Thursday, December 1, 2016

Blue Apron Recipe Review Baked Campanelle Pasta

Happy Day it is here.  My first Blue Apron delivery.  I am so excited.
I received 2 recipes with all the ingredients delivered right to my front door.  If I had any questions about the ingredients or how to handle or prepare them I could go on their site for a quick tutorial.
First up, Baked Campanelle Pasta with Cauliflower and Fontina Cheese...Sounds good.
I studied the recipe and gathered my ingredients...

Preheat the oven to 475°F. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. Cut out and discard the cauliflower core; cut the head into bite-sized florets. Peel and small dice the onion. Peel and roughly chop the garlic. Small dice the Fontina cheese (discarding any rind). Pick the rosemary leaves off the stems; discard the stems and finely chop the leaves.
Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Reserving 1½ cups of the pasta cooking water, drain thoroughly and transfer to a large bowl. Wipe out the pot.
While the pasta cooks, in a large, high-sided pan (or pot), heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the cauliflower and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 4 minutes, or until softened and fragrant. Add ½ cup of water; cook, stirring occasionally, 7 to 9 minutes, or until the water has cooked off. Turn off the heat; season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to the bowl of cooked pasta.
While the vegetables cook, in the pot used to cook the pasta, heat the butter on medium-high until melted. Add the flour and cook, stirring frequently, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until thoroughly combined. Slowly whisk in the milk and reserved pasta cooking water; cook, whisking frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Add ¾ of the Fontina cheese and up to half the rosemary; cook, whisking frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until thickened and thoroughly combined. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer the Mornay sauce to the bowl of cooked pasta and vegetables.Toss to thoroughly coat and season with salt and pepper to taste; transfer to a baking dish. Top with the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese,remaining Fontina cheese and as much of the remaining rosemary as you’d like; season with salt and pepper.
It was fun to use all the new ingredients.  I learned the best way to cut my cauliflower and and to chop my garlic.  I read about Campanelle Pasta and Fontina cheese.  What fun...


So what was the end result?

Yummy creamy goodness with a crunchy top.  It was very good.  I would give it a 9/10 on my cooking scale.  As far as leftovers.  It was a bit dry, but just add a touch of milk and the creamy goodness returns.
I can't wait for my next Blue Apron meal to arrive.
Happy cooking!
KathieyV:-)

Nichole Nordeman - The Unmaking (Lyrics) Motivation Through the Music


I love this song and as I was listening to the lyrics I thought how appropriate for someone going through an unwanted separation and pending divorce.
The Beginning
"This is where the walls gave way
This is demolition day
All the debris, and all this dust
What is left of what once was
Sorting through what goes and what should stay"
The Unmaking

My goodness did the walls give way.  Many promises broken and all my dreams cast aside.
It was a demolition day for my heart my home my future and my family.

"What happens now
When all I’ve made is torn down
What happens next
When all of You, is all that’s left"
The Unmaking

The Journey
"Before each beginning
There must be an ending

The longer and the tighter that we hold
Only makes it harder to let go"
The Unmaking

To say this is an easy journey would be far from the truth.  It is the most difficult and all encompassing event  I have ever experienced.  What is true is that it is a new beginning and we need to let go and start our new journey.  It is a process and takes a lot of time be we can do it by holding onto our faith and building new relationships. 

The Joy
"Sitting in the rubble
I can see the stars"
The Unmaking

The joy comes in seeing the stars while in the rubble.  
The stars are there although at times it is hard to see them especially in the beginning.  
I am thankful for the beauty that is all around us even in our pain.   Thank you God:-)
KathieyV:-)

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Restaurant Adventures....Woodlands Bar-B-Que in Blowing Rock NC

One place that has become a regular stop for me on my Blowing Rock Adventures is Woodlands Bar-B-Que.  Rustic atmosphere, great barbecue and, every time I have been there, live music.
"Our Restaurant’s Menu features barbecue beef, pork, chicken and ribs plus home style Mexican food. Family oriented with a rustic atmosphere."
Woodlands


"Serving North Carolina Barbeque in Blowing Rock NC since 1977."
Woodlands
It was my first time getting their chicken BBQ.  It was great.
One of my daughters favorite desserts at Woodlands is the Blackberry Cobbler.
They ran out the night we were there.  No worries because we will be back:-)
If you find yourself in the Blowing Rock area I suggest you visit Woodlands Bar-B-Que.  I know you will enjoy it:-)
Happy travels and eating.
KathieyV

Monday, November 14, 2016

Hiking the Rough Ridge Trail

A few weeks ago just after the peak leaf season Erica and I had the pleasure of going on a mountain trip.  One of our favorite things to do is to explore some well marked mountain trails.  A nice hike is Rough Ridge off of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Milepost 302.8
Here is a web site that will tell you all about the trail.  Rough Ridge  I will have information from this site in quotes.
"The trail goes up over a wooden footbridge spanning a tributary of Wilson’s Creek, then leads on up the hill. You’ll need to pick your way through some boulders.  The trail ascends about 25 stone steps of varying height before semi-leveling out. This section of the trail is right around a quarter mile, so it takes just a few minutes to get to the top. High bushes obscure the view at this point, but then- you climb a few wooden steps onto the boardwalk, and you’re treated to the best view the High Country has to offer. Over 180° of panoramic I-can-see-for-miles views."
I love the stairways of wood and rock...

