Dreamy's Delights

It's all about the food!

Home again

At long last I have returned home. It was good to see my family and help my mom although we didn’t get nearly as much done as I wanted to. I wound up sick TWICE while I was there and that made it really hard to get anything accomplished. We did manage to donate a tremendous amount of stuff to charity but that’s about it.

Jene and I had a good drive home. He’s a delight to travel with and I hardly even noticed the miles go by. We spent some time in Arizona seeing the Petrified Forest and the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon is amazing and we even saw a California Condor fly over head. Those birds are BIG!

I have several posts to write about places I ate, how my beer cheddar turned out and the vegetarian chili I made for dinner tonight. Unfortunately, I brought my cold home with me so I’m still feeling pretty icky. I hope to get some stuff written up as the week goes on.

I look forward to getting myself back into the routine of working and creating food. It’s good to be home 🙂


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Kansas, Land of Aahh, the weather just changed again!

I made it safe and sound to Kansas to spend the next month with my mom. Jene and I had a good drive, down through Las Vegas then up through Utah and Colorado. The snow made life interesting when we stopped in Silverthorne, CO but it wasn’t too horrible. We made good time and it was a pleasant trip.

We got here on Monday night then spent Tuesday night in Kansas City so I could put Jene on a 6am flight back to SF. I could have posted sooner but I’ve been moping around when I wasn’t helping Mom. I miss my guy and I miss my cats. /sad face

However, the month will go by fast and I’m sure Mom and I won’t get as much done as we wanted to. Isn’t that always the truth? Jene will fly back here on April 2nd and we’ll drive back to Cali. Our plan is to go home by way of the Grand Canyon since he’s never seen it.

I do have a couple of restaurant reviews from my favorite places in KC. I’ll get them up in the next couple of days. I even remembered to take pictures lol.


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Off the radar for a bit

I’m leaving to drive to KS tonight so I probably won’t be posting much for awhile. I’m going to spend a month in KS with my mom and family. If I run across any fun places to eat or come up with any interesting recipes while I’m with my family, I’ll post about it but sadly, no cheese making while I’m away.

I hope everyone is well and has a wonderful spring while I’m gone!

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As most of you know, Jene and I have been trying to eat low carb for the last couple of years. One of the ideas behind low carb is to eat lots of vitamin rich dark leafy greens. One of the problems we have is getting enough of those. It’s easy to cook protein but eventually I run out of ideas for the veggies or just don’t take the time to cook them. After watching a couple of documentaries on Netflix (Hungry for Change and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead) we decided to give juicing a try.

Now, this idea has been around for ages. There has been all kinds of hype and paid infomercials touting the benefits of juicing. I tend to be pretty cynical about this type of thing. However, after watching some documentaries that chronicle the lives of people who have done this, Jene and I thought it was worth giving it a try.

juicingsetupThis post shows our juicer and most of what Jene put in his juice this morning. There’s chard, red kale, parsley, carrots, a habanero pepper, orange, celery, cucumber and lemon. He might have snuck a few more things in there but that’s most of it.

My breakfast was orange, carrot, blueberry, parsley, kale and chard. I tend to go heavier on the fruits in the morning and increase the greens later in the day.

We’ve also tried avocado, mango, grapefruit, lime, grapes, cilantro, dill, spinach, beets, and broccolini. It’s not pretty but it tastes really good.


It acquires this kind of icky looking greenish brown color but for all that, it’s worth drinking. In one large cup of juice I’ve managed to get in a whole days worth of fruits and veggies (especially the veggies) and I’ll probably have another cup later in the day. Jene and I usually have from 2-3 cups of this juice a day and I have to say, I think it’s good for us.

Now, there are a couple of side effects… when you first start drinking this kind of juice it WILL clean your insides out. But a bit of a colon cleanse never hurt anyone lol. Secondly, if you add beet juice, expect to SEE beet juice when you go potty. Jene says his pee was bright red after having some beet in his morning juice. I cracked up laughing 😉  I figure I’ll try some golden beets next time.

