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Restaurant Week

February 9, 2012

Last week my husband and I did something totally out of character – we went out to eat not once but twice!  Bethlehem was holding its restaurant week where restaurants offer prix fixe menus.  They’re generally a good deal to encourage people to get out and try them!  Tim and I knew we wanted to hit up a favorite restaurant that was closed on Sunday so we decided to go there on Monday.  On Sunday though we were having trouble finding a restaurant to go to that was open!  We ended up at Bethlehem Brew Works even though we’ve been to Allentown Brew Works a few times and to the Bethlehem location for drinks many times.

I chose the BREWschetta as my appetizer and Tim got the spinach artichoke dip.  We had plans to share but we each ended up liking what we ordered the best.  I loved the balsamic in the bruschetta.

The vegetarian entree was a little boring – lasagna – but tasty!  We took most of our entrees home since we knew dessert was coming!

Pot du creme au chocolot for dessert!  Look at that oozing chocolate!  I actually liked the more solid top.

We left Brew Works feeling STUFFED.

The next night we headed to a favorite of ours, Cactus Blue, for Mexican food.  First up was red chilaquiles which are not usually on their menu but Wikipedia told me ahead of time would be tortilla chips simmered in salsa.  It was topped with lettuce, onions, queso fresco, and sour cream and it was so good!  I think Cactus Blue needs to add this to their menu!

For my entree I had a veggie chimichanga which was good but I prefer the burrito since it is mostly the same thing but not fried.

This dessert was the highlight of all of restaurant week – chocolate bread pudding!

We never get dessert so maybe I’m just out of practice but this was totally delicious and something I’d save room for in the future.

Although we didn’t try any completely new restaurants during restaurant week we did get to try some totally new dishes.  We’re looking forward to trying some nearby restaurants during Allentown’s restaurant month this March!  In the meantime I’ve sworn off eating out while we save up!

Feline Friday

February 3, 2012
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For a little change of pace on Feline Friday – these are not my cats!

These photos from black cat auditions in 1961 are amazing.

Stacked Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas

January 20, 2012

Thanks to Pinterest I found this great recipe in a couple minutes before I ran out the door last weekend.  Stacked Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas was a hit at our house!

Stacked Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas [from Perry’s Plate]

Ingredients:

1 poblano chile, cut into matchsticks

2 red bell peppers, cut into matchsticks [we don’t like peppers so I used two small zucchinis instead]

1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into 1/2-inch chunks

1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 medium onion, halved and slivered

1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen

3 T heat-safe oil like grapeseed or coconut [olive oil over here]

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

2 garlic cloves, minced

salt and black pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 cups homemade or store bought salsa/pico de gallo

2 ounces baby spinach leaves (about 2 big handfuls)

9-10 corn tortillas, halved (try making homemade tortillas!)

2 cups shredded cheese (I used a cheddar-Monterey Jack blend) [I may have used colby-jack, honestly can’t remember]

sour cream and thinly sliced scallions (green onions) for garnish, if desired

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly oil a large shallow roasting pan or rimmed cookie sheet.

Place poblanos, red bell peppers, cauliflower, sweet potato, onion, and corn kernels onto cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle the cumin and minced garlic over top. Add a generous pinch or two of salt and black pepper, then use your hands to mix everything together. After everything is coated well, spread the vegetables evenly in the pan. Roast for 30-40 minutes until vegetables are tender and begin to brown in spots. Stir or shake the pan every 10 minutes for even roasting.  Remove pan from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

Prepare an 8x8x2 or 9x9x2-inch square baking pan with nonstick spray. In a small bowl, stir the cilantro into the salsa. Spread 1/4 cup of salsa into the bottom of the baking pan. Add a layer of tortilla pieces, to completely cover the salsa. Top with 1/3 of the vegetables, a handful of spinach, and 1/3 of the cheese. Make a second layer of tortilla, salsa, vegetables, spinach, and cheese. Top with with a layer of tortillas, salsa, vegetables, and cheese. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and everything is heated through.

Let it sit for 5 minutes and cut into squares. Serve with sour cream and a sprinkle of sliced scallions. [Skipped this in favor of more salsa.]

I had a lot of trouble fitting this into an 8×8 pan so if you have a 9×9 I’d recommend it!  I was mounding everything up and hoping it wouldn’t fall to the dark depths of the bottom of the oven.  This was a nice winter casserole type dish while still being light and mostly vegetables!  I am definitely making a double batch next time because I was disappointed when the leftovers ran out!

Feline Friday

January 6, 2012

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Family portraits!  Our tree is still up (I’ll hold on to it as long as I can!) so I want to give it one more shot but these are cute too.

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2012

I spent the first part of New Year’s Eve at my parents for some yummy snacks.  Mexican layered dip, mozzarella sticks, a little brie, and sushi!  Plus more carrots and potato chips that went unphotographed.

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Then I met up with Tim when he got off of work and we headed to Allentown’s bell drop.

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We figured as Allentown residents we should go take part since this was the first time they had a New Year’s celebration.  They had a stage with a band playing, an ice sculptor, and fire dancers leading up to the bell drop!  We were only there during the hour before midnight so I’m not sure what was going on earlier.  The nearby restaurants looked busy and it was nice seeing all the families, politicians, and residents out celebrating.

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We’ve decided this is Tim’s “running for city council” photo.

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At midnight they lowered the bell (they could have used someone to do an official countdown!).

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Happy New Year!

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We headed out as the fireworks were ending and went over to one of Tim’s coworker’s parties.  We were there until around 2:00 which is pretty much a miracle for us!  Happy 2012 all!

Christmas Brunch and Dinner

December 31, 2011

We were out of the house by 9:15 on Christmas morning with our first stop being my parents’ house.  My dad had prepared this egg bake with roasted mushroom and sweet potato hash on top.  This was a hit last year so we requested it again – it hits the vegetarian, gluten free, and yummy requirements!

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Afterwards we all open up our stockings at the dining room table.

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And then presents around the tree.

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My sister got Just Dance 3 for her Wii and we tried out a few sweaty songs before we declared it time to head to my in-laws.

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Dinner at their house. Followed by some poorly photographed dessert.

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We actually returned to my parents’ house despite how exhausted we were to play more Just Dance.  Good thing we did so I caught this gem as someone celebrated the finale of their song:

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Christmas Morning with the Kids

December 27, 2011

Christmas morning arrived and look who came to our house and filled our stockings – Santa!

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We locked the cats away for a few minutes while we pulled out their gift and then unleashed them!  They love their present and got to work right away enjoying it.

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IMG_9430Every year I give Tim one ornament and I’m aiming to make it related to something that happened during that year.  The cats and Tim got these great personalized ornaments since we adopted them in 2011.

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Hubs and I “just” did stockings for each other which ended up being quite a lot of stuff!  We wrapped up Christmas at our house and hit the road for brunch at my parents before dinner at his parents!  (Coming up next).