One year ago, we were all hustling and bustling without a virus care in the world. Stress was high because we put so many expectations on ourselves for the perfect Christmas experience.
Fast forward to Christmas 2021 and our lives are vastly different. It’s easy to focus on the negatives, but for a moment, I’ll focus on the positives of the COVID experience and a sheltered Christmas.
My family and I are COVID free. Every day I take the time to reflect on this blessing and pray for good health for all.
My family and I have shelter and food. We have the opportunity to help others in need.
We are blessed with doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, first responders, and other essential personnel who are working tirelessly to provide services during this challenging time. They have my complete gratitude for going above and beyond on a daily basis.
Vaccinations are on the way giving us hope of control of Coronavirus for the future.
Family and friends are even more precious. I love and appreciate each and every one of you!
Handwashing and mask wearing are second nature. When I watch a television show or movie where people are in close proximity, and not wearing masks, I get a little anxious. Do you? Wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing is the least I can do for the good of our country.
Home has never felt so good. I’ve always enjoyed being home but I’ve found peace and comfort in my own space.
Christmas ornaments are full of memories. Each year, I think of the moment or the year I acquired each ornament. Decorating the tree in 2020 was a reflection on a blessed life.
Christmas magic abounds with young children. My four young grandchildren are filled with wonder and awe for the holidays .
My hair is gray. If you haven’t seen me in a picture or on Zoom, you may not know that I have gone totally gray. Gray hair symbolizes the accomplishments and stress that I have lived. It has given me new found freedom.
I’m cooking more. Cooking has always been a passion and with more time at home, I can experiment. Curbside pickup of groceries is a new service offered that reduces my risk of exposure to COVID and makes quick work of shopping.
I’m posting again on Fork-Lore. I’m cooking; therefore I’m posting.
Technology allows me to catch up with family and friends to stay connected and enjoy social interaction. Our ancestors didn’t have this luxury during other lockdowns, such as the Spanish (ie., Kansas) flu.
Journaling this COVID experience for future reflection started in March and goes on to this day. Truly, I thought I would only be journaling for 3 or 4 months…Silly me!
Podcasts, audio books and long walks are saving me. My favorite podcast list has more than doubled and the number of books read in 2021 is far beyond any previous year.
Humor sustains me. There is nothing more humorous than reflecting on the silly things I do and see each and every day.
This Christmas let us find joy, peace, and good health. Sending virtual love and hugs to all!
I’m back but you may see more humor, sarcasm and random topics above and beyond food. Understand, food is one of my passions, but so is laughter. When I saw this post on Facebook, it brought a smile to my face. While I don’t cook with a glass(es) of wine, typically, the humor of it all just got to me.
Credit: Paleo Cupboard/Facebook
Don’t stress out about the holidays and cooking. It’s truly a time to be grateful for every precious moment we have on this earth. Look for the humor and blessings in every moment.
Zucchini is the vegetable that keeps on giving, except in my garden. Daughter Megan has several plants and shares the wealth with family and friends.
Zucchini can be a blessing or a curse. I’ve read a quote online that supposedly came from Garrison Keillor that made me laugh. ‘July is the only time of year when country people lock our cars in the church parking lot, so people don’t put squash on the front seat.’
We’ll be wishing for garden fresh zucchini this winter so we’ll, again, get creative with the zucchini recipes.
3 small (or 2 medium) zucchini
Cherry or Sun Gold tomatoes (sliced in half)
salt and pepper
Bread crumbs (plain or seasoned)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise and slice a bit off the back side so the zucchini will lie flat on the baking pan. Scoop out the centers of the zucchini halves with a spoon.
Brush the surface of each zucchini half with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Slice tomatoes in half, and arrange them into the grooves.
Lightly sprinkle with bread crumbs. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese or parmesan cheese (or both) and bake for about 30-40 minutes until tender.
Optional: Set your oven to broil, and continue to cook another minute or two until cheese is golden and bubbly.
Now that I’m MUCH older, I’m feeling a little lazy around the postings so taking it easy for a week or two and celebrating the rest of my birthday month.
Even though I’m feeling lazy, sometimes you want a wonderful appetizer but don’t feel like putting a lot of time into it. Are you with me?
Many years ago a popular appetizer was a brick of cream cheese with jalapeno jelly and it is still a favorite but I like to shake it up a little. I purchased a fantastic jar of Shirley Ann’s Raspberry Chipotle Jalapeno Jam a while back and paired it with slices of Buffalo Mozzarella with crackers and sliced baguette. Yummo! It would be equally wonderful with a fine Brie.
Tortilla roll-ups have been a favorite of mine since the early ’80s. It’s fun to experiment and add ingredients that appeal to your specific taste. Daughter, Megan, made these for Sarah’s baby shower earlier this spring, adding Iowa dried beef (not the canned stuff) to the delight of our guests.
A chilled tortilla roll-up would be a great summer snack or sandwich replacement.
SOUTHWESTERN ROLL UPS
5 large flour tortillas (we used spinach tortillas)
1 bunch green onions, chopped
4 ounces chopped green chiles, drained
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 ounces sour cream
1/2 pound Cheddar cheese, shredded
salt and pepper to taste
dried beef, corned beef, turkey (optional)
salsa, sour cream, guacamole
Combine green onions, green chiles, cream cheese, sour cream, cheddar cheese and salt and pepper with an electric mixer until combined. Spread mixture thinly and evenly over tortillas to within 1/8-inch of edge.
Place slices of dried beef, corned beef or turkey on top (optional).
Roll up and wrap each tortilla in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for a minimum of an hour or as long as overnight.
Immediately before serving, slice in 3/4 inch rounds and arrange on serving plate. Serve with salsa, guacamole and/or sour cream.
My good friend, Jan, was telling me about her favorite Fall salad. It sounded so yummy and had all the things in it that I love. I made, I shared, I loved. This is great as a side dish but it’s so yummy, it could easily be a dessert. Thanks Jan for the great idea!