Summer Lovin’

It’s been TWO MONTHS since I last posted on here! Eeek. June, July and the beginning of August flew by so quickly. I feel extremely blessed because I spent the summer months back in PA getting my fill of time with family and friends. I stood beside two of my best friends as they married the loves of their lives. I spent many days with my dear friend’s baby girl, Molly Mo. I finally can say that I feel comfortable feeding a baby! I went to the beach 3x- once for my friend’s bachelorette party, once for a day trip with my ma and once for girl’s week with my aunts, ma and grandma! I went on daily walks/runs with my ma, mowed my grandma’s yard each week and spent time with my high school friends around town at our local brewery. I also visited Pittsburgh, my grad school friends and attended an SLP conference. PHEW- it was a busy summer, but a great one. See below for highlights of the summer!

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Early birthday celebration dinner with my parents and Gma!
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On the beach in OCMD for Katie’s Bachelorette Party weekend!
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4 days in Pittsburgh with Emil Lee Kennedy- running, eating and exploring together! Oh and Bella!
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Girl’s Week at the beach with Mom, Grandma, Aunt Kim, Aunt Robin!
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The current love of my life–Molly Mo! The happiest and sweetest baby around. Susan and Matt are doing such a great job with her.
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Some of our group at Katie’s wedding! Got to see Nick for a few days this summer when he flew in for the wedding.
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Katelyn got hitched!!!

On Tuesday, I flew back to St. Louis, Missouri and traveled back to my little town of Union. My townhouse and car were alive and well. My classroom was in a state of disarray. My mail was piled up high. I hankered down and spent Wednesday and Thursday cleaning, running errands, paying bills, getting groceries and getting my classroom in shape. I really did not cook much over the summer since I had my dear mother doing most of it, so I also got back into the kitchen these past few days. See below for 2 recipes that you have to try! Then check out my classroom (Super-hero themed this year)!

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Spinach and Mushroom Quinoa (recipe on http://juliasalbum.com/2014/06/spinach-and-mushroom-quinoa-recipe/ )

 

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Baked Oatmeal Cups for On the Go! Recipe at http://thefoodclick.com/all/2013/08/08/individual-baked-oatmeal-cups

For this recipe, I swapped canola oil for the coconut oil and honey for maple syrup!

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One bulletin board from my classroom. OUR SPEECH IS SUPER!

Yesterday was our first day back to work, staff only. This week we have staff days Monday and Tuesday and then the kids come in on Wednesday. A brand new school year with new challenges is daunting. The physical prep in my classroom is not nearly as important as the mental and spiritual prep needed to face another year! I know a new school year equals new changes as well. From PA back to MO, from a first year SLP to a second year CCC SLP…changes are plentiful. I am currently finding peace and joy in knowing that despite all of these changes and challenges in my life…

” Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever.” -Hebrews 13:8

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Quinoa? Key-mwhat?

snowstorm

Side Note: Today is my 8th snow day. I doubt that I would have time to post twice in the past two days otherwise. Above is my car and parking spot. I’ve shoveled out twice in the past 18 hours. 

Southwestern Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

I have been attempting to make a new recipe each weekend. Nick usually whips up breakfast for us and I feel obliged to at least make one meal. Otherwise, we test out many of the restaurants in his Fairview Heights neighborhood (Thai, Italian, Sushi, Mexican…Yum!) and I beg for ice cream each night. Weekend meals deserve to be more special than the mundane things we eat all week when we are apart, right?

The recipe below is a southwestern variation of the stuffed peppers, Mama Anspach usually makes with rice, ground beef and Velveeta cheese. About two weekends ago, I decided to whip these up for our Saturday night dinner. These are super filling and made enough for two meals for both Nick and I. This was also my first time cooking quinoa (pronounced Key-mwah). Took us about 20 minutes of wondering around and then asking an employee to find the small, hardly discernible bag in the grocery store. It was worth it! Enjoy 🙂 stuffed pepper

This picture was taken prior to popping them in the oven and adding the cheese. It shows how much extra filling there was!

INGREDIENTS:

4 large peppers (green, red, yellow, orange..It’s up to you!)

1 pkg quinoa (In the grain section of the grocery store. I bought the kind that requires boiling in water, same as you cook rice. I also bought the kind that included red barley.)

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can corn

1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)

1/2 cup diced onion

1/2 cup Ortega mild taco sauce (This adds moisture to the mix so be generous!)

Seasoning to taste (Your preference here. I added tbspn. cumin and tbspn. chili powder for a kick!)

Shredded cheddar cheese ( Generous amounts but your preference also.)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the quinoa by the directions on the package (prep is very similar to rice boiled on stove top). Cut the tops and insides out of the 4 peppers so that they are hollow. Boil water on the stovetop and add the 4 hollowed peppers in with the open sides face down. Heat for 15 minutes or until peppers darken in color. Pull out peppers to cool and sit in pan that allows them to sit up right. (I used a loaf pan which held all 4 of my peppers upright!) In large bowl, mix quinoa, diced tomatoes, corn, black beans, onion, taco sauce and seasoning. Scoop this mixture into the 4 peppers. (I used my ice cream scooper which made this very easy.) I also had lots of excess filling that I put in the pan to surround the peppers. Add shredded cheese on top of each pepper and cover with tin foil. Heat in oven at 350 for 40-45 minutes. I kept the tin foil on until the last 1o minutes and then took it off to let the cheese melt. Tastes delicious served with tortilla chips and a side of salsa.