Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Monday Mouthfuls: Cast Iron Skillet Breakfast Casserole

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Compliments of my cousin, Melissa, we enjoyed her cast iron skillet breakfast casserole. So mouth-watering, fragrant, and tasty! I can’t wait to play with the recipe when I get home.

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Cast Iron Breakfast Casserole

Ingredients:

1 package tater tots

1 dozen eggs

1 cup diced turkey ham (or your ham choice)

1 cup grated cheese

salt and pepper

butter

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Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Generously butter inside of seasoned cast iron skillet.

3. Line bottom and edges with tater tots.

4. Sprinkle ham over tater tot crust.

5. In separate bowl, whisk eggs until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix. Pour over ham and crust. (Cayenne would be great, too!).

6. Sprinkle cheese on top.

7. Bake in oven. Start checking at 45 minutes by jiggling pan for movement or sticking fork in center for doneness. We like a crispy crust, so ours cooked for about 1 hour.

8. Remove from oven. It will continue to cook for a bit more. Slice and serve while warm. Delish!

Optional toppings: salsa or ketchup (for the youngers, not me), chopped green onions, sour cream, Tabasco. I’d like to experiment with green peppers, green chilis, spinach, broccoli, kale, and cherry tomatoes, though not all at once. Mmm.

Thanks, Melissa! I am inspired to re-season my cast iron skillet and whip up some breakfast casserole!

 

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Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge: Stove Face

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stove top eyes, nose, mouth;

gleaming metal facade, shocked!

why is there a face?

 

Stove Face by Angie Quantrell

Happy Hump Day! Take the Haiku Challenge and share a haiku with us!


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The Mud Recipe

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“Dark chocolate looks like poop.”

So said Donavyn after I gave him some acai chocolate treats. “It looks like mud. Not dirt, but mud and water.”

“How do you make mud?” I asked.

“You take some dirt and mix some water.”

Ever the teacher of different genres of literature, “So what’s the recipe for mud?”

Compliments of a 5-year-old, here is Donavyn’s recipe for mud.

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How to Make Mud

Step 1: Get some dirt.

Step 2: Add some water.

Step 3: Mix it up. Now you have mud.

Everyone needs this recipe. Go outside. Play in the mud.

 


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Book Report: Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners

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Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners

by Natalie Rompella

Sky Pony Press, 2017

 

What’s a girl to do when she is suddenly placed in a class WITH the hard-nosed teacher and WITHOUT her best friend and co-chef? The project they have been planning for years is swept off the table and the friends are paired with new partners.

Ana is devastated to learn she must partner with Dasher, a new kid from Alaska. All the new girl talks about is sled dogs. Worse, she has no culinary skills! Even worse, best friend Lily is paired with Via, another non-cook but super cool girl.

AND only Lily knows the truth about Ana. OCD dogs her every waking minute, leading Ana to obsess over germs and wash her hands to the point of cracked, chapped skin.

There are so many great things about Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners! I loved the characters and the middle school angst. The finer details of friendship, making new friends, OCD, school, projects, hobbies, teamwork, trying something new – all of these important issues play together in this engaging chapter book.

I learned new information about obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and treatment for this disorder. I also learned many new things about racing sled dogs and creating unique recipes. Readers will find at least one thing to identify with through the characters in Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners. Readers looking for books about dogs, friends, cooking and creating, going to school, or OCD will love this book.

Two thumbs up for Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners by Natalie Rompella.

P.S. ACTUAL recipes are shared in this book, creations by the main characters.

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I won a copy of Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners after reading an interview with Natalie Rompella and commenting about her new book at groggorg.blogspot.com. You can read the interview here.


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Talk to Me Tuesday: Is RV Living Genetic?

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The Wheetley sisters had a weekend get-together a few weeks ago, hosted by my cousin and me. Ranging from 73 to 90, the four siblings are getting to the age where each trip just might be the last.

But persist, we did. Now I’m not going to mention age-related issues, but let’s just toss out a few things to consider if you are planning a cabin-in-the-woods adventure for the mature crowd.

