Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Happy Small School Reunion


One huge joy of teaching is being invited to class reunions of my "kids." Saturday night my son and I attended the 40th reunion of the first class I ever sponsored. First of all, we were fortunate to have the reunion in a lovely venue, Coal Miner's Daughter. My dear friend owns this place and caters delicious meals on site or hosts and caters here. I thought I would share a few snaps of the evening.





Senior trip: 1977


Revisited with a stand in for the center gentleman, our coach who is also owner of the building and was busy catering the event!!!





I am not in this photo so don't be looking! Love these "kids" who will forever be 17 to me.

Whimsy and Hugs!

Monday, July 10, 2017

10 Weeks!

Hello, there. Yes, it has come to my attention we have only ten weeks until the Queen of Seasons arrives. And while I am ALWAYS ready for Autumn...

I have quite a bit of fun planned out for Summer...  And when I say "fun," I am talking like "scrub the toilets" kind of fun...  No more lazy...  I have really been procrastinating and really rather spinning in place. I will have to keep you informed because now I have put this out there...

Saturday two friends came to finish helping me celebrate my birthday! Geez, does Queen Elizabeth 2 make any bigger deal of a birthday? I used Pioneer Woman place mats, which were a gift from another dear friend who came to see me on a day I DID NOT take a picture of my table. In fact, my table was so deep we had to dig a few minutes to carve out a spot to balance a coffee cup. !!!!!

The plates and blue bowls are also Pioneer Woman. But the little pink pie plates are my Mom's. Her mother, my Gramma Minnie, bought them for a 12th birthday party for Mom in 1936. Mom gave them to me in 2004 for my 50th birthday, and my son brought them here just a few weeks ago. The goblets were from Dollar Tree! I thought it looked like Summer.


Last week I made Zucchini Boats  ---  They were delish only next time I am just going to slice or chop zucchini. The veggie parts of the boats were too thick and "meaty"

Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time22 minutes
Total Time47 minutes

Serves 6     ADJUST SERVINGS

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Ingredients

  • 3 medium, uniformly-sized zucchini
  • 1 (24 to 26 ounce) jar tomato basil marinara, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey or beef
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped brown button mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup shaved or shredded Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons Italian style panko bread crumbs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Measure out 1 cup of the marinara sauce and set aside.
  2. Trim ends from zucchini and slice in half, lengthwise. Use the tip of a spoon to scrape out the zucchini flesh (see recipe note), chop it and set it aside. Place the scooped out zucchini boats into a 13" x 9" baking dish and add about 1" of water. Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until just slightly fork-tender. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Meanwhile, add olive oil to a 12" skillet and place over MEDIUM heat. Add turkey (or beef), onion, bell pepper, and garlic to the skillet. Cook, stirring to break up the ground meat as it cooks. Continue to cook and stir until meat is thoroughly cooked and veggies have softened. Drain off as much grease as possible and return the skillet to the heat.
  4. Add the chopped zucchini flesh, mushrooms, remaining marinara in jar (reserve 1 cup for later), parsley, Italian seasoning, salt, fresh ground black pepper, and crushed red pepper. Stir well to combine. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and allow to simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes.
  5. Remove partially cooked zucchini from baking dish and pour off water. Pour the 1 cup of reserved marinara sauce into the empty baking dish and place zucchini boats on top of the sauce.
  6. Divide the filling between the zucchini boats. If you have extra filling, spoon it into the dish around the zucchini boats. Cover the dish with foil, and bake for 20 minutes, or until zucchini is fork tender. Remove dish from oven and set oven to BROIL.
  7. Remove foil and sprinkle zucchini boats with mozzarella, Parmesan and the panko bread crumbs. Place dish in oven, watching closely, and cook for just a couple of minutes until cheese has melted and bread crumbs are golden brown.

Recipe Notes

My tip for scraping out zucchini flesh. Use a sharp knife to lightly score the zucchini to outline the area you want to scoop out being very careful not to cut through. You just want an outline. Use the tip of a spoon to scrape the flesh out and on to a cutting board.
© 2017 Valerie's Kitchen. All rights reserved.


We are loving vegetables from the Amish. My son is planning to work on home grown for the future.



Have a good week. My son has a rotten sinus cold, so I am sending him good thoughts and prayers for feeling well again fast!

And as for you know who.....  She did not make the same vow to stop being lazy..... or nosey...




Whimsy and Hugs!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

May All Your Sparklers Be Bright!

Have a wonderful 4th of July with your friends and family. It is the least little bit cloudy here and slight chance for more rain! Planning to grill a little and have an indoor picnic. Then going to a huge fireworks display IF weather holds out and watching  movie if not!





Whimsy and Hugs!