We didn’t buy one of those super expensive juicers either. The ones they run infomercials on… They probably ARE better but it’s no good spending $300+ on a juicer unless you know you’re actually going to use it. If we’re still juicing in a year, maybe. Instead we got a Hamilton Beach Big Mouth juicer from Amazon for about $60. It does a good enough job for us a this point.

Anyway, that’s one of the reasons I haven’t been posting about food. I haven’t been cooking, just drinking juice lol. But don’t worry, I’ll be posting my low carb pork chili later today or tomorrow 😀



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Boredom lol

What can I say? It’s Friday night and I’m sort of bored. So I thought I’d give my blog a wintery theme for a while. It’s one of those weird random things I like to do. I’m surprised I kept the original theme for as long as I did. Please feel free to leave comments and let me know if you dislike this color selection and I’ll change it again 😉

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All alone…

As I’m sure you guys have noticed, I haven’t had anything to say this week. That’s because Jene is out of town and I pretty much don’t cook while he’s gone. I ordered Chinese food delivered on Tuesday and I’m still eating the leftovers lol. Before Jene and I got together I used to live on frozen dinners and Sonic. Not the healthiest diet ever but I’m lazy about feeding myself.

I should mention though that I’ve also been eating the cheddar cheese curds I made Sunday. They don’t squeak properly when they’re refrigerated but they’re still mighty tasty. Princess MewMew likes to help me eat them too. Jene will be home in a few more days so I’ll get back to cooking then. Mean while, if you’re looking for good recipes, check out Epicurious.com 🙂


After Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving but I also love being DONE with Thanksgiving. After having the stove and oven running almost non-stop for three days, it was wonderful to finally turn it off last night. I got everything made and we were only an hour late eating. Surrounded by friends and family, we had a wonderful afternoon and evening. I admit that once the food was done, I hid the bedroom for awhile. I needed to find some quiet 🙂

And the best part? Today I have a fridge full of leftovers to nom on. I’ve got so many leftovers that I couldn’t decide what to eat so I had dill dip and carrot sticks. Turns out it was the perfect thing to eat right now. Crisp sweet carrots with the cold creaminess of the dip really hit the spot.

The other best part of Thanksgiving is that I didn’t have to work today. Which means I got to take an awesome nap. Jene went to a friend’s house today and I stayed home to sleep. It was really good sleep too. Another day or two of sleeping like that and I’ll feel pretty good by Monday.

I want to say thank you to everyone who joined us yesterday. You guys made it wonderful and fun. 🙂

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Pumpkin Cheesecake

Jene doesn’t often make special requests but this year he wanted a pumpkin cheesecake. In an effort to oblige him, I dug up a recipe on epicurious.com. I’ve posted the original recipe and afterwards are all the tweaks I made lol.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Bourbon Sour Cream Topping Gourmet | November 1990

For the crust
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the filling
1 1/2 cups solid pack pumpkin
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
three 8-ounce packages cream cheese, cut into bits and softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon if desired

For the topping
2 cups sour cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon, or to taste

16 pecan halves for garnish

Make the crust:
In a bowl combine the cracker crumbs, the pecans, and the sugars, stir in the butter, and press the mixture into the bottom and 1/2 inch up the side of a buttered 9-inch springform pan. Chill the crust for 1 hour.
Make the filling:
In a bowl whisk together the pumpkin, the egg, the cinnamon, the nutmeg, the ginger, the salt, and the brown sugar. In a large bowl with an electric mixer cream together the cream cheese and the granulated sugar, beat in the cream, the cornstarch, the vanilla, the bourbon liqueur, and the pumpkin mixture, and beat the filling until it is smooth.

Pour the filling into the crust, bake the cheesecake in the middle of a preheated 350°F. oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the center is just set, and let it cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes.
Make the topping:
In a bowl whisk together the sour cream, the sugar, and the bourbon liqueur.

Spread the sour cream mixture over the top of the cheesecake and bake the cheesecake for 5 minutes more. Let the cheesecake cool in the pan on a rack and chill it, covered, overnight. Remove the side of the pan and garnish the top of the cheesecake with the pecans.

Now, here’s what  I did differently… I made my own crust. 1 cup of Nilla Wafer crumbs, 1/3 cup pulverized candied ginger, 2 TB sugar and 3 TB melted butter. Mix it all together, press into the bottom of a 9″ springform pan and bake for 10 minutes.