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Steps. There will be steps. Unfortunately our cabin had NO handrails for the stairs climbing to the deck and front door. Gorgeous building, plenty of room, majestic pine trees, amusing chipmunks (squirrels? we could never decide) living in the roof of the cabin next door. But NO handrails.

The rule of thumb became: No one goes UP or DOWN the stairs unless Melissa or Angie is offering arm support (and perhaps humming the bridal march). I won’t mention names, but one of us did not follow the rules. And fell down the stairs. So there is that to consider.

Stubborn independence. We Wheetley’s are an independent lot. I think this character trait strengthens with age. Maybe even quadruples. Just be forewarned.

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Food. The two of us planned excellent meals, if I don’t say so myself. But we planned way TOO much. I went to the cabin with an ice chest full of food. I came home with an ice chest full of food. Not the same food, but most of the leftovers. I think smaller meals and lots of tasty snacks (zucchini bread, blueberries, fudge, fresh fruit, and cheese seemed to be the favorites). Keep that in mind. And always ALWAYS check the lid on new fresh pepper grinders before adding pepper to a pan of quiche that’s ready to go in the oven. Ah-hem.

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Hot tub. We enjoyed the in-deck hot tub surrounded by towering trees and blue skies. And neighbors going to and fro on the nearby road, but who’s worried about an audience? The STEPS rule came into play at the hot tub, with the added element of danger due to the slippery water. I’m convinced we could have videotaped us trying to maneuver all of us into and out of the water and won big money on American’s Funniest Home Videos. But the only one who fell in was Melissa, I mean, a younger person who was in charge of keeping everybody else safe.

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Games. Puzzles. Crafts. Oh, my! Surprisingly, these were not the hit. Socializing, grazing, and sipping before meal drinks were the favored activities. Three of us enjoyed working two puzzles. I colored in an adult coloring book (and later turned that paper into stamped cards, thank you very much). So I wouldn’t worry too much about planning extra activities. Family stories and funny incidents made up most of our adventure. And toting along a few chick flicks is a good idea. We enjoyed movies after dinner.

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Giggling. This will happen. At any time of day or night. And certain somebody’s might sneak into the sisters’ bed to warm up and giggle some more. Can we say adorable?

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We did make 2 short outings. One day we hit the thrift store and fudge shop, bringing back probably 2 million calories in a variety of fudgy flavors. A different day we took a drive to see the lake. No getting out, just a scenic tour.

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Where does the RV genetic link come in? My husband and I have been living in an RV two years this month. This is temporary (I hope) as we figure out the building a small home process, but still, we are living in an RV. During our many trips down memory lane, I realized that three of the four sisters spent at least two years living in RVs! Let me say that in no way have I ever wanted to live long-term in an RV, yet here I am. Genetically predisposed? Or environmentally influenced?

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Either way, I love my Wheetleys, whether it’s their fault I’m in the RV or not. Wink, wink. And we had a great time and made new memories.

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SURVEY TIME: Are there any other Wheetleys who live (or lived) in an RV? How about the Hill side of the family?

 


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Fun Friday: Rubber Stamping Holiday

Welcome to the wonderful world of stamping!

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Stamping is always a holiday of sorts, taking me away from the regularly scheduled program. Mixed media (stamps, inks, water colors, markers, patterned papers, trinkets, ribbons, glitter glue) form the foundation of creativity.

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One other ‘most important’ component of rubber stamping and creating is engaging with a partner. The back and forth bouncing of ideas, materials, and suggestions energizes the joy and productiveness of the hobby.

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In addition, two or more crafters mean combined stamps, tools, and resources! In essence, the community of supplies multiplies opportunities for creativity!

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Besides, it’s much more enjoyable to chat and solve the world’s problems with a friend while I’m involved in a fun pastime.

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I suppose this habit of working with a partner to be applied to nearly every pursuit in life: writing, rearing a family, hiking, building a career, preparing meals, cleaning, going to college, pursuing spiritual growth…

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Thanks, friends, for joining my journey!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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The Beach, It Calls to Us #ThrowbackThursday

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The beach and the Quantrells, we go way back.

