Pear, Walnut, and Blue Cheese Flatbread…

I had an amazing flatbread at The Cheesecake Factory not long ago and I recreated the recipe at home. The ingredients compliment the others so well and it’s very delicious. I’d love to share it with you and as always, please let me know what you think.

**note…I used pre packaged Naan bread for my crust. You can use pre packaged flatbreads as well and there are many brands to choose from. You could also make your own, but if  you’ve read my blog before regarding recipes, you know I like to keep it simple, quick, and easy. I love food, but I don’t like spending a lot of time in the kitchen! 

Ingredients:  recipe serves four


Naan or flatbread

8 oz. package shredded mozzarella cheese

1-2 ripe pears sliced and then slivered

1 oz. chopped walnuts

1/2 cups blue cheese

1/4 cups diced onions

1 tablespoon of butter

2 tablespoons of olive oil to brush crust

Sprinkle of arugula 

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange walnuts single layer on baking pan. Toast walnuts in oven about 5-10 minutes. 

Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Add diced onions and cook until carmelized, stirring occasionally…about 5-10 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Brush flatbreads with olive oil. Cover flatbreads in a layer of mozzarella cheese and distribute evenly using all of the cheese. Top each flatbread with blue cheese, pears, toasted almonds, and carmelized onions.

Transfer to baking pan. Cook until cheese melts and flatbreads are golden brown. 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes, but keep an eye on them so they don’t burn! (I cooked two at a time) 

Cool for 5-10 minutes, sprinkle with arugula, cut and serve.  Enjoy!  (I paired mine with fried mozzarella sticks as an appetizer and a small garden salad)

My daughter loved it, but if you have a picky eater you can choose your own ingredients and make it with whatever you like!

Travel To Tennessee…

Hey y’all! It’s been a while since I’ve written, but I’m back!

Things are going well. It’s summer and the ol’ wanderlust has kicked in. I recently returned from a trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee….in particular, the Great Smoky Mountains and had an amazing time. 

As crazy as this will sound, I think the most exciting part of the trip was the night a bear ran across the highway in front of my car. We were heading to the ice cream parlor and as it turns out, so was he…in particular the dumpster behind the shop. Both the bear and the customers at the ice cream parlor are all ok and the folks that were there have a great story to tell!

Our first day there we took a drive through the park and just enjoyed the scenery. It’s absolutely beautiful! I’ve been there several times over the years and never tire of it!

On day two, we took another drive…this time to Cade’s Cove where we enjoyed the beautiful scenery, took in the history of the area, and enjoyed a picnic in the the picnic area by a mountain stream. We were fortunate enough to see two bears playing in a field as we drove through. They frolicked in the field for about ten minutes before running off. I got photos but they are of poor quality because we were so far away. Here are a few from Cades Cove for your viewing pleasure.

After spending several hours in Cades Cove, we decided to drive over the mountain to Cherokee, North Carolina. It’s about an hours drive. The Cherokee Indian Reservation is located there and the scenery is beautiful in this area as well! We were able to get some delicious Indian fry bread while we were there, browse souvenir shops, hike to a waterfall, and we even saw an elk on the side of the road. I had no idea how huge they are!

In the summer they have an outdoor drama…Unto These Hills and the performance is acted out in an amphitheater built into the side of a mountain. It’s depicts the life of the Cherokee in the region and their forced removal…the Trail of Tears. We missed opening day by one week, but I’ve seen it before and highly recommend it!

On site is The Eternal Flame. The Eternal Flame burns at the entrance to the Mountainside Theater. It was carried on the Trail Of Tears to Oklahoma and brought back to Cherokee from Oklahoma in 1951…it still burns.

Day three we attended the Dixie Stampede in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. It’s a Dolly Parton venture and there are many. She grew up in the area and has a very big presence there. We love Dolly and we loved the show! Included with the show is a four course meal and it was absolutely perfect…tasted great and the service is excellent! However, utensils not included. You eat everything with your hands. The show is a way to look back over the area for the last three hundred years or so and is very patriotic. Again, we loved it and highly recommend it. Definitely worth the money!

Since we were leaving the next morning, we decided to take one last drive through the mountains on a driveable trail called the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. It can be reached by turning at traffic light six in Gatlinburg and follow the signs. In my opinion it has some of the best scenery in the National Park. There are some old, mountain homes to visit that were lived in by the early settlers to the area and there’s even a nice waterfall by the side of the road. No hiking required. Just park in the pull off area and walk right up to it. Again, some of the best scenery the park has to offer AND some of the best hiking trails…many with spectacular waterfalls at the end.

