One of the many things I miss about Virginia was all the hiking we got to do. We have visited our local wildlife refuge many times, but for some reason I never really gave attention to the many trails they have there (you might think I believed all the trails are only in VA). We knew the weather was going to turn cold later in the afternoon, so we decided to beat the cold and go for a picnic and hike first. The freeze beat us though, and we are wimps anymore when it comes to windy cold weather. We did enjoy our picnic, but some of us headed to the van to get out of that wind and possibly refused to hike until the temps rose above 50 degrees. I'm not naming names, but some of us behaved like we'd never lived any where further North than Texas.
It is just as well we headed home because I had planned a favorite dinner for #2 who is leaving on the 1st.
Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts are a favorite around here. You can add any root vegetable to this and get wonderful results.
Just choose your veggies and in a bowl toss them with this dressing before pouring out onto a prepared pan.
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
3 Tbs Maple Syrup
Once I've tossed the veggies in this marinade and spread them evenly over the prepared cookie sheet, I sprinkle kosher salt and basil over all. Bake at 375 for about 15-20 minutes.
After the fun of his surprise visit home, he pretty much begged me to make him his favorite Spiral Ham & Macaroni & Cheese.
Mac & Cheese:
1 box small elbow macaroni - boil until done then drain
2 sticks butter
1/2 cup flour
2 cups milk (sometimes more)
4 cups grated cheddar cheese
In sauce pan melt the butter. Once melted whisk in the flour until a roux forms. Add to the roux the milk, slowly. Once well blended with roux add cheddar cheese - but only 3 cups. Stir until cheese melts. In a prepared 9 x 13 inch pan add drained elbow mac and cheese blend. Stir until well blended in the 9 x 13 inch dish. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake at 350 for about 20 mins. I usually broil it for about 2 mins at the end in order to crisp up the cheese on top. Sooo yummy!
For dessert I made our favorite Brownie Pudding, served with berries and fresh whipped cream. This recipe comes from her Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics: Fabulous Flavor from Simple Ingredients, which I love, love, love! Actually, I love everything she makes. It always turns out amazing!
Today, I'm cooking again in preparation of our New Years Day meal which we will enjoy tonight so that #2 can take part. Roast Beef, turnip greens, black eyed peas, cornbread and possibly an Amish Apple Pie. I love having all my children home, and feeding good food to all my rowdy boys and my little girl. Christmas has been magical this year, and my heart is full!