Monday, November 28, 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Bell Pepper, Rice & Italian Sausage Casserole

1/2 cup of finely chopped onion
2 bell peppers -  stem and seeds removed and cut off 4 to 6 rings and then chop the rest
2 tsp. + 2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. Italian seasoning (a blend of dried oregano, marjoram, thyme, and rosemary)
4 or 5 links turkey/chicken Italian sausage (1 lb.)
2 cups cooked rice - brown or white 
3/4 cup cheese (low-fat cheeses work too - I used colby-jack mixture)
1 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
3/4 cup any broth (I used a chickem bouillon cube to make mine)
1/2 cup milk (I used 2%)

Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a large heavy frying pan. Add the chopped onion and bell pepper and saute until the vegetables are cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the cooked vegetables to a bowl.

Add 2 tsp. more oil to the frying pan (or less if you're using a non-stick pan.) Squeeze the turkey Italian sausage out of the casing and saute until it's fully cooked and nicely browned, breaking apart with a turner as it cooks. This will take about 5-6 minutes, but don't rush the browning.

When sausage is done sprinkle with 3 tbsp. flour and add 1 tbsp butter to the pan, stir until well coated/mixed.  Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth and 1/2 cup of milk.  Stir and cook until mixture thickens.  After it the mixture thickens add the cooked vegetables, Italian seasonings and rice into the pan and mix with the sausage. Cook this mixture a few minutes, until the rice is warmed through. Put the mixture into a casserole dish that you've sprayed with olive oil or non-stick spray. (I used a dish that was 9 x13  but a slightly smaller size will work.) Sprinkle the cheese over the top. Add bell pepper rings to top. Push them into the casserole slightly. 

Put the casserole into the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and lightly browned and the whole thing is piping hot, about 20-25 minutes. Serve hot.

1 can of cream of chicken soup can be substituted for butter, flour, chicken broth and milk.  You will probably still need a little water or milk to smooth it out some though when mixing it in. 

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Gratitude Friday

From Facebook updates...
Nov 19 - I am thankful for my niece who turned 1 year old today. Sending birthday wishes to Chloe Jo!

Nov 21Today has been a long day. I am already falling asleep and it is only 8pm. I am thankful for being home and maybe relaxing a bit before going to bed. I am also thankful that all my Thanksgiving shopping is now done.

Nov 22Thankful for the beautiful weather, stack of Christmas books to gather inspiration for decorating & baking, mail love we have received the last few days and that we got out of Walmart today fairly quickly although it was packed.

Nov 24I am extremely grateful for the abundance of joy and love in my life. Everyday is a blessing and although I express my gratitude here just in November - I remind myself daily throughout the year of all my blessings. Thank you for being one of those blessings...I know how fortunate to have so many amazing people in my life.

Monday, November 21, 2011

This is Home

I have been on a Narnia movie kick lately and I love the music from all 3 movies.  This one the artist talks about how when he wrote this song for the movie he kept in mind when his father read the books to him when he was young. I thought that was cool that he enjoyed the books and then did a song for the movies. The books are great....I should read them again. I haven't read them since I was a little girl.

Anyway....beautiful song. This is home - just makes me so grateful for Michael and that this is home with him.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Gratitude Friday

Some more status updates from Facebook....

Nov  13  - I am thankful for the wonderful brunch Michael made, that I am able to stay inside on such a cold dreary day, and that more often then not I am able to go with Michael when he goes out of town for business - love road trips with him.

Nov 15I am thankful for being able to have fun and laugh with Michael especially after a long day like today.

Nov 16Today I am thankful for Michael being there for me during such stressful times such as this evening when I had to go to the ER. I am fine. They aren't exactly sure what is wrong with me but wanted to rule out a blood clot in my leg...and it was ruled out - so I am very thankful for that.

