Chocolate Strawbs Forever

Image by Hymn

Tucked between pancakes,
Chocolate-chipped strawberries,
Coconut sprinkled.

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Pancake ingredients all mixed in a bowl:

1 ¼ cups pastry flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp raw sugar
1-2 tbsp flaxseed meal
¾-1 cup leftover cooked oatmeal
1-2 cups homemade tapioca pudding
1 egg
3 tbsps cooking oil (I used safflower oil)
Enough cups of almond milk (or flaxseed milk or any milk) to make your batter not too thick or thin, whichever you prefer

Early Bird Special

Image: Pixabay

“What a lovely little bistro, Edward.” Miss Rose Lee smiles at her distinguished looking suitor, as they are being escorted to their table. She’s happy for having used Seventy+Match.com, a mate matching service for people over 70 years old, and finding a fine gentleman in Edward Finnerman. As a long-time widow, Miss Lee has taken a while to find someone who might measure up to her late husband.

After seating them, their hostess says, “Only the early bird special is being served at this time. Let me get your server to take your drink orders.” She leaves them with a short menu.

“That’s different. Did you say you’ve been here before?” Rose asks.

“It is a fine place.” Edward gives the impression he’s been at the small restaurant before to make her think she is being taken to a quality café. He knows the restaurant only from having passed by it a few days ago, noting it just opened and offers early bird specials. Being new makes it look clean, too. A perfect place to have a first date with his recent lady friend, he thinks, and without spending much money.

A long-nosed man with droopy lids approaches their table and bows. “I am Rinaldo, your server for the evening. What libations may I serve you both?”

“Why, thank you, Rinaldo. What a romantic sounding name. Do you have a recommendation?” Rose is charmed by him.

Edward clears his throat and utters, “I think a small glass of Mogen David would be good for each of us.” Edward gives the menu to Rinaldo and thanks him as a sign of dismissal. He wasn’t counting on adding wine to the tab, but at least he’s getting the early bird special.

Rinaldo nods and takes the menu, murmuring, “Very good, sir.” He walks away.

“It’s so cozy here, isn’t it?” Rose beams at Edward.

“Yes, and good service too.” Edward sees Rinaldo with a large tray holding two covered dishes and two little wine glasses.

Rinaldo sets down the tray on the fold-out stand next to their table. He places their food and drinks before them, uncovering the two plates at the same time with a flourish. He bows and announces, “Today’s early bird is free-range robin, locally caught at sunrise. Enjoy.”

He leaves the two diners staring at their plate of a tiny roasted bird.

Bean and Corn Vegetarian Casserole

This dish was originally going to be called Refrigerator Quesadilla because I thought I’d top ten 6-inch corn tortillas with whatever I had in my refrigerator and put them in the oven and that’s it. But, I had food in the pantry and half-empty sauces in the fridge I wanted to use because their respective expiration dates were nearing. I don’t like wasting food, but at the same time, I don’t want to store unopened, expired food in my pantry indefinitely either.

To start, chop 1 large onion and mince 3 cloves of garlic. Setting them aside, take out a medium or large skillet and over medium heat, put in enough olive oil to sauté the chopped onion and garlic. After a minute, pour in a 26.46- oz. carton of chopped tomatoes. After a minute, add a 16-oz. carton of refried black beans. Turn down the heat a little so they don’t stick to the skillet and keep mixing them all together. After 2 minutes, add 16 ozs. of frozen corn, and 1 cup of brown mixed with wild rice (these were my leftovers). If you have other leftovers in your fridge that you think would go well with a Mexican-themed dish, then add those in now. Stir them altogether for about 3 minutes and then turn off the stove and set the skillet aside.

Use an 8” x 13” Pyrex dish and spray inside with olive oil. I had 1 jar of black bean and corn salsa, so I spooned some of that into the Pyrex dish, just enough to cover the bottom. Then take five of the 6-inch corn tortillas and lay one in each corner, placing two in the middle. You can layer these any way you like, as you can see by now what will be happening.

Before layering the mixture from the skillet into the Pyrex dish, take out a 16-oz. block of white cheddar cheese and grate all of it, setting this aside as one of the layers.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Now the layering begins. Spread half of the mixture from the skillet over the tortillas, sprinkling some of the cheddar cheese over it and saving the last layer for an all-cheese topping.  Next, layer the last five 6-inch corn tortillas and spread the remaining jar of salsa over the tortillas. Follow this up with the remaining skillet contents, spreading them all around as evenly as you can. The last layer is the rest of the shredded cheese.

 Once you’re done and the oven is preheated, put the uncovered dish inside and time for 20 minutes. You can turn off the oven when the cheese is melted. Leave it in the oven for 5-10 minutes. Then, take it out and let it set for another 5 minutes. Complement the dish with a bowl of salad greens.

¡Comér bién!