The ending of this post brings us back to the beginning…after exiting the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, which brings you out on to the highway in Gatlinburg, we encountered the bear about five minutes later. He was leaving the same area we had just left…and had ice cream on his mind, too!

I hope you enjoyed reading about our little adventure and if you ever have the opportunity to visit the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg/Great Smoky Mountains area, you won’t be disappointed! 

Stay tuned for our next adventure later this month and hope y’all have a great summer and safe travels!

K❤️

Five Years Later…

Five years ago today, I lost my mom. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her. To be honest, there are still times when it’s a lonely world without her. However, life goes on and we’ve all learned to move on without her. 

I know I was blessed to have her as my mother. There are times I stop and think to myself…I sound just like my mom…something I swore I’d never do when I was younger by the way. Of course now that I’m older and have a child of my own, I get it. I’m thankful that she set such a great example for our family.

So even though today is a sad day, I choose to smile and look back on all the wonderful memories I have of her. My family and I will cherish those memories and continue to make new ones without her…all the while knowing, she continues to live on through us.

We were hers and she was ours. No passage of time will ever change that. 

We will see her again. She will be waiting on the other side of Heaven’s gates to welcome each and every one of us home!

Start To Finish…

God will always finish what He starts.

On the other hand, we do not always finish what we start. Our lives are filled with loose ends…books started but never finished. Promises made but not kept. Home improvement tasks begun but not completed. Intentions made but not followed thru on. Our lives are filled with should haves, would haves, and could haves.

My post is prompted by the fact that Easter is right around the corner and spring is in the air. 

In the Fall, I wrote a piece about how the seasons changing represent the seasons of our lives. It’s spring and we can see how much beauty can come from the “death” of Fall and the “darkness” of Winter. 

Nature is coming back to life and being reborn as something new and beautiful after a dark period of time. The same applies to the seasons of our lives. Feel free to go back and read it if it interests you.

Back to Easter…I’m a Christian. I’m sure not everyone reading this is and that’s okay. I’m not trying to convert ya…just trying to express some thoughts on Christianity’s most important holiday. 

Easter celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead. God sent his Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins. Jesus died for ALL of us knowing we might never love him back. That is true love. 

I was raised in a Christian home. I grew up as a Christian, yet for a time I questioned those beliefs and rebelled. I’d have to say those were some of my darkest days. I no longer believe because of my upbringing. I believe because of my experiences and realizing that God was truly the only one there for me during those dark days. I turned to Him in my darkest hours and He carried me through. I may have given up on Him, but He never gave up on me. 

The testimonies of lives throughout history show the power of the Resurrection. Many have been delivered from addictions. Lives of the destitute and despairing have found hope. Broken marriages have been restored. He will always finish what He starts. 

Like the seasons mirror our changing lives, the Resurection shows us that all things become new through Jesus Christ. 

The tomb was empty yet filled with hope and promise.

I didn’t write the following and I don’t know who to give credit to, but I’ve read it on several occasions and would like to include it….

A lot can happen in just three days. The resurrection teaches us that God will always finish what He started. No matter how dark it looks. No matter how long it’s been. No matter how many people are trying to push you down…if you will stay in faith, God will always take you from Friday to Sunday. He will always complete what he started in you!

I wish you all the best and Happy Easter!

Fun trivia fact…the legend of the Easter bunny bringing eggs appears to have been brought to the United States by Germans who settled in Pennsylvania in the 1700s.

This INFJ’s Opinion On Morning Greetings…

 
Admittedly, I am not a morning person. It takes me at least an hour or so to warm up to the day.

Upon arriving to work, I’ve been “good morninged” at least 8 times before I even get to my work station. Let me put my things away and organize my thoughts before you start interrogating me about every little thing I’ve done since you last saw me. Yes! For a few of my coworkers, that’s what their good mornings lead into. Then there’s the particularly self centered coworker who talks about herself long after her good morning has been delivered….yet I’m the rude one when I walk away because I have work to do. Sorry. I’m here to work. 

I’m sure some of you will not agree or understand what I’m trying to say here. Why in the world would it bother me or anyone else to be greeted with a “good morning” by your coworkers?

It doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is their reaction to how I respond. When greeted with a “good morning” I generally nod in the direction of the greeter and smile or smile and say hi. Seems reasonable so far…are ya with me?

