Tag Archives: recipes

In the Kitchen

I think my sister was right: “It is so weird to see you put black olives on your sandwich.” We were at Subway and I was loading my turkey melt with veggies (might I add avocado!!! Yum!) It is a little strange, considering that I spent my childhood trying every possible way to get out eating my veggies at dinner. “They are getting cold,” Mom would say. Truth is, I did that on purpose. They tasted more tolerable when cold.

It was not until after college that I started to eat more outside my normal eating habits–maybe partial roommate influence (positive peer pressure if such an oxymoron exists) and the tumor growing on the 5th nerve causing a decrease in my smell–my view of food changed. No more “plug your nose while you eat…you won’t taste it” sort of fun. This is now my reality. Having no sense of smell changes your eating habits.

Strange though, I can still smell coffee and can tell when there is BBQ cooking. I can taste the seasoning of Mrs. Dash and sea salt if large portions are applied to the food. I noticed I still tasted the ketchup on my potatoes tonight at dinner and the blueberries in my muffin this morning. So not all is lost.

Growing up there were a few vegetables that I disliked the most: beets, asparagus, peas, and acorn squash–but especially asparagus!! We did not eat it often but when we did, it was awful! Fast forward to the year 2010, my roommate was having a birthday potluck/game night at our apartment. I had to work a late night shift, so by the time I got there, food was already served and the game was about to start. I remember walking in and smelling bacon (this is a few months prior tumor growth, so I still had regular smell at this point.) As I get my plate full of food, a friend asks if I want some of what he cooked: asparagus wrapped in bacon. I agree, but winced because I knew I did not like asparagus. As I ate it, I realized the bacon took most of the flavor. If I were a food critic, I would have starred it with a 4 out of 5 stars–only because the taste of asparagus was still not the greatest. That was the last time I had eaten the vegetable.

It might just be that time of year–the garden recipes, grilling tips for your patio parties, fresh “make in minute salads”–and I don’t know how or where asparagus fits in all that, but it has been a reoccurring word ever since I discovered a simple recipe in a book that I finished last week. “I can cook this!!” I said: asparagus, olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Asparagus was on my next shopping list. And it was weird. 🙂

Tonight we decided to put it with dinner: tilapia and potatoes and the asparagus. As I am trying to cut off the end, I am getting frustrated at their stems. “It is like bamboo!!!” Not that I have ever tried bamboo before but I was making a point. Mom suggested the food scissors instead of a knife. Brilliant. This is why I cook with her present in the kitchen! I start spreading the olive oil on with a brush that you use for applying barbecue sauce to your grill meat, while offering my next statement with a laugh: “Painting asparagus!” I had just come from the basement where I had been painting. Guess it was still fresh on my mind.

I add the sea salt and pepper, then it was ready for the oven:


Dinner turned out to be a delicious meal! Best part is, I can now add asparagus to my list of “veggie likes.” I think in part, because I did not taste the “asparagus” taste that had caused me to give a 4 out of 5 stars during the last experience. I chewed and looked outside thinking. “Hmmm, it tastes like green beans to me.” Then I add that I have a list of other vegetables I want to test–first up is eggplant. I cannot guarantee the same positive experience, but it is worth a try. Maybe that is the blessing of losing my sense of smell and altering taste: it takes me out of my eating comfort zone and into a kitchen full of possibilities.

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” Psalm 34:8


Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Family Times, Funny Stories, Paintings, Random, Uncategorized

Recipe: Stuffed Zucchini

My mom is an amazing cook! This summer season she has been cooking some amazing dinners whether grilled, cold pasta salads or in the oven. Tonight she used fresh picked zucchini from her garden to bake Stuffed Zucchini.

Mom uses a very practical idea for keeping her recipes easy and accessible. She uses a photo album!!

While I think recipe boxes are very cute and classic, I like the way the recipes in the photo album are easy to flip through and easy to read. To make things easier at dinner time, like my mom did for herself, you can categorize.

