No Meat Fridays

Many Fridays during Lent, I struggle to figure out what to eat for dinner. I follow the Catholic tradition of not eating meet, but since Dan’s not Catholic, he doesn’t have any dietary restrictions.

Usually, Friday is date night, which compounds the problem. I always have to order a vegetarian dish, or we just go out for sushi instead. As I was thinking of what to do today, I came up with a meal we made for ourselves to celebrate a belated Valentine’s Day (Dan was out of town on the 14th). Retro and a bit kitschy, fondue is a good choice to go meatless.

We used french bread, homemade pretzels, apples, red pepper, celery, broccoli, mushrooms, and hard salami as dippers. We left the meat in for my meat-eating husband, but we had enough other dippers that I had more than enough to eat without the salami.

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To start, we made the pretzels, which was not nearly as hard as I thought it would be. I pulled out an old issue of Food Network magazine and found a recipe from Alton Brand. it took a while to let the dough rise, form the pretzels,

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boil the pretzels,

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then bake them,

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but it was worth it. Nothing like the taste of a fresh soft pretzel.

To make the cheese fondue I used the tried and true method of googling “Melting Pot fondue recipe” and ended up finding what claims to be Melting Pot’s Cheddar Cheese Fondue. I’m not sure if the taste is the same, since the couple times I’ve been to Melting Pot we’ve ordered a more daring cheese fondue choice (like the Fiesta or Spinach Artichoke), but, it was really tasty.

Here’s what you need:
6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
2 ounces Swiss cheese
4 ounces of beer (I used Two Brothers Domaine DuPage)
2 cloves of chopped garlic
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons flour
3 teaspoons whole grain dijon mustard (from Trader Joe’s, or just 4 teaspoons of plain old mustard)

Put everything but the cheese and flour into your fondue pot while on low. Gradually turn up the heat. Meanwhile, toss the cheese with the flour. When the liquid is warm, pour one third of the cheese in, stirring and incorporating it fully. Do the same thing for the second third, and then add in the last of the cheese.

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We left our pot on low while we ate and didn’t encounter any issues.

Since then, I’ve made this fondue with any kind of cheese I had in the house: mozzerella, goat, pepper jack, etc., and it hasn’t ever mattered, as long as you keep the ratios of 8 oz of cheese and 4 oz of beer.

Happy Friday!

It’s Spring!

Open windows. Tree buds and blossoms. Peeling off the layers of heavy sweaters and down jackets. Eating al fresco. It’s Spring!

I couldn’t resist adding some fresh color to our decor at home to match my happy spring mood, and I added in some Easter decorations too for good measure.

I started with the Spring sign. I made last year. It’s as cute as I remembered it to be.

I got this Easter printable for free, then dressed up my entryway with some baskets from my holiday stash.

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Doesn’t this mason jar look cute? Those are sequined eggs in there. I finished the look with some pretty plaid ribbon.

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Finally, I took my trusty hurricane candle holder and filled it with some plastic eggs I already had.

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I can’t wait to get started on some ideas I have for more Spring and Easter decorations. I’ve put a limitation on my crafting this time though. I’m instituting a crafting challenge and only allowing myself to make Easter crafts from materials I already have on hand. I’m strictly waiting until after Easter to purchase any new decorations this year.

Let’s see what I can come up with this year!

Spring Drink

Yesterday, in honor of the absolutely gorgeous weather, Dan and I made a refreshing Spring drink – a limoncello martini.

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It’s super easy – just 2 parts vodka, 1 part limoncello. Same as a regular martini, just substituing limoncello for vermouth.

For an extra touch, Dan curled some lemon peel. Pretty.

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Happy almost Spring!