Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Recipe: Enchiladas Rojas

Enchiladas Rojas 


This is a recipe I have made many times over the course of several years. The original recipe came from a meal kit service, but I have changed a number of ingredients and tweaked the instructions. These enchiladas are very flavorful, aromatic, and filling. There may be quite a bit of preparation work, but I assure you it is all very much worth it. They are delicious!

Please let me know if you have any questions. I'd love to know what you think of them.


6 flour tortillas (whole grain)
½ cup long-grain brown rice (to yield 1-1/2 cups cooked) or 1 pkg Seeds of Change Spanish Rice
15 ounces tomato sauce
15 ounce can black beans (rinsed well)
3 to 4 ounces shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, vegan (Daiya brand is my preference)
2 Tbs. olive oil
6 ounces Baby Bella mushrooms
6 ounces spinach
3 cloves garlic
1 yellow onion, medium
1 lime
1 bunch cilantro
1 Tbs. Mexican spice blend (chili powder, sweet paprika, garlic powder, ground cumin, & oregano)


1. Cook the rice according to package directions or use prepared packaged rice.

2. While rice cooks, wash and dry the fresh produce. Remove the stems and coarsely chop the spinach, thinly slice the mushrooms, small dice the onion, mince the garlic, quarter the lime, and roughly chop the cilantro leaves and stems. Rinse the black beans.

3. While the rice continues to cook, in a large pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the spinach; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until wilted. Transfer to a strainer; hold or rest over a bowl. Using a large plastic or wooden spoon, press down on the cooked spinach to release as much liquid as possible; discard the liquid. Transfer to a cutting board and roughly chop; transfer to the pot of cooked rice. Wipe out the pan.

4. In the pan used to cook the spinach, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until browned and crispy. Add half the spice blend and cook, stirring occasionally, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until fragrant; season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to the pot of cooked rice and spinach. Wipe out the pan.

5. In the pan used to brown the mushrooms, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the onion, garlic and remaining spice blend; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened and fragrant. Add the tomato sauce and rinsed black beans; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened; season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat. To the pot of cooked rice and vegetables, add half the sauce, half the cheese, the juice of all 4 lime wedges and all but a pinch of the cilantro. Stir to thoroughly combine; season with salt and pepper to taste.

6. Place the tortillas on a work surface. Evenly spread about ¾ cup of the filling into the bottom of a 9" x 12" baking dish. Divide the remaining filling between the centers of the tortillas; tightly roll up each tortilla around the filling. Carefully transfer the rolled tortillas to the baking dish in a single layer, seam sides down. Evenly top with the remaining sauce and remaining cheese. Bake 10 to 12 minutes in a 475° preheated oven , or until the cheese is melted and lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let stand for at least 2 minutes. Garnish with the remaining cilantro. Enjoy!

Makes: 3 servings
Calories: about 700 per serving
Prep Time: 20 to 30 minutes
Bake: 10 to 12 minutes at 475°

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Professor Alfred Monroe Kenyon

My direct connection to the KENYON branch of our family tree comes from my paternal great-grandmother, Charlotte Ellen (KENYON) HILL—she being my father's grandmother, who he did not know by name and who passed away many years before he was born. The KENYON branch of our family is the only one whose history has been researched, documented, and shared extensively. This family is where our connections to British Royalty (John I "Lackland" King of England, my 22nd great-grandfather), the Mayflower (passenger George SOULE, my 9th great-grandfather), and the Revolutionary War (several cousins, including first cousin six times removed, Oliver KENYON) originate.

The KENYON legacy also extends to the field of academics, where many years ago I found our connection to two brothers, both professors, the eldest whose education and career are documented below.

Alfred Monroe KENYON was born 10 Dec 1869 in Medina, Ohio, to Charles Champlin KENYON and Lucy Elizabeth GOULDIN. He was the eldest of three sons born on the farm that his grandfather, Samuel KENYON (brother of Joseph Champlin KENYON, the father of Charlotte Ellen KENYON), had purchased and passed on to his son. Alfred's brother, Herman Clifford KENYON, was a dentist; and his youngest brother, John Samuel KENYON, was an English professor at Hiram College.

