Meredith and the Mean Girls

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I’m Carly Haden, a good friend of Melissa’s. I am a very athletic girl and I play many sports- I do soccer, ice skating, ballet, swimming, and sometimes I help my parents on their farm.

I wanted to say some things about my soccer team. We are a great team. A great team, I say. We’ve won 5 games in a row. We totally creamed the other team in our last game-12 to 3. What a game! No mean to brag, but it is MY turn, but I helped my team score half of those goals.

Then for ice skating, we had a state competition. I skate with my friend from preschool, Izzy. So yeah. She got 8th place. I got 5th place. Great, huh? Well, if that’s not so great, listen to this!

In ballet, I do it with Izzy and her friends Ariela and Ciara. All the kids in my class couldn’t balance on their tippy toes for five minutes straight, of course, but I won. I did it for a minute. Without a breath or a blink. Okay, so maybe 2 blinks. But, so? If that’s not cool, I’ve got swimming skill!

We had our swim meet and we had a 2 minute relay race. Not exactly. We each had 2 minutes to go back and forth through the HUGE, I mean huge, pool. I made it in 30.2 seconds. Emma Kate Lyden won but she cheated. She wore flippers. Transparent ones so Coach Ross wouldn’t see. Now trust me, that pool is like 2 times bigger than a soccer field. I have a strategy though.

And I can milk a cow! It’s cool!!!!!!


Hello there. I am Skye Lavaei’s mother. I am a cook. A great cook. There are a few recipes I’d like to share.

From the kitchen of: Lavaeis

Recipe for: Roasted Garbanzo Beans- A Favorite Snack

Ingredients: 2 cans garbanzo beans, salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheight. Put beans and olive oil in a baking dish. Toss gently to coat. Season with salt. Roast the beans and stir until brown, for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Put more salt and pepper if desired. Serve at room temperature.

“A tasty treat for all,”

-Skye Lavaei, GA


From the kitchen of: Lavaeis

Recipe for: Veggie Lasagna

Ingredients: 1 pkg oven ready lasagna noodles (I use ronzoni whole wheat)

2-3 pkg of shredded mozzarella chz.

Parmesan cheese

1 ½ large containers of fat free cottage cheese

½ cup of egg substitute (or 2 eggs)

Small package of frozen chopped spinach

Container of chopped mushrooms

Can chopped tomatoes

Approx 3 cans marinara/spag sauce (I use the Trader Joes Brand always)

Garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, red pepper flakes & dried parsley flakes to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease lasagna pan.  Spread the canned tomatoes over bottom of pan.  Follow with layer of lasagna noodles.  Mix together cottage cheese, parm. cheese (I just dump a bunch in), couple of handfuls of mozz. cheese & eggs.  Season mixture with all seasonings above.  Mix together.  Spread half the mixture on top of the noodles.  In pan, sauté spinach and mushrooms.  Drain and spread half the veggie mixture on top of cottage cheese mixture.  Add a little more mozz. cheese and top with a decent layer of marinara/spag. sauce.  Repeat layering steps above one more time starting with noodles.  After this layer, add one more layer of noodles, cover with spag/marinara sauce and then a nice layer of mozz. cheese.  Sprinkle with parm cheese (for this, I use fresh shredded parm cheese versus the container kind), garlic powder, pepper, red pepper flakes and parsley.  Cook in oven for approx 45 minutes or until brown and bubbly.  I like to then turn off the oven and let it cool in there awhile before I cut it.  Enjoy!

From the kitchen of: Lavaeis

Recipe for: Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ingredients: 1 can petite diced tomatoes

1 container mild/medium salsa

1 container of chicken broth (I use that stuff in the carton- remind me I’ll show it to you)

1 can Rosarita No Fat Traditional Refried Beans

1 can Trader Joes Refried Black Beans

1 package frozen precooked Trader Joes Chicken (again, remind me and I’ll show you)

1 cup frozen corn (I use Trader Joes- it’s the best)

(I also add some soy cream cheese to give it a creamy texture, but you don’t need to do that)

Tortilla Chips

Shredded Cheese

Directions: Combine chicken broth, all beans, tomatoes in salsa in soup pot.  Stir over medium heat until mixed together well.  Add frozen corn and chicken (with the chicken, I defrost it first and cut it into smaller pieces).  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until you need it.  Serve with crushed tortilla chips on bottom of bowl and topped with shredded cheese.  (Sometimes I also add some TJs frozen green beans into the soup.)


From the kitchen of: Lavaeis

Recipe for: Hershey Chocolate Cake

Ingredients: 2 cups sugar, 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa, 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1 cup boiling water



  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
  2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with “PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE” CHOCOLATE FROSTING. 10 to 12 servings.

ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.
CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.


Serves 6

This hearty soup combines two lucky foods, black-eyed peas and collard greens, with vegetables and smoky ham. Enjoy on New Year’s Day, or any day, for a satisfying, warming meal. Serve with thick slices of toasted crusty bread. If you prefer your soup to have a thicker consistency, mash some of the cooked peas against the side of the pot, then stir them back into the broth before adding the collard greens and carrots.


2 cups dried black-eyed peas
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 pound cooked Black Forest ham or smoked turkey breast, cut into small cubes (optional)
2 stalks celery, chopped
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 bunch collard greens, tough stems and ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced
4 carrots, chopped
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste


Carefully pick through peas to remove any debris or small stones and rinse well. Transfer to a large bowl, cover by 3 inches with water, cover and set aside at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight; drain and rinse well.

Heat oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add onion, garlic, ham and celery and cook until onion is translucent, 5 to 8 minutes. Add peas and broth, bring to a boil and skim off and discard any foam on the surface. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until peas are tender, about 45 minutes. Add collard greens and carrots and simmer until tender, 15 to 20 minutes more. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne and serve.


Per serving (18oz/532g-wt.): 310 calories (150 from fat), 16g total fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 17g protein, 27g total carbohydrate (8g dietary fiber, 6g sugar), 20mg cholesterol, 760mg sodium



Vegan Cornbread

by IsaChandra

Makes 12 to 16 squares

This is a delicious basic vegan cornbread. It is moist and crunchy and corntastic. It is not a sweet bread, but a bread to be savored with soup or smothered with guacamole. For best results, use old-fashioned cornmeal.

2 cups cornmeal
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 cups soymilk
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 350, line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper or spray the bottom lightly with non-stick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, wisk together the soymilk and the vinegar and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt).
Add the oil and maple syrup to the soymilk mixture. Wisk with a wire wisk or a fork until it is foamy and bubbly, about 2 minutes.

Pour the wet ingredient into the dry and mix together using a large wooden spoon or a firm spatula. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and bake 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Slice into squares and serve warm or store in an airtight container.


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March 2020

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