"The boardwalk was built around 20-25 years ago to keep hikers from destroying the fragile ecosystem of the ridge. You can wander out onto a large somewhat level rock, one of my favorite places to sit and ponder or write in my journal. This sharply angled rock has a promontory many people step out onto and take photos, but be careful! The trail keeps going on up past the boardwalk for about anothe half a mile, and let me tell you- they don’t  call it Rough Ridge for nothing. There are a couple other places for the sure-footed to venture out onto boulders to soak in the view."

There is a nice boardwalk.  From the boardwalk you can go out onto a very large rock..which we did.


"There are a couple cables and steel spikes to help you reach the very top of the summit. Up there is of course the best view, although the views lower down are awe-inspiring too."

For the first time we went past the boardwalk.  I did not even know that the trail went higher then that.  Off we went.  We finally arrived at a large bolder that we had to crawl up.  Happy day we made it to the top.  
We met a park ranger up there that shared some tips with us.  He told us the bears were not really a problem as far as safety.  He said one of the major dangers was falling from the rocks.  They had just lost a teen the week before that was taking a selfie and fell.  Very sad.


Wonderful day on the trail.
If you find yourself on the Blue Ridge Parkway I suggest you take a hike on 
The Rough Ridge Trail.
You won't regret it.
Happy Travels
KathieyV:-)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

NC Wines...Cloer Family Vineyards Apex NC

Cindy and I decided to check a local winery, Cloer Family Vineyards in Apex NC.  We went with a meetup group that we are members of.  What a fun afternoon of wine, music and friendly folks.
Here is what they say on the website...

"When you visit Cloer Family Vineyards, you will be welcomed by a member of the Cloer family. We love growing the grapes and making the wines, but we also enjoy meeting the people who come to our winery and buy our products. Our goal is to ensure everyone who visits our vineyard feels at home. That means no stress and no pressure – just friendly folks enjoying a common interest."

I found that to be true.  We were warmly welcomed and and did feel right at home:-)

We enjoyed a wine tasting and sampled all of their wines.  As we sipped we listened to the history of this winery and information regarding their wines.  Yummy and informative!
We took a walk around the property...
 Furry Friends...

Lovely Vineyards



I did buy a bottle of their Riesling.  It did not last long in my house:-)
Check out their website for events and tastings.  I recommend you visit.
Happy Wine Tasting
Kathiey

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Shelton Vineyards in Dobson NC

It's fall, my favorite time of year.  Now is a good time to travel up to the Blue Ridge Mountains to feel the cool crisp air and hopefully see the colorful fall leaves.  Erica and I decided to stop a few of the many wineries in NC on our mini vacation.  On the way to Blowing Rock we took a slight diversion to Shelton Vineyards in Dobson NC
Here is what they say on their website...

Located in the Yadkin Valley American Viticultural Area, the vineyard shares a similar climate and growing season to that of some of the best wine growing regions in Europe. The vineyard is one of the largest on the East Coast.

One thing I like about Shelton Vineyards is the fact that they have a restaurant. We decided to eat lunch and enjoy some of their delicious wines.  First stop was the Harvest Grill 
 We decide to try their wine flight.  It came out on a tiered display.  Five wines of your choosing.  As they brought the flights out there were many Oohhs and Aahhs from our fellow diners.  It also sparked lively conversation and we made new friends:-)
 I know you are wondering if we finished our flights.  Let's just say Erica was flying a bit higher then me.  I drove after our adventure.  (She drove for me the next night:-)

Erica and I split the Grilled Carolina Mountain Trout.  Delicious!

After our dinner we walked around a portion of the property. ...


We went into the wine store.  We did not have time to do the tour.  I have done it in the past and recommend it.  I did buy a bottle to take home. This was my favorite wine in my flight...
Harvest White...Yummy
Happy Travels, Eats, and Wine Sipping...
KathieyV:-)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Wine Tasting 2015 Pas Ordinaire Saint-Chinian Blend

One of the first wines I tasted from my wine club was the 2015 Pas ordinaries Saint-Chinian Blend red wine.  I fell in love with it.  Here is what the WineC site says about it.
An anything-but-ordinary, all-natural red made from the Languedoc’s classic blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Carignane. Take it straight from the maker — Pas Ordinaire is "rugged, pure, and exhilarating.


I have served this wine with a couple of different dishes.  They suggest it be served with stews and braised meats.  The also recommend lamb, cassoulet, stuffed eggplant, Camembert.  The recipe that came with the wine as a suggested pairing was French Inspired Cheese Fondue.  
I found it went well with pizza....
 ....and with Chicken Marsala


They said it smells like white pepper, mint, redcurrent, raspberry, and rhubarb.  When I did my tasting the best description I could come with as far as aroma was "fruit":-)

On the palate they describe spices, herbs, lavender, and soft tannins with a peppery finish.    My description was fruit:-)  Granted I have a lot to learn!

If I had a million dollars I would take a trip to the location of origin of this wonderful wine.  That means I would be going to France.  Saint-Chinian, France.  Lets go....
We would fly into Beziers, a 30 minute drive from our hotel Chateau Les Carrasses.
(Photos from their site)



And look there is a castle near by....
Yes, you are right I can't afford to go to France but I can pretend and I can pretend while sipping a delicious glass of 2015 Pas ordinaries Saint Chinian Blend wine:-)

Happy wine tasting and travel even if it is dream travel
Kathiey:-)