Cheesy Broccoli & Cauliflower Casserole

SONY DSCGrey’s not much of a casserole kind of guy, but he tolerates me making them every now and then. ;) I like this recipe because it uses LOTS of broccoli and cauliflower and it is super tasty…and cheesy ;)

We are out of homegrown broccoli and cauliflower from the garden, but I just had to buy some to make this casserole!SONY DSC

It’s made in a big 13×9 inch pan, perfect for setting in the center of the table at dinner time so people feel free to help themselves for seconds.SONY DSC

The top gets a pretty golden crust, and is my favorite part. I’m not sure how a one year old figured out that the top is the best part of the casserole, but Greyson managed to do it. I was feeding him, and he insisted on the golden crust bites first (obviously his favorite as well…) then finished eating the rest of the casserole.SONY DSC

Try it and let me know what you think!

Cheesy Broccoli & Cauliflower Casserole:

Directions:

  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 1 large (or 2 small) head(s) of broccoli
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ medium white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ½  cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • pinch smoked paprika
  • 1 ½ cups Monterey jack cheese
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat 2-3 cups of water in a large pot and lower a steamer basket large enough for all of the broccoli and cauliflower, I used a metal colander covered tightly with tin foil. Steam broccoli and cauliflower for 5-6 minutes or until crisp tender. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large skillet heat butter over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic, chicken stock, flour, red pepper flakes, and smoked paprika. Whisk to combine and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Whisk in ½ cup of the monterey jack cheese, until melted.

To start layering the casserole: spread 1 cup of the sauce in a 13×9 inch baking dish. Add half of the cauliflower and broccoli mixture, half the remaining sauce, half the remaining monterey jack cheese, half the Parmesan cheese. Then add remaining broccoli and cauliflower mixture, remaining sauce, remaining cheese monterey jack cheese, breadcrumbs, and remaining Parmesan cheese.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes until hot and bubbly. Enjoy!

Love, Grey & Brianna

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Lemony Garlic Parmesan Broccoli | Grey & Brianna

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Inch-by-Inch.

SONY DSCI don’t consider Greyson an only child now because this new little one is already so much a part of our family. Greyson already has a brother or sister who’s name we don’t know yet. He lifts up my shirt and tries to find my belly button whenever we tell him: “there is a baby in mommy’s tummy.” He wrinkles his nose and gets a squishy face when we tell him he’s got a new brother or sister on the way.SONY DSC

Inch-by-inch this baby grows bigger. Inch-by-inch, Greyson grows taller. Day-by-day we grow older, and I think all the time: “this is the best time of my entire life–right now.” Then the next day comes, and I think “this is the best time of my entire life–right now. Our whole lives are inching towards something, starting at conception. My challenge is to enjoy the time in between the inches.

Love, Grey & Brianna

 

How to Make Mint Tea

SONY DSCI’ve been drinking quite a bit of mint tea since I have been pregnant because it is so relaxing in the afternoon.

Mint, peppermint more specifically, has many health benefits including: stress reduction, lowering appetite, and soothing an aching tummy.

There are many ways to make mint tea, if you have a teapot, or french press available your method may look different. Usually I am just making one cup, so I don’t bother taking out our teapot, and this is the method I use.

HOW TO MAKE MINT TEA:

STEP 1: Cut (or buy) some fresh mint (spearmint, peppermint, chocolate mint, whatever you prefer).SONY DSCSONY DSC

STEP 2: Wash leaves

STEP 3: Pluck of some fresh leaves from the stalk. (More if you like your tea strong, less if you just like a hint of mint.)SONY DSC

STEP 4: Add some boiling water to a 16 oz mason jar.SONY DSC

STEP 5: Drop mint leaves into boiling water.SONY DSC

STEP 6: Let the leaves steep for about 3-7 minutes, depending on how strong you want your tea.SONY DSC

STEP 7: Set up a strainer in another mason jar.(you can use cheese cloth for this step as well.)SONY DSC

STEP 8: When the tea is done steeping, pour into the second mason jar with the strainer.SONY DSCSONY DSCSTEP 9: Remove the strainer.

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STEP 10: Add honey, raw sugar, or even a splash of whole milk if you want. (I like mine straight.)SONY DSC

STEP 11: Enjoy.

Love, Grey & Brianna

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February: What’s Going on in the Garden.

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Frosty onions going strong. SONY DSC“Plant here. here. and here….but not here….” plans.

