Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Eat Your Colors: Curry Zoodle Soup Recipe

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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!


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Monday Mouthfuls: Spiced Walnuts

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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.

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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.


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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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Monday Mouthfuls – Breakfast Sandwiches

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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.

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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!

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What’s Growing in the Garden?

Strawberries, raspberries, lavender, and radishes fresh from the garden.

By Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

What’s growing in the garden? I mean besides cat fur.

The strawberries are slowing down and I think ready for a big break to build up their energy. Whoa! This was the most prolific strawberry (also known as strawbabies and beebes around our house) harvest I have ever had. Not counting the minimal loss from slugs, sow bugs, ants, and raiding grandchildren.

Raspberries are coming on! Beautiful, tasty, sweet-tart lovely bursts of flavor – be still my heart. I love me some raspberries (also known as raspbabies and beebes at our house).

My miniscule crop of French radishes is nearing readiness for being pulled up, roots and all. I planted a roasting pan with radishes in hopes of avoiding above mentioned pests who annually decimate my peppery red and white treats. Take that, you vermin! Today Donavyn and I pulled up a few to check for size. And we gobbled them all up, just like Goldilocks ate Baby Bear’s porridge. Just right.

Lavender, one of my favorite flowering herbs, is starting to bloom strong. I haven’t seen many bees this spring, so I am pleased the purple blossoms are attracting several from somewhere. If only a swarm would descend in our area and we could capture it . . .

As always, parsley, thyme, dill, and sage are available free of charge to any and all. The sunflowers look like they will put on a great show in another couple of weeks. Birds delight, but beware the two slinking gray girls who blend in to the bricks and sand beneath your dinner table.

One of my failures this year is okra. I really wanted to grow some for my mom who grew up in Missouri. I’ve done 3 plantings, and there is nothing to be had but munched sprouts. I guess they taste good?

I’ve also done multiple plantings of echinacea, or cone flowers, for the bees and butterflies. This last batch is finally showing promise. I may just have to buy half grown plants.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,

How does your garden grow?

With silver bells and cockle shells,

And pretty maids all in a row.

There is always a furry body helping me. This one particularly loves to sleep on the strawberries.

My friends, how does your garden grow?


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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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Container Gardens

Baby kale and lettuce mix win the mobile garden location

By Angie Quantrell Angie Quantrell

Container gardens are the way to go this year.

It’s funny how I go through fads in my garden.

Last year, I didn’t want many containers other than the raised beds and strawberry garden. I relished the empty patio space that left ample room for the grands to race wheeled vehicles around without crashing.

Previous growing seasons bloomed and produced according to my every whim and decorating idea. I loved grouping pots and plantings according to heat and watering zone. Notice I say heat instead of sun requirements. My afternoon garden is all a heat zone and any container has to be mostly in shade or capable of handling the crippling sun rays.

Baby kale

This year is once again a container garden year. But my reasoning is fresh and experimental.

This year I want to win against the garden predators. Slugs. Sow bugs. Earwigs. Aphids. And whatever else is chewing its way through my fresh veggie crop.

For instance, radish is languishing in an old turkey roaster pot that has holes in the bottom, mainly because every time I have planted them in the past, the sow bugs and slugs have eaten holes and rings around each beautiful radish.

Radish seedlings popping through the soil

Lettuce and kale are making a new home in a little red wagon and a washtub. This is my attempt to avoid the slugs and aphids.

Chives and a random sunflower are living in yet another washtub.

Chives and a sunflower plant

Germination has commenced and plants are popping through the soil. What has yet to be found is how successful the plants will be in growing to full-size and giving me tasty treats.

Kale? Check. We’ve already had baby leaves.

And that’s all I know for now. We shall see. Let the experiment commence.

Until then, kale, strawberries, and herbs it is.

Spring strawberries