Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


1 Comment

Throwback Thursday: Wedding Gift Still at Work Nearly 35 Years Later

C3E3A20E-1DAE-4BC3-8B8B-3E70F232ECF0

2020 is the year of Kevin and Angie. At least that’s what my honey says. He wants to celebrate our 35th anniversary all year long. I can live with that.

Our actual wedding anniversary date is June 22, 1985. Happy anniversary to us!

I realize that many of you may not even have been born yet. Wow.

I’ve also lately realized that many of the gifts we received on that sunny Saturday so many years ago we still have, use, and enjoy. If it ain’t broke, keep it and use it. Sentimental value makes these gifts even more special.

BCCB5646-AD1D-4B5F-B74A-168B5A0FA5EC

Like my casserole dish. I have really come into my own in using this versatile beauty over the last couple of years. For one, the size is perfect for the tiny RV stove. And the lid is an added bonus which allows me to cook covered dishes or uncovered foods. Perfect! An added bonus is how easy this is to clean. Nonstick without the Teflon.

This casserole and lid were originally part of a set. There was a smaller casserole dish and matching lid. I’m pretty sure the smaller dish did not make it to the 35th anniversary year. Unless (let’s all hope so) it has been in storage so long I can’t remember what happened to it.

I’ve cooked everything from quiche to apple crisp to salmon to tater tot casserole in the larger casserole. One of my favorite recipes is a no/low carb bacon cheeseburger casserole. You serve it with relish and diced red onions! The next time I make that I’ll try and remember to take some photos. But photos will not do it justice. One must taste it, relish, dill, and all.

EA2BE026-0DC9-4F88-A3D4-24E524BF0584

Featured in this casserole dish (again, the pictures are not great) is a no crust apple crisp. Sliced apples (unpeeled), oatmeal, cinnamon, and grated cheese. I sometimes add a tiny bit of water for moisture. Bake until apples are softened and cheese is melted. My stamping and eating buddy somehow came up with the recipe. Super easy and tasty. Thanks, Alyson.

Back to my casserole dish. I love the French words and images on the side. Many memories have been made when sharing foods baked in this wedding gift. Thank you, to the thoughtful giver. Who knew I would still have it so many years later?

If I could find my “wedding stuff” box, I bet I could even figure out who gave us this set. Now that would be fun. New goal before the actual anniversary date: FIND the wedding box.

How about you? Do you have any wedding gifts or sentimental items that you’ve kept over the years? I’d love to hear about them.
E6647A58-3427-41CA-A33D-FDB39CDAB622


2 Comments

Cooking Day: Fall Flavors Give RV Oven a Workout

27AB3F8A-DA18-4C94-BD37-AF833769BB7B

Yesterday, while I was watching the Seahawks shoot themselves in the feet, I mean LOSE but with style, I gave in to my urge to bake. The day went like this.

Home from church. Make tuna salad for lunch. Clean up.

Tuna Salad: two cans tuna, drained; 1 celery stick, chopped; 1/2 red onion, diced; about 1/4 c. dill relish; 1/4 c. chopped walnuts; fresh ground black pepper; cayenne; cumin; and enough mayo to make it mix well. I ate mine over cherry tomatoes. My honey ate his on his favorite whole grain bread. No pictures of this, but it was tasty!

Bake Gingerbread Muffins. Clean up.

7B5088F0-D614-460C-A70E-EE21398A374D

I found this recipe at the What’s for Dinner Moms? blog.   I’ve found quite a few tasty treats on this blog. As usual, I adjusted the recipe to our tastes, using whole wheat and almond flour, and added allspice and cloves, and swapped out white sugar and added brown. I also doubled the icing. These are so yummy!

6D71A35E-1232-40B8-ABE3-D75A9FA5A100

Bake Oatmeal Cups. Clean up.

Okay. So the recipe calls them Granola Cups with Yogurt and Berries. I was taste testing them for a Jello Molders weekend. They came out pretty good. I found this recipe in an old 2017 issue of Cooking Light.

B66B08B3-871E-449E-AB4D-80E34F8115B6

Bake Mexican Chocolate Cookies. Clean up.

A98950D4-BF00-481C-B7CC-DE7685A64CD7

These spicy little treats are awesome. The cayenne livens things up a bit. And chocolate? Of course they are delicious. This recipe is from a May issue of Martha Stewart, but I’ve accidentally torn off the year…

F396616B-7288-4A2D-AC1F-AD9D99832738

Put a pot of chicken soup on to simmer. Clean up.

There are no pictures of this first soup of the season. But know I used up the rest of our Costco rotisserie chicken, celery, onions, a potato, kale from the garden, a bag of mixed frozen veggies, stewed tomatoes, chicken broth, Mrs. Dash, crushed red pepper, black pepper, and poultry seasoning. It was excellent served with a dollop of sour cream. My honey added corn chips to the top.

Eat dinner. Clean up.

I’d say for a Sunday, I spent a lot of time cleaning up! A friend and I consider washing dishes a workout. Including breakfast dishes, I worked out 6 times! You should see my buff arm and shoulder muscles. 🙂 In the RV, one must clean up EVERY time a new dish is prepared. Space and tiny sink and all.