This is significant because for most of my growing up years (1st-9th grade) my family lived in Arizona. It’s pretty difficult to find a beach (ocean, salt water) within the borders of this southwestern state. Not that I’m complaining! I loved the desert years.

(Heh, heh. Still live in a desert. Just one that is located in eastern Washington.)

I started going to the beach after I met my future husband, Kevin. His family always vacationed at the beach. Specifically Ocean Shores, Washington. Sure they traveled up and down that portion of the Pacific Ocean coastline, but the majority of beach time was spent right there.

Lucky me! I was invited to traipse along on summer vacations. It was a little cozy in the Prowler camp trailer, barely 6 inches of space above my nose. A little tight, a little close.

Fast forward a few years, and the new Quantrell family continued the tradition by hauling both babies to the Washington beaches surrounding Ocean Shores. They went as babies, toddlers, preschoolers, children, teens, and adults. We’ve taken along dogs, relatives, friends, family, bicycles, toys, fireworks, s’mores; you name it, it was probably in our truck, camper, or tent.

This photo shows the four of us enjoying the beach via beach grasses and dunes. Some of my favorite memories and experiences happened at the beach.

I can’t wait to go back with my grands. They need to experience MY beaches!

Where is your favorite childhood vacation location?

 


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Surprise Dinner Plans: Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge

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surprise dinner plans

 

salmon encrusted

with spicy cajun tartar;

cat had other plans

 

aluminum foil

cooler than summer and fur;

unsupervised cat

 

kitty barbeque?

dare not, methinks, feline love.

new foil, fish dinner

 

 

by Angie Quantrell

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BEWARE leaving the cat alone to her own devices in the RV while I’m out trotting around the pasture.

How has your cat (dog, child, husband, wife) surprised you? Share by penning a haiku!

 

 


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Monday Mouthfuls: Corn Blueberry Salad

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Now don’t say no before you try this salad! It is so good, I had two huge servings. If you ask me, there is nothing wrong with fresh corn in any kind of salad, especially if it was just shucked and cut from the cob. Delish!

A wonderful cook and hostess (Vickie) made this lunch salad for my stamping buddy (Alyson) and I when we were spread out all over her dining room table creating cards. This wasn’t the only tasty dish she prepared, but certainly one I want to recreate. Thanks to Vickie and her bountiful garden!

And drats, the picture I took of the recipe cut off the magazine title and year, but I believe it as Better Homes & Gardens, many years back. Since I can’t adequately give the source, I will just list the ingredients. Just remember to cook the corn about 5-6 minutes, cool it in ice water, and slice if from the cob.

Corn Blueberry Salad

6-7 ears of sweet corn (shucked)

1-1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

1 sliced English cucumber

1/4 cup cilantro

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

1 jalapeño, seeded and diced (less if you prefer less spice)

lime juice, olive oil, honey, cumin, a sprinkle of salt (for dressing; shake well in covered jar)

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Gently mix all ingredients (minus dressing) in bowl. Stir in dressing until well covered. The original recipe says to let it sit 24 hours in fridge, but we decided that was not necessary AND the cilantro and perhaps the cucumber would become wilted in the long soak. So eat it right away!

This salad is not only tasty, but gorgeous! Perfect for those summer barbecues. Five thumbs up!

Note: As per my usual, I’ve tweaked the amounts and added more of what I love (like red onion and cucumbers). I bet there are other tasty ingredients just waiting for a chance to join the salad party.

 

 


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Weeds Are Winning (Gardening Gone Bad)

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A hectic summer schedule has provided ample time for weeds to take over the garden.

Despite some attempts at control, a busy travel itinerary leaves much to be desired in the ‘finding edible items in the garden’ category. Is everything growing? Yes! All experiments and plant combinations are thriving with unbridled passion.

But alas, the weeds have accepted the challenge and are rising to the top, willy-nilly.

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Enter gardening goal: Fill to overflowing one wheelbarrow full of weeds each day I am home. At this rate, the garden will look spectacular by October 1.

Gardening gone bad, you lose!

Until then, we play garden hide-and-seek for prized veg and fruit.

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