Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


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Cranberry Apple Casserole

This is a delicious recipe that I got from a friend’s mom who is an amazing cook and baker. I make it during the holidays and make it for any pot luck I go to. It’s easy and everywhere I go people ask for the recipe. It’s not necessarily quick because you have to peel and chop apples, as well as bake it for a while. But other than that it’s just mix everything together and stick it in the oven! It can be a side dish, a dessert, or I have even had it for breakfast (it has oatmeal in it….).

Enjoy!

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Cranberry Apple Casserole

Ingredients

  • 2 C fresh cranberries
  • 3 C apples, peeled & cubed (~3 large apples)
  • 1/3 C flour
  • ¾ C sugar
  • ½ C brown sugar
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • dash nutmeg
  • 1 stick butter

Directions

Melt butter.

Mix all ingredients well.

Bake covered in a 2 qt. dish at 350° for about 1 hour.

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Fall

It is barely September but the weather is already teasing fall. And fall is great. I’ll admit, summer is my favorite month – I love the sun and don’t mind the heat (or really just hate being cold…and it doesn’t take much for me to get cold). But I do look forward to fall for many reasons. What are your favorite things about fall??

Pumpkin everything.

I don’t care if it’s now trendy or cliché, I was on the pumpkin bandwagon before there was a bandwagon. I love everything pumpkin.

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Boots.

Nothing really needs to be said….boots make an outfit even better

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Football.

So maybe my team isn’t the best but I will cheer them on no matter what. And yes, SEC football is better football. Period.

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Scarves.

I’ve recently made an effort to purchase some statement necklaces….but in general, my go-to accessory is scarves.

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Soup.

I love soup, but I just can’t eat soup in the summer. Mayyyybe in the office where it is always frigid, but in general I don’t want to eat something hot that will raise my body temperature 20 degrees. So I save my soups for the fall and winter. They’re easy, I do most of them in the crock pot, they make a lot, and I have a good variety. And soups are good freezer food. Check out some recipes I’ve already posted and I’ll be sure to throw in some new ones this fall!

 

 

 


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Chicken Fajita Quinoa Bowl

This recipe is so easy I’m kind of embarrassed to post it. But not really….because everyone should have an easy, delicious go-to meal. And this is one that you can use in many ways. Use it to make actual fajitas, a rice bowl, or go for tacos, burritos, whatever!

Chicken Fajita Quinoa Bowl

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp. + extra taco seasoning
  • ½ Tbsp. corn starch
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 bell peppers (various colors)
  • 1 lb. chicken breasts
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 lime (optional)
  • quinoa
  • whatever toppings you want (shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa, avocado, cilantro, etc.)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix taco seasoning and corn starch and set aside.

Cut the onion and bell peppers (I used 1 green, 1 red, 1 yellow) into strips. Place them in a large 9×13 inch casserole dish.

Slice the chicken into thin strips and add to dish with vegetables.

Sprinkle seasoning over meat and vegetables. Drizzle with vegetable oil and toss until everything is well coated with oil and seasoning.

Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Squeeze juice from half the lime on top of meat and veggies after it comes out of the oven.

While the chicken bakes, cook quinoa according to package. When it is done, seasoning with taco seasoning to taste.

Combine into a bowl: quinoa, meat & veggies, and whatever toppings you have/want! I had avocado, cheese, and salsa so that’s what I used!

adapted from Budget Bytes

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Volunteer

#10 on my 30 before 30 list (about 2 months to go on that…) is an important to me. I’ve always enjoyed volunteering and giving some time to the community/various organizations, but I’ve mostly just done random projects. Jumping in on Community Bucket events when I can and random events through church. I also organize service projects for my alumni chapter every 4-6 weeks with various organizations. But I wanted to focus on one thing to devote some regular time and challenge myself to commit. A weekly or even bi-weekly commitment is no joke. It may sound easy, but once you get started it can be a struggle to keep it up.

