Zucchini Tots

Last summer, I had a lot of zucchini in my garden.  Like, A LOT!  I made zucchini bread, zucchini noodles, grilled zucchini, etc.  I still had more and absolutely hated the thought of it going to waste.  So I shredded what was left, and put it in ziploc baggies in the freezer.  I wasn’t sure what I would do with it, but at least I didn’t have to throw it out!  Fast forward to my little babe, who loves to eat anything she can feed herself.  So when my sister suggested zucchini tots I was sold!  I got to use up all of the frozen shredded zucchini and make a healthy lunch for my little girl.

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To the motherless, the mothers of angels or the childless who dream

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Normally people address these groups separately – those that have lost their moms, those that have lost children or those that suffer from miscarriages or infertility.   But on this one day, we are all part of one ugly club that we never wanted to be a part of.  A club that we never imagined being in, when we pictured our lives.  A club that somehow encompasses both love and hate in one day; love for the lives we have and the children we adore, but hate for the loss we feel.  A club that we can’t get out of, no matter how much time passes – we are members for life.

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

With Cinco de Mayo coming up, we’re all going to want to eat Mexican food, right?  I know I will!  I’ve always liked Mexican food, but since moving to South Texas 6 years ago, I have a newfound love for it.  We have a lot of Mexican restaurants, and man are they good!  One of my favorite places makes a really good chicken tortilla soup.  I used to order it every time, but…(in case you’re starting to see a trend here) I like when I can duplicate something I loved at a restaurant!  So, after much trial and error, here is my version of chicken tortilla soup.  It’s so good that I don’t even order it out anymore – I mean would you look at this cheesy, flavorful goodness??  You know you want to make it!

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Penne with arugula pesto, sausage, mushrooms and spinach

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That’s a mouthful!  But I couldn’t think of a title without mentioning (most of) the yummy ingredients.  This dish was so easy (30 minutes) and seriously good.  It’s one of those dishes that taste just as good the next day for lunch – which are always my favorites!

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Minestrone Soup

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I don’t like Minestrone soup.  Or at least I used to think I didn’t like it.  Reality is I had only ever had it out of a can.  First time I tried it homemade, I was hooked.  It was full of veggies and flavor and didn’t even compare to the canned version.  I’ve come to this conclusion- any kind of homemade soup is good!  Stop buying cans – start making soup!  Now – just do it ok?

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Proscuitto wrapped Swordfish

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This dish is every bit as decadent as it sounds.  It’s definitely something you make as a treat, although it’s not so time consuming that you can’t make it on a weeknight!

You can wrap the swordfish in any kind of cured meat and get the same result.  A really moist, flavorful piece of fish!

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Pork Larb

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Pork Larb….sounds so…appetizing doesn’t it?  I promise, this is one tasty (and easy!) recipe.  Pork larb is a Thai meat salad.  It’s not quite what you picture in a salad (there’s not a single shred of lettuce), but the idea is similiar.  There’s some specks of green and red in there, so you know…salad.

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Fish Tacos

It’s been feeling like spring for awhile here in south Texas…but let’s be honest it’s pretty much felt like spring all winter long 🙂 Still…when March hits I start getting that itch to sit outside, drink a beer and eat fish tacos.  Anyone else?  Anyone?

I made these this week and I can honestly say they were better than any fish tacos I’ve had out before…so there will be a lot of deck sitting, beer drinking, fish taco eating time in my future!

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Pulling the plug

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It’s a term we have all, at some point in time, used in vain. Maybe you’ve had a conversation with your significant other that went something like this, “Hey if that’s me I want you to pull the plug”.   But how many of us have actually been faced with that decision? How many of us have had to sign a document stating that you knew that when the doctors turned off the machines, your loved one would die? A much smaller percentage of us, I’m sure. Because how could anyone give up on a loved one? It’s feels so….hopeless. The decision to “pull the plug” on someone? Not so cut and dry when it’s your mom, dad, daughter, son, sister, brother…lying in a hospital bed unable to communicate with you. What would they want you to do? Would they want you to pull the plug? Or would they want you to fight with the doctors to hold off just a little longer? 3 years ago around this time, my family was faced with this decision. My mom had been diagnosed with cancer about 9 months earlier, and she had seriously digressed since she had been admitted to the hospital two months earlier. The last month of her life, doctors were hounding us to pull the plug. They sent people in to talk to us about hospice. They tried to convince us that her life, as we knew it, was over. But we held on. For longer than we probably should have. But how could we give up on her? The person who almost died having (one of) us and spent every minute of her life making OUR lives better? There was literally no way we could sign on that dotted line; knowing that her death was coming. The last month of her life, she wasn’t really there. But her heart was still beating. Could we have a conversation with her? No. Could we hold her hand, brush her hair and talk to her? Yes. Could she hear us? Maybe not. Could we watch the machines she was hooked up to, knowing that her heart was still beating? Yes – and as long as her heart was still beating, there was that small, teeny tiny shrivel of hope that could remain with us. When you are talking about the end of someone’s life, those little moments matter. They matter. Her life mattered. And every additional second that we got with her, whether or not she was really “there”; it mattered.

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Cleaned up the garden this weekend…

How I turned this:

into this:

 

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So technically I didn’t turn the kale into anything…but I did freeze it!  This is the first time I’ve tried freezing kale without blanching, so we’ll see how it turns out.

Here’s the story behind these beautiful “after” photos.

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