Recipes come from a wide variety of sources: internet, family or friends, magazines or ones you make yourself. I personally do not like to hand copy recipes. They turn out like burnt cookies. 😉 I am glad others enjoy it though. It is fun to flip through the “cookbook” and find Grandma’s handwriting on recipes. I am blessed with three Grandma’s, so there are many delicious recipes…my favorites being the different cookies and cakes. Flipping through the pages brings you an appetite and good memories! After all, isn’t that how most recipes start?

Stuffed Zucchini was a magazine clipping. I think it was probably from Taste of Home. Regardless, it was first made by a lady named Ruth. Mom used her zucchini and also used her garden herbs: dill (I think) and she added basil to the sauce.


2 medium zucchini (Mom had 3 large ones)

1/2 pound ground beef or bulk Italian sausage

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 garlic clove, minced

2/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs

1/3 cup milk

1/8 teaspoon dill weed

1 cup spaghetti sauce (Mom used a whole jar)

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (Mom used the rest of the Cajun curds from Young’s Dairy! Added some good flavor!!)


Cut zucchini in half lengthwise. Scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/4-in shell. Chop pulp; set pulp and shells aside. [Mom is putting her pulp/seeds in her compost pile, so it tastes fine without it too!] In a skillet, brown meat, onion, and garlic; drain. Add pulp, bread crumbs, milk and dill. Spoon into zucchini shells. Place in a greased 2-qt. baking dish. Top with spaghetti sauce; sprinkle with cheese. Cover [foil] and bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes or until zucchini is tender.

Yield: 2 servings [but it fed our family of four! 🙂 See picture below–plus add another pan! Made us two dinners this week!]

It is really a delicious recipe! I hope you enjoy it!!

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Chickpea Nibble Recipe

I think the Disney movie, Ratatouille, made a great point: “Anyone can cook.” Although there are some such as myself who stretch the line a bit, it is a great motto for any persons new in the kitchen. In the movie, Remy (a rat) helps the new garbage boy, Linguini (sounds like a pasta, lol), to create wonderful recipes while in secret working from under Linguini’s toque. I always laugh when Linguini runs around the kitchen holding up spices to his hat so Remy can smell them. HAHA. 😀 Although I cannot run around the kitchen and smell things, I did decide to try a recipe I found in an old Martha Stewart Living Magazine.

Ready for more name humor? The recipe is called “Chickpea Nibble.” 🙂 I just found that so funny, I actually took time to read the small paragraph of the recipe. It seemed so simple, so I put it to the test. They turned out EXCELLENT! So delicious! Here is the recipe:


19 oz can of chickpeas [I used two 15 oz cans and it worked just fine!]

2 Tbs of extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp of salt

A pinch of ground pepper [but I added a good-sized amount because I love pepper!]

1/2 tsp of your favorite dried herb or spice [I chose oregano]


Drain, rinse and pat dry the chickpeas.

Toss in a bowl with the other ingredients listed above.

Spread them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. [I had put down parchment paper on the bottom of the pan, which was so genius!]

Cook at 300 degrees and stir occasionally until they have browned and begin to crisp. [The recipe says it would be around 50 minutes but mine took a little over an hour. Just keep checking them and taste testing. There is a difference when they start crisping.]

That’s it!!!! So easy and SO GOOD! Healthy too. 🙂 I like to eat them plain, but tonight we are going to finish them with salads!! Big salads of different greens, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions and I hope the big red pepper I just noticed in the refrigerator!!! Yum!!!

I guess I will end with a little reversion of what I remember Martha Stewart saying on her tv show (back before the new show…I am talking the OLD show! I thought they were so cool to watch!) I am going to quote this, just because it is my own version, so don’t take it as one of her real quotes. 😀

“With summer sneaking in with longer days of sunshine and green grass, the days of barbeques out on the patio served with potato salads and all sorts of goodies–remember this delicious and simple recipe. These chickpeas are sure to bring delight to all your guests whether served in a small dish or on the salad. It’s a good thing!!” 😀

*Martha Stewart Living Magazine. “Chickpea Nibble.” March 2007, page 72.

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