Love, Laughter, and Life

The Writing Life of a Woman Who Might Be Missing a Few Brain Cells


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Trader Joe’s Potsticker Kale Soup

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We do love shopping at Trader Joe’s. Alas, the nearest location is over the river(s), through many woods, and on the other side of Snoqualmie Pass in Issaquah. Still, we visit regularly and stock up on favorites each time.

What do you do when hunger strikes, you live in an RV, and you want a quick dinner?

Soups’ on!

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Trader Joe’s Potsticker Kale Soup

Ingredients:

1 T. Butter

1 T. Olive oil

1 small onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 32-oz. Trader Joe’s Miso Ginger Broth

1 16-oz. Trader Joe’s frozen Pork Gyoza Potstickers

Approximately 4 cups chopped kale (see Trader Joe’s produce section)

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 bunch chopped green onions

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Directions:

1. In a large soup pot, sauté onions and garlic in butter and olive oil until carmelized.

2. Add broth. Pour a small amount of water in the carton, swirl to rinse, and add to pot. Stir and bring to a boil.

3. Add frozen potstickers, kale, and peas. Return to boil. Cook 4-5 minutes, gently boiling, until heated through and kale is wilted.

4. Ladle into bowls and top with chopped green onions. Makes 2-4 servings.

 

This was so yummy! Next time, I would add julienned carrots to the onion and garlic mixture. Ohhh, julienned red peppers would be great as well.

Super fast, fantastically delicious. Too bad there are no leftovers.


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Welcome Spring!

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Spring Wildflower

S – shows of life, green carpeted paths

P – peek at bursts of color, winters’ grays fade away

R – renewed vigor, earth joyfully bursts forth

I – invitation to celebrate, cold passes as warmth returns

N – nature dons her new attire, fresh and vibrant

G – growing time arrives, rest is over for bounty begins

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Columbia River Gorge


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The Welcome Mat is Out – RV Life

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The snow that has fallen would easily reach the second step, but diligent shoveling makes finding the welcome mat possible!

The welcome mat is out. Snow covered. But out.

Bundle up, jump in the one-horse open sleigh, and drive over the river and through the woods to Nana’s house. I mean Nana and Papa’s RV.

First, we’ll visit and catch-up. Of course, in our tiny space, this may require sitting in shifts or booting a cat off the chair. Speaking of cats, the floating fur is free.

For the exercise portion of our gathering, shall we shovel some snow? As it seems to fall continuously, there are a couple of acres ready for your attention. We’ll add in a bit of slip-sliding our way up the hill to the irrigation ditch, view the wildlife, and sled back down into the pasture.

To conclude our fun times together, toasty hot tea or coffee and perhaps a snack or two shall be served.

As we wave you out of sight, know our hearts and RV are warmer and happier. Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see you again soon.

Just aim for the welcome mat.

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The Christmas tree that shall stand in place until probably March – or until the snow melts enough to get to the base. It’s still beautiful, so I shall enjoy it until then!

Snow, glorious, snow.

Falling, drifting, growing

Into mountains

And triathlon driving adventures.

 

Snow, fabulous, snow.

Beautiful, peaceful, blanketing

Covering all

And putting to bed those who live under.

 

– By Angie Quantrell


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Roasted Delicata Squash with Parmesan and Walnuts

There is nothing that gets me quite so excited than the first time I get Delicata squash in the CSA. Delicata squash is the sign that this is it—summer, move over, there are knee high boots and scarfs to dig out of the basement. Fall has always been my favorite season. I believe my AOL profile in middle […]

Source: Roasted Delicata Squash with Parmesan and Walnuts

Anytime you say delicata squash, I’m hooked!


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Favorite Summer Recipe ~ Stuffed Squash

Crispy stuffed squash, a summer favorite!

by Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

Ahh. The bounty of summer awaits my growling tummy!

Though I am posting this recipe today, I made this dish several weeks ago. Due to the odd weather this year and very early and hot spring temperatures, the produce schedule is very early or entirely off schedule!

I know. But we take what we get and have a fancy meal. I also acknowledge that I post this recipe in some form almost every year. It is that good.

This year, on July 1st (so early), I harvested a zucchini and a yellow squash plus wax and green beans. So delish!

 

Stuffing for the squash

Stuffed Squash

Ingredients:

1 pound ground turkey

washed and chopped green and wax beans

2 squash, washed, cut in half lengthwise, and scooped out

1 can of black beans, rinsed

1 can of diced tomatoes

1 carrot, diced

1 onion, diced

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1-2 cups chicken broth

parsley

black pepper

crushed peppers

salt

Mrs. Dash

onion powder

olive oil

grated cheddar cheese

Prepped squash. I sometimes like to add olive oil, sea salt, and freshly ground pepper before I stuff them.

