Tag Archives: vegetables

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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Filed under Family Times, Uncategorized

A pleasant day, indeed!

Today was refreshing. Got to do some laundry, organize my paper clutter of bills and things to do (while getting things done in the process) and I even got to go to the town’s public library. 😀 It was the first time that I stepped foot in there and I thought it was a very studious library! It is not very large, but it presents an adventurous atmosphere of learning, especially for children. I even got a county library card and can’t wait to put it to good use–guess I need to finish the books I have already started!

I am a funny person when it comes to reading books. I think it reflects my personality. I read at least two books at a time; right now I am reading three. Might seem silly, but unless it is absolutely captivating (such as Safely Home by Randy Alcorn or I Still Believe by Jeremy Camp), then I like to switch off and on with books–reading a few chapters a day out of one book and switch to another book the next day. I see this pattern in the way that I go about completing projects or “to do” lists. Some people might say my jumping from one subject or task to another is the same as being distracted. Possibly so, but I like to think of it as following a train of thought, so to speak. Even when I talk in a conversation, the subject at hand will remind me of something else, so I say what I am thinking and then return back to the original conversation. Of course, if I think too fast–I forget my train of thought and then say, “Where was I going with this?” 😀 Relating back to books–see how I am following my train of thoughts, ;)–reading ignites a path for learning. My brain loves learning! However, I am about as picky with my book preferences as I am with my vegetables. I am getting better; as I grow older, I see that my preferences are starting to broaden in what I enjoy reading and even what veggies I eat. 🙂

What kinds of books do you like to read? There are so many aspects of literature: fiction, autobiographies, biographies, history, philosophy, theology, sports, science fiction,  poetry, drama, folktales and myths. fantasy…the list goes on and on!! Thomas Jefferson had a personal library of over 200 books! We saw part of his collection in the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.! I own 2 bookshelves and try to keep my books organized, but somehow I never put them back in the same spot. Jefferson had his library completely organized in relating to what subject the book was about and even had the sections labeled. For example, “Mathematics”, “Philosophy”, “Science” and “Theology” are a few of what I remember he had labeled. There were so many subjects presented! Jefferson once told John Adams in a letter,

“I cannot live without books; but fewer will suffice where amusement, and not use, is the only future object.”

Cappon, Lester J. ed. The Adams-Jefferson Letters. Chapel Hill NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1959. Monticello, Home of Thomas Jefferson, 1988. Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc. March 30, 2012 <http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/i-cannot-live-without-books-quotation&gt;.

[*A really fascinating website! We visited Monticello when I was in junior high. Very rare piece of history and another favorite is George Washington’s Mount Vernon!]

If you have not noticed by now, history is one of my favorite subjects! If you want statistics, I would say that probably eight out of every ten books that I own is about history. I find any period of history an enjoyment to learn more about and study! (Which is another thing that I am excited for in using my library card: documentaries! :D) I also enjoy biographies, classic works of theology or philosophy and of course, any other books considered to be “timeless classics.” Right now a few classics on my list to read are Utopia by Sir Thomas More, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Moby Dick by Herman Melville and The Arabian Nights: tales from a thousand and one nights by Sir Richard Burton. A few of my favorites already read are A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Confessions by St. Augustine of Hippo.

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, but this year I told myself that I would like to see more time spent reading. After I got out of the hospital from the blood clot, I had to sit a lot with my feet up. I read A TON! I finished three books and started a few more! It was so relaxing!

Even Muffy was relaxed! 😀 I find now that my physical body is back to a more normal status, my time is now back to a “busy body” schedule. I miss sitting for hours reading, but at the same time I am very thankful that I don’t have to sit for hours and can get out to enjoy the warm weather–hard to balance between the two. I could read outside I guess. 🙂 Speaking of the outdoors, I must go. It is a lovely evening and I get to spend it with my Dad. More to come…


Filed under Books and Movies, Muffy, Random