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Weekly Menu

What an awful time of year to get sick! I have that darn cold that seems to be going around and it is quite a doozy of a cold. Hopefully my appetite returns for the biggest food day of the year! 

Speaking of Thanksgiving, you may be on the hunt for some last minute sides recipes. If I can be of some assistance (while coughing my head off), here are a couple crowd pleasers...

crispy roast potatoes - for if you're trying to avoid the mashed potato route
butternut leek soup - serving a first course at Thanksgiving, now that's fancy
brussel sprout gratin - so many brussel haters out there, this will surely convert them
stuffing muffins - two sides in one!  stuffing and the bread basket
butternut mac and cheese - because who can resist mac and cheese??

On this day that is centered around food (and thanks, of course) that home cooks and food lovers look forward to for weeks, I hope everything turns out delicious and your Thanksgiving is filled with good people and fun memories!

As far as meal planning for the rest of the week...  Well my meal plan is the same as last week's due to this annoying cold and some late nights at work which resulted in lots of soup and a quick BIBIBOP run.  What are you planning to make this week?

sausage stuffed acorn squash and broccoli
pizza night
butternut mac and cheese and salad
spaghetti squash and meatballs

Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash - total time 40 minutes

The fun thing about eating more seasonally (besides eating foods when they're in their absolute prime and tastiness) is that you have something to look forward to every season which keeps your meal plans fresh too.  Now that we're halfway into fall, I have a counter full of squash begging to be roasted!  There are so many to choose from, they come in all shapes and flavors.  You might already have a few butternut recipes, but here's a new acorn squash recipe to add to your fall meal planning arsenal.

This is the perfect comfort food when the temperatures start to dip.  Sausage has that smokey flavor that pairs just right with acorn squash.  The addition of sage just completes the fall flavors.  Baking the sausage in the squash is super cute presentation that is great for a dinner party or a fancy Thanksgiving.  It's also pretty easy!  :)

Weekly Menu

It's been a tough weekend on the soul, hearing about the details that happened in Paris and Beirut.  Innocent people in everyday circumstances... eating at restaurants, enjoying a concert, watching a sporting event... it's hard to process or understand the hate.  How do you respond without fear or more hatred, but in a way that is strong and prevents future attacks?  Maybe it is to resume everyday life, but in a different, more cautious way... not really sure.

So this weekend was spent with close friends and family over good meals, coffee, cookies, and zoo lights.

wedding flowers cookie time 
kraft house no5 kraft house no5 
columbus zoo lights columbus zoo lights 

This week's meal plan is a short list because the Thanksgiving festivities start this Friday.  Here's my plan, what's yours?

sausage stuffed acorn squash and brussel sprouts
pizza night
butternut mac and cheese and salad
spaghetti squash and meatballs

Weekly Menu

Back from a weekend in Cleveland celebrating my cousin's wedding!  We went up a day early to meander around town a bit since it has change a little since the last time I spent much time there staying at my aunt's house during the summer when my sister and I were in elementary school.  This time we went and checked out some breweries; Nano Brew, Platform Beer Co., and Fat Head's Brewery.  We also met up with some friend at Jack Flaps in Ohio City, where the menu says their pancakes are sweet and they are certainly not kidding about that, they're pretty much dessert!

Cleveland is such an interesting city.  I would loved to have seen it in its prime!  Now it has several areas that are thriving again with breweries and restaurants opening all of the time... but you still have those areas of abandon warehouses and run down neighborhoods reminding us that the rust belt struggle is real.  

nano brew cleveland city reflections 
platform brewery cleveland great lakes brewing 
fat heads brewery cleveland fat heads brewery cleveland 
jack flaps cleveland jack flaps cleveland 

Now that we're back in the Cbus and it's the start of another week, time for the meal plan...

sticky drumsticks and irish nachos
sloppy joes and steamed broccoli
crab legs with garlic mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts
shrimp tacos
chicken parm with caesar salad

What are you planning to make?

Weekly Menu

Hope everyone is nice and rested from that extra hour to the weekend!  Now the sun seems to be setting in the early afternoon and really makes it feel like it is time to hibernate...

Have you seen Sociality Barbie's Instagram yet?  Fox in the Snow always makes me think of that account, which is always good for an ironic laugh.  Fox in the Snow has to be one of the most Instagrammed locations in Columbus...

Finally got around to going to Wolf's Ridge Brewing restaurant after having been to the taproom several times.  The cool thing about a restaurant that has a constantly changing menu is that you get to try new things all of the time.  Unfortunately, it also means good items rotate off the menu.  we'll have to go back, but check the menu first!  I hear their brunch is amazing.

