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Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Cauliflower Comeback

I've been trying to branch out a little with our family's dinner options. We kind of got into a rut over the past year, short on time, short on sleep, and definitely short on creativity. I wasn't doing any sort of meal planning or trying new recipes, so our weekly dinners mainly consisted of a salad with chicken, pasta, takeout, or a frozen meal. We just bought the same items over and over because it was easy and quick -- that's the name of the game with littles running around and needing attention.



I got really bored with my cooking choices, and though he never said anything, I know my husband did too. So, that led to one of my goals for this year, organizing meals and trying new recipes. I have to give myself a little pat on the back, because the past few weeks have included at least 5 dinners I've never made before, and one veggie that has made a serious comeback -- cauliflower.

I was not on the cauliflower bandwagon. I know it was everywhere being roasted, mashed, used as rice, etc., but I just couldn't get past my memories of it in frozen form with broccoli, carrots, and cheese sauce. No thanks -- not a fan.


However, after having whipped cauliflower with gouda sauce (recipe below) at a cooking class recently, holy smokes my mind changed. It was SO GOOD! I even loved the bites without that rich sauce. Bonus? It was easy. We watched the chef prepare it that night, and we were able to recreate it at home in a cinch. My husband was actually the one who made the gouda sauce and thought it was super simple as well. The hardest part of the whole thing was finding the gouda in our grocery's deli. I got distracted looking at all the fancy cheeses.

So, I wondered if that meal was just a fluke. What else is cauliflower good for? I was flipping through my favorite cookbook last weekend as I planned our week and came across cauliflower fried rice (recipe below). I love fried rice and this was definitely a new recipe to try, so I put it on our list and made it Friday for dinner with some sauteed shrimp.



I had no idea how this dinner adventure was going to turn out, so it floored me how delicious it was, with all the flavors of amazing hibachi rice, but much more nutrition and much less fat and carbs. We gave the girls some little bites too, and they were big fans. Win win! We ate the leftovers last night and there's just a little bit left that I'm going to have to snack on this afternoon. Friends, this is a must-try that will probably become a regular in our house.



Here is the recipe from Skinnytaste. You won't be sorry! Just bear in mind your house will smell like Chinese food for a couple days.

As promised, here's the recipe from Chef Aimee Blume at Thyme in the Kitchen.

Creamy Whipped Cauliflower with Smoked Gouda Sauce
Serves 8-10 (we must eat big portions because I'd actually say 4-6)

1 large head of cauliflower, in florets
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt
White pepper and nutmeg to taste

1. Preheat over to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with nonstick foil.
2. Place cauliflower florets on baking sheet, drizzle with butter and salt lightly.
3. Roast until edges are slightly brown, about 40 minutes.
4. Remove cauliflower from oven and add to food processor with cream. Blend 2-3 minutes until smooth.
5. Taste and add more salt if desired, add white pepper and nutmeg.

For the gouda sauce:

2 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
1 cup milk, warmed in microwave (we used 2%)
1/2 cup smoke gouda cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp salt
Black pepper to taste

1. In a small saucepan, melt butter and add flour. Stir until mixture bubbles and cooks for about 30 seconds.
2. Whisk in milk and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
3. Add the cheese, salt, and black pepper, stir until smooth.

Enjoy!! Hope you are able to try these.  I think both of these would be hits with kiddos too. Anything to incorporate some veggies, right?

Let me know what you think!!






Friday, January 13, 2017

Wait, I'm Supposed to be Here?


A version of this quote came across my Instagram feed earlier today, and it really stuck with me. I actually had another topic planned for today, but then after seeing this graphic I changed gears a bit, so I hope you'll stay with me here. I've been feeling a bit disappointed this week because a few professional blogging positions I was really excited about didn't pan out. Unfortunately, they were not interested in a remote candidate, and other than some real estate work here and there, working from home is my best option right now. It just doesn't make sense for our family to put the girls in full-time daycare, nor do we want to do that at this point. I love being able to have so much time with Molly and Maddie, but I also want to work and contribute to our family. I still want to use my skills and my college degree that I worked so hard for (and my parents spent so much money on!).

It's been a hard transition at times to go from working full time to staying home most of the time. I don't necessarily feel like anyone judges me, but in some ways I feel like it seems that I gave up on myself and my work to be a mom. I have friends who are still working full time and have kids and volunteer etc. and I don't know how they do it! Super powers, I guess?

