Friday, January 30, 2015


Last week Emily made a delicious and healthy pizza and I shared it with you on my last post.  I was in Trader Joe's Wednesday for just a handful of things as I was in the area, and I saw a bag of arugula.  I remembered Emily using it on her pizza, so I grabbed a bag along with some other things that sparked my idea for a healthy pizza and out the door I went with my little brown bags.  This is a couple of big handfuls of arugula softening and shrinking in size in just a few tablespoons of water in a hot skillet.  It literally takes about a half minute.  

Healthy Pizza Sauce

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter.  Add 1/2 cup chopped onion, and 2 chopped  garlic cloves.  Saute until onion is softened.  Add a large (14.5 oz) can of crushed tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon each of dried basil and oregano, 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, 1 bay leaf, 1 teaspoon of dried fennel, and a pinch of salt.  Let the sauce simmer on low heat for a least an hour.  Remove bay leaf.

Tomorrow we are leaving for downtown at about 9:00 a.m.  And wouldn't you know area has not seen more that 3 inches of snow since winter hit.  And this weekend they are warning us of a  blizzard!!  Well, as our weather people say, "A winter storm warning."  Well, I have a warning!  This is my 'winter weekend birthday' and no amount of snow is stopping us.  Take that, you 5-9 inches of white stuff!

I'll be back next week to tell you all about it.  

Jane x

Monday, January 26, 2015


So just as I ease back and make up my mind that I have to put on a positive face and support her in all she does, she starts to confide in me that she is worried about money, worried about her apartment-mates, well, all sorts of nagging worries.  Abby is a thinker.  She's disciplined and hard working.  But as the baby, she's been pampered far longer and much more than the rest of my kids.   I want her to be prepared.  I want to buffer her against all the hard knocks.  I want her to have a can opener.  

So, I did good...7 dozen cookies.  I got smart and used a small round cookie cutter in addition to the heart shaped one which was so big!  Ha!  And I decorated a few without the melted white chocolate.  Again, you can find the link to this really great sugar cookie recipe here

Saturday I demanded he take me out to dinner after all of the cooking and baking I had been doing.  He totally agreed and I'm sure it was because we had a Christmas gift card for an Italian restaurant nearby.  As I was getting ready that night, he bounded into the bedroom in his jogging pants, a zip up athletic jacket and his ear buds around his neck.  Jogging in place he said, "I thought I'd run home from the restaurant!"  Oh, dear God.  The man has lost it.  First of all, I informed him, you can't go into a restaurant dressed like Bruce Jenner from the 1980's.  Secondly, he wouldn't be able to walk much less run after eating the portions they serve at this place.  And thirdly, I wasn't going to try to drive his hot shot, recently bought, two year old Mercedes home when I've never driven it before, never will and don't even know how to get the key in the ignition (I never learned to drive the two seater "Spider" either).  He can have his fancy cars.  Well, his face fell a bit and he went to change.  The man is insufferable.  

Me, I'm going to go back to the gym as well, honestly.  I have to bide my time, with his joining and having to pay 3 months at a time...well, I'll work that into the budget later this week! ;-)  I did promise myself that if it was over 30 degrees today, I would take a long walk outside.  I awoke and grabbed my phone to check the temps.  28 degrees.  Saved!! 


Joining Tweak It Tuesday with Brenda at Cozy Little House

Jane x

Friday, January 23, 2015



  I couldn't get enough of holding this little cutie and it is making me inpatient for my granddaughter.  2 more weeks!  I bet MC is happier than I am about this.  ;-)

I made a promise to Kevin to make a few meals before she had the baby, while they had to work and  deal with being tired and a bit stressed out.  These are the times that I feel so blessed that I don't have a job outside of the home, and that my kitchen is my favorite place in the whole house.  Things have been bubbling away since I did a big shopping on Monday.  This is a huge pot of soup of lentils, sausage and Swiss chard.  Daughters Emily and Abby said, "Forget it, Kevin will never eat this."  I said, okay,  he can go to McDonald's then.  Son Jeff said, "Make healthy 'stuff' for him'".  They are going hiking in the spring for Jeff's bachelor party.  Kevin has been running every day.  We'll see.  

Recipe links will be listed in a future post or if you follow me on Pinterest, you can find most of them there.   More on that later.


1)  While you boil your shells, (1 lb.) in a sea of salted water, make your sauce.  I use 2 jars of pasta sauce...I like to mix I did an Arrabiatta  (sp?) sauce mixed with Emeril's garlic marinara (he has super tasty red sauces).  When I have time, I make my own sauces but for now...we do the convenient.  Heck, I've made my own pasta as well, I'm not going to try to impress with this recipe!  However, to this sauce I added one pound of cooked ground sweet Italian sausage, as well as 1 medium chopped green pepper and a handful of fresh basil.  Let simmer on low for 1/2 hour to meld the ingredients. 

2)  Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together a 16 oz. container of Ricotta cheese, 1 cup of shredded mozzarella, two beaten eggs and two tablespoons of parsley.  

3)  Drain shells when just soft.  Mix a tablespoon of olive oil into the colander and toss several times to keep them from sticking and to drain excess water from their folds.    

4)  Assemble a work surface.  Spread out shells and have a 9x13 dish ready with a few spoonfuls of red sauce on the bottom..  Place a shell on a cutting board and with a teaspoon, add about two dollops of the cheese mixture.  Use your (clean) fingers to sort of tuck that cheese in.  Place into the dish.  Keep repeating until you have two layers of shells.  Don't try to be perfect.  This takes patience.  Enjoy the process, it's so worth it.  