After Wolf's Ridge, we went to see BalletMet's Dracula, which was pretty fun!  I needed to read the program to remember some of the story.  We have been to a couple ballets now, so I should know to read up a little beforehand so everything makes a little more sense without any words... oops!

fox in the snow fox in the snow 
wolfs ridge brewery wolfs ridge cheese plate 
pear taste test great pumpkin charlie brown 
early sunset

Alright, it's menu time...

pizza night
creamy dijon chicken and brussel sprouts
shrimp po' boys and green beans
lamb sliders and crispy potatoes
then up to Cleveland for my cousin's wedding!

Weekly Menu

The weekend is over already... :(  At least for us it was super relaxing, almost lazy even.  Today was a beautiful day to be outside!  I'm pretty sure this year has to be a record for the amount of fall color in Ohio... so beautiful!  

We went to El Vaquero for dinner this weekend, just the two of us... and they asked if we wanted guac for our chips.  Of course the answer was yes, that is the only answer when involving guac.  A few minutes later a bowl of guac the size of my head arrives!  Holy guacamole!  ;)  

el vaquero giant guac stuffed acorn squash 
autumn leaves canning tomatoes

Last week's stuffed acorn squash was quite delicious, so look for the recipe on the blog soon!

Now that the garden is torn down and only a bit of lettuce and herbs are left growing, it feels like it time to start hibernating.  :/  I can't believe Halloween is next weekend, which means November will be here... then the holidays and winter.  The year seems to have flown by...

And with another week comes another meal plan...

butternut and leek soup with grilled cheese
ravioli, green beans and garlic bread
spinach enchiladas
chicken fried rice
rosemary chicken and mashed potatoes

The Best Granola Ever - total time 30 minutes

chocolate peanut butter granola

You know the phrase "that's so granola"?  Describing something that is plain and boring...   Well those people have never had this granola!  I pretty much make it every week mainly for breakfast parfaits, but it also makes a great snack, especially when you need a few bites in between meals. 

You might buy granola in the store... it might taste good... but it is probably expensive, maybe three servings at best, and you don't know all of the ingredients, or maybe you don't like some of the ingredients.  Granola is soooo easy to make at home!  I had my doubts at first too.  But it really is just combining all the ingredients in a bowl and then spreading it on a cookie sheet, ten minutes in the oven and woop, there it is. ;)
I definitely save money too.  We would normally go through three bags of granola a week plus cereal and English muffins.   I get the main ingredients from bulk bins and the others are usually local and last through many, many batches of granola.  It also keeps me full longer in the mornings, so less snacking before lunch.  And you can make it into granola bars for a snack on the go.

So, chocolate and peanut butter... best combination ever, right?  You probably can't eat Reese cups every day, but this granola is actually healthy and has just enough sweet.  Whole grains and great protein from the seeds and nuts.  Plus it is naturally sweetened with a little honey and maple syrup... oh... and the dark chocolate chips of course... which are totally healthy, I promise!  :) 

Where to Eat in Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is a hiker's dream world.  It's also on a lot of lists "to see before they're gone".  Not that the park is going anywhere, but the glaciers are.  The park had one of the warmest summers on record and several forest fires.  While we were there in September it was still in the high 70s.  We were able to see, and even touch, several glaciers... and witness how quickly they are melting away.

I'm not going to lecture anyone on global warming (although I could go on an on about climate change), our planet goes through a natural cycle of warming and cooling... we just happen to be living in the warming trend.  What I do want to tell you is that if seeing glaciers is on your bucket list, then please go soon!  Glacier National Park is a great park to visit, not only for the glaciers, but the wildlife, the mountains, the big blue sky, the pristine glacial lakes, being able to see the milkyway, everything is just beautiful!

September was really the perfect time to go for us, the crowds were starting to dwindle and the weather was flipping the switch from summer to early winter while we were there.  The first days were warm and I got tan lines between my cropped pants and boot socks!  The last two days were chilly, especially at night when it was near freezing and the winds were howling.  The leaves were starting to change and some of the flowers were still blooming.

The first day we hiked the highline trail which runs along the continental divide.  We spotted lots of mountain goats up on the very edge of the jagged ridge line which is amazing how they don't slide down the steep slope.  If you're afraid of heights, this trail is not for you.  At the very beginning there is a section that includes a rope line because there is a steep drop off on the edge of the trail.  Eek!  But no worries, the trail is plenty wide enough that you don't actually need the rope.