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Green tea so strong…it doesn’t even look like green tea. This pregnant lady is ready for some coffee! :) SONY DSC

Fruit trees are starting to blossom.

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Handsome contemplation.

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Our baby radish sprouts. Aren’t they so cute???

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“Just-got-out-of-the-garden” soggy wet ankles, pants, socks and shoes.

SONY DSCYou can’t tell now, but those boxes are filled with: basil, lemon balm, bunching onions, chives, oregano, and thyme.

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A little boy who loves to share the smell and taste of onion tops.

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Hydrangea coming back to life!

WHAT’S IN THE GROUND:

  • Onions
  • Beets
  • Radishes
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lemon Balm
  • Basil
  • Bunching Onions
  • Chives
  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary

Love, Grey & Brianna 

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Vegetable Enchiladas

SONY DSCThis is our all time favorite enchilada recipe. Usually enchiladas leave me, anyway, feeling quite heavy…kind of like I shouldn’t have just eaten what I did. But not these!SONY DSC

These are super light, especially if you make your own sauce. They have very few ingredients and you can even adjust this recipe yourself by adding less cheese, more cheese, chili powder, …whatever you like. If you just cannot do the vegetarian thing, add chicken and these would still be totally delicious.SONY DSC

On nights that I am super short on time, I forget the rolling up each enchilada thing all together and just layer: tortillas.filling. cheese. tortillas. filling cheese. Until everything is used up.SONY DSC

In my opinion, that is an even lighter version because it uses less corn tortillas.Hope your family enjoys these vegetable enchiladas, I know mine does. :)SONY DSCSONY DSC

SONY DSCVegetable Enchiladas

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ medium yellow onion, chopped

1 tablespoon cumin

1 10 oz box frozen spinach, thawed squeezed dry

1 can black beans

1 ½ cups frozen corn

salt and pepper

14-18 corn tortillas

3 cups pepper jack cheese, shredded

Homemade red enchilada sauce (or your favorite store-bought variety)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat olive oil over medium heat in large pan. Add onions, and cook until translucent. Add cumin, spinach, black beans, corn, and salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat until everything is heated through. Add 1 cup of the cheese, and stir to incorporate.

Wrap tortillas in aluminum foil and heat in the oven until just warm and pliable, about 5 minutes. Add ⅓ cup of enchilada sauce to the bottom of a 13×9 inch baking pan.  Remove the tortillas from the oven and one by one fill each tortillas with ⅓ cup of the black bean and spinach mixture.

Place each filled tortilla, seam side down, into the baking dish. Once the pan is full, pour the remaining sauce mixture over tortillas, then top with cheese. Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until the enchiladas are hot and bubbly. Rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Serving Suggestions:

Love, Grey & Brianna

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Simple Red Enchilada Sauce

SONY DSCThis sauce is super simple to make and compliments chicken, beef, or vegetable enchiladas. We prefer to make vegetable enchiladas, but my mom has a pretty mean chicken enchilada recipe, with green sauce.

I prefer to make our enchilada sauce because I like to control the ingredients that are getting put into our dinner, and it is actually cheaper to make than buying any canned variety.SONY DSC

Red Enchilada Sauce

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground chili powder

1 pinch ground cayenne pepper

¼ cup tomato paste

¼ cup all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups chicken stock

Directions:

Heat olive oil over medium in a small sauce pan add cumin, chili powder, cayenne, and tomato paste. Cook until spices are fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock and flour whisk until the the flour is incorporated. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Stir if needed. Simmer until sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes.

Serving Suggestions: Chicken Enchiladas, Beef Enchiladas, Vegetable Enchiladas.

Love, Grey & Brianna

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Scenes From the Weekend.

SONY DSCHope everyone had a nice Valentine’s day. We spent the evening at home with good music, and a delicious dinner of: filet mignon, braised potatoes, and asparagus with browned butter.

On Sunday morning, Greyson and I went outside to enjoy the absolutely beautiful weather we’ve been having (it seriously feels like spring!!!). He piled up his dump truck with rocks, and proceeded to dump them out again…and again….and again…and again….and…. (I’m done), while I caught up with my journaling.

SONY DSCI also had a 70th birthday party to attend on Sunday.  Grey had to get an old air conditioning unit out of the house. So I loaded Greyson up, and we took a trip down my Uncle’s house to enjoy family and pizza. ;)

The birthday boy himself ;).
The birthday boy himself ;).