I’ll admit that my first attempt was a fail. Well, ok maybe ‘fail’ is a strong word, as I did commit regular time to the local Ronald McDonald House helping on a weeknight for a few months. But life got in the way and it was too easy to ‘take a break’. They are, by the way, a great organization to volunteer with – times are flexible, they have lots of different needs to help with (group and individual), and you can manage it all online. We still do group dinners throughout the year, but the individual commitment was harder to keep.

I was sitting in church one Sunday reading the bulletin and there was a blurb about the need for one-on-one buddies in the kids program. I had definitely been struggling with the desire to get more involved at church but knew that it would be a significant commitment. Sundays were for sleeping in a little later to attend the 11 o’clock service or driving back from a football weekend in Nashville or early bike rides before the paths were crowded. But it just felt like a great fit. I had been a one-on-one camp counselor and missed working with kids. I knew leading/teaching a whole group wasn’t necessarily my gift, but one-on-one with a kid within a group sounded pretty awesome. And I had no idea that was even an option!

So I emailed the director and a group of us showed up one morning to observe UpStreet and learn more about being a buddy. UpStreet is what many know as Sunday School, but SO much better. Although I was pretty involved in church growing up, Sunday School was nothing like UpStreet. It is so well run and fun. There are small groups for relationship building and deeper chats and large group for fun worship and lessons. So in November I started hanging out with a Kindergarten small group and have not regretted it since. It has been an amazing experience. These kids are funny and crazy and honest and sweet. I’m a one-on-one buddy but also get to know the other kids and can step in to help lead when needed. It’s the best deal possible! And we just moved up to first grade, so getting to watch these kids grow up, even in just one year is pretty cool! Now I can only hope to make a difference to even just one of these kiddos ha.

I’d say deciding to volunteer with UpStreet was the best decision of my past year and I’d encourage everyone to consider what your skills are and where you could be helpful in your own community – whatever you consider your ‘community’ to be – in your city/neighborhood, church, alumni group, or something you’re passionate about. You may just get more out of it than those you are helping/working with.

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Family Roadtrip

I realize I’m biased, but I have now firmly decided that I have the best family. How many people can take a 12-hour family road trip, spend a week with even more family with no wi-fi and very slow/limited data service, drive the same 12 hours back, and still be on good terms and speaking to each other at the end? Well, my family can!

My mom worked in education, so growing up we were able to take a trip every summer. And every summer we headed. from Atlanta, out in the minivan driving to wherever we were going for 1.5 – 2 weeks. No matter how far, we drove. The longest trip was either Texas or South Dakota. Obviously we stopped along the way but that is a long time to spend in the car. I don’t remember hating it, though. So when my sister-in-law decided we needed to take a trip to Illinois to see my dad’s family (how many sisters-in-law suggest that?!), there was no question. I’ve done that trip at least 20 times in my 29 years of life. Never have I done it, however, with 5 adults and a 15-month-old. Apart from them just being realllly long days in the car, the drive days weren’t bad (plus, going up, I had the back bench in the van to myself). I might even venture to say it was fun. I really am lucky to have such a great family.

So how do you keep a 15-month-old entertained for 12+ hours, you ask? That is a GREAT question and luckily my sister-in-law asked people and Googled well. But really it all depends on the kid. My nephew usually sleeps a lot during their car trips, but I guess it was too exciting to have so many of us in the car and at his entertainment beck and call. So he didn’t sleep much. But he/we read his books, listened to/sang “Baa, Baa Black Sheep”, played with Scout, played with a couple electronic toys, listened to/sang “Baa, Baa Black Sheep”, played on the iPad, read books, and oh, did I mention that we listened to/sang “Baa, Baa Black Sheep”. He really was great and I’m semi-joking about the music…kids songs aren’t all that bad and it makes them so happy! But do be prepared to take more breaks than you would without a child.

Anyway, apart from the drive days, we got to see all of my dad’s family. And what do you do for a week with no wi-fi and slow/limited data service, you ask? Another great question. We played Farkle, went to the park, ate, played corn hole, played Ticket to Ride, ate, went to Wal-Mart, visited dad’s old stomping grounds/neighboring towns, ate, watched Wimbledon, oh, and played more games and ate. It’s honestly pretty nice to have limited social media/web access and just hang out.