The next day we hiked up to Grinnell Glacier, probably the coolest hike I've ever done.  You hike past three beautiful lakes, including Grinnell Lake which is perfectly turquoise fed from the glacier.  There are a few switchback and you walk through a waterfall which was refreshing on that warm day.  At the top, a glacial lake with icebergs (fallen pieces of the glaciers) and Grinnell, Salamander, and Gem glaciers with waterfalls.  Quite the amazing site!  If you're careful, you can cross a couple glacial streams and actually touch Grinnell Glacier, which was neat... and scary... we could hear pieces falling away under the surface and could see the constant melt.  Thankfully for the glacier, the next day would bring colder temperatures so it could recover from the long, hot summer.

The other days we wandered around the park doing shorter hikes (our legs were sore!).  We even got hailed on right before I accidentally threw my phone into a mountain stream (so terrifying).  We saw rams, marmots, mountain goats, and even some black bears from a distance.  We took so many pictures because it was just sooo beautiful.  Below are a few of those pictures (and then below that, an eating guide to the park)...

glacier highline trail glacier highline trail glacier highline trail 
glacier highline trail glacier grinnell trail glacier fall colors glacier grinnell trail grinnell glacier grinnell glacier
grinnell glacier glacier ginnell icebergs 
glacier avalanche gorge glacier mountain goats 
glacier avalanche gorge glacier lake mcdonald 
glacier marmot glacier lake mcdonald 
glacier lake mcdonald 
Just like Yellowstone, there are not a ton of places to eat inside the park.  Unlike Yellowstone, there aren't a lot of place to eat outside of the park either.  Many of the places we ate at were closing down for the year the week we were there, so after mid-September, pack your bear bag full of picnic supplies, because that is your only option!

The first night we went to St. Mary Lodge right outside of the East entrance.  On the table was a Taste of Montana menu, so we totally wanted to choose from those courses!  We got to the restaurant pretty late since we were hiking and then setting up camp, but the service was pretty terrible.  We put in our order and not all of it came out.  When we told our waiter that we didn't get our appetizers, he told us he would take it off the bill (instead of bringing it out).The food and beer were decent.  I went a little overboard on the huckleberries since I knew they were in season.  Turns out, I'm not a huge fan of huckleberries.  We were hungry, so we pretty much polished off everything in front of us (I had salmon smothered in huckleberries and he had a lamb burger).

glacier saint mary lodge glacier saint mary lodge 
glacier saint mary lodge glacier saint mary lodge 

The next night we went to Many Glacier Hotel.  The view was amazing and we sat right next to the window to watch the sun set over the mountains.  Our waitress was much more attentive than at the last lodge and the food was much better.  I had the bison filet and my husband had trout.  We also ordered a cheese plate and some drink... all very tasty!  A little more pricy, but we were on vacation!

many glacier hotel IMG_7528 
IMG_7529 IMG_7530 

Our last morning on the east side of the park we stopped by Park Cafe which is a little dinner with about 12 tables.  It was completely full with a line when we arrived.  When we sat down we saw that everything was made from scratch and overheard that they had someone running to get more eggs.  I ordered the avocado eggs benedict and he had the bacon pancake.  So good!  And the pancake was huge!  The prices were very reasonable, which is good because they only take cash.  We found out that it was their last day open for the year, so all of the locals were coming to get their diner fix before winter set in.

glacier diner park cafe glacier diner park cafe 
glacier diner park cafe glacier diner park cafe 

On the west side of Glacier, you have a couple nearby towns you could drive to for a larger selection of restaurants.  I would recommend driving to one of them.  The first night we went to a pizza place (Glacier Grill & Pizza) near Glacier Under Canvas and it was mediocre (and they made us wait outside in the cold for our table which they had a whole section of open tables).  Then we went to the diner (West Glacier Cafe) right by the west entrance and, again, had a mediocre experience.

glacier grill and pizza west glacier cafe 

Our last night in Glacier, we went to the Belton Chalet, which was a hotel built to support the railroad travelers and the train station is still across the street.  Everything on the menu sounded really good.  We ended up with crab cakes for an appetizer and then I had lamb and he had the filet special, both came with mashed potatoes and grilled fennel.  We really liked the atmosphere of the building, so much character.  It was hard for us to decide whether we liked this place or Many Glacier Hotel better, but both are very good meals and similarly priced.

glacier belton chalet glacier belton chalet 
glacier belton chalet glacier belton chalet 


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