Raw Tacos

When I stumbled across this recipe, I knew I would be trying it. Well, its only a few months later, but I added it to our weekly meal plan, and there is no going back! My family knows I have never been one for tacos. In more recent times, I’ve set myself on finding or making tacos I do like. When we are having beef tacos, I make up some cilantro-lime slaw for topping (I can post my recipe for that if anyone is interested). There are a some local places that serve authentic tacos with radishes, cilantro, and lime juice. Yum. However, this may top my not-so-very-big list of tacos I enjoy. And its healthy. The walnut-goodness is what makes these tacos sensational. Sub everything else for what you’re used to if you want, stick with the lettuce wrap, and watch out! I love the crispness of lettuce wraps every time I bite in. Could it have always been so simple to turn a dreary taco into a fiesta explosion? If only I had known.

We don’t have a food processor, which would have made this a little quicker. I chopped the walnuts finely with a knife, and I would do it again. In fact, I did. Completely worth it. I’m just perplexed, really. Why didn’t I know about this when I needed to eat mostly vegan? But what did Dave think? The verdict is in:

Outgoing Mail

Look what Dave did! He’s been talking about making some kind of more permanent sign for our mail box since we moved in (oh, just over 2 years ago). We’ve had a piece of blue post-it note paper nestled in to the name slot that had both my maiden name and our last name. People would joke that we looked like we were co-habitating. It took me a while to get my name changed on everything, and we didn’t want to confuse our postman (he is actually man). No, I guess I still have one student loan in my maiden name, whoops. Secondly, we have used the same piece of paper and the same piece of tape to put out a sign each time we have outgoing mail. Does that kind of gross anyone else out? How on earth is it still sticking? The neighbors with the box next to ours, have a semi-nice, semi-permanent outgoing mail sign, and Dave has been plotting how to outdo them! Mission accomplished? I think so!

35mm B+W

Did you notice our little make shift covering? Our last morning at Glacier was met with some cold rain. Thankfully we had the extra tarp and Dave is mighty skilled. However, we had discussed setting it up in case of an instance just like this days earlier and unfortunately procrastinated. Packing up wet camping equipment is never fun and neither is cooking breakfast in a cold drizzle. So though we “suffered” a little setting it up, we’d say it was worth it :)

Spinach + Goat Cheese Strata

This would be a perfect breakfast for any overnight guests this holiday season. My first experience with strata was at our friends Mark + Nikki’s this September in Buffalo. What? I never told you about that trip? I’ll have to see what photos remain in the archive and dig ’em up! She made a broccoli and chevre strata, and I knew I couldn’t live without eating it again! Since I’ve been on somewhat of a spinach omelette kick, I had a large amount of spinach needing to get used (Dave bought me a pound!), and opted for that as my greens. I poured over a couple of recipes trying to decide how to make it so it wouldn’t be a disappointment. Do you ever experience something for the first time and it is absolutely magical? I didn’t want that magic to fade. In no way was this strata a disappointment! We did determine that maybe Dave isn’t quite as big of a goat cheese fiend as I am, so I might try something different next time for his sake.

Spinach + Goat Cheese Strata
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

Serves 4 to 6

½ Italian or French bread loaf
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (plus more for coating pan)
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ onion, thinly sliced
10oz sliced spinach
½ cup dry white wine (I used diluted wine vinegar)
6 eggs
Salt and pepper
1 ¾ cups half and half
6 oz cheese (I used 4oz chevre and 2 oz. goat gouda, but any soft melting cheese is fine)

1. Slice bread into ½ inch pieces and bake in 225˚ oven (about 20 mins per side or leave out over night) until crisp.
2. In a large skillet, melt 2Tbs butter. Add garlic, cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add onion, cooking until soft. Add spinach, ¼ tsp salt, and a pinch of pepper, cook until heated through, and set aside.
3. Add wine to skillet, and reduce on medium-high until ¼ cup remains, about 3 minutes.
4. Whisk together eggs, half and half, reduced wine, 1tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper.
5. Remove bread from oven, butter one side, and cube into bite size pieces.
6. Layer ingredients into greased 8×8 pan: 1/2 bread (butter side up), spinach mix, cheese (I used 4oz chevre), remaining bread.
7. Pour liquids over evenly, wrap, and allow to rest at least 1 hour or overnight in refrigerator. Use two pounds of sugar in a large plastic bag to add weight… this will ensure the bread on top gets saturated.
8. Preheat oven to 325˚, and allow strata to sit at room temp for 20 min. Remove weights, sprinkle with ½ cup (2oz.) cheese (goat gouda), and bake uncovered for 60-65 minutes until both the center and edges have risen and edges are pulling away from sides. Let set 5 min before serving.

My wheels

We’re getting really honest around here now. Dave picked out this chair earlier this year for his office. We did find him kind of charming, but somewhat uncomfortable. I think Dave might have used him for half a day. During the past two months, he has become my unsung (until now) hero. He’s my go to guy, and his name is Norman. He aids me in the kitchen when washing dishes or preparing a meal, he then helps me transport whatever goodies I just came up with. Later, he accompanies me back to the kitchen to return used dishes and occasionally trash. Yes, a good friend. I’m sure Dave loves him just as much as I do because Norman allows Dave to work for longer periods undisturbed.

The loot: scrambled eggs with fresh parsley, homemade yogurt, strawberries, and raw honey from my father-in-law.

Fish Eye

It was ages ago that I promised I’d share our vacation film. Well, folks, we’ve finally done it; it has been developed, printed, and scanned. So here we go.

Instead of recapping the entire trip again, I’m just going to share a few of my favorite photos by film or camera.

This one might need some explaining, haha. We were trying to take a picture of the three of us at the Decemberists show in Missoula, and a man working for the venue noticed and offered to take it for us. He grabbed the camera, holding it about chest high, never looking through it, and click. Keep in mind that all happened in about 1-2 seconds. We were all so stunned, and he disappeared so we didn’t take another.