Most of my coworkers understand that I’m not Little Mary Sunshine right off the bat. It’s nothing personal. It’s just who I am at that time of day. Give me a few hours and I’ll be fine, but some of them just don’t get it.

I’ve been asked soooo many times…what’s wrong…why are you in a bad mood…why are you being rude? I’m not. I’ve acknowledged their good morning, I just didn’t acknowledge it in the way they wanted me to. 

My personal favorite is…why are you so quiet? Well gosh, I don’t know! Why are you so loud? I think we can all agree, that would be rude for me to say. Why isn’t it considered rude for them to question my quietness? 

I actually enjoy silence. I don’t feel the need to fill that silence with endless questions or small talk like some of my coworkers do. I talk to patients all day. I don’t need to have a 10 minute conversation with you about what you had for supper last night while I’m trying to finish up paperwork. If you have something meaningful or important to say, I’m all ears. Don’t talk just because you’re uncomfortable when things get quiet and then try to make me feel like there’s something wrong with me because I don’t participate in mindless chatter with you. Smiling politely and an occasional word or two is all your gonna get from me. 

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I understand and respect my coworkers need for a morning greeting. They’re my friends and I enjoy and want to hear about what’s going on in their lives, but I’d also like my need for silence to be respected. Rest assured, if I have something meaningful to say, I’ll say it. Don’t try to make me feel bad or that there’s something wrong with me because I’m quiet. I’m not being rude. I’m not sad. I’m not depressed. It’s who I am.

Sincerely,

The Grinch Who Steals Morning Greetings❤️

Stuffed Pepper Casserole…

This casserole was a hit at my house tonight…and my daughter is a very picky eater. It’s even better than actual stuffed peppers in my opinion because it’s all mixed together in one dish! 

Ingredients:

2 green bell peppers 

1 red bell pepper

1 pound ground turkey or beef

1 bag of boil in a bag rice cooked on stove

1 can diced tomatos (any variety)

Onions (optional) I used dry minced

1 bag shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

Italian seasoning

Trader Joe’s 21 Season Salute (optional)

Directions:

Cook ground turkey or beef on stove and drain. Set aside. Grease a 9×13 casserole dish. Cut out the cores of the peppers. Slice into strips and dice. Put in greased dish. Put the remaining ingredients into the dish and mix well. (only use 1/2 bag of the shredded cheese at this time)

Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, top with the rest of the shredded cheese, and put back in the oven. Broil for 5 minutes until cheese bubbles and browns. Remove. Let cool and enjoy. 

Please remember I don’t measure…I just add until I think it looks good…and I am of the opinion, the cheesier the better! You can add other ingredients or seasonings.  If you try it, be sure and let me know what you think.

K

Memories…

Do you remember the first time you stood on the beach and saw nothing but the ocean extending to the horizon and the waves crashing before you?

Do you remember the first time you saw the mountains rise from a distance and how they seemed to go on forever?

Do you remember your first day of school and not wanting to let go of your mother’s hand? Your last day of school and the excitement of going out into the world for the first time on your own?

Do you remember your first crush? Your first kiss? The first time you fell in love? The first time your heart was broken? The first time you broke someone else’s heart? 

Do you remember the first time you found out you were expecting a child? The first time you heard the baby’s heartbeat? The first ultrasound? The first kick? Seeing your baby for the first time and holding it? Hearing your child’s first cry? The first time they crawled and walked? Hearing their first word?

Do you remember your parents being your heros? Remember a time when they knew everything and then for a season they knew nothing at all? Do you remember the first time you realized how much they really loved you..unconditionally? How much they had done for you and sacrificed for you? Do you remember the first time you realized they wouldn’t be with you forever? Watching them get sick and weak? Watching them take their last breath?

There’s so much emphasis on memories, both good and bad that make us who we are. I love to remember and stay awhile inside my yesterdays. Of course it’s not good to stay there too long or we miss out on the present.

Everything and everyone in your life was once a “first time”.

Today I challenge you to appreciate and see everything and everyone you encounter as is it were the first time.

Really look at that sunrise or sunset. Listen to your children as if it were the first time you heard them speak. See the world around you as if it were the first time. Your home. Your neighborhood. The trees. The birds singing. Your pets. Your parents. Your friends. 

Oh, and don’t forget yourself! Really look at yourself and see who you are, inside and out. Forget the mistakes and heartache. The disappointments. Even the bad experiences and choices have made you who you are. Let it all go and see yourself… not only for who you are now, but for who you can become.

K❤