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Flowery Ditches, Car Trouble and BBQ Sandwiches

My heart sank this morning when my car heater stopped working (yes, I know it’s summer time, but apparently Washington doesn’t ;-)) and the temperature gauge surged past the H mark. From a recent experience involving billowing steam, burnt rubber, and getting stranded for hours in a freezing Canadian winter, I knew that something was amiss.

I pulled over and called a mechanic who advised me to turn off the car (check), let the engine cool (check), and not drive it anymore. Hmm. That was a problem seeing as I was at the Canadian border miles from home with no access to a tow truck. Apprised of my predicament he then advised me to drive slowly, keeping an eye on the temperature gauge and stopping whenever it got too hot.

So off I went, putt-putting along the shoulder at whopping 15 mph, stopping every 2-3 minutes to let the engine cool down.

2 hours later I was still going. Ayiyi.

The first leg of the trip was the most vexing as I gnashed my teeth and woe-is-me’d and wished to high heaven I didn’t have to use the loo, but finally I sighed and decided it was high time I started embracing this unwanted adventure, seeing if I could find something good in it.

And I did.

If you ever need to go on a 15 mph, 2+ hour road trip with countless stops, I highly recommend you take it in the back country of Whatcom County in Washington State.

It is gorgeous!!

At each stop to let the car cool down, I grabbed my little camera and hopped out for a walk to see what I could see. I was never disappointed.

The ditches were filled with wild lupines, Queen Anne’s Lace and wild roses that smelled perfectly heavenly.

Meadows were carpeted with bright yellow blooms drifting back in great swaths into the woods.

I got “stuck” behind a tractor going 12 mph and unlike any other day wasn’t perturbed in the least. We idled along like two turtles, going so slow we could easily hear birds singing and the wind in the trees.

While this episode was stressful and frustrating, it also ended up being a beautiful part of my day, giving me time to rest, think, and capture photos of stunning things I might never seen had I gone whizzing past at normal speeds.

By the time I got home life looked much better. I got a sudden burst of inspiration and simply had to get into the kitchen to put my thoughts into action. My friends gave me free reign so I bustled and stirred and chopped and mixed and made absolutely scrumptious BBQ Shredded Beef sandwiches with aged cheddar on toasted raisin buns.

One of my friends has a deadly allergy to tomatoes, so I made up a special sauce for her with pureed roasted bell peppers, caramelized onions, and sweet chili sauce. She loved it and insisted that I post the recipe, so here you go. πŸ™‚

Toasted Cheesy BBQ Sandwiches


4 cups shredded meat (I used beef and chicken)
1 1/2 – 2 cups bbq sauce
1/2 cup Peppercorn A-1 sauce
2 large onions, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
2-3 Tbsp brown sugar
6 raisin buns, split and buttered
6 slices extra sharp cheddar cheese


  1. In saucepan combine meat, bbq sauce, and A-1 sauce and bring to simmer over medium heat.
  2. In separate pan heat oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, for 20-30 minutes. (Add a little water if they start sticking to pan)
  3. When onions are nearly melted, add brown sugar and stir to combine. Cook another 5-10 minutes.
  4. Add onions to meat mixture and stir.
  5. On cookie sheet place raisin rolls cut side up. On top piece place slice of cheese.
  6. Set under broiler for 1-2 minutes until rolls are toasted and cheese melted.
  7. Place bottom roll on plate, top with meat mixture then cheese roll and serve.

Tomato-free BBQ Sauce


1 jar roasted bell peppers, drained
1 large onion, chopped and caramelized (see above)
1-2 Tbsp sweet chili sauce


  1. Combine all ingredients in saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Set aside to cool a bit.
  3. Pour in blender and puree.
  4. Mix with shredded meat then follow above recipe.



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Krista - Oh, thank you SO much, Mary! That’s awfully kind of you to say. πŸ™‚ The BBQ was so yummy and I was delighted my little experiment turned out. πŸ™‚

Krista - Oh Tammy, your words meant so much to me today. πŸ™‚ I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and frazzled and trying so hard to keep my spirits up. πŸ™‚ You cheered me tremendously and I’m so glad we can be here for each other. πŸ™‚

Krista - It is doing much better, Val! πŸ™‚ I love lupines too. They’re such elegant flowers. πŸ™‚

Krista - Thank you, Andi! Thankfully my friends were able to get it running again and it’s working beautifully. πŸ™‚

Mary@One Perfect Bite - Your ability with a camera is really amazing. Despite the frustration you must have felt, you pulled some good from the day. Your tomato free BBQ sounds delicious. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

Tammy - You are such an inspiration to me. I want to see life like you do. You are so good at finding the wonderful aroma in an otherwise pile of manure! I’m going to try and adopt your attitude. Life is too short to fret and worry every time things don’t go my way. Thank you my friend. Thank you for the example and lessons in life :0)
Β Love you sweet girl,

bellini - This gives “stop and smell the roses” a whole new meaning Krista:D I hope your car is on the mend. I just love lupines. Firthewr sough in the Fernie, Castegar area they are hige along the roadsides.

Andi Perullo - OMG these pictures are so pretty!Β  So sorry about your car troubles πŸ™

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