Tuesday, November 15, 2011


My mom started making this kind of spaghetti when she married my step-father.  At first, it was a shock because it wasn't loaded down with tomato paste, but it grew on us so much so that I LOVE this recipe.  I won't make spaghetti any other way.  It has its extra bonuses, too.  Vegetables get thrown in for added health...the kids will never know.  It turns out to be a filling, healthy, vegetable spaghetti.  
Serve it with the breadstick recipe I have.  Super, super delicious breadsticks are always enjoyed with this spaghetti or your favorite lasagna.
  •  2 lbs beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped    
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of eggplant, finely chopped  (or a combination of mushrooms, carrots, squash-any vegetable of your choice)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can stewed tomatoes, STRAINED and then processed in food processor
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 can tomato paste-Italian seasoning flavored (or you could add your own herbs)
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Brown the meat with the onions, celery, bell pepper, and garlic.  
  2. Strain the grease off if there is any.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients, and bring to a boil.
  4. Cover and reduce heat to low/simmer.
  5. Cook on low/simmer for 3 to 4 hours.  The longer it cooks, the better.  

Monday, November 7, 2011

Powdered Milk

There are so many uses for powdered milk.  It is a definite in our household to keep it on hand. I put it in a container and keep it stored in the freezer (not sure why...just do).  Then, I scoop out as much as I need.  Here are some ideas on what to use powdered milk for:

  1. Make milk.  :D  That was easy.  Use it in cereal, mashed potatoes, recipes, etc...
  2. When I don't have raw milk on hand, I use powdered milk to make yogurt.
  3. Make whipped topping with equal parts of powdered milk and ice water.  Beat in a little sugar and vanilla.  Put it on top of your favorite pie. 
  4. Evaporated milk can be made rather than bought...especially if you forgot to buy it, it comes in handy.  1/3 cup powdered milk with 1/2 cup water.
  5. Sour cream can be made with 1/3 cup powdered milk and 3/4 cup yogurt.  Add 1 tsp cornstarch to stabilize it if you plan on using it in cooking.
  6. Replace a 13 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk with 1/3 cup powdered milk and 1/2 cup of water.  Microwave until hot and add 1/2 cup of sugar.  Just be sure to refrigerate for a few hours before using. 
  7. Instant hot cocoa for those winter months can be made with equal parts of cocoa, powdered milk, and sugar.  Microwave a cup of water till hot and stir in.  Top with marshmallows or a dash of cinnamon to suit your tastes.
  8. Make your own curds and whey like Little Miss Muffet.  Boil 1 part powdered milk and 2 parts water.  Remove from heat and pour in vinegar (1 Tbsp per 1 cup of water), stirring slightly.  Let sit and watch it separate.  You should have a clear liquid and curds.  If it is still a little milky, add a small amount of vinegar and let sit again.
  9. Continue with the curds to make ricotta cheese by straining the curds through a cheese cloth.  Retain the curds and blend until smooth.
  10. You can take it a step further and make cottage cheese by adding some yogurt or evaporated milk to the blended curds. 
  11. Soak fish in milk before cooking to make it plump and taste fresher.
  12. Make a face mask with a paste of powdered milk and water.  Spread it on your face and let it dry before cleansing it off.  Your face will feel smoother. 
  13. Equal parts of powdered milk and water with a dash of salt to make a paste can take the itch out of insect bites.
  14. Make some milk to ease sunburn.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Banana Bread

While I have a recipe I like specifically for banana muffins, I also have a recipe I like specifically for banana bread.  This recipe is much sweeter than the recipe for the muffins.  Of course, you could use either recipe for muffins or bread according to your preferred taste.

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup nuts (optional)
  1. Mix oil and sugar.
  2. Add eggs and mashed bananas.
  3. Mix in a separate bowl the dry ingredients.
  4. Add the dry ingredients, milk, and vanilla and mix well.
  5. Pour into a greased and floured bread pan (only one unless you use small pans).
  6. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Lonestar Angel

Eden Larson is about to receive a marriage proposal when her ex-husband, Clay interrupts.  In a flash, Eden's life is turned upside down.  Not only does she learn that she is still married to Clay because he never signed the divorce papers five years ago, but she also learns that their daughter, Brianna who was kidnapped at six weeks of age, is still alive.  

Eden had lost all hope that her daughter was alive after the ransom delivery went wrong.  The kidnapper's vehicle sunk in the river.  Eden assumed their daughter had also drowned, but the body had never been found.  

Clay had never given up hope and continued searching for his daughter to no avail.  Until he received a photo of a group of girls at a youth ranch in Bluebird, Texas.  Both Clay and Eden whisk off to Texas in search for their Brianna without knowing which one of them is her.  They sign on as counselors in order to find out more.  During their stay at Bluebird Ranch, Clay and Eden grow a bond of love for each girl and for each other.  

Love is not the only thing on Bluebird Ranch.  Someone is determined to keep them from knowing the truth.  When their lives and the lives of the girls hang in the balance, Eden turns to the only thing she knows can help her win this fight.  She turns to her faith in God to save all of them.

This was a fantastic book!  I was kept in suspense till the very end.  I love books that have it all...love, tears, laughter, and yet can still lead me to the edge of my seat wanting to know what happens next.  Colleen Coble did an amazing job with Lonestar Angel.  I believe I will need to seek out her other Lonestar Novels.  

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 

Friday, November 4, 2011


I'm going to get on my soapbox for just a moment.  These thoughts have been weighing heavily on me for too long.

6.acceptance - a disposition to tolerate or accept people or situations; "all people should practice toleration and live together in peace"
permissivenesstolerance - a disposition to allow freedom of choice and behavior


To accept someone wholly and completely is not always easy - life is not easy- but it is the right thing to do.  We may not always agree with their choices, but we should allow them the freedom to make decisions for themselves without our judgement.  

Everyday it is something... people fighting over religion, fighting against or for abortion, fighting for or against same-sex marriages, fighting over racial issues...the list goes on and on.  
Good Grief!  Isn't it enough?!  Why fight?  Why argue?  

People deal with good and bad coming in and out of their lives like the tides of the oceans.  People want stability.  They want to know that there is similarity, sameness.  People fear difference.  Why is this?  It is ridiculous what we do to each other and ourselves when we have discord.  We cause pain and stress.  It is bad for our health and the health of others.  Negative actions set bad examples of who we are as people to our neighbors, friends, relatives, and children.  

I hate olives on my pizza, but I know many people do like them.  Should I restrict everyone from getting olives on their pizza just because I dislike them?  NO!  That would be selfish and controlling of me.
Think of the olives next time someone worships a different God from yours; thinks abortion is the best choice for herself; falls in love with someone of the same sex....  What may not be right for you doesn't mean it may not be right for your neighbor.  
Love thy neighbor as thyself.

To accept someone unconditionally is to show true love.  Can we put all the judgement, selfishness, and hate aside?  Can we learn to accept each other for who we are?  Can we respect someone's decisions whether we agree or not because we love unconditionally?

         Thanks for listening,