Traveling was a delight for Mom. She loved seeing new places, meeting new friends, and discovering local traditions. During one journey to England she became acquainted with a local pub owner & his sweet wife. Mom was invited to tea at their home & fell in love with these Scottish Fruit & Cherry Squares that were served. Upon her return home, Mom began a pen pal relationship resulting in the sharing of the recipe. These colorful squares became a quick favorite of ours to adorn the table during the holiday season.

Combine 1 cup self-rising flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup coconut, 1/2 cup golden raisins, & 1/2 cup candied cherries in a bowl. Add 1 beaten egg, and 1/2 cup melted butter. Mix well. Press into 8×8 greased baking pan. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, until sides are golden. You may need to place foil around the outside edges to prevent from browning. Cut into squares while still warm, remove when cool.

Thinking back, one of my first cooking experiences was with Mom over scrambled eggs. I was so thrilled to be old enough to help with breakfast after only gazing up watching for the early years. I remember being so proud to hold the spatula and stir through the runny yellow mixture in anticipation of the fluffiness to appear when finished. What fun I had in the kitchen with her, learning new techniques & creating many warm memories. Her recipes are a way to connect with her once more in special place.

This week our meal plan included creamy chicken-noodle casserole with spinach & mushrooms. We often would have casseroles, which would undoubtedly warm us up during the chill of winter days. The original recipe is for 6 servings, so with our little family it is slightly scaled down.

Combine 2 chicken breast halves, about 1 1/1 cups chicken broth, 2 minced garlic cloves, bay leaf in large saucepan. Simmer about 15 minutes. Transfer chicken & cool. Shred chicken. Reserve cooking liquid.

Whisk 1/3 cup flour & cornstarch in saucepan. Add 1 cup milk; whisk until smooth. Stir in 1 cup milk, 1 tsp tarragon, 1 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, and 1 cup reserved cooking liquid. Stir until mixture thickens about 5 mins over med heat. Add 1/4 cup dry white wine & stir about 2 mins longer. Remove from heat & stir in 1/2 package of thawed frozen spinach (which can be thawed & squeezed dry, steamed, cooked) and shredded chicken.

Preheat oven to 400 & add olive oil to 11×7 cooking dish. Cook 4 oz spinach fettuccine, drain, and return to pot. Add 1 cup sliced mushrooms to fettuccine along with chicken & spinach mixture. Mix together & add salt & pepper to taste. Transfer to baking dish.

Heat 1 1/2 tsp olive oil in small skillet and add 3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs to toast. Sprinkle over casserole. Bake about 20 minutes. Let stand to cool and add 1/4 cup parmesan to top of casserole before serving.

 

Dear Mom,
I wanted to let you know I did it!

It took a little over a year of watching & waiting for my hair to finally reach donation length. At first I was apprehensive,  gathering enough courage to make the appointment call was harder than I thought.

I have to admit I thought about not donating it quite yet, since I had been receiving compliments about the length of my curls recently. I was nervous to think about the “what ifs” after the cut was made… followed by more months of growth before it became complimented again. Then it hit me as soon as I would entertain those thoughts that it wasn’t about me. How fortunate I am to be able to have my hair. In a fight that makes me feel helpless, to be able to contribute a small portion to help another gain confidence back…to feel pretty…to have hair.

With the first cut I knew I had made the right decision. It takes at least 6 ponytails to make 1 wig, and hopefully my donation of 3 will all be able to be used. Jocelyn did a fantastic job and about 9 inches are off in the mail to Pantene Pro-V’s Beautiful Lengths program.

Your journey inspired me to help another.

Thank you for still inspiring me.

Love,
Sarah

Before:

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After:

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Last week became a week of leftovers and potlucks with our trip grocery shopping being one of necessities and random meal additions.

The majority of our recipes this week are mostly homemade favorites- if you’re interested in any, please comment below and I can email you our recipe.

Here is what we’ve planned this week around casa de mundy in no particular order…

Fresh & Easy sliders (so simple & very tasty), homemade macaroni & cheese, fresh green beans

Spaghetti & Meatballs from scratch, Natali’s “The Bread”, local broccolini

Chicken & Blue Cheese Quesadillas with fruity salsa, Mexican Rice

Meatball sandwich, salad

It’s a menu party! Check out these other meal planning blogs from these creative lady friends of mine.

