The holidays are near. Here are several great sides or starters for your holiday table.
Clean mushrooms and remove stems, reserve for other use. Place caps on a plate with the gills up.
In a small bowl, combine the oil, onion, garlic and vinegar. Pour mixture evenly over the mushroom caps and let stand for 1 hour.
Grill over hot grill for 10 minutes. Serve immediately.
Stuffed Mozzarella Portobello Mushrooms
12 large portobello mushrooms, stemmed and gills removed
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 cup grated Parmesan
4 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves
4 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves
12 (1/2-inch) slices Provalone, roughly 1 to 1 1/2-ounces per slice
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Toss the portobellas in the balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup of olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste. Arrange the mushrooms on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature.
While the mushrooms are cooling mix together the bread crumbs, Parmesan, herbs and the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil.
Place 1 slice (2 if the mushrooms are large) of provolone in the cupped side of each mushroom. Distribute the bread and herb mixture evenly over the mushrooms and return to the oven to roast for 5 to 6 minutes or until the mozzarella is molten and the bread and herb topping a nice golden brown. Serve either hot or at room temperature and enjoy.
Gorgonzola Stuffed Gorgonzola
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
12 ounces turkey sausage, casings removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons freshly chopped thyme leaves
2 tablespoons fresh chopped oregano leaves
3/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1 cup (4-ounces) Gorgonzola
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
6 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed
Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the turkey sausage and cook, stirring frequently, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the mascarpone cheese. Add the thyme, oregano, bread crumbs, 1/2 cup of Gorgonzola, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir until all ingredients are combined.
Brush the mushrooms on both sides with the remaining oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the mushrooms, stem side down, for 3 minutes. Turn the mushrooms over and grill for 2 minutes until tender. Fill each mushroom with the sausage mixture and top with the remaining Gorgonzola. Return the mushrooms to the grill and cook until the stuffing is warmed through and the Gorgonzola starts to melt, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Cook’s Note: The assembled mushrooms can also be placed on a baking sheet and cooked under a preheated broiler until warmed through.
- 1 Lb Sage or Maple Sausage
- 1/2 (8 Ounce) Cream Cheese, Softened
- 4 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 5 Drops Worcestershire Sauce
- Pinch Ground Black Pepper
- 1 Pound Cremini Mushrooms (Baby Portobellos), Stems Removed
- 2 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Preheat an oven to 350°.
- Place the sausage in a large, deep skillet and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned and crumbled, about 10 minutes.
- Drain the sausage on a paper towel-lined plate. Place the sausage in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in the cream cheese, 4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper until evenly mixed. Spoon the filling into the mushroom caps and place into an 8×8-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese.
Bake in the preheated oven until the mushrooms are tender and the filling is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
ASPARAGUS AND MUSHROOMS Roasted
- 1 Bunch Fresh Asparagus, Trimmed
- 1/2 Pound Fresh Cremini Mushrooms, Sliced
- 2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary, Minced
- 5 Teaspoons Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt To Taste
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper To Taste
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Lightly spray a cookie sheet with vegetable cooking spray.
Place the asparagus and mushrooms in a bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil, then season with rosemary, salt, and pepper; toss well. Lay the asparagus and mushrooms out on the prepared pan in an even layer. Roast in the preheated oven until the asparagus is tender, about 20 minutes.
Regaining Our Joy
1. Ask for Help
When I was in my late forties I fell and had to have a metal plate placed in my right ankle. It was the first time I’d ever been debilitated and needed help. I had the six hour surgery on Friday and went to work on Monday. However, trying to drive with a cast on my right leg, going to the grocery store, shopping in a superstore… where people will knock you down on crutches rather than look at you, became unwelcome challenges. For those of us who want the world to think we are indestructible…“I’m fine,”… is the most used lie of them all. I know I used it a lot before I got sensible.
My point is this….losing all joy can be so frustrating and even debilitating for some of us. When we believe we can travel through life alone, it can feel like the end of the road. But, when we learn we can lean on others for help, things do get a little bit easier.
Because of our own ego, it’s often hard to see the true picture. Others may be able to bring new dimension to our situations that we might not have seen before. We often achieve our goals/dreams through one or two approaches: innovation or distress . Either way we are inspired by events or others to keep going, or we are so desperate and in serious need, that we keep pushing no matter what.
