Sunday, February 15, 2009

Vegetarian spaghetti sauce

I had time to cook today but didn't feel like making too much of a mess or getting out a cook book.  I decided a nice hearty spaghetti meal would be perfect.  I just thought I'd share how I make plain pasta sauce more satisfying...

First chop up your veggies.  Today all I had were two zucchinis.  My last onion from summer had actually frozen in my make-shift cold storage (the enclosed stairwell we have leading up to our apartment - it got awfully cold a few weeks ago and I should have brought in that onion).  Anyway, onion would have been a good addition, mushrooms are great too.  Green or red peppers, whatever.  Saute them for a while.  Now add some Morningstar Farm sausage style crumbles.  I used about a half a bag here (I am saving some to add to scrambled eggs later this week).  For those of you who have never tried meat-replacement products, I would highly recommend that you try the crumbles in a recipe.  I love them and have fed them to non vegetarians without them ever knowing.  They taste good, add a hearty texture to the recipe... oh, and they are healthier than beef or pig (and healthier FOR the cow and pig as well - lol).
Make sure you don't over cook the crumbles.  They only need to be heated up. Then I poured in the jar of garden veggie pasta sauce and added dried minced garlic (fresh would be even better) and red pepper flakes.  Stir - heat through - serve on pasta.  I had "fresh" angel hair pasta as you can see on the edge of the photo.  Yum!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Kitten, Flooding and Little House

This is a photo of one of the baby kitties I wrote about often last summer.  They aren't so tiny anymore.  The calico didn't make it but the two that look like this are thriving.  I have learned my lesson about naming the barn cats - finally.  Every time I name one they end up dead.  : (  Now they'll only get generic names like kitty or mama or tom cat.  

The meltdown and rain that followed has resulted in some heavy flooding in our area.  The golf course a few miles away is covered as are many roads.  I have to find a different route to get into work tomorrow because of the flooding.  
I'v been watching the first season of Little House on the Prairie on DVD lately.  I loved that show.  I used to read the books over and over as a kid.  I know it is only loosely based on the real story, but I would love it if life were really like the show.  Hey - I can dream.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Finally!  A break from the frigid temperatures we have been dealing with this winter.  It is suppose to get up into the mid 40's today.  I booted the cat out onto the back porch to soak up some fresh air.  The snow is melting and I can smell mud.  It makes me happy.
I've been cleaning up around here while I still have time.  I think this will be my last Saturday off for a while.  Rather than cut our hours back to 45 per week at work, we just had them increased.  Next week I'm scheduled for more than 55 hours.  I'm about to have a meltdown -- mentally.  Lately I get up when it is dark out, shower, feed the cat, pack a lunch, drive a half hour to work, work for 10-12 hours, drive home in the dark, sort through the mail/check e-mail/de-stress from work and then go to bed, toss and turn thinking about work, dream about work and then get up and do it all over.  There must be more to life.  I try to make the most of my weekends, but more and more I am too tired to do much more than clean, laundry, bills and maybe visit family or a friend.  And now they are taking away my Saturdays.
I wanted to get together with my friends in Grand Rapids that garden and do a seed swap this year.  I hate buying a whole packet of seed and only being able to plant a couple of them in my own garden.  I thought we could share or pool money to buy seeds to split up.  It doesn't look like I'll be able to organize that... but I have another idea...
If anyone is interested in sharing some seeds, let me know.  I think we could do this by mail.  I am going to be getting some heirloom tomato seeds for sure, perhaps some melon, squash, etc.  I'd like to stick with heirloom seeds if possible so that I can save the seeds for next year.  We could have an even bigger seed swap next year if everyone buys heirloom and learns to preserve the seed.  I'll post more about that this summer.  For now, if interested, send me a comment and we can figure this out.
A few weeks ago I dreamt of my garden.  It was beautiful and lush and I had gotten so carried away with planting it that I accidently took up a huge portion of my landlord's garden space.  Last night, after the crumby news at work I dreamt that someone had trampled my beautiful garden and ruined everything.  I woke up knowing I had dreamt of my job ruining my garden.  I will not let it!  I will work in it by moonlight this year if I must.  It brings me real satisfaction to see hard work turn into something tangible -- like a juicy fresh tomato.  It is more fulfilling than a paycheck to me (unfortunately, I can't live without that paycheck -- yet).
So, for now I will enjoy the weather today and look forward to the future (hopefully a summer with time to do as I please) and try to avoid a major meltdown.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

GIzzard Stew

Yup, that's what I said... Gizzard Stew.  I promised my Dad that I would post a photo of his meaty creation on my blog.  So here you go Dad.  Your very own blog post...

Around this time he was drooling and saying "yeah baby" like Emeril would.  I can't say that I was as excited (except for the fact that Mom had quiche in the oven for us non-gizzard eatin' folk).  

"So, how did he work his magic?" you ask... well, he was kind enough to tell me what he did.  He took a pound and a half of gizzards (only $2) and pan fried them with butter and some water.  Then he added some onion and green pepper -- and I'm guessing garlic if I know my Dad.  Then cream of mushroom soup.  I'm not sure if he added any milk to the soup.  He ate it over a baked potato.  He said it was amazing -- I took his word for it.  :  )

So, there you have it.  I would have never thought I would blog about chicken gizzards.  Unfortunately I don't have a whole lot to blog about right now.  I could complain about the continued forced-overtime at work but no one likes to hear me whine.  I could talk about the weather but that is too depressing.  I haven't been creating much lately.  Oh, but I am dreaming about my garden.  I have an amazing catalogue that I must tell you about.  Actually, you should request one yourself.  Go to  Their catalogue has me convinced to buy from them this year.  It is gorgeous!  Oh, and the seeds are heirlooms which I feel strongly about.  I will try to get a good blog in this weekend on the subject.  For now, I must call my husband who has been gone all week working and then try to get some sleep.  I have another 11 hour day tomorrow -- sorry, I couldn't help but whine a little.