5)  Spoon the red sauce over, top with about 1 1/2 cups of shredded Mozzerella, as evenly as you can...then give it a good sprinkling of Parmesan.  

6)  Bake 40 minutes covered with foil.  Remove foil and give it a few minutes under the broiler, watching very carefully. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before you serve.  Use a big old metal spoon.  This should not be cut like lasagna, although it looks like it should.

I try to make recipes sound doable...maybe some look complicated in the crazy way I write them.  I simply believe that when I was a young "cook", I shied away from recipes that had a mile long list of ingredients.  Sometimes half of those involved spices.  Still, it looked daunting.  I try to make my recipes look and cook "friendly"...for all of you by listing the ingredients in bold.  You can assemble them easily this way.


As late as it is, I'm off to make one more dinner to freeze for my lovebirds, and the dough for the cookies.  I simply feel alive, worthwhile and earnestly chuffed to do this.

I will see all of you soon.  Many prayers for those on the east coast...we've heard of the treacherous weather coming your way.

I also wanted to mention that I joined Instagram, and you can find me here if you want to follow me.  And you can also follow me on Pinterest here.  No big deal, I think you might like to see some of my "found" recipes that are so Go To!!

Jane xx

Joining in with Thoughts from Alice

Sunday, January 18, 2015


I found a few cool things, I used to love to go through the piles of old linens at some of the antique stores we would find in little towns.  Pillowcases like these were snapped up without a second thought.  I have a few with the handkerchief closure.  Just buried and very musty smelling in this long overdo~to~be~cleaned out linen closet.  I washed everything twice.  With lots of bleach.  And I ironed a lot.  Well I did that because I left everything in the dryer overnight.  


I also felt I was coming up short on hand towels so I ordered a few from Macy's, which was having a "Blowout" one day only sale.  I think I missed all the white sales this month which is odd as I get every conceivable offer from every conceivable store in my email box every day.  Maybe I mindlessly deleted them. saw the closet "Before" picture here. And now we have this:

On a funny note, I was awoken this morning to The Husband banging around in his closet.  He had made an 8:00 a.m. trip to Home Depot and was in the midst of repairing his closet organizing system.  He has one of those kind that you spend all day putting together; wire shelves on metal brackets.  It's always falling apart.  I liked this...sort of a domino effect. :)

Jane x 

A glitch of some sort...please scroll down to comment.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Today I caved and went downstairs to my storage room, which is starting to look like a garage sale in the making.  I found a cloche and some pinecones for my coffee table and added some of my decorating books.

I found these S & P shakers at Terrain a few years ago.  If you look closely, they are mini Mason jars.

I've been back on my low carb/no carb diet since January 1 and so far, so good.  Abby on the other hand decided to go with whole foods and little dairy or excess fat.  She has been making smoothies with our new Magic Bullet (a Christmas grab bag gift).  I can't have fruit but I've tasted a few.  The strawberry/pineapple/banana/Greek yogurt is a winner.  Anyway, she wanted to go to a restaurant we've recently discovered called The Harvest Room.  The food is farm to table, organic or organically raised.  They make their own biscuits, jam, syrups, soups and pastries.  The menu was incredibly interesting...if you are curious and want to scratch your head in confusion a lot as I did, here is their website.  


So who eats tuna salad simply because they love it?  Crave it?  If you crave more it can only be because you are still ravenous.  Still, here is my tuna salad recipe.

1 pouch of tuna in water (one serving size)
2 T mayonnaise 
1/2 stalk of celery sliced thin
1 green onion, sliced
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t Mrs. Dash
A pinch of parsley flakes

Mix all and chill one hour (preferably...I never plan ahead and usually devour it as is).  Serve on a few iceberg lettuce leaves.

January means organizing and goals to eat better and be more active for so many of us.  Dr. Oz, whose new magazine is just terrific, wrote in the January issue, "So many New Year goals fail because we expect immediate results.  When that doesn't happen we throw in the towel."  I agree that we have to be in it for the long haul.  Be patient no matter what your plan is. 

I was going to go back to the gym this week.  I found that I just needed more space between the chaos of the past few weeks and a true commitment.  It's pretty easy to have that goal shimmering in front of me full of promise.  Then there is the harsh reality of completing that first run around the track and remembering how much I hate to exercise!

Off I go to work on that closet.  Maybe I'll burn a few calories while I'm doing it.

Jane x

Monday, January 12, 2015


I threw together the sugar cookies the night before after the Red Velvet cookie debacle.  This simple and delicious recipe came from Jennifer at Town And Country Living.  I used decorating sugar on some of them and the others I dipped in white chocolate and then sprinkles.  Fun!  These would be great for Valentine's Day.

I had lofty plans for today; go to the gym and get a manicure...or one or the other.  I settled on neither! lol.  It's 23 degrees, my car is covered in icy snow...okay, excuses.  I'm just so darn lethargic today.  I know I will perk up soon.  I have a few projects to get done this week, mostly involving some cleaning and organizing.  I wonder why January is such a popular month for that.  Is it because we are housebound?  Bored?  That it all went out the window during the holidays?  I have to say, I do get motivated seeing the magazines and blogs with their tips and solutions for everything imaginable.  Maybe it's a way to make a clean slate for the year ahead.  Sounds good to me.

Below is a list of the party food links.  I would highly recommend everything I chose to make, nothing about the recipes is difficult, unless you want to make everything at once as I did!  Ha!

See all of you soon!

Jane x

Joining Marty at Inspire Me Tuesdays