Camper Cooking: Container Grown Squash au Gratin

In my previous blog, I mentioned having leftover homegrown zucchini and yellow squash. We’re going to eat squash dishes all week with our harvest! I ❤ growing and eating my own food. Anyone with a space for a container can grow some vegetables, such as squash, or tomatoes, or peppers, or herbs. My chamomile plant went nutball, and we had to transplant it to a larger pot. I ❤ harvesting the flowers for chamomile tea!!! Gardening is fun. Hope you’ll try it!! Plus, with organic potting soil, you can rest assured you’re not eating agrochemicals. 🙂

Shane prefers his squash cooked, so I made a squash au gratin that was so good we had no leftovers!!!

It’s a super simple, light comfort food. And delicious like you wouldn’t believe! All you need are one and a half of the summer squashes. I used the remaining halves of my zucchini and yellow squash, and sliced up another yellow squash. I chopped 1/3 of a sweet yellow onion.

To make, layer the casserole dish by alternating the zucchini and yellow squash. Top with diced onion. Add a dash of herbs. Dot it with butter (from grass fed, pasture raised cows..better for the cow, for the environment, and for you) or vegan spread (look to see if it uses palm oil and if so check if it’s sustainable on RSPO or Green Palm. Unsustainable palm oil leads to deforestation and endangerment of tigers, orangutans, rhinos, and elephants). Sprinkle on mozzarella and cheddar cheese (grassfed and pasture raised!!!). Repeat the layering until you run out of casserole space. 🙂

Bake at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes, or until you feel the cheese is done to your liking, and the squash is a bit tender.

It serves 2. Maybe. Depends on if you’re sharing with someone like me who can’t eat a lot because having Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) means my stretchy stomach triggers the full sensor nerve too early, and I have early satiety. Shane had to finish my plate. I’d had bigger eyes. 😛

Ingredients

  • 1.5 – 2 squashes
  • 1/3 onion
  • Herbs
  • Half a stick of butter
  • 1-2 C shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese

Camper Cooking: Container Grown Zucchini and Squash Quesadillas

Growing your own food is a very rewarding task with delicious results! 🙂 This spring I planted some yellow summer squash and zucchini in a very large container. With all the rain, the plants went crazy and bloomed up a storm.

The first sign of fruit made me feel like a proud mama!

And I eagerly watched it grow…like a water balloon. Lol

Then I harvested my first summer squash and zucchini, and made the squash and tomato quesadillas. I wanted to try uncooked version of the fruit to see if I could tell the difference between store bought and homegrown.

Raw squashes retain more of their nutrients, especially vitamin C, and provide more energy because cooking reduces protein content as well. As long as the summer squashes aren’t bitter, they’re safe and healthy to consume raw or al dente. So enjoy this high antioxidant, low carb, nutrient rich, good for your heart, brain, and digestive health meal. 🙂

You’ll need 5 ingredients: squash, tomatoes (I used Lakeside heirloom but Roma variety is good too), Italian herbs, shredded mozzarella cheese (from grass-fed, pasture raised cows), and tortillas (I use a high fiber, low carb one).

An aside…Why grass-fed? Besides that’s what cows really like to eat and it packs in the omega 3’s, this protects the environment and biodiversity. 70% of the Amazonian deforestation is caused by growing soybeans to feed factory-farmed beef and dairy cattle. So if your cheese doesn’t come from grass-fed pasture raised cows, then you’re contributing to tropical rainforest and biodiversity loss on a big scale. Most people are unaware of this fact, which is why I bring it up. So I urge you to spend more on what you eat rather than save money on products that have very high environmental costs. Jaguars, ocelots, giant otters, macaws, monkeys, etc thank you!!! ❤

To make simply heat your tortilla on a pan, flip, add the cheese, squash, herbs, and tomatoes. Cook on low until cheese melts and before you crispify the tortilla. 🙂

Shane had never eaten rawish squash nor this quesadilla. New foods are sometimes not as agreeable, so he wasrt as excited as I was to eat these. Lol I ❤ these. To me, it’s like eating a cracker thin pizza. 🙂

Ingredients

  • 1-2 small yellow squash and zucchini
  • 2 tomatoes
  • Tsp herbs
  • Shredded mozzarella–enough to cover half a tortilla (depends on size of tortilla)
  • 2 tortillas

This seves 2 people. We used two squashes, but I had half of each leftover. Those turned into dinner the next night! So check out my other blog!!!

The Wanderful Life as a Professor

I’ve neglected my blog site. But I have good reason! The head of the environmental studies department at the University of Cincinnati asked if I could teach a class in the fall, then asked if I could teach two other classes in the spring and offered an annual position that comes with a lot more departmental responsibilities than simply teaching. I accepted! 🙂

I will develop 2 of the 3 classes. In the fall, I’ll teach an advanced topics course on food. I had discretion on the topic, so I chose food security and the future of farming. I’m very passionate about food and agriculture, especially those approaches that protect both food security, farmers, and especially the environment. Without healthy soils and adequate water, we will lose our ability to grow food. Rich biodiversity is important for our wellbeing, including our economy, as much as it is for natural landscapes. We need a variety in our diets too. So the traditional monoculture agriculture needs a revolution. 🙂 I’m still creating the lectures (2 more) and need to find scientific articles and videos for a few of the lectures.

It’s time consuming, and I’m actually teaching my Endangered Earth course now (online). I have 40+ students and 4 written assignments to grade each week. So you understand why I have been absent.

But I have hiked some. Not as much as I’d like. Too much rain and too many mosquitoes. My herbal armor insect spray works, but the swarms find the few spots you missed. And you can’t spray your eyeballs so…buzz buzz in your eyes!!! I swear they’re bigger this year too. Anyone else notice they’re turning into something Godzilla will fight???

We’re also growing some vegetables in containers. My squash and zucchini are doing awesome with all the rain! We did lose peas and spinach though. See diversity is important when growing food.

My chamomile has gone nutball too. 🙂 I’ve harvested flowers for tea!!!

Sunflowers have bloomed beneath the bird feeder and already attract the finches.

Even the fatties (aka mourning doves) think they can perch.

We had new arrivals to the feeder. A red-winged blackbird ((not pictured) and a red-bellied woodpecker.

As you can see, I spend a lot of time looking out the window while I work. Lol

I don’t know if the video will load, but I recorded a mama downy woodpecker feeding her offspring at the feeder!! ❤

After I finish working on my food course, I need to develop the natural resources and sustainability class. The other class is already established, and I just have to follow the textbook. Fir Wright State University, I need to develop a world geography course. It’ll be my first human geography course. I’m an environmental/physical geographer. Sounds like a lot right? But I love creating courses!! 🙂 I love teaching. So it’s still the Wanderful Life. 🙂

I’ll miss living in the camper in the winter, despite issues with the cold. See my older posts! 🙂 I’ll especially miss not being with Shane every day. He’s the wonderful in my Wanderful Life. ❤

We’ve visited the Pittsburgh Zoo, the science center, the Living Treasures (petting zoo), a couple putt putt places, and picked up a fun new hobby activity. Disc golf. They have lots of disc golf courses here!!

I’ll write again soon. Just know I’m still loving living in the camper and enjoying nature!! But I have to grade endangered species blogs now.