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New Home, New Haircut and Cauliflower Gratin with Tomatoes and Feta

Thank you SO much for your encouragement and well wishes on Friday. Much to my surprise and delight, I found a new cozy little apartment that very morning before work! 🙂

It’s a lovely spot, clean as a whistle with new carpet, new tile and NO MOLD! Hooray! 🙂 It has a fireplace and a bright, cheery kitchen, a yellow forsythia is blooming by the front door, and – the best part of all – it is surrounded on two sides by trees, a meadow and a meandering creek. 🙂 It’s run by a kind elderly man who looks just like Santa Claus without a beard, and I feel safe. 🙂 It is peaceful, quiet and the perfect little nook for me. I’m so happy and grateful! 🙂

I confess I was a rather weepy girl on Saturday, overtired, hurting from my accident, and sorting through my things, deciding what to part with and what to keep. On an empty box run to Mum and Dad’s, Mums gave me a hug, sat me down with a gorgeous cup of tea and talked things through until I felt heaps better.

I realized my expectations of myself were far too high, so I brought them down to manageable levels and things got MUCH better. 🙂 I made dark hot chocolate, popped in Brit murder mysteries to listen to and got down to business. 🙂 I decided to use this move as a good time to downsize as much as possible, hanging onto only the things that matter most to me. Initially difficult, it has been tremendously freeing, a wonderful beginning to a fresh start.

In the spirit of new beginnings, I also got my hair lopped off! 🙂 My fabulous Auntie Janet snipped and scissored her way through my locks leaving me with a perky do that makes me feel quite saucy and chipper. 🙂

In between resting and packing, I also cooked up enough food to last me the week, starting with a Cauliflower Gratin. The ingredient list fascinated me with things like capers, honey, and cinnamon alongside tomatoes, garlic and onion. Crazy, yep, and utterly delicious. 🙂

While it cooked I dined on fresh squeezed orange juice and a slice of Quark Quiche studded with green chilies and sausage. And, much to my delight, I discovered that I am really, really excited about this next phase of my life. 🙂

Cauliflower Gratin with Tomatoes and Feta
(Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone)

Ingredients:

2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp cinnamon
5 fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced or one 15-oz can diced tomatoes
1 tsp honey
1 Tbsp capers, rinsed
salt and freshly milled pepper
1 large cauliflower, broken into florets
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2-4 ounces crumbled feta
Finely chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. Preheat broiler and lightly oil a 2-quart gratin dish.
  2. Heat olive oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, oregano, and cinnamon and cook until the onion is wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cook for 7 minutes more, then add honey, capers and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Steam cauliflower for 5 minutes. Mix with sauce and pour into baking pan. Season with salt and pepper, squeeze lemon juice over top and add the feta. 
  4. Place 5-6 inches under the broiler until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. 
  5. Garnish with parsley and serve. 
  6. If you are assembling the gratin ahead of time, cover and bake it at 400 degrees until bubbling, about 20 minutes, then brown under broiler. 

Easy Quark Quiche
(Adapted from the British Columbia Egg Marketing Board)

Ingredients:

2 cups sausage (or ham)
1 cup Quark
4 eggs
1/2 tsp dry mustard

3 Tbsp mild green chilies
1 green onion, sliced
Dash pepper

Directions:

  1. Fry sausage and drain. 
  2. Combine with remaining ingredients and pour into greased 8-9 inch pan. 
  3. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve warm.




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