Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Two Hot Messes on the Open Road!

Well, I just dropped mom off at the airport. She is headed to Chicago and I am joining her via train. Yes, not my smartest decision, it will be 31 hours on the rails starting tomorrow morning at an ungodly hour. Mom and I are heading out on a whirlwind road trip of America and are planning to spend a little time in Chicago, road trip with my mom's best friend to Atlanta to get my dad. Once we break dad out we will spend time in Florida with family, meet a dear friend on mine in New Orleans and drive our way back from New Orleans to Northwest Montana.

Leaving and packing for a month is a daunting task and I had done a great job staying in the moment until Monday morning when I watched my boyfriend drive off, not to see him again for a month. I finally was left to face the reality of packing. Today, with only a few hours left, I am almost packed and mom is safely tucked into her small airplane seat with her 3 pretzels they provide. We didn't get here without some turbulence though. Mom and I scurried around the house cussing under our breaths, me near tears at times, and I had to tell my mom to stop acting like a Hot Mess repeatedly (she did the same for me). This morning was the final straw. While making breakfast, my mom poured vinagar into our skillet instead of olive oil three times in a row. Okay, so we are both a Hot Mess, but at least we can admit it.

Our saving grace is that we have a friend who has agreed to live in our house and take care of our one kitty circus. To thank him and give him the ins and outs, we had him over for dinner last night and made comforting soul food. It was exactly what us two Hot Messes needed. We made Spicy Red Beans N Sausage and instead of rice, served it over Fried Polenta Cakes. We also served Asparagus Cigars with Horseradish Dipping Sauce. All of it was easy to prepare, soothing to my frazzled Hot Mess self, and delicious as a 'last supper'.

Deciding to get on a train at a God-awful hour tomorrow morning isn't my best decision, but I am going to get to visit with old friends, see countryside that I haven't seen. Sure I am going to miss my sweetheart, but we finally get my mom's sweetheart back. This is sure to be an adventure and I am inviting all of you to join mom and I. We will be blogging as much as possible and sharing recipes that we cook, resturants that we stop at along the way, and other foodie tips and fun facts. Please join us. It should be a circus. My mom hasn't seen my dad in 3 months and the three of us on a road trip is sure to have its exciting adventures complete with lots of Hot Mess. We aren't sure exactly where all we will be stopping, but it is sure to be an adventure. One that we want to share with all of you. Stay tuned, we don't want you to miss a thing!

I'll report on my 31 hour train ride. It is sure to be complete with interesting events and people. Cross your fingers for me! Yeah, there is nothing like an Irish gal from Montana spending St. Patricks day overnight on a train! Here goes nothing!

Asparagus Cigars
12 fresh asparagus spears
1/2 parmesean cheese
12 slices fresh roast beef
Olive oil spray
Phyllo dough
salt and pepper to taste

Spread phyllo dough on a flat surface. Using one sheet of phyllo dough at a time, spray the phyllo sheet with olive oil. Lay a slice of roast beef on one edge of the phyllo and sprinkle with parmesean cheese. Place the asparagus spear in the middle of the roast beef slice and roll the phyllo up around the asparagus making a tight 'cigar'. Place the phyllo 'cigar' on a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining asparagus spears.

Once they have all been assemble and placed on the baking sheet, spray the 'cigars' with olive oil spray and sprinkle with any remaining parmesean cheese and salt and pepper. Bake in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes. Slice in half after baking and serve with Horsheradish Dipping sauce (see recipe below).

Horseradish Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup low fat sour cream
2 tbsp. ground fresh horseradish
1 tbsp. spicy mustard
2 tbsp. minced garlic
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. onion powder

Mix all ingredients listed above in a bowl using a spoon. Serve with the Asparagus cigars and enjoy!

Red Beans N' Rice

1 white onion; chopped
1/2 cup deli ham; diced
1 package andouille sausage (16 oz)
7 cloves garlic; minced
1 bag dried red beans (16 oz); rinsed
24 oz. low sodium chicken broth
1 cup prepared salsa
1 can crushed tomatoes (28 oz)
1/2 tsp. cayanne pepper
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 cup water
2 tsp. black pepper

Add all of the ingredients above to a crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. We fried up polenta and served over polenta. However, you can can also use traditional white rice as well. We loved the polenta cakes with it though!

Fried Polenta Cakes

1 tube store bought polenta
olive oil

Thinly slice the polenta into 1/4 inch rounds. Heat a skillet with olive oil and saute the polenta for 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Serve immediately with Red Beans N Sausage over it for a delicious twist on a cajun favorite.

Mental Health Benefit: This is one of those times when I need to be patient and calm with myself. I am more than a little overwhelmed at the idea of being gone for a month, but at the same time it is important to step outside my comfort zone and do crazy things. This meal was so easy to prepare and was just spicy enough to bring me back to life. It was a meal I ate slowly and deliberately and afterwards, I felt a little less "hot mess" and a little more sane. Here's hoping that this meal will deliver all the mental medicine you need too!

Follow along with us as we travel to everyone else's kitchen, resturants, and gas stations. We will share all of our chaos with you! Next blog will be coming from a city near you!

~ "Too Lovely" Hot Messes on a road trip!

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