Monday, August 22, 2011

A Homecoming....and Cauliflower Mac N Cheese!

No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.  ~Lin Yutang

Where have I been? I had a little adventure of my own!! 

As some of you know, our daughter Jessica traveled to India for 2 months this summer as part of the Vet School program at Virginia Tech.  She has a blog here of her own in order to share some amazing pictures and to share her adventure. I'll let her tell you all the stories, as she updates. 

What does that have to do with me?? 

Jess had great difficulty with internet connections in India, they had paid for a broadband card, that ended up not working, so communications were slim to none! Facebook chat was nearly our only chance to communicate, and with spotty internet, it was they were 9-1/2 hours ahead of us, so timing was also difficult. 

She was due to fly out on Wednesday, August 17 at 1:45 am India time (~ 4:30 pm here), to Frankfurt, Germany, then nonstop to Dulles, and after a 4-1/2 hour layover, on to Roanoke, VA, which was 30 miles from home!  I had her itinerary, and would track the flights across the world!! I know, it's just a Mom thing, I have to watch all the countries she flies over!! :) 

The plane had just lifted off, and they were in the air about 15 minutes, and her husband Brad called! I cheerfully answered with "I just saw her take off!!"  There was a long pause, the Brad responded with, "They didn't make it on the flight!" "They didn't have the proper exit visas"...Thankfully, he called the Vet School and spoke to them, explaining the issue, so that any help could be provided from this side!! He gets a medal for thinking of that, I couldn't think that straight!!

Without going through a lot of detail, I'll give you the shortened version of the next 48 hours!! They had to deal with the Indian Govt. offices, pay fines, fill out additional paperwork to register and get approved...they started when the offices opened that morning, and managed to push through the applications (normally 3-5 day waiting period) and get them approved in a couple of hours, then had to work closely with a travel agency to find them all flights, they confirmed it all just 30 minutes before time to get to the airport...again!!  Long story short...they made it out 24 hours later (Thursday), same flight!!  The only problem was that Jess couldn't fly to Roanoke, she would get to Dulles (Washington DC), and needed a ride home to Blacksburg VA!! 

 That's where I came in!!  I drove to Dulles, and met her there (THANK GOODNESS!!) and took her home to her hubby that night!! Her plane landed in DC at ~ 3:15 pm, and we had her home by 10:00 pm that night!! As you might have guessed, I have never been so happy to see her in my life!! She insisted I stay an extra day, so we got to visit on Friday and I came home Saturday Morning!!  

Believe it or not, her school started this morning (Monday) at 8:00 am!! Phew!! I know this will be an adventure she will not soon forget, I know I won't!!  I didn't think to take a camera, all I could think about was to get her home, but found this picture they took of themselves at the Frankfurt Airport....on the way home!! FINALLY!!

They looked tired...but so relieved!! 

So I got to participate in the adventure...even for just an instant!! :)

Welcome home Jess (and girls)....we sure are glad you are home!! 

Okay......Enough about matters of the heart!!

I decided that hubby would play guinea pig again this evening, I found a recipe I wanted to try, from Rachel Ray, and as usual, I followed it mostly, but made changes to it (noted) I halved it for the two of us and it's still a lot of leftovers!!...and I think it's a keeper, so I thought I would share!! 

Here goes:

Cauliflower Mac N Cheese

1 lb short cut pasta  (I used  1/2 lb penne rigate)
1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil 
1 head cauliflower (I used 1/2 head)
1 cup chicken stock
3 TBSP Butter
1 onion finely chopped (I used 1/2 onion)
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 TBSP flour (I used 1-1/2 TBSP)
2-1/2 cups milk (I used 1-1/4 cup)
fresh ground pepper
fresh grated nutmeg
3-4 sprigs sage , thinly sliced (I used fresh chives instead!)
2 TBSP Dijon mustard (I did not use)
1 cup sharp white cheddar cheese (I used 1/2-3/4 cup yellow mild cheddar)
1 cup Gruyere cheese (I used 1/2+ cup)
1 cup shredded parmigiano cheese (I used 1/2+ cup)
1 small bundle watercress (did not use)

As I said above, I halved it and it still would feed 4 easily!!

Bring salted water to a boil for pasta, and under cook the pasta about 2 minutes.

While the water comes to a boil, in a covered dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium to medium high heat, cut the core out of the cauliflower and set the head into the pot and add 1 cup of stock, cover and steam 12-15 minutes until tender. Remove and separate the cauliflower into flowerets, set aside. Discard the water from the pot.

Over medium heat in the same pot, melt the butter then add onions and garlic.

Saute until tender, and in the flour and whisk for 1 minute.  Whisk in the milk and season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and chives.  When thickened, stir in 2/3 of the combined cheeses. Add the pasta, cauliflower and stir, transfer to a baking dish, top with remaining cheese.

Bake at 400 degrees until cheese is melted and bubbly....20-30 minutes!

It was really good!!  Rachel says to garnish with fresh chopped watercress...I didn't do that, it was good just like it was!!  Another good one, and healthy too!!


::Hug:: + a special hug to Blacksburg VA tonight!! ;)



  1. Thank goodness Jess made it back home! I bet you were so worried. I bet I'd be a basket case!

    The cauliflower mac and cheese looks good :P
    That's me with my tongue hanging out lol!

    Batten down the hatches Cheri. Sending prayers your way, too!

  2. AT least she's home safely! I know how you feel - I'd drive anywhere at any time to bring one of my kids home. Good for you!

    That mac n cheese looks YUMMY!!!

  3. Thanks again for helping with Project Rescue Jess 2011! I was SO HAPPY to see your face in that airport. And I'm sorry i didn't call you back. Yet again, I died on the couch as soon as soon as i put my rear down on it.

    The mac & cheese looks great!! I'll have to try that one soon!

    I love you!


  4. So thankful she got home before you had to deal with the hurricane flight cancelations! How are you???? did you have any damage? I sure hope yall made it through safely! Been thinking of yall. xoxo

    PS- the mac and cheese looks delish!