Nov 17Today I am thankful for our friend Missy and an email written by Michael. Missy told Michael about me and he wrote me 9 years ago today. I am very thankful he decided to write and share so openly as it was really from the words written - I knew he would capture my heart quite easily. And he did. I love you Michael

Nov 18I am thankful that Michael and I are able to have mini-dates in the midst of a very stressful week. Took me to Starbucks for a holiday drink. We needed that time away even if for just a short time. I wish it could have longer but some time was better then no time.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Visit to the ER

I went to the ER on Wednesday. My left calf swelled up to about 2 1/2 the size it is normally. It was really sensitive to the touch and just hurt from the pressure of it being swollen. I then also had some chest pain and coughing. Coughing so much that it felt like I had bronchitis. I went to my doctor and he sent me to the ER to check for a blood clot. I had an EKG which was fine. And an ultra sound on my leg and no blood clots were found. 

It actually looks like I have an infection in my leg - they treating me with powerful antibiotics and after not even 2 full days of being on them - my leg swelling has went down and hardly hurts, don't feel the pressure and it isn't as sensitive. It looks like I might have had a small cut that became infected and that sent my body into chaos. 

I fell 2 years ago and I have an area on my calf that normally looks like a very dry patch of skin and I wore a pair of lounge pants last week that are soft on the outside but on the inside not so much. I think they rubbed across the dry patch causing an abrasion that became infected. Even though looking at it there was no visible open scratch. It just became very red...looked angry in the area but when it is very dry - it sometimes does so I didn't think anything of it. 

The ER doctor wants me to follow up with my doctor on Monday. My doctor is out of town so seeing another doctor. But I think everyone will give me the clear that it is better. Because the ER doctor stressed about 10 times if isn't - I would be checking into the hospital for a stay to be treated with even more powerful antibiotic. Already stressing about the ER bill - so don't want to have to be staying in the hospital. 

Michael  of course said that I am worth the expene as he wants me around a long time. He was great - as he knows doctors freak me out and he did really well keeping me calm. 

In the end - I am feeling better and it looks like what they are treating me with is working. I feel better and my leg looks much better. So I think things will be okay. Just very scary. 

I was telling a friend - I think my warranty ran out at 43. I am 44 now but this last year has been a horrible horrible health year for me.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


I have always wanted a tattoo.  One of my friend's husband is a tattoo artist and she has amazing body art. Covering almost everywhere except her face. But big pieces on her arms, legs and back....just everywhere. Another friend, one of my closest friends, Jessica has a star freckles as tattoos and each one represents a person. She told me early this year that she was getting one for me.  It touched me deeply.  Stars shape as meaning to me too so it makes it even more special to think I am going to be a star on her.

On Pinterest, I look at tattoos people post and collect ones I like.  

Here are a few....
Michael has a nickname of Spooner and so a spoon seems appropriate. 

I have kind of an obsession for letters and numbers and this combines the two so could be a good tattoo.  My friend with the star tattoos, Jessica, talked about doing a kind of henna-looking tattoo with the subtle brown color and design of henna as a tattoo - I think this would look lovely in a brown.

Source: via Darby on Pinterest

Owls, spiders, elephants, turtles, ravens and crows tattoos always get my attention.   Jessica gave me this book called Soul College.   You create cards that have deep personal meaning. Many of them seem to involve animals.  These are the animals that I feel are frequent images in my life that I am pulled towards. They represent aspects of me. 

Words - I would love to have a quote tattoo.  I am just not sure I would be able to narrow it down to what quote.  As I love words. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Gratitude Friday

I have been trying to do daily thankful posts on Facebook so here is the ones I have done so far....

Nov 1I am thankful for Michael taking care of me when I have the stomach flu.
Nov 2Today I am thankful for feeling better. Stomach flu seems to be gone. I am also thankful for the wonderful aromas going through the house with a new recipe that I made for dinner. Hoping it tastes as good as it smells...will find out in about 10 mins.
Nov 3I am thankful for the chance we had this past weekend to take a day trip and see beautiful scenery. I love living in Colorado.
Nov 4 I am thankful for the beautiful weather we have, that the pantry is now organized after looking like a tornado hit, and for finding my favorite tea (it was buried in the pantry) when I had thought I was out.
Nov 5 - Today I am thankful for being able to stay indoors because it was cold, rainy and windy.
Nov 7I am thankful for our kitty cats who amuse me, nice fuzzy socks I got for my birthday that are warming my feet on a cold evening, migraine meds, and a cookbook all about soups that I am reading that make me want to make soup everyday as they look so good.
Nov 9 -  I look at the archives of this website, reading the signs, and it really gets to me. I feel often at times we are struggling but then I read things like I am reading on this website and I am thankful for the roof over our head and the work coming to the business. Michael works really hard and I am proud of all he does to keep moving forward. Our story pales in comparison to most of the folks I read about. We are in the 99 percent - but we're grateful for what we have as so many are in worse shape.
Nov 10 -  I am thankful...that I only have to get through today before getting the last Harry Potter dvd, for the adorable invitation we got in the mail for my niece's 1st birthday, for picking up the Design Sponge at Home book from the library, and that having milk and cereal brings back memories from childhood.
Nov 11I am grateful to all the men and women of our armed forces. You and your families have sacrificed so much for all of us...Thank you for your service!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Robert Redford Dessert