The successes were ALL of the above. It was a tasty day. Other than the Seahawks losing.

How about you? What do you like to bake or simmer in the fall? Happy first day of autumn!

1FF7F8FE-B825-440D-9156-9DE63C0A165E


Leave a comment

A Little Encouragement Goes a LONG Way

DSC_1134

I might be one of the worst encouragers. Seriously. I think all these wonderful thoughts and admirations, but often forget to pass along many (or any) of the encouraging statements floating through my brain.

Case in point. Last week I texted my honey while he was at work. Almost daily he sends me lovey dovey, encouraging texts. I tell him I love him, but I don’t usually reply with much lovey dovey stuff. I feel it, think it, know it. But forget to tell him. This time I texted him first and told him how much I love him and what a blessing he is to me and how much I love our life together. He was so touched! I felt horrible for not doing it more often. I mean REALLY, not just thinking good things, but sharing. It’s not that hard. You can guess what one of my simmering on the back burner goals is now, can’t you?

Here’s yet another example of encouragement that goes a long way. While enjoying my writing residency at Holly House (Hypatia-in-the-Woods) I opened the writing desk drawer to find many different encouraging notes from previous residents. What a wonderful surprise! I loved reading each note and added a few of my own. Permission to take a nap! Yay!

The short of it: saying or writing an encouragement to someone doesn’t take that long. As long as it’s heartfelt, encouragement is the gift that keeps on giving.

Who can you encourage today?

DSC_1132

 


Leave a comment

Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge: ode to pesto (plus recipe)

D763EC90-362A-42E9-9219-CA2C997121D2

rip, shred, pulverize-

greens, cheese, garlic, oil becomes

feast! dine, friend, pesto.

 

ode to pesto by Angie Quantrell

 

Spring is here and with it comes potted basil plants from Trader Joe’s. Basil is the scent and flavor of all things yummy. I cheat, buying multiples of potted plants each trip to Seattle, instead of planting. Though this year I am tempted to throw some seeds in a planter box and see what happens. Last year I picked up a basil plug from the grocery section at a store, and it performed beyond expectations! Of course, I repot the potted plants and plugs in good potting soil and harvest leaves as I need them.

Every summer, we gorge on pesto-on pizza, salmon, chicken; in sauce and soup. So pungent, cheezy, and filled with garlic, we can taste the beauty and intense flavors the next morning. (Yes, we brush our teeth…but my pesto is the gift that keeps giving…lol).

I use my little RV-sized food processor, so one batch is perfect for one meal.

WALNUT BASIL PESTO

Ingredients:

basil (lots of leaves, fill the food processor)

walnuts (coarsely chopped)

shredded Parmesan cheese

3-5 chopped garlic cloves

olive oil

sea salt

Optional: I’ve added spinach to up the nutritional value and use up left over amounts

 

Directions:

Add basil, walnuts, Parmesan, and garlic. Pour on olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Blend, adding additional olive oil to get the consistency your prefer. I always have to stop the machine and stir down the pesto to get it all to mix.

I don’t measure anything with this recipe, other than how much garlic I add. It’s never been too thin, but rather I need more oil. Serve right away with chicken, pizza, salmon, steak, or on toasted bread. Store leftovers (if there are any) in tightly sealed container or freeze immediately.

Now, where’s my tiny food processor?

 


2 Comments

Snow Cream Strikes Again!

D5E8D83F-7DAE-4DA8-95AB-77897D9BC77E

Yesterday, 2-hour late start.

Today, NO SCHOOL. At all. As a kid, I would love it. As a Nana, I can’t keep up! (But I still love it.)

F6EE349E-328F-40C4-911D-917139DF3312

Sledding, shoveling, driving RCs (rock crawlers to you folks not in the RC club know), and clambering in very deep snow and cold temps leads us to the refreshment portion of the day.

845E2233-3E2B-438D-8B24-E671BF1F782F

It’s time to make Snow Cream!

  1. Fill one large bowl with clean snow. CLEAN snow.
  2. Mix between 1/4-1/2 cup sugar into 1 cup of milk. Dissolve sugar. Add 1 tsp. vanilla to milk. Stir well.
  3. Pour small amounts of sweetened milk over ice cream and stir. If you don’t have enough liquid, add more milk. I like to reduce the sugar as much as possible, so start with the smallest amount.

Once the snow is creamy, scoop into bowls and enjoy! Snow cream is a hit in this house.

P.S. IF you are a mommy, daddy, auntie, or Nana, and a fan of Irish cream, uhm, the coffee creamer version could help you survive snow days. Maybe after the kiddies are tucked in bed at night. A little Irish cream snow treat.

B32DEB82-E986-43CE-B869-87F83DE79A16


Leave a comment

Eat Your Colors: Curry Zoodle Soup Recipe

097E3131-2176-42A7-83AA-8DC1C2227CB7

This collage of colorful fruits and vegetables just screamed, “TAKE my picture!”

So I did. And then I cooked them all. That’s what they get for drawing attention to their beauty. A healthy diet is a colorful diet. So to this food art, I added a few more things to make curry noodle soup. Yummy!