Alfred married Grace Greenwood FINCH 01 Sep 1897 in Medina. Together they had three children: Max Alfred KENYON, Marcia Geneve KENYON, and Wilbur Westcott Clarke KENYON.

Alfred died at the young age of 51 on 27 Jul 1921 in Ashland, Ohio, while returning home to Indiana from his mother's funeral in Medina.

The following documents cover Professor Kenyon's education and career, particularly at Purdue University, in great detail. He was a very well respected and remarkable man.

Please click on the images below to view them larger. You may also download and view them in their original sizes.

Relationships generated by RootsMagic

Published with the permission of the Purdue Yearbook, "Debris" - 1899

Published with the permission of the Purdue Yearbook, "Debris" - 1900

Published with the permission of the Purdue Yearbook, "Debris" - 1914

Published with permission of the Purdue Newspaper, "Exponent" - 10 Sep 1921 Issue

Published with the permission from the Purdue Magazine, "Alumnus" - Oct 1921 Issue

Published with the permission of the Purdue Newspaper, "Exponent" - 04 Oct 1921 Issue

Published with the permission of the Purdue Newspaper, "Exponent" - 13 Oct 1921 Issue

Published with the permission of the Purdue Yearbook, "Debris" - 1922

Death Certificate. Source: Ohio History Connection 

Medina Gazette Obituary  - Aug 1921 

Grand View Cemetery, West Lafayette, Indiana
Photo courtesy of Find-A-Grave Member, Amy H. 

Monday, April 15, 2019

Taking to the Roads Less Traveled

Last summer my sister, Margaret, and I came to a decision that will change the course of our lives. Neither of us has traveled as much as we would have liked, and neither of us is getting any younger. These two facts, along with financial considerations, were the impetus to our considering a full-time life as RV nomads.

By last summer, she and I had already been familiarizing ourselves with the nomad lifestyle by watching lots of YouTube videos. The more we discussed it, the more we thought we should try this lifestyle. Margaret already has an RV—a Roadtrek camper van—so, no need to shop for a rig. She and I put our thinking hats on and she came up with the perfect name for our adventure, the Over the Hill Sisters!

In the meantime, we've been slowly preparing for our initiation to living on the road—a two to three month trip up eastern California, Oregon, and Washington and returning to San Diego via the coastal route. As of today, it looks like we'll probably be leaving next weekend. (Ooh, how exciting!)

My daughter is at college in Virginia, and I lost my precious Corgi last year. I've already downsized and simplified my life about as much as is possible. If not now, when? I think the most worrisome aspect of full-time traveling and RV life are our physical limitations, and for me, my paltry finances. At this stage of my life, it's go with my sister, period. I can't be of much help to her financially, but I plan to make up for it in other ways: cleaning, cooking, other chores, and if she requires it, driving. Oh, and with the super-tight quarters, being pleasant will sure help, too. (Her Roadtrek is only 20 feet long bumper-to-bumper, and in addition to the two of us, Margaret recently adopted a tiny dog!)

So, for any of you reading this, I invite you to read more about us and follow our adventures at our blog, Over the Hill Sisters. I've been doing things my own way as valeehill for well over a decade. It may take the two of us a while to get posting-as-a-duo down pat, so please bear with us. I look forward to meeting nice folks on the road and online.

Until our adventure begins...

aka valeehill 
and now one-half 
of the Over the Hill Sisters

Sunday, March 31, 2019

The Power of Nature - One Year Later

Of the many thousands of photos I’ve taken in my lifetime, surely this one will remain the I-was-in-the-right-place-at-the-right-time winner. (The lush spring grass bathed in the sun's glow lasted only minutes.) It was three days after losing my precious Lizzie, and I was crying as I walked. (I remember having to wipe the tears from my eyes to see the image on my phone.) I normally do whatever I can to avoid capturing power lines, but in this photo, they starkly represent the dichotomy of humans vs. nature. One year later and I still feel blessed that I was there, at that precise moment, to experience it.  