I have seen this recipe under many names but it has always been called Robert Redford in my family because it is just as good as Robert Redford. 

First Layer: 1 cup unsifted flour, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 cup butter or margarine softened, 1 cup finely chopped walnuts (have used almonds too)

Mix together flour, sugar, butter and walnuts until crumbly. Press in the bottom of a greased 9x13 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes - until lightly brown. Cool.

Second Layer: 8 oz. package cream cheese - softened, 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 cup cool whip

Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Fold the whipped topping. Spread over cooled crust.

Put the pan in the fridge while you prepare the third layer.

Third Layer: 1 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 3 cup whole milk, 4 egg yolks, 3 tbls butter, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla, 3 squares unsweetened chocolate - chopped

In a medium saucepan combine sugar, flour and salt. Gradually stir in milk and chocolate. Cook over medium until thickened and bubbly. Stir constantly. Reduce heat, cook and stir two minutes. Remove from heat. Separate eggs. Beat yolks slightly in bowl. Stir 1 cup of the chocolate mix into the yolks. Return all to saucepan, bring to gentle boil, cook, stir 2 more minutes. Remove from heat - stir in butter and vanilla. Cool in fridge before gently spreading over second layer.

Forth Layer: After the third layer is cool, spread the rest of the whipped topping. Keep refrigerated until serving.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Friday, November 04, 2011

Gratitude Friday

I am thankful for...
1. the nice day trip we had with friends on a drive this past weekend
2. feeling better after the stomach flu hit both Michael and I this past week
3. Roku streaming Pandora for music
4. a soup cookbook that is inspiring me to make soup - everyday - okay not everyday but there are so many good soup recipes out there and I love soup!

5. clean sheets on the bed - I love the smell of clean sheets and the crisp look of the sheet when they are first put on a bed.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Day to Day

I am doing pretty good. I can tell that the asthma problems are coming back at least somewhat and that is distressing me but I just keep hoping it won't come back as bad.  My doctor has 2 new inhalers that will be coming by mail and hopefully they will help.  

Otherwise things are pretty normal around here.  Michael is working and working and working.  And I am doing what I can to help him out but not much I can help with at this time.  So just trying to keep up with my things as I am really behind. 

I am trying to start thinking about Christmas and presents I need to make.  I can't wait to see my family for Christmas. 

So that is about all that is going on here. 

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Meatball Soup

We had this soup last winter and I just never got around to posting the recipe. But I can't wait to make it again as it was such a huge hit with Michael. From the first bit Michael was raving about the great flavor.  I didn't add any extra seasonings. The tomatoes with the basil, garlic and oregano plus my homemade meatballs have Italian seasonings in it - those things were the only seasoning for the soup. 

1 bag (16 oz) frozen cooked Italian meatballs, thawed or homemade meatballs
2 cups beef broth
1 3/4 cup water
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano, undrained
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 can (19 oz) cannellini beans, drained
1 cup frozen carrots
1 cup frozen green beans
1 cup cooked pasta - before serving
Shredded Parmesan cheese - garnish

In 3- to 4-quart slow cooker, mix all ingredients except pasta and cheese. Cover and cook on low heat setting 6 to 7 hours. The carrots and green beans can become mushy in a slow cooker so add after 4 hours or 4 1/2 hours instead. Add pasta just before serving. 

Garnish individual servings with Parmesan cheese.