Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

I just finished rereading Wild by Cheryl Strayed.  I first read it in 2012 when it was very first published and very popular.  It's one of those books that begs a second read. 

We first heard about it in a presentation at the Whatcom Writers and Publishers group. And having it available as an e-book makes it perfect for us, but it's also available as a hardback, an audiobook and in 2014 a movie starring Reese Witherspoon. I enjoyed seeing the movie after reading the book.

Wild is Cheryl Strayed's memoir. It struck several cords with me. When you look at the cover, you see a well worn hiking boot. I love the outdoors, and this book is about a woman's solo hiking adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail. Also on the cover, her name stands out as unusual. I won't spoil that part for you, but it was similar to an experience I had in my life.

When Cheryl was in her early twenties, she suddenly lost her mother to cancer. That event changed her outlook and approach to life. After floundering for four years, she decided to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. With a partially thought through plan, this gutsy young woman set out from Mohave, California, to hike away her past and into her future. The people she met on the trail, the places she experienced, and the physically grueling hike itself transformed her life.

Cheryl was beaten down and climbed (literally) back up to a new life. Have you ever felt like that? Get Wild and see how the strength we have within can be brought out and harnessed for the rest of our lives. Or try Brave Enough packed with quotes from her writings that focus on "wisdom, courage, and humor." -- Margy

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

Yesterday was a cloudy, blustery day, so I decided to make some comfort food for dinner. The night before we had a grocery store rotisserie chicken, so I decided to make the leftovers into enchiladas.

I'm a dump and pour kind of cook, so this recipe may be a bit sketchy. The trick for me to make easy enchiladas is organization. I get everything ready to go and run an assembly line until it's ready for the oven.

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 dozen corn tortillas
3 cups grated cheese
(cheddar, mozzarella, jack)
1 large can red enchilada sauce
1 onion diced
1 small can sliced black olives

Heat enchilada sauce in a small frying pan. If it gets too thick, just add a little water. Spread a thin layer of the sauce over the bottom of a large baking dish. Heat one tortilla at a time in the hot sauce. Flip once to coat and warm both sides. Remove when it becomes pliable. Don't leave the tortilla in the sauce too long or it will get mushy and break apart.

Use tongs to transfer the tortilla to a plate for assembly. Cover with cheese, chicken, onion and a few olives. Roll carefully around the stuffing, ending with the open end on the bottom. Carefully transfer to the baking dish. The weight of the contents will keep it from unrolling.

I can fit twelve enchiladas in my pan, ten across and two lengthwise. If I have any ingredients left over, I sprinkle them on top. Drizzle enough sauce to moisten the top of each enchilada. Sprinkle with grated cheese and it's ready to bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbling at the edges.

Don't over bake the enchiladas or they become dry and hard. I like my cheese ooey- gooey. Since the chicken is pre-cooked, you don't have to worry about that.

Serve with refried beans, shredded lettuce with taco sauce, and warm corn tortillas. That'll put a glow on even the coldest days. -- Margy

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

San Juan Island Adventure

We like to visit San Juan Island off the Washington State coast for quick day trips and overnight stays. You can read more about one of our flying trips there in the post San Juan Island Hopping.

On one trip, we rode bicycles from Friday Harbor to Roche Harbor. We passed through some really beautiful country with tranquil forests and lush pastures. We even saw iconic Mona the Camel.

There are lots of places to stay on San Juan Island, but you've got to love a place with a mailbox like this one. As pilots, we thought it was really cleaver.

We haven't stayed here, but anyone with this much creativity must have a unique establishment. The Inn in the Woods is a bed and breakfast establishment. You can check their website or this link for information about availability and reservations.

They have four rooms and are located overlooking Sportsman Lake which is well known for fishing and bird watching. Located in the middle of the island it is a good place to get away from the bustle during the tourist season, but close enough to have easy access to both Friday and Roche Harbor for restaurants and shops, especially if you have a bike. Maybe you can have your cake and eat it too. Well, at least a scrumptious breakfast.

So, if you want to get on their mailing list, be sure to send your request via AIR MAIL (just kidding). -- Margy