1. Saute onion, garlic, and carrot in olive oil. Add turkey meat to brown it.

2. After turkey is browned, add black beans, beans, tomatoes, and spices (to your taste). Add enough chicken broth to make a thick mixture. Let cook until bubbling and fragrant.

3. Stuff peppers with stuffing. I love them full and overflowing. You will probably have leftovers, which makes a tasty soup or casserole base. Sprinkle with grated cheese.

4. Place on parchment paper covered cookie sheet and bake for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Check often as you near the end of your cooking time to make sure squash ingredients are not overcooking. We like a crispy cheese topping, so we let them cook the full time.

5. Remove and enjoy!

Ready for the oven.

You can add almost anything to this dish. If I have quinoa, it goes in the mix. At times I’ve added broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms – you name it, I’ve probably had it in my stuffed squash.

I just love summer gardens and their tasty treats, don’t you? What’s your favorite summer dish?


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The Cow Who Climbed a Tree ~ Picture Book & KID KANDY

The cow who climbed a tree!

By Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

The Cow Who Climbed a Tree

Story and Illustrations by Gemma Merino

(Albert Whitman & Company, 2015)

 

Aha! Who wouldn’t love a cow who climbed a tree?

And why would this cow climb a tree anyway? Really? Just picture it.

The Cow Who Climbed a Tree is a wonderfully illustrated book about a cow who was insatiably curious. About everything.

Her sisters? They were only interested in grass.

But this cow had more exciting things on her mind. What about this? Or that? Why not this?

One could say that this cow, Tina, had a great and wondering imagination, to which her sisters always replied with scorn: Impossible, ridiculous, nonsense.

But The Cow Who Climbed a Tree did not give up.

I love this story about a cow who kept dreaming and exploring and doing in spite of the lack of belief from those around her. I think young readers will be encouraged to hold onto and follow their dreams regardless of what others think.

Go, Cow!

KID KANDY:

Climb a Tree

(If you don’t have a tree, paint one with watercolors! I fell in love with the illustrations in this picture book. Paint me a tree like Gemma did!)

Head outside and find a strong, tall tree. Make sure you have good pants and a shirt on to protect your knees and skin.

Climb that tree! Pretend you are Tina, a cow, and you are going to climb that tree. Of course you don’t have a tail or cloven hooves, but you can pretend!

Look for finger and toe holds. Rest against the trunk and sitting on top of branches. Watch out for pitch – it’s very sticky. See how high you can get before you are too far.

Was it fun?

I used to be a champion tree climber. I’ve put holes in many a pair of pants from stray branches and broken off bits. And it was never as easy getting down as it was getting up. So do be careful.


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Whole Wheat Multi-Grain Bread Recipe

Yummy Whole Wheat Multi-Grain Bread

By Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

Last week our cupboards resembled Old Mother Hubbard’s.

Yet I adamantly resisted going grocery shopping. Because it is not my favorite thing to do. You can read the post here.

Bread was in zero supply, so I looked in the cupboard and we had yeast packets! I decided to make bread. I know, lots of work. But anything to avoid hitting the supermarket aisles.

Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Multi-Grain Bread

Ingredients:

2 pkgs. active dry yeast

3/4 cup warm water

2 cups lukewarm milk (scalded and cooled)

1/4 cup honey

3 T. shortening

1 tsp. salt

4-5 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups white flour

3/4 cup chopped sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and almond flour (mixed together)

1/2 cup oatmeal (lightly ground in coffee grinder)

softened butter

Directions:

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk, honey, shortening, salt, white flour, and 2 cups whole wheat flour. Mix together.

Add oatmeal and grains plus enough whole wheat flour to make dough easy to handle.

Turn dough out onto floured counter. Knead about 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Roll into a ball. Put in a shortening greased bowl, turning once to cover all sides with shortening. Cover. Set bowl in warm spot and let rise until double (about 1 hour).

Punch down dough. Divide in half. Roll each half out into a rectangle. Tightly (but gently) roll the dough into a loaf and place seam-side down in a greased loaf pan. Repeat with second loaf. Lightly brush tops with butter. Cover and let rise for another hour, or until doubled.

Heat oven to 425 and put oven racks on a lower setting so the bread tops rest in the center of the oven. Bake until loaves are toasty brown and sound hollow when thumped, about 30 minutes.

Remove loaves from pans, place on cooling racks, and spread butter on top. Cool and enjoy!

My well-loved and much used pre-marriage cookbook

The original recipe came from my Betty Crocker’s Cookbook (Golden, New and Revised Edition) that I’ve had since before I was married (pre-1985). The name inscribed on the inside front cover is Angie Hill.