For the cheesecake, instead of using 1/2 cup of white sugar and 1/2 cup of brown sugar, I used 3/4 cup of honey. Honey is sweeter so you use less. I also added some ground cloves because I think cloves are required.
Finally, on general census, I didn’t make the sour cream topping. So far, it’s gorgeous. I’ll take some pictures tomorrow when everything is all pretty for serving.
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Sourdough, Wild Mushroom and Bacon Dressing

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I love Epicurious. The recipes are fun and interesting and usually the flavors rock. I tried this recipe for the first time last year and it was good enough I’m making it again this year. The link to the original recipe can be found here.

Now I have to say… This is a recipe created by Bobby Flay. He is NOT one of my favorite celebrity chefs. Personality aside, I don’t like his recipes, most of the time anyway lol. This one rocks though.


Sourdough, Wild Mushroom, and Bacon Dressing Epicurious | October 2011

by Bobby Flay with Stephanie Banyas and Sally Jackson
Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain Cookbook

I grew up calling any side dish of seasoned, moistened, and baked bread cubes “stuffing,” but I’ve been corrected enough times to have changed my ways: If it goes inside the turkey or chicken, it’s stuffing. If it’s cooked in a dish of its very own, it’s officially dressing. As it so happens, I like to serve this side with more than just poultry, and I especially love the browned crust, so dressing it is! Two other key factors in delivering dynamic texture are to toast the cubes of tangy sourdough bread first and to use a combination of thinly sliced and coarsely chopped mushrooms. Roasting the mushrooms before mixing with the other ingredients heightens their deep earthy flavor while cooking off any excess liquid. Studded with salty bits of bacon and fresh herbs, this side dish is destined to become a favorite of your Thanksgiving—or any dinner—table.

Yield: Makes 8 servings

Unsalted butter, for the baking dish
1 1/4 pounds sourdough bread, crusts trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 12 cups)
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1/2 pound oyster mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound slab bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large Spanish onion, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 to 6 cups chicken stock, homemade or store-bought, as needed
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 large eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish.

2. Spread the bread on a large baking sheet (or 2 smaller baking sheets) in an even layer and bake, stirring a few times, until light golden brown, about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Put the cubes into a very large bowl.

3. Raise the oven temperature to 375°F.

4. Combine the mushrooms in a large baking dish or rimmed baking sheet, toss with 3 tablespoons of the oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven, stirring several times, until soft and golden brown, about 30 minutes.

5. While the mushrooms are roasting, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large deep sauté pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and the fat has rendered, about 10 minutes. Transfer the bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels.

6. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the rendered fat in the sauté pan and return to the stove over high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add 3 cups of the chicken stock, the sage, thyme, and parsley and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer.

7. Add the mushrooms to the bread. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl and then whisk in a few tablespoons of the warm stock mixture. Add the eggs and the rest of the stock mixture to the bread, season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine. The dressing should be very wet; add more stock as needed. Scrape the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the top is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Now, I have to admit, I do tweak this a bit but only a tiny bit. Sage and I don’t get along so I leave it out completely. Other than that, I follow the recipe. Shocking, I know. This year I got crazy with the mushrooms. I’ve got oyster mushrooms, chanterelle mushrooms, fresh porchini mushrooms, cremini mushrooms and I honestly don’t remember what else lol. I’m excited to see how this turns out!
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Holiday in a Pickle

Today was our friend Meg’s birthday. As an early holiday present, we took a dozen jars of pickles with us to give out. Everyone was so excited about the idea that we opened a couple of jars and put them out with the rest of the food. I was absolutely floored by the positive response from everyone. My favorite description was “This tastes like a holiday in a pickle.” 🙂

What I thought was an overly gingery pickle that was too heavy on the sweet spices was to everyone else a wonderful experience that brightened their day. It’s a lesson to remind me that I need to stop being so critical of myself and the food I create. I am so thankful for my friends for reminding me of this. I’m so glad you guys enjoyed the pickles. Don’t worry, I’ll be making more. 😀

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