Anyway, I was having a little pity party when I saw the words above, and they helped snap me out of that. I'm already writing weekly real estate blogs for two companies, plus trying to actually sell a few houses here and there. It doesn't seem like much, but that's just what I can devote to "work life" right now. Much of my time is spent taking care of our silly little ladies and trying to keep our house in order (never-ending task). That is enough right now, and I'm working to be content with that because I know this time is fleeting. Someday I'll have all the time I want to work on career goals, but that will mean our girls don't need me as much, and I can't even think about that because it will make me cry!



I hope you're able to feel content with where you are right now as well. Wherever your life or career is, try to trust that you're where you're supposed to be, if only for a short time. That's hard to do because I think we all want to move forward as quickly as possible. For me, I'm going to give my all to the work I have going at this point, and I'm going to hope that when the time is right, something else will come along and I'll be ready for it.

Good grief -- I didn't mean to go to such a sappy place! This is just something that has weighed on me, and if you've been in the same boat and can share some words of wisdom with me, I'm all ears! I promise that my next post will be a little more fun. Thinking something shopping or cooking related?

Hope y'all have a great weekend!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

No Resolutions for this Girl

Happy New Year! I hope you've all had a great Sunday to start 2017, whether you are taking it easy after a little too much champagne last night (been there) or are doing chores around the house like me. We had a pretty low key NYE celebration. We ran errands and went out for an early family dinner date before everything got too crowded with the real party people. We came home and cuddled up for a bit, and yes, we were all asleep well before midnight. Toddler life, right?

We did NY date night Thursday for a cooking class -- so fun!!
I've been thinking a lot about the idea of resolutions for this year. I have always been a goal setter, and in the past I've actually written down very official resolutions in my planner or on post-its. I have to tell you, I've never really kept them. At least not to the degree which they were intended. For a long time I'd get really upset with myself if I hadn't met those resolutions after a few months and then just forgot about them. So, this year I'm not making any resolutions. Instead, I'm setting a few intentions to work on little by little throughout the year. I don't have any definitive goal in mind. It's all a work in progress.

Miss Molly has never met a basket she didn't sit in.
I think I mentioned in a previous post that I turned 30 this past July, and I made a decision to be better to myself. No more pressuring myself to look a certain way, no more scowling at my belly that has loose skin and stretch marks after carrying our girls, and no more feeling inadequate because I haven't reached a certain professional status yet. Have I perfected those things? No, but I'm trying.

Glamorous NYE selfie with Miss Maddie.
That decision around my birthday is what inspired me to toss out the idea of resolutions for this new year. If you'll indulge me, I'd like to share a few of my intentions.

  • Read more books. I can't tell you the last time I finished a book. It might have been when I was pregnant -- that's over a year and a half ago! I have at least 5 books that I look at on a daily basis that I am itching to dive into. There might have to be a few nap times during the week when I just sit and read rather than fold laundry or do dishes.
  • Become members at a church. This is something my husband and I talk about often. We haven't gone to church much with the girls because we're those people dropping snacks, taking peoples' prayer books, crawling under the pews, you get it. We would just like to establish ourselves somewhere to meet other families and get more involved, especially as Molly and Maddie get closer to school age.
  • Meal plan. Ugh, this is not one of my strengths. We spend so much money on food, and I get really annoyed with myself when we waste things because I just didn't know what to fix with them. I have hundreds of recipes saved on Pinterest, and I have close to 30 cookbooks filled with fun things to make for dinner, so I really want to try to get into a rhythm of jotting down what I'm going to fix each night, and how we can use the leftovers in other ways. 
  • Start an e-mail account for Molly and Maddie. I've heard of other moms setting up an account for their kids when they're babies and sending them funny stories, pictures, videos, and letters of advice or random thoughts. They give the kids the account information when they graduate high school and it's filled with everything from their childhood that is just for them. I've wanted to work on that for over a year now, and I'm just going to make the time to do it.
  • Just do it. I think that's going to be my theme for 2017. I'm done saying "I wish I could do this" or "I wonder if I could do this" -- I'm just going to try all those things I've been afraid to do and see how it goes. This blog is my first step in that. I've thought about all I want to talk about for years, but I've hesitated because I was afraid. Now, I'm just a little afraid, but that's okay because I am so enjoying this little creative outlet.
Words to live by, right? This guy now hangs in our house!
Thank you for taking the time to stop by. I'd love to hear what you've got planned for 2017 -- maybe you'll even consider making some intentions as well! Cheers, friends!