2. Don’t Lie to Yourself
We often take the stresses of live way too personally. Trying to place our emotions and dreams away from a situation that we put all of our heart and soul into, is nearly impossible for some of us. It often feels as if the Universe is against us, and we cannot understand why. We forget that we are in charge of how we choose to handle all situations. Getting a hold on our emotions and making solid choices is one of the trickiest thing to do.
We may be tempted to put the blame elsewhere. We may be attempt to give undue credit to situations, or karma. Avoid this temptation. Lying to yourself is also lying to the Universe, who absolutely knows better. Be objective. Don’t like to yourself about a situation. If form follows thought, then it stands to reason that these occurrences are a result of some of our past “stinkin thinkin”. It’s all about the genie in the bottle granting us our every thought. Try to recall the causes and effects of your own thoughts and behaviors. Take responsibility. Correct your thoughts in order to reach your desired goals.
3. Re-frame Your Outcome
If you are in a major dark night of the soul, that you believe is an indication of a failure in life, then it’s time to re-frame the situation. Thomas Edison failed to create electricity over seventeen hundred times. When asked if he was frustrated with his failures he replied something like…”No, I have successfully discovered over seventeen hundred ways that electricity does not work”… Talk about skillful re-framing of a thing!
You can have everything you want in life as long as you do not give up. One year my father framed a picture (I think everyone has seen it) of a stork trying to swallow a frog. The frog has its hands around the storks throat and is holding on tight. The bulging eyed stork can do nothing. The caption read…”Never, Never, Never, give up!”. That was Dad.
The point being do not lose faith, do not lose heart, do not loose focus of clear thoughts of success. We must keep going. Tell ourselves that all things are impermanent. Even our pain and suffering. Find a reason to smile. We need to keep the knowing that it’s all going to get better.
This suffering we are going through will be a distant memory we can discard as part of a lesson learned. When we understand this it makes us stronger, wiser, more courageous beings.
Truthfully I am one of those who believes it is about the journey. It is not about the destination only the positive outcome. Keep re-framing your goals. Determine just what you want out of life. Keep asking ourselves why we want it; do we still want it? If we agree our desire is strong enough, then we won’t let challenges stop us. We will keep going.
4. Be Grateful
I say this so much, that I know this might sound cheesy or way too ethereal. However, you’ve been around the crones long enough to know that there is something to be said about appreciating what we have and not focusing on what we don’t have. Keep the Focus on gratitude! Trust me, you will watch your life transforms in ways you can not even imagine.
Instead of telling the genie in the bottle you want of scarcity (thoughts created without focus or discipline), thoughts about what you don’t have, always worrying that you’ll never have it, what else can the genie in the bottle do but grant you these wishes/thoughts. Your wish is my command!!! the genie will say.
Instead lets focus on the things that you are grateful for in the world around us. The wise Yoda in Star War movies would say…” Do or do not; there is no TRY!” We can be joyful and grateful for so many things….like…you woke up healthy this morning, or that you and your family have food on your plate, a place to sleep, and people who love you. You have a pet or friend who let’s you know everyday that you are important in their lives. Your family is healthy, your partner is proud of you or just that the all knowing Universe is creating a grand life for you if you stay focused on the right thoughts and not interfere with negative thoughts.
An attitude of gratitude is a habit. It is one of those habits that must be constantly cultivated over time. See the good in the world around you and in yourself. It is quite amazing how more good things will come into your life.
It’s not some magic formula. It’s just the form follows thought attitude that makes others gravitate to you. I believe that being grateful is one of the most effective ways to let go of life’s stress, hostility, unforgiveness, turn fear to courage, or envy to happiness for others.
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit it is easier said than done! A balanced life can be restored over time. Nothing worthwhile is ever lost even when we are in the deepest valley of our darkest night of the soul. We were put here to be happy and thrive at all cost. I’ve come to use this term a lot over the years…” Six months from now this will seem trivial”… and then I start letting go in the now. It takes focus, practice, courage, commitment and determination. But is there for each of us if we only choose to take it. Time is finite and flowing….we each only have 24 hours each day. Then the sunrises again. Namaste, The Queen Cronista