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The highlight of the trip was when Greyson got to do the coolest thing for a one and a half year old boy. ;) Oh the joy…SONY DSCSONY DSC

..Oh and remembering days past…guess who’s in the front seat of that tractor way back when? ;) SONY DSCHappy Monday :)

Love, Grey & Brianna

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie

SONY DSCI have to give the credit for this recipe to Grey. I knew I wanted to create some type of yummy smoothie for Valentine’s Day…but I was thinking something more along the lines of fancy schmancy raspberry chocolate. After listening to my idea he suggests: “why don’t you just do chocolate strawberry–you know…chocolate covered strawberries.”SONY DSC

I was a little hesitant at first because raspberry chocolate just sounded so much more sophisticated ;)….but I decided to give it a try.SONY DSC

THIS TASTES JUST LIKE A CHOCOLATE COVERED STRAWBERRY! I was so excited when I tasted it. It only has 4 healthy ingredients, is dairy free, and absolutely delicious. I’ve made it a couple of times, and tweaked it until the measurements were just right. You may want to do more tweaking depending on your taste buds ;) .SONY DSC

This recipe will make enough for 2 – 16 oz smoothies for you and your special someone…or you and your special someone, and a sweet little toddler boy who has never had chocolate and discovered it for the first time with this smoothie! ;) Happy Valentine’s Day, friends.SONY DSC

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 cup vanilla almond milk

1 ½ ripe bananas

2 cups frozen strawberries

1 heaping tablespoon cocoa powder

Directions:

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.


Love, Grey & Brianna

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Quick Chicken & Rice with Tomatoes & Mushrooms.

SONY DSCOn Saturday I posted a picture of me making something delicious on our facebook page–here it is! It is super quick to make because it uses a rotisserie chicken. It has lots of tomatoey mushroomy goodness that makes this an extra hearty meal. SONY DSCThis would be a great make ahead meal to store for lunches and dinners later the week….but we ate it all up between one dinner and one lunch the next day ;) It only uses one pot…er…I mean large pan, so it is the perfect meal for a weeknight. Hope your family likes it as much as we did. :)SONY DSC

Quick Savory Chicken and Rice with Tomatoes and Mushrooms.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ medium white onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 5 cups crimini mushrooms, washed, sliced
  • 4 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1 rotisserie chicken
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • green onions (garnish)

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until they are translucent and fragrant.

Push onions to the side of the pan to create an open space in the center. Add butter to the open space and swirl with a knife to coat pan. Add the mushrooms to the pan spreading them as thin as possible.

Allow mushrooms to brown for 1 minute. Stir the onions and mushrooms together and cook until the mushroom are golden. The bottom of the pan may begin to become slightly golden as well.

Add the tomatoes and garlic to the mushroom and onion mixture. Stir. Continue to cook on medium heat, uncovered for about 6-7 minutes.

. Add chicken stock. Cook on high until chicken stock starts to boil. Add rice and lower heat to low. Cover pan and simmer for 40 minutes or until rice has absorbed all the liquid and is fully cooked.

Add sugar and soy sauce to pan. Stir to coat chicken and rice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with green onions.

EAT!

Love, Grey & Brianna

 

Sunday Puddle Jumping

It started innocently enough on Friday night when a storm blew through, and left us unexpectedly with no power. We were almost ready to go to bed, but I had to finish up the dinner dishes while Grey was tucking Greyson in.SONY DSC We gathered the flashlights around the house. I finished cleaning up the kitchen holding a flashlight under one arm. Grey came downstairs and we made a plan for the rest of the night and the next day…if we happen to still have no power by morning.

We did though. It came back on sometime during the night. (hallelujah!)

Sunday morning came with more rain. Lots of rain. We gathered everything up and made it to church and back.

The house was quiet, while I put together snack packs for the week, and put out a few more Valentine’s day things. We made an early dinner of our favorite pizza.

It was the perfect time on Sunday afternoon to take Greyson outside to play, once the rain lifted. We pulled on our rubber boots, and found all the puddles we could find to stomp and splash through.SONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSC Our neighbors have sheep. We walked on over to see if we could see any, but they were all were tucked away from the cold weather, so Greyson and I walked back to tuck away in our own little house.

SONY DSCWe found some pink construction paper for… Valentine’s day crafts!SONY DSC Sadly, the crayons looked more interesting to eat, in between scribbles so it only lasted for about 20 minutes.  SONY DSCHope everyone had a fantastic weekend!!

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Love, Grey & Brianna