Catching up on all the food and fun Q1 2018

Okay – so its been FOREVER since I posted and thought no better time to do a re-cap then an end of year. I am going to try and pull a photo from each month of 2018 and see if I can’t write a little blurb/recipe/fun fact about it. Always feel free to check out Grapes and Garlic on Instagram for up to date info, food and dingo photos.

So JANUARY 2018 was summed up last post with a quick trip to Portland (after battling some serious germs). The food in Portland is AMAZING – so please read that post. We are due for a trip to Inn by the Sea or Portland Harbor Hotel…hmmm so many choices.

FEBRUARY 2018 is the deep dark months of winter so it was all about comfort food. If you need something quick and healthy, reach for a jar of Kimchi! A Korean staple made of fermented cabbage it has all the warmth, spice and flavor you want for Asian dishes. I buy mine at the grocery store (usually in the refridgerated section near the tofu / noodles) but many people make their own.

Here is how I use a single jar of kimichi to make a quick meal:

1 jar kimichi (we like the spicy kind)
1/2 to 3/4 pound of quality ground beef
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
1 tablespoon of sesame oil


Before you start your beef, take your drained/dried tofu and dust with spices. Put on a foil lined / oil sprayed pan in a single layer, spaced out a bit and bake for about 30 minutes on 375 until golden brown.

In a large high sided pan, warm the coconut oil and brown the beef, breaking into mince
When the beef is 3/4 cooked add in the jar of kimchi (liquid and all) cook together with beef for 3-5 minutes on medium high, breaking up the beef and large pieces of cabbage with a wooden spoon making a lovely, saucy, meaty Asian goulash type thing in the pot. It will smell great! Drizzle in some sesame oil just before you serve.

1 box of firm tofu, drained and cut into cubes
Spices for tofu dusting: garlic, ginger, tumeric, black pepper and salt

Pile in a bowl some rice, kimchi/beef mixture and top with a few cubes of tofu. Finish with scallions and seeds.

Serving suggestions:
Jasmine rice cooked to package directions (I prefer mine cooked with a dash of coconut oil…supposedly it does something if you leave it over night to take out some caloriess…but that might be fake news –

Optional toppings:
Scallions, sesame seeds or chia seeds

This is a fairly quick dish, get the tofu started and the rice (or make ahead) and then whip up the kimichi/beef and you have dinner!


MARCH 2018 So we had a bit of a pipe dream about buying a cheap vacation house in the deep woods of Vermont (on the East side of the mountains). We did a little scouting trip with help from our Aunt Martha (in the area near her hometown). Part of the fun was just looking. If you shoot for the stars you might hit the moon. I am always amazed how pictures can be deceiving. We saw one property that looked to be the perfect cabin in the woods, I am not sure what angle they took that photo, but it was right smack in the middle of a trailer park and major roadway….not exactly the quiet escape we were looking for. Any excuse to take a trip to Vermont!

sh and martha

Real estate fuel was provided by:  \
Good food, good beer and a great little complex. We have spent plenty of time at their Boston location, but it was nice to visit their sister-ship in Vermont. Maybe someday we’ll be neighbors to the Windsor location instead of the Boston one.

I took at local trip with one of my girlfriends to the Peabody Essex Museum. Such a beautiful place, only minutes from our home. We were totally spoiled because we had a private guide who is a friend of Lisa’s. I was in awe of the Chinese House. We played with the fun installations and enjoyed a day full of culture and art just down the road! I am usually a traditionalist when it comes to paintings but I was drawn into the art of T.C. Cannon – what beautiful, interesting and vibrant pieces.


Winter 2018 was full of good food, good friends and cozy nights tucked against the winds of old man winter.



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