The Thinking Blonde

The Best Life

 

 

 

Pumpkin is one of my favorite tastes during autumn. The possibilities seems endless to entertain a touch of pumpkin in everyday recipes- lattes, ravioli, bisque, pie, bread, ice cream, countless variations of cakes & doughnuts, and THE COOKIE. I’ve made several batches of these cookies over the past few weeks and each batch continues to disappear almost as quick as the baking time allows.  It is a fairly versatile cookie, so feel free to experiment with additions as able.

What’s your favorite pumpkin treat this season?

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 egg

1 cup cooked or canned pumpkin

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup diced roasted almonds ( I like to use pecans)

1 cup chocolate pieces (any type you wish, dark chocolate is a personal favorite)

Cream butter and sugar together until light & fluffy. Beat in egg, pumpkin, and vanilla. Mix and sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Add to creamed mixture; mix well. Add almonds and chocolate pieces; mix thoroughly.

Drop by spoonfuls (size determines the quantity- the dough is fairly true to size, I usually use more than a teaspoon measurement) onto well-greased cookie sheets. If you have silicone baking mats I highly suggest using those as your baking surface. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from cookie sheets while still warm; cool on racks. Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Meal planning takes place Sunday nights and on Monday evenings we hit the grocery store aisles gathering ingredients for the week ahead.

Some of the recipes are favorites of ours, with others being tried new.

Here’s what we’re planning on eating this week…

Monday: Old Spaghetti Factory’s Mizithra & Brown Butter Spaghetti

Tuesday: Steaks with Roasted Pepper & Bacon Bruschetta

Wednesday: meal with friends

Thursday: White Chili & Sweet Cornbread Muffins

Friday: Baked Ziti

As we slowly transition from summer to fall in the Central Valley, making lasagna has been on my mind. I decided to look for a healthier recipe to attempt for my first time since leftovers would probably be on hand for a few evenings. I was pleased to find whole wheat lasagna noodles to use (along with all the other ingredients needed) at my first stop at a nearby grocery store. Along with a healthier recipe, I also wanted to be able to not have a long cook time to be able to enjoy my meal.

Ellie Krieger’s Better Beef Lasagna was the perfect find to my search.

Until a recent visit to the Vineyard Farmers Market, swiss chard and I were not friends. I admit that I’ve always been intimidated by chard-with no good reason why. Last Saturday on our rounds at the market we stopped by KMK Farms and were helped in selecting a beautiful bunch of rainbow chard. Their lettuce is a delicious staple in our routine and we knew we wouldn’t be disappointed in discovering new produce from their farm. Purchasing aside, the next step  was being convinced to do something with it.

After considering our meals planned for this week I decided that our tomato soup & grilled cheese (with Bravo Farms sharp cheddar) night deserved some chard for company. Glancing through various recipes on swiss chard on allrecipes.com we decided to saute it in olive oil, garlic, & balsamic vinegar for about 5 minutes.  It was the simplest accompaniment and most delicious. I’m pleased to admit now that swiss chard will be seen more around our kitchen.

Go try our current favorite soup recipe: Homemade Tomato Soup -Michael Chiarello

Meet Baxter.

BaxterSML

We adore his puppy heart!

I’m a routine person. Despite the fact that sometimes I may not be the most timely, I do delight in a well organized schedule. After all I can always strive to become more prompt, right?

Well…

Mundy Monday evenings are scheduled for grocery shopping. After being married for a few years we’ve discovered 1. it’s best for us to plan our weekly meals before heading to the store on an empty greedy stomach 2. create said list  3. stick to it! I’m an old-fashioned list writer…I enjoy the actual crossing off of the item once it has been discovered and placed into the cart. We’ve recently started using the Grocery Gadget Shopping List app to help keep things in order by category and I must admit it does simplify matters to divide and set off to conquer the store and return each with our own trusty list & items in hand via our phones.

Of all the game shows that have come and gone in TV land I must admit I always wanted to be a participant on Supermarket Sweep. You know the tagline “Hey, next time you’re at the counter and you hear the beep, think of all the fun you could have on Supermarket Sweep!” Knowing random facts about prices of items or their location has always somewhat appealed to me. Not quite sure exactly why, I think some of it may relate to my love of food and hopefully creating delicious aromas (more often than not) to serve for any occasion.

mundymadness

Any grocery confessions out there? How do you prepare? Do you love it or loathe?

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