I’d say it was a very successful trip, and one that not every family can stand to do. And although it did not take much “planning” per say….I’m totally counting this as #21 on my 30 before 30 list – I helped with plans and games and entertainment, which totally counts.


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Meatloaf Patties

Over Memorial Day weekend (yes, this post is slightly delayed), my sister-in-law, her mom, and I prepared some freezer meals for a bunch of people. My dad is currently receiving chemo, so we figured having a variety of meal options to pull out of the freezer would just be one less thing for my mom to worry about! We kept some of each for ourselves too, which has made life a little easier for myself as well! Freezer meals are just a good idea all around.

This was one my sis-in-law had from a coworker’s mother-in-law (trading recipes is the best!!) that I had never tried before and it was amazing – and really easy. Everyone loves meatloaf, but if you’re feeding just one or two people, you really don’t need a whole loaf of meat. So this recipe transforms that loaf into individual patties, so you can just pull out however many you want! And it uses oats instead of bread crumbs if you are avoiding breads.

Just mix everything together and form into patties. Cook right then or wrap in freezer paper and put in a freezer bag to store in the freezer!

*optional extra step: saute onions and green peppers and cool before mixing everything together. I prefer this because the onion and green pepper was still a little crisp after cooking. that could be due to us chopping in larger pieces or making larger patties, but it’s definitely a personal preference!

mix everything together

mix everything together

form into patties

form into patties and freeze

bake and serve!

bake and serve!

 

Meatloaf Patties

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ lbs. ground chuck
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ C dry oatmeal
  • 2 Tbsp. Dale’s
  • 2 ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ C ketchup
  • 1 bell pepper, diced small
  • 1 onion, diced small

Directions:

  • Optional: saute onion and pepper in a little olive oil until softened
  • Mix everything together (I think it’s easiest to use your hands)
  • Form into palm size patties
  • Place on broiler pan or in baking dish and bake at 350° for about 30 minutes
  • To freeze: wrap each patty in freezer paper and place all in a freezer zipper bag
    • thaw in fridge before cooking as directed above


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Graze

Another delightful delivery service! Thanks to Meghan for trying Graze out first – healthy snacks delivered to your door! I got mine at work so I could share the love and since I try to not snack too much throughout the day. But sometimes you just get hungry!

I am not, however, overly impressed. Here’s the deal: use a friend’s referral code and get your first and fifth boxes free. So I used my friend’s code and signed up to get my first box. I think it was going to be 2-3 weeks before my first box arrived which seemed like a long time, but whatever! Then a technical glitch (whatever that means) prevented my first box from being delivered – I received an email notifying me of this issue but then had to wait another 2 weeks for my next box. Again, it’s nothing too important so I wasn’t that bothered. This week I received my first box ever but quickly realized that I was charged for it. What happened to my first free box?!? I immediately emailed the company. They replied that my first box – the free box – had been returned undeliverable by USPS and to check my account information. Well, DUH, the address obviously worked because I just got a box. And I was never notified that anything was undeliverable. Short story long – they credited my account. 🙂

I’m also not sure how the auto-deliver system works and can’t really tell on the website. Can I just skip the next delivery and not be charged? Or do I have to completely cancel my subscription? They do have unique snacks so it may be something I’d be interested in doing every now and then as a treat. Just not a regular subscription.

All that aside – how were the snacks?! They were good! The quick rundown:

  • Herby Bread Basketmini basil breadsticks, oregano rice crackers and garlic crostini. Great flavor – would be good to pair with a soup and/or salad lunch!
  • Caramel Appledried granny smith apples with caramel dipping sauce. These were good – nothing spectacular.
  • Beach Bum: dried pineapple, chewy banana coins and coconut flakes. Delicious – pretty much anything with coconut I’ll love.
  • Natural Vanilla Seedsvanilla sunflower seeds and vanilla pumpkin seeds. Surprisingly good – I don’t love eating seeds (mainly a texture/gets stuck in your teeth thing), but these had a great flavor

SO the bottom line? Try it out with a code for a free box: KATYM3N4P. Hopefully you won’t have delivery issues as I did and you get good snacks! Oh, and the packaging is adorable.