Digital photograph of a rural San Diego road by Virginia Hill taken with an iPhone 8 Plus on 03/31/2018. Some Rights Reserved (please see Creative Commons License in the sidebar.)

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Book Review: Waking Olivia by Elizabeth O'Roark

Title: Waking Olivia
Author: Elizabeth O'Roark
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Published: 03/12/2016
Publisher: Self-published
Genre(s): Contemporary New Adult


A track star with nothing to lose. A college coach who may lose everything to save her.

Will Langstrom has too many responsibilities, and the last thing he needs is Olivia Finnegan, a beautiful but troubled new transfer student.

Olivia is her own worst enemy, with a smart mouth and a past she can’t seem to escape, and the last person she wants help from is a cocky track coach she can never seem to please. Refusing to be pushed away, Will is determined to save her...and determined to resist an attraction that could destroy them both.

You don't want to miss Waking Olivia, winner of the IBPA's gold medal for romance. Buy this seat-gripping story of forbidden love today.


When I say I really needed this book now, I am not exaggerating. I wanted to escape my problems—the world's problems—and be swept away. I can't imagine a better fictional landing-place, where I would have been more emotionally involved, than within the breath-stealing story of Olivia and Will. The enormous amount of highlighting and the notes I was compelled to write are a true testament to the skills of the author. I alternately chuckled, full-out laughed, sighed, gasped, cursed, cried, and ranted all the way through. I have a rather low threshold when it comes to in-your-face heroines. The too-tough women who come across as one-dimensional victims of their traumatic pasts. Right away I was intrigued by how the author portrayed Olivia. With her smart mouth, sharp wit, stinging comebacks, and tough persona, I found myself captivated with her character. She was a fascinating and multi-dimensional young woman I just had to find out about. With the introduction of Will, I knew this story was going to do me in. The word "chemistry" is thrown about so commonly in romance books, but the push and pull between Olivia and Will couldn't be contained or described with such a commonly used word. They were dynamically charged right from the start: intellectually, emotionally, and physically. Hence all of my effusive emotions! I'm not one for manufactured angst and often get so frustrated by how much an author thinks that I, as a reader, should be induced to fits of empathy. When, in reality, all of their excessive but-not-warranted turmoil does nothing other than irritate me. I think Elizabeth O'Roark precisely balanced the drama, humor, torment, and passion to create a memorable and extremely gratifying "forbidden love" story.

I would love to thank the person, gods, or algorithm that put Waking Olivia in my sights, but I can't remember where I was made aware of it or its previously unread-by-me author. I've certainly been positively consumed by this work and am eager to feel the same with her other books.


"Yeah, you'd love that, wouldn't you? I’m apparently the only person on this team who needs constant correction." "Has it ever occurred to you that I ask more of you because I think you’re capable of more?” he demands. “The rest of those girls are giving me everything they have, but you are not. Do you want me to just let you plod along and get through college having never taken first when you know you have the potential to?"
~Olivia and Will


“Yeah, I mean, can you imagine yourself as, say, an oncologist? I'm pretty sure saying things like 'your healing is crappy' and 'get better faster' wouldn't be as well-received by patients as it is by me."
~ Olivia to Will


"Get in the car. My mother likes you. She's excited you're coming today." I glance over at him in surprise. Will doesn't lie, I know he doesn’t, but this seems hard to believe. He sees the look I've cast his way and shrugs. "It's as much a mystery to me as it is you." 
~ Will to Olivia


“I would do anything to fix this for you,” he says quietly, “and it kills me that I can’t. Tell me what to do.” It takes me a minute to reply. “You already make everything better,” I tell him. “And you’re the only one who ever has.”
~ Will and Olivia