healthy food items.

They also have a kitchen and food bar and let me tell you, they make one of the best black burgers I have ever had. They have spinach lasagna and quiche on the hot bar - and I honestly want to try those one day - but we get to the counter to order and that black burger calls my name.


They are handmade rather than the frozen textured vegetable protein type burgers. Very lush and filling. Soon I want to make my own and have found several good recipes in the Linda McCartney cook book and also one by Heidi Swanson. Stay tuned for those experiments.

I will be joining Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday series. Please join in with your soup, slaad or sandwich - the linkup for this week may be found HERE


Monday, October 03, 2016

Dobbs BBQ in Dothan Alabama ....
A couple hours ride on a nice sunny day

A few weeks ago we took a ride to Dothan Alabama in search of some BBQ. Basically we just wanted a good ride and the weather was cooperating we went. It's about an hour and half to get to Dothan from our place. Just enough time before you need to stretch and get some water.


I just had to get a photo of this on the way out the door. See the younger man in the right corner? That's the great grandson of the Confederate soldier and current owner. He came by our table to chat for a bit and he's quite a character. He is now 84 years old at this writing.


The food isn't elegant cuisine, it's just plain old BBQ served on diner type dishes. Good food though, just not something we would be eating weekly.


As you can see they pile that BBQ on high.


After eating we rode to the local Harley dealership to walk around a bit, let the food settle. The last time we rode there was February and had the good fortune of Tristan's company. I love it when he can ride along. Looking forward to more rides when the weather is cooler. Maybe a big ride up to Eufala Alabama, that's an all day ride.


I hope all is well in your world, you are out having fun, acquiring new books and enjoying life!

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Baked Ratatouille

In the spirit of adding at least one vegetarian recipe per week I want to share a pictorial on Baked Ratatouille (Recipe will follow).

This isn't a vegan meal as it has mozzarella cheese and cheese ravioli.  Serve with warmed Naan and avocados and you have a treat of a meal.


First, saute your veggies.  The ingredients are listed at the end but you know what ratatouille consists of - lots of eggplant, zucchini, onions, tomatoes and such.


While you are cooking the veggies you can also cook the cheese ravioli.  I placed the individual raviolis in the casserole dish prior to cooking so I didn't cook too many.


After you have layered the cooked ravioli, tip the cooked veggie mixture over the top.


Now add mozzarella cheese and pop in the oven.


20 minutes later the mixture is wonderfully gooey and cheesy. All the flavors and ingredients mingle well after heating.


Will we have this again? Absolutely! It made a few dinners with leftovers for lunch too. Healthy fare.


As promised, here is the recipe below.

Baked Ratatouille


1 tablespoon olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 cups peeled and diced eggplant
2 cups chopped zucchini
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 (8 ounce) package frozen cheese ravioli
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C); spray a 2 1/2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat; cook and stir the garlic, onion, and eggplant with the garlic until the vegetables have begun to soften, about 8 minutes. Stir in the zucchini, bell pepper, tomatoes, basil, parsley, salt, and black pepper; bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently.

Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

Cook the frozen ravioli as directed on the package; drain. Spread the cooked ravioli in a layer into the bottom of the prepared baking dish; spoon the hot vegetables over the ravioli. Sprinkle with the cheese.

Bake in the preheated oven until the casserole is bubbling and the cheese is melted, about 20 minutes.

I am sharing this with Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series and Meatless Monday


Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.