Eat Your Veggies, Mashed Broccoli and Cauliflower

Trying to get kids and some adults to eat vegetables can be tricky. Trying to limit you carbs and find hearty, comforting, side dishes can be challenging. Mixing up your week night dinners and getting out of a rut can be tiring. This recipe solves all of these problem and is quick and easy, and I even like it better than mashed potatoes.

Mashed Broccoli and Cauliflower

16 oz of broccoli and cauliflower florets (I bought them already mixed in a bag at my supermarket)

1 oz cream cheese (from the brick, not soft)

1/2 tsp salt

2T half and half or milk

Steam broccoli and cauliflower until soft, you could use a microwave steam bag or steamer ( you could even boil it in a small amount of water). Add cooked veggies, cream cheese, salt and half and half to a food processor and pulse until “mashed”, mash by hand if you don’t have a food processor, it just may be slightly chunkier. Serve, see I told you it was easy. Try doing cauliflower or broccoli solo too.

60 is Nifty! A Birthday Party and Stuffed Mushrooms

My mom turned 60 last week so my siblings and I, there are a lot of them, threw her a birthday party.  As it has become tradition for milestone birthdays, I made her a slide show of pictures throughout her life, teamed it up with some of her favorite songs and showed it during the party . It’s on DVD so she will have it as a take home souvenir. My sisters and I did the decorations. I am not one for the typical black and gloomy, over the hill type parties so we went for a festive and colorful look. We made lots of tissue flower bouquets.

To make, take large sheets of tissue paper and cut into fourths. stack 6-8 sheets of the cut paper together and accordion fold the short side. wrap a pipe cleaner around the middle tightly and cut the ends into a scallop or point. then gently pull each piece of tissue apart until it looks like a flower.

Here’s a tutorial  since I forgot to take pictures of the process: http://www.firstpalette.com/Craft_themes/Nature/mexicantissuepaperflowers/mexicantissuepaperflowers.html 

We also made large tissue pom, pom flowers to hang on the porch, with some white twinkle lights. Here is the tutorial for the pom poms http://www.marthastewart.com/how-to/tissue-paper-pom-poms-how-to

So everyone could share their well wishes and memories for the birthday girl, I cut a large 60 out of cardboard and spray painted it (colored poster board would work as well)

and had bright colored post it notes and a pen so guest could write on them. I am using the post it notes and the pictures of her party to make a scrapbook for my mom.

Everyone pitched in for food and drinks, my sister-in-law made a gorgeous “sunflower” from mini cup cakes, an 8″ round cake and blackberries

60 IS NIFTY! A BIRTHDAY PARTY

There was lots of great food. One of my contributions was stuffed mushrooms

Stuffed Mushrooms:

2 pints whole mushrooms, stems removed and saved

1 T oil

1 c chopped onion

1c mushroom stems chopped

1 cup chopped spinach (I used fresh)

1 t salt

1/2 t pepper

1/4 c white wine

1 block cream cheese softened

1/4 c panko bread crumbs

1/4 c parmesan cheese grated

In a large pan heat oil and saute onion, and chopped mushroom stems until soft, add spinach and saute until wilted. add salt and pepper and white wine, bring to boil and reduce heat to low, simmer for 5 min.remove from heat.

add cream cheese, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and cooled onion mixture to a food processor and puree.

Toss mushroom caps with olive oil and stuff with cheese mixture, bake in a preheated oven, 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes depending on size of mushrooms. Serve.

Happy Birthday Mom! and thank you to everyone who made the party a success.

Creamy Reese’s Peanut Butter Dip

Book club time again, this month’s selection was A Visit for the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. I liked some of the book, but there were too many characters and writing styles for me to keep up with.  When I got to the power point presentation, I wanted to just skip it, I was reading, why was there what  looks like math in front of me. I was however excited for the chance to pull out my Doc Martens and old 80’s new wave/punk jewelry.  Have I mentioned I am in the best book club in the world, we go all out, costumes, food, etc…

 

This month’s food was a challenge though, 80’s punk rock food….hmmm. Luckily one of the characters, Lou, eats a lot of apples in the book, that was my inspiration. I have made a cream cheese and Heath bar dip for apples in the past but I wanted to put a little spin on it. I decided to switch up the candy and use Reese Peanut Butter cups instead, I liked this dip way more than the book.

2 8oz bricks of cream cheese, softened

1 8oz carton of cool whip

1/4 c brown sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

5 full sized Reese’s Peanut Butter Candy Bars ( a total of 10 cups, 2 in each package)

Add Cream Cheese, Sugar, Vanilla and 3 candy bars (6 cups) to a food processor, pulse until candy is chopped up and ingredients are combined.

CREAMY REESE’S PEANUT BUTTER DIP

Add mixture to a large bowl and fold in cool whip until combined.

Spread mixture into a large glass pie pan or other shallow dish. Chop remaining peanut butter cups and sprinkle on top. Serve with sliced apples, pretzel chips and graham crackers.