Let’s work backwards for the order of our life events that have happened, mentioned in the previous post about Homemade Chorizo & Potato Tacos. So much to catch up on, friends! We mentioned a lot about how much we’re liking Tacoma and we have both officially hit day #4 on our new jobs. Will is very pleased with his decision about the university he selected to work for and I feel very fortunate to also have the position I do on the same campus. We carpool to work and eat lunch together every day, like the disgustingly cute couple we are. Thankfully, we had a W&M Alumni event to attend last night in downtown Seattle (seeing the city emerge from the mountains on the drive in was super cool – hellooooooooo Space Needle) so we could see people other than each other and our handful of colleagues. We played trivia, ran into old friends, and even managed to run into another good friend in the same bar (a W&M alum who didn’t technically attend the same event we did). It was nice to go to Seattle for the first time since we’ve arrived in Washington and to determine it’s not too terribly far away. We look forward to visiting again soon! Oh and this morning on our way to work, Mt. Rainier just appeared. It’s got a habit of just showing up, uninvited, in the skyline, whenever it wants. It’s like “Where’s Waldo” but with a giant mountain.
Now, let’s dial it back another notch because in the last post, I promised some catch-up of what we’ve been up to. We’ll start with our cross-country trek, consisting of two cats and two humans in one car, with about 1/100th of our stuff. Whoop whoop! Let’s call this part 1 of a predicted 3-part series.
After packing up everything and saying goodbye to Williamsburg, we took ten days to travel across the country, following a very unconventional route from Virginia to Washington. The first night, we made our lives easy and simply stayed in southwest Virginia at a familiar (to us, not the cats – they were not fans of this plan) motel in Abingdon, since we did our final apartment clean/check-out that morning. Then we picked up the next morning and tackled the gloriously long state of Tennessee, making our way to Arkansas to visit Will’s parents. We got to stay with them for a few days, relaxing in their wooded retreat and hanging out with them and their dogs. The kitties loved their little slice of paradise which included lots of windows for bird watching, a comfy bed for cuddling, and plenty of love and attention from the grandparents! While we were in Arkansas, we were lucky enough to also spend some quality time with our favorites, Alex & Alecia (and Miss Darcy!), eating way too much good food, going to the fireworks, and just generally hanging out in their super adorable house. Before leaving town, we made sure to eat at Whole Hog Cafe, arguably one of the best places to get BBQ.
From Arkansas, we traveled north through the Ozarks, which were bee-yooo-ti-ful. That landed us in Missouri, which felt equally as long as Tennessee, despite geographically being less mileage. Right past Kansas City, we got stuck in a tornado warning zone and apparently missed seeing the actual tornado by not too many miles. This made for a very paranoid Megan, two very upset kitties (they were taken from the free-range comforts of their little house and shoved into their carriers unwillingly, in case of a need for quick action) and a generally displeased Will. Once that situation was over, we sped out of Missouri as fast as we could, flying through a wind-swept and very flat Iowa, barreling our way up to Omaha.
Upon arriving in Omaha, we found our AirBNB tiny house, which was precious and adorable and everything you could imagine it would be, compost toilet and all. We made sure the monsters were settled in before heading off to dinner with the lovebirds, Shannon and Michael. We had burritos and beer, doing a speedy catch-up sesh, before sending them along to do one of the 1.4 trillion tasks they have left before their big day in just a few weeks! We were so happy to see them and it gave us a chance to at least drive around different parts of Omaha, which seemed like a pretty cool city. We loved spending the night in the tiny house, though I’m pretty sure the monsters loved it more because it meant they could hop up and down the stairs, occasionally jumping from the loft down to the floor below. Emma got to partake in her favorite pastime of being an absolute terror at night, making as much noise and being as obnoxious as possible. Love that little boo.
Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 of the cross-country tales! More importantly, this is a food blog and thus I must take at least a few moments to recognize that we are sharing a brie-based grilled cheese sandwich. Brie Grilled Cheese. How decadent is that?!?!? Will whipped this up a couple months ago, while we still lived in Williamsburg and before he even graduated (tardy as charged)., based off of a post I believe I saw on Buzzfeed. We were definitely into quick meals at that point in time, since we were each doing a bajillion things at once – non-stop events at work (M), writing a masters thesis (W), applying for jobs and interviewing all over the country (W), teaching/hosting a recital (M), gigging (M) and preparing for our trip to South Africa (mostly W because of the academic aspect, but M with the vacation planning part of it). So when we came across a list of fun grilled cheese sandwiches to try, despite not being big grilled cheese fanatics, something just spoke to us. We landed on the brie/Brussels sprouts combo because brie. We happily wolfed this down one night in between activities and it’s on the list of “things to make again and actually take the time to enjoy eating.” Read on, try it for yourself, don’t be scared by Brussels sprouts and enjoy!
Cooking Notes: Will’s not a big mustard fan, so we didn’t use as much dijon as the recipe called for. Otherwise, this was a pretty straightforward recipe so we made it as is.
Brie & Brussels Sprouts Grilled Cheese (adapted from A Cozy Kitchen; serves 2)
2 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1/4 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 shallot, minced
6-7 brussels sprouts, sliced thinly
Fresh ground S&P
Bread of choice
In a medium skillet, melt 1 tbsp of unsalted butter over medium heat. Once melted, add the dijon mustard, minced shallot, pinch of fresh ground pepper and shaved Brussels sprouts. Toss the mixture together and cook until softened, about 3-5 minutes, then salt to taste. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
Spread the remaining 1 tbsp of unsalted butter on both pieces of bread on one side. Liberally add the brie to one piece of bread on the non-buttered side, then top with Brussels sprouts and the other piece of bread with butter facing out. Carefully transfer to the skillet and cook on low until the bread is toasty and golden brown on both sides and the cheese is gooey and melty, about 10 minutes.