Sunday, May 23, 2010
This photo of my sister, Nora, and I was was taken many years ago. She's the one with the angelic smile. I imagine we were pretty good buddies during that time of our lives since we were fairly close in age and other playmates were few and far between. I know that times were hard, which may explain the rubber-less front tire on my sister's tricycle. I was envious of the bike horn until I noticed the tire, or lack of. My sister will be gone five years on August 30th of this year. She had breast cancer and passed away the day after Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on New Orleans. I can't help but think about the precarious road she traveled the final years of her life and wonder if a little extra insulation: support by someone with her best interest in mind, could have lessened the hardships she experienced.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
I made Donna's Spinach, Sausage, Mushroom and Tomato Pasta recipe from a previous post. Although I had to improvise (I bought Turkey brats rather than the Italian sausage variety.), it was very good. I added a little Italian seasoning and red peppers for added flavor to make up for the milder seasoned brats. It seems to be a very adaptable recipe and earned praise from my husband. I'll be making this one again in the near future.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Whenever I see Donna Weihofen, a University of Wisconsin Hospital nutritionist, demonstrating healthy cooking on the five o'clock news, I am always intrigued. Her recipes are so colorful and easy to prepare, and are packed with nutrients. She featured spinach this week and used it in the appetizer, main dish and salad recipes. This is one of the recipes she demonstrated on the show. If you would like to try other recipes by Donna, follow this link:
Donna's Spinach, Sausage and Mushroom Tomato Pasta
6 ounces penne pasta, 51% whole grain
2 Italian chicken or turkey sausage links (Note: this is
not the breakfast sausage variety)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 pound sliced mushrooms
Seasoned salt (e.g. Lawrys)
2 fresh tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 can (15 ounces) seasoned canned tomatoes
1 tablespoon Montreal steak seasoning*, to taste
4 cups fresh spinach
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside. Remove sausage meat from casing and place in a large skillet. Cook over medium-hot heat until brown. Crumble meat. Remove from skillet and set aside. Discard any excess fat leaving a small amount in the skillet. Add onion to skillet and cook until translucent. Remove from skillet and set aside. Add mushrooms to skillet and cook until lightly brown and liquid has cooked away. Sprinkle with seasoned salt. Add fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes, reserved sausage, reserved onions, and Montreal steak seasoning. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and boil gently for 10 - 20 minutes or until flavors have blended. When ready to serve, add spinach and cook just until spinach has welted. Re-warm pasta. Serve sauce over warm pasta in individual serving bowls.
*Other seasonings can be substituted such as Italian seasoning or another brand of seasoned salt.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
You may not like me after this post, or you may love me A Whole Lot! because this is a great cookie recipe. It's hard to resist. A Wisconsin-based company, Reiman Publications, which produces Taste of Home and several other cooking magazines, held a contest many years ago to find the best cookie. This recipe was chosen out of 34,000 entries. It was a closely guarded secret for 10 years but is now available with the purchase of "OUR Best of Country Cookies" cookbook. Since I like to share, here's the recipe to try for yourself. Note: Ghirardelli chocolate chips are great in this recipe.
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (9 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup English toffee bits
1 cup chopped pecans
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in remaining ingredients. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls 2 inch apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks. Yield: 3 1/2 dozen.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
A couple months ago, on a national news program, it was stated that rural America was being targeted by drug cartels to help spread the use of a new cheaper type of heroin. They showed a map of the states being targeted. There were several across the country, including Wisconsin. I realize that, when it comes to small towns, drugs are nothing new, but this highly addictive drug is being given to kids in exchange for their lunch money — or for no payment at all. Dealers know they expand their customer base once a kid takes that first hit. The feature article in today's Wisconsin State Journal, Dane County's Deadliest Drug, talks about the consequences of having this drug in the area. Mike Florek, the founder of Tellurian, a nonprofit organization that treats alcohol and drug abusers, and people suffering from mental health issues, says that it used to be that maybe 5 to 10 percent of people seeking help were there because of heroin but now it is nearly 50 percent. That's a little unsettling, don't you agree? It seems that the drug cartels may be succeeding. I don't know about you, but, for me, that's reason for concern.
What makes a blog blah? I think a little too much me me me and not enough we. I really want to hear about how the rest of you deal with the challenges of daily life and what you do to keep yourself on top of the world. I find that it helps in knowing that I'm not alone in life, that there are other people dealing with similar challenges. And I'm not talking about (excuse me for saying this) "wallowing in self-pity." That's not the name of this game. I just want to know what works for you. Let me know what you think.