 

Curry Zoodle Soup

2 T. vegetable oil

2 tsp. curry powder

1 tsp. ground turmeric

Saute’ over high heat, about 1 minute, stirring the whole time.

 

Gently add:

4 cups chicken broth

1-15 oz. can coconut milk

5-6 cups cubed butternut squash

1 sliced red pepper

1 sliced onion

Bring to boiling, reduce heat, and cook until squash is soft (about 15 minutes).

 

Add:

1 med. zucchini, zoodled

1 bag or half a plastic container of fresh spinach, stems removed

Juice of 1 lime

Heat 5 minutes. Stir well. Serve over cooked and shredded chicken breast.

 

This soup is so fragrant and tasty. You can also add any other favorite veggies (pea pods, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower). Good thing there’s plenty more for tomorrow!


Leave a comment

Monday Mouthfuls: Spiced Walnuts

FF99EA26-B507-44BE-B2A4-C3B25FD59E2B

I know walnuts are one of the healthiest nuts. And we should eat them every day. But I just can’t. It’s not that I don’t like them. I just like them in stuff. So I sneak them in my healthy dark chocolate cookies and muesli (which we eat nearly every day for breakfast), and put them on top of stuff. Mostly, my honey eats them as toppings (on yogurt, toast, crackers, nut mix). I’ve always been a hot fudge sundae without the nuts/cherry/whipped topping kind of girl. Just give me good old vanilla ice cream with plenty of hot fudge.

This recipe really helps me eat a daily snack of heart-healthy walnuts. Maybe they are not as good for you due to the small amount of sweetener, but they are not healthy for me if I DON’T eat them at all. Wink, wink.

75BC7008-5355-4122-854F-72AE1BF84913

Spiced Walnuts

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Put parchment paper on cookie sheet.

In bowl, whip:

1 egg

1 T. cinnamon (we love cinnamon, another good-for-you spice, so I tend to go heavy-handed on how much I put in)

1/2 tsp. cayenne (more if you want some bite)

1 T. maple syrup (the real stuff)

2 T. (or so) brown sugar

Add and stir well to coat:

5 cups walnut halves

Spread on parchment paper and bake 20 minutes. Stir. Bake an additional 5-10 minutes until dry. Cool. Break apart and store in covered container.

Eat every day.

 

What’s your favorite healthy snack?

You can read more about healthy walnuts here.


Leave a comment

Monday Mouthfuls: Cast Iron Skillet Breakfast Casserole

E55E9CAB-04EF-46C7-87BC-3E92C5868385

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.

6E7A24DE-DCB1-4AB9-85E8-EF27F7407D0A

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

ED4D3CEA-B8A9-46CE-88A2-16B0E863422E

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!

 


Leave a comment

The Mud Recipe

1EA1E846-3006-4477-9A2A-9A9DC2888E37

“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.

578F5D03-2157-451D-8AF7-6409493EF9A3

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.

 


Leave a comment

Monday Mouthfuls – Breakfast Sandwiches

D2441BF3-D4FA-4BE3-8690-45878D07CCF3

We love breakfast sandwiches! Or at least I used to, before cleaning up my diet. But my honey still enjoys taking a break from muesli and yogurt to eat a yummy protein-rich breakfast sandwich. I make these at home, usually 3 at a time. They freeze very well and he can pop one in the microwave any day he feels like a little something different. The filling possibilities are endless.

52AD3E09-241F-4094-9DE9-20EF96DBA2E2

Whole Wheat Egg, Ham, and Cheese Breakfast Sandwiches

Ingredients:

3 whole wheat English muffins

3 slices ham (we prefer thinner slices)

3 slices cheddar cheese (Swiss or pepper jack are also great)

3 eggs

black pepper

olive oil

Dijon mustard

plastic wrap

ziplock bags

 

Directions:

1. Toast the English muffins. Spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard on each sandwich. Place open-faced on a cutting board.

2. Layer ham and cheese on one half of each muffin, cheese is on top.

3. Fry the eggs in olive oil, liberally doused with black pepper. For freezing, cook the eggs all the way through. For immediate consumption, a runnier yolk is fine.

4. Place one egg on top of each cheesy muffin. The egg will melt the cheese. Leave open-faced to cool. Unless you are eating right now, then close it up and enjoy!

***If you want, quickly place eggs on a folded paper towel to remove excess oil, then add to sandwich.

5. For freezing, let sandwiches cool completely. Add muffin tops and wrap snuggly in plastic wrap. I also like to put mine in sandwich ziplock bag. Pop in the freezer until time to eat. Rewarm in the microwave.

Delish!

Other things to add: baby kale or spinach, turkey, onions, sausage patties, bacon, different mustards. For fresh sandwiches (not frozen) you can add tomato slices, thinly sliced zucchini, mushrooms, or any other fresh veggie from the garden.

The sky is the limit! Or should I say the amount of space between muffin top and bottom and what you can hold together in your hands is the only limit. 🙂

Bon appétit!

D93DEE47-0D21-46B1-B934-38F9BB50BC5B