Sunday, October 21, 2012

Beer + Cabbage (Flowers)

My mom and aunt came to visit this weekend.  We made the most of our time by visiting the farmer's market, touring one of my favorite breweries, driving around campus, and checking out some of mine and hubby's favorite places to eat.  

The New Glaurus Brewing Co. has some seriously fantastic beer.  I enjoy being in Wisconsin where we have access to these local places.  AND we got to keep the glasses.  What more can you ask for?

Oh wait, these.

Cabbage flowers.  And eucalyptus.  Arranged together.  It smells fantastic.  This was my favorite find at the farmer's market.  For $5.00.  I'd never even HEARD of a cabbage flower before, so I bought it at the first vendor I saw.  Then as we were walking around I saw almost every single vendor with bouquets of these babies.  So...yeah.  Not as original as I thought.

It's purple.  And green.  And awesome.  Except I just picked up what I thought was a dead leaf bit on one of the flowers, and it turned out to be squishy.  And move-y.  So I shrieked and threw it back in the flower.  Cuz I'm brave like that.  Some sort of caterpillar thing?  I don't know, but it was terrifying.  And now it's still living in my flower arrangement.  Picking up something you expect to be not in any way alive and then finding out that it IS something alive = not cool.

They still look awesome though.  And are supposed to last for 3+ weeks.  Caterpillars and all...


I was worried that when I flung Mr. Caterpillar back into the flower I had hurt him.  Never fear, when I checked a little while later he was crawling around inside.  Now hubby has rescued me (and the caterpillar) by putting him outside where he belongs.  Except now hubby tells me that we didn't do the caterpillar any favors.  He will probably be eaten by a bird.  Or freeze to death.  Whatever.  My flowers are now caterpillar-free (hopefully) and Mr. Caterpillar is back with his own kind (also hopefully).

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Stuffed Green Peppers

 Made this for deliciousness tonight.

It's a perfect fall food.  Hearty and filling.  Oh, and cheese-y.  Melted cheese is very important.  So is what you pair with it.

Like crusty bread and a smooth local beer.  These are crucial elements.  Something about this meal screams for a brew to go along with it.  At least to me.

The key to making this dish is in melting the mozzarella on top for just the perfect amount of time.  Enough that it's good and gooey, and just crispy around the edges.  Too much longer and it becomes an unappetizing blob.  Nobody wants that.  It also helps when you're able to pick up some hefty peppers from the farmer's market.  No puny peppers allowed.

Stuffed Green Peppers

This is what I normally use.  It's one of those meals that is easy to adapt.  Mushrooms would be a great sub for sausage.  Other spices work as well, such as basil or thyme.  I've even used red or yellow bell peppers when I can't find 4 green peppers large enough, which makes for a slightly sweeter dish overall.

1 cup rice (I prefer Jasmine, but I've also used Basmati.  Brown rice would probably work here, too.)
4 large green bell peppers
1 sweet yellow onion
3-4 tsp. olive oil
2 links Italian sausage
3/4 tsp. ground fennel
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Grated Mozzarella
Salt and pepper to taste (I usually use garlic salt...which I tend to use in everything)

Cook rice according to package directions.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Coat 9x9 baking dish lightly with oil.  Trim bottoms and caps of bell peppers; remove seeds.  Place hollowed peppers in baking dish.

Dice pepper caps, bottoms, and onion.  Heat 2-3 tsp. olive oil in large skillet.  Saute peppers and onions for 5-6 minutes, until soft and onions are translucent.  Remove mixture and add 1 tsp. oil to pan.  Remove sausage from casing and cook until browned, crumbling as it cooks.

Add pepper-onion mixture back to pan, add fennel and oregano, and cook for 2 minutes.  Add cooked rice and Parmesan, cooking until mixture is heated through and cheese is melted.  Add salt and pepper, and additional spices (if needed) to taste.

Stuff peppers with filling mixture.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Remove and top with mozzarella.  Return to oven for 5-7 more minutes, until cheese is melted and edges are crispy.

Monday, October 8, 2012


Hubby told me that he thinks I've been happier lately.  I told him this can be attributed to one thing.


It's a season where there are just too many good things going on to not be happy.

This, for example.

Yup, hubby and me at the apple orchard.  Also it looks all casual, like we were in the middle of blissfully picking apples on the fancy apple-picking ladder and everything, but in reality we were walking in the orchard and all of a sudden there was this vignette of a tipped-over box of apples and a 3-legged ladder.  I ignored the sign next to it that probably said not to touch anything, and promptly turned this opportunity into a photo op instead.

Also this.

Yup.  That photo was already taken two years ago.  Two years and six days ago, to be exact.  And since the second year was loads better than the first, that makes me all kinds of happy.  Not to mention we went away for a cuddly get-away this weekend.  Shopping in Galena (where I picked up this beaut and this deliciousness), a cozy overnight stay in Dubuque, and a massage to finish it all off.  Plus we spent our time resting (after shopping, and before going out to dinner) by watching Hercules.  The Disney version.  Clearly we know how to celebrate.

This, too.

I made creamy sorrel spinach soup last night.  It was an overall meh, and my favorite part was that I got to eat bread with it.  Until I warmed up the above for lunch today.  Totally.  Different.  Soup.  Some sort of magic must have happened in my refrigerator last night, because I ate two big bowlfuls of it.  And more bread.  It was amazingly good.  And it thickened up overnight, turning into a rich, veggie stew-like bowl of yummy-ness.  Note to self: make the day before consumption.

And the last thing that's making me happy: the hot apple cider I am drinking right now.  So good.  This place clearly knows their way around cider.  I was all sad earlier because I didn't want to make coffee and didn't have any tea, but wanted something hot to drink.  So I moped around for awhile until I remembered apple cider in the refrigerator and it turned out to be exactly what I needed.  Cheers.