Cheesy Cauliflower

While we love macaroni and cheese, we do not love the carbs. When I ran across George Stella’s recipe for Cauliflower “Mac” and Cheese Casserole, I knew I had to try it, even though I’m not a huge cauliflower fan. It’s actually even better than it sounds!

As usual, I tweaked it a bit to suit my cooking habits and our tastes. Since I don’t use garlic in any of my Mac & Cheese recipes, I skipped it here too. We both felt the consistency was more comparable to potatoes than pasta. I have a feeling if you used the garlic, the comparison would be even closer to an au gratin potato type dish than macaroni and cheese.

I served it with ham steaks, steamed sugar snap peas and pinot grigio. We are both hooked and I can see a lot of it in our future!

Cheesy Cauliflower

1 large head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 cup heavy or light cream
2 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
8 oz. shredded 2% extra sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray an 8x8inch baking dish or similar sized casserole dish with vegetable oil spray.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the cauliflower in the boiling water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well in a colander while preparing the sauce.

Warm the cream in a small saucepan, and stir in the cream cheese and mustard until smooth. Stir in approximately 6 ounces of the shredded cheese, salt and pepper and stir until the cheese melts, about 1 to 2 minutes. Meanwhile, transfer the cauliflower to the baking dish. Remove the sauce from the heat, pour over the cauliflower, and stir to combine. Top with the remaining cheese and bake until browned and bubbly hot, about 20 minutes.

Easy Refrigerator Rolls

Freshly baked bread is my absolute favorite comfort food. A lot of times, homemade baked goods go stale quickly since they lack all the preservatives their cousins, store-bought bread, contain. That’s the beauty of this recipe. You can prepare the dough up to 3 days ahead of time and just store it in the refrigerator until you bake it. Or, you can bake a little bit each day and have 2-3 days of warm, fresh rolls on hand. Win, win, win!

I did just that this week. I prepared the dough on Wednesday and baked 12 of these golden orbs of delight to go with my homemade Vegetable Beef Soup. Then on Thursday, I prepared the rest of them up to take to a friend who had recently lamented not being able to eat her Grandmother’s dinner rolls anymore. She deemed them “perfect!”

Easy Refrigerator Rolls

1 cup warm water
2 Tbls. yeast*
1⁄2 cup real butter, melted
1⁄2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
4 1⁄4 cups bread flour

Combine water and yeast in a large bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes.
With wooden spoon, stir in the melted butter, sugar, eggs and salt.
Add flour, 1 cup at a time and mix to combine thoroughly. I use the dough hooks on my handheld mixer. Do not overwork.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days.
Grease a 13×9 baking pan or two 9-inch cake pans. Divide dough into 24 equal pieces, rolling into smooth round balls.
Place in prepared pan. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for about 1 hour; or until doubled.
Preheat your oven to 375°F. Bake until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes. Best served warm. ♥

*do not use rapid rise yeast

You can easily eat them without anything on them, thanks to all the butter already in them, but I love them with a good, homemade jam.

 

Adventure!

Have you ever wanted to throw caution to the wind, quit your job and head off on an adventure?? Yeah, me too.

Of course, we usually don’t think such bold, daring moves are possible. Or, maybe we think they are possible, but we aren’t capable of them because of the size of our bank account or other limitations imposed on us by society. And then I met these two…

My niece, Vicki, has been a responsible adult for several years. Day after day, she went to work to earn enough money to save up for another trip. Having a job, however, also limited how much she was free to travel. She was stuck in the never-ending cycle of being a hardworking adult with bills to pay and little time or money leftover for big trips.

In December of 2017, all that changed. She quit her job and is currently enjoying life “down under” on what could be described as a true working vacation. She first learned of this ‘work exchange’ program through a friend. Basically, you agree to do manual labor in exchange for room and board. Her day consists of a variety of chores on a ranch in the Australian mountains. In her free time, she’s exploring this intriguingly different continent and blogging about her adventures.

One of Vicki’s inspirations was her good friend Heather. When I first met Heather about a year ago, she was contemplating a daring adventure of driving across America in a van she had converted into her home away from home. She was obviously nervous, but determined to give it a go. She’s been on the road now since July 2017 along with her faithful 4-legged companions plus old and new friends along the way. She has zigzagging her way across the entire country enjoying one escapade after another. For those of us left home to dream, we can enjoy her spectacular photography of our great nation via her Instagram feed.

I admire these two women more than I can express. They are living a travel experience that most of only dream of having!! They dared to dream big AND make those dreams come true.

There’s a saying that our lives are empty journals. What will you write in yours?