In fact, there is no title page, as it has fallen out during some previous cooking escapade. We now start things off on page 7 and discuss how to care for and prepare meat.

***My recipe for Whole Wheat Multi-Grain Bread has been adjusted and adapted to our tastes – less salt, more grains, and a mix of whole wheat and white flour.


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Smorgasbord Health – Brain health – A nutrient packed shopping list.

This is my shopping list and each week I try to find as much variety as I can amongst the seasonal foods.  There are two lists.. .one with the nutrients you need to be healthy and the foods that pr…

Source: Smorgasbord Health – Brain health – A nutrient packed shopping list.

One way I remember great posts is to repost them on my blog. That way I can go back and refer to them when I need to. Love this shopping list! Thanks, Sally!


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The Day the Mountain Blew

Standing on the top edge of Mt. St. Helens, looking at Mt. Adams

By Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

What were you doing on May 18, 1980?

Maybe you were not even born yet! That does make me feel old, so let’s keep that to ourselves.

On that beautiful Sunday morning, so many years ago, I was at church with my family and friends. It was during Sunday school, so the time was early in the day.

Rocks, rocks, rocks!

Murmurs of something going on and the escalation of tension crept throughout the groups of people. We all went outside and saw huge, billowing, black clouds racing our way from the west.

Upon the advice of emergency officials and church leaders, everyone was sent home.

Soon, the entire sky was overtaken by the black gray heavy clouds. Not rain clouds as they appeared, but ash and smoke. Grit started to pour down. It wasn’t a gentle ash, but steady and thick.

Mostly we were excited to find out what was happening. I don’t remember being afraid at all, just curious. We got to skip out on church, and though we were all advised to stay inside out of the ash, we ventured out several times to check out the weather.

Volcano weather.

At that time, we didn’t have immediate access to world events. No one really had computers, just radios and the basic television channels. Phones were all old fashioned and connected to a wall phone jack. Information traveled much slower.

A view of what’s left at the top of Mt. St. Helens

One of my weekend jobs was to care for an elderly lady one street over. Mrs. Nelson lived by herself in a big house. She was alone that volcano-y day. I received a call asking that I go over and check on her. I did so, and explained to her what was going on and made sure she had her lunch and the things she needed.

My then future-husband was on his own for the weekend, as his parents were out of town. So he ended up at our house for much of that week. He was normally there, so that was nothing new.

As this was our first volcano eruption, we had no idea what we were in for. School was open as usual Monday morning. We headed to school. I remember trying to use the windshield wipers. Scrape, grit, scrape, grit. Not a good idea.

It was all excitement for the students. A volcano! Ash and grit. LOTS of ash and grit. A volcano ashfall.

The problems became evident soon enough. Students waiting for buses to stop were overwhelmed with clouds of billowing, drifting ash. We couldn’t breathe! People started wearing face masks just to be able to be outside. Vehicles were being damaged by the large amounts of ash and grit being inhaled and forced through the internal engines. Others tried to begin the clean up process, only to find there was nowhere to put their mountains of ash.

The girl with the cow shorts heading up Mt. St. Helens

So much ash. Inches fell on every little thing. Daytime looked like nighttime. Headlights had to be used to improve visibility.

After Monday, school was cancelled for the rest of the week in order to give everyone time for cleaning away ash. I’m sure officials were scrambling to figure out what to do with the ash, checking to see how dangerous it was for breathing, and searching to find out what damage was being done to the machines that were out working through the depths of the volcano fallout.

Things slowly returned to as much normal as could be expected. Mt. St. Helens was forever changed. Much of the mountain was spread throughout Washington state and the northwest. The Yakima Valley was in the ash fallout zone, while others on the opposite side of the mountain were hit by pyroclastic flows of steam, ash, mud, melted snow, and raging rivers. Lighter ash was transferred around the world by wind. Farmers washed off or plowed under the layers of ash all over our farmlands. People collected jars and containers of ash as momentos. Creative folks figured out ways to transform the ash into artwork and jewelry. Books were written, studies conducted, interviews given, and research began.

Not everyone survived that day. But for those of us who did, we remember the day the mountain blew.

So much information has been collected, stored, and shared. You can read more about Mt. St. Helens here.

Me (left) and Kevin at the summit of Mt. St. Helens

We have no personal photos of Mt. St. Helens the day it blew. If we did, we probably would not be alive to share them. We did, however, hike to the top of the mountain in 1993. After reading the warnings on paperwork from the ranger station, we seriously considered our health and personal welfare! Watch out for steam vents, thin crust, the edge of the top (where the edge often broke off), the dome in the center of the volcano (we couldn’t go there), and tremors. It was and is a live volcano, after all!

I’d love to hear what you were doing on the day the mountain blew.