Friday, January 13, 2012

Fu Manchu Friday

The Ravens are in the Playoff on Sunday! Caw Caw
 (That's the cry of a Raven if you didn't know your bird lingo!)

In Baltimore, every Friday during football season is Purple Friday, but this week it's even more Purpley around the city, and state.

Here's some of my co-workers from this morning!

One of the big trends right now, thanks to Joe Flacco, our Quarter Back is a Fu Manchu.

You know what a Fu Manchu is right?

Here's a few examples:

Dr. Fu Manchu

Joe Namath

Joe Flacco

Paul Sr. from Orange County Choppers

Hulk Hogan

My Dad

And now.....

Drumroll please.....

Introducing the newest Fu Manchu..

my son, E

Also known as

"Mini- Flacco"

Ah ha ha ha ha

I love it!!

Gooooooo Ravens!!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Easy Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

My grandparents are Italian. We had pasta and homemade sauce all of the time when I was a kid. I was very spoiled to have sauce that was literally made with love, and the taste proved it! Mom and Pop would schedule a day during the week to make a "batch" of the sauce. They usually made it together, and it would be an all day event. All fresh ingredients, simmering on the stove for hours, and then portioned into containers to 1) be used for dinner,2) be distributed to my mom and aunt & uncle  or 3) to be put in the freezer for use later.

I would consider myself a sauce snob! (Funny I know)  I am not a fan of jar/store bought spaghetti sauce. My grandparents, who are now in their 80's still made their sauce, but not nearly as much as I wish that they did, and every once in a while I get a batch sent to me.

My grandmother gave me her recipe, and I feel soo lucky to have it. (And I'm not sharing it, it's a secret family recipe) However, it takes time..I I need to literally plan to spend a half of a day to make the sauce. And, unfortunately, its not feasible to make it on a regular basis for me.

In conversation with my sister in law recently, I was telling her about my dislike for jar/store bought sauces, and she shared with me a recipe that she found online.Thanks Donna!!!

The following recipe is from America's Test Kitchen.

-It's inexpensive to make

- It only takes about 20 minutes to make

- It taste really good

- You can tweak it to add additional ingredients to suit your taste.

- You can freeze it and it still taste great when it is reheated!

The recipe is called "QUICK TOMATO SAUCE"


This recipe make 3 cups which is enough for 1 lb of pasta.
 (If you are like me, and like sauce, I would double the recipe..that's what I did!)

2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/4 cup (one medium) grated onion (I put mine in a food processor, I don't like chunks of onions, so  if I can't see them, I'll eat them!)
2 medium garlic cloves (minced or pressed in garlic press) GET the Garlic Press from Pampered Chef!!
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes (Recipe suggests using Tuttorosso or good quality brand tomatoes)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons of coarsely chopped basil leaves
1 tablespoon of Extra Virgin olive Oil
Ground Black Pepper

(I add Freshly grated Romano and Parm Cheeses, and I use more Sugar then the above calls for)

Heat butter in a medium saucepan until melted.

Add onion oregano and 1/2 teaspoon of salt until liquid has evaporated and onion is golden brown
Add garlic and cook until fragrant (hmmm..garlic and onion are already fragrant right?)30 seconds

Add tomato and sugar Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Then lower heat to medium-low and let simmer until sauce begins to thicken..about 10 minutes. Take off heat, add in basil and olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

I add the cheeses prior to taking it off of the stove and I add  more sugar while still on the heat. (I'm a rebel!)

I also like to add pork or small pieces of chicken to my sauce

To serve, I scoop sauce on the plate, top with pasta, then add more sauce to top, and garnish with fresh parsley and more shredded cheese.

(Are you hungry??? look at that stove top, sauce is splattered everywhere)

I couldn't wait to eat it, I had to test it by dipping fresh Italian bread in the pan..YUMMM!!

Very quick, and good recipe!!

Try it, and let me know what you think!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Christmas- Came and Went

   I was asleep for most of the month of December. It came in like a freight train..and left just as quickly.
I did really well with the shopping, and organizing this year, and even had a husband Elf help me do a bunch of the wrapping, but it just didn't seem like the normal "Christmas Season" to me this year.

Maybe it was because we were forced to hear the Christmas carols in early November, or because the stores were stocked well before the Halloween costumes were displayed, or maybe because we have had an unseasonably WARM fall/early winter? I was literally wearing short sleeves and no jacket one day while shopping on Main Street.

I normally have the tree and decorations up by the first weekend of December, but this year, we didn't even attempt to get the containers out f the garage until the second weekend, and Scott and E  bought our tree at a Lions Club stand one week night in the pouring rain (while I sat in traffic driving home from work),and it sat on the porch for 3 days to dry out, and then stood in the family room for another 2 days until it got lights and decorations.

And now, here we are in the first week of January, and I'm actually loving the warmness and comforting feeling of the holiday decor, and the tree had to be taken down, due to the drying branches, and the weather is finally starting to feel like it should for Christmas! 

But,  I'm ready to start cleaning the house, de-cluttering, and donating things to Goodwill, and getting the house in order for the next holiday...Valentine's Day!

I want to share a few of my Christmas decorations/decor so that you can enjoy it as much as I did...even if it only lasted for 2 weeks this year!

For the past 3 years E and I make a "Family" Christmas ornament that we add to all of the gifts that we give to family and friends.

Here are those that we did in this year, 2010, and 2009

Our Front Porch
Antique Child's wagon with lighted presents and giant ornaments

Antique sled and Milk Jug

I bought both pairs of ice skates at Goodwill (It's difficult to see the black pair on the ground.
The scarf is mine, and the basket came from Homegoods, and the greens came from the trees in my yard

Here is my mantle in the Living Room..

 I just love this picture of E opening his stocking on Christmas morning..sitting on the hearth, laughing with excitement!! (Had to share it!)

The Coke Crate is a yard sale find that I purchased over the summer, and the ornaments are Vintage Glass  that I purchased at Goodwill.
The little "Charlie Brown" tree was given to me by my mom...I love this little tree!

More pictures of the Living room decor..
I love Apothecary jars! 

Pillow was made by Scott's grandmother, and the little Santa bear reads Twas the Night Before Christmas

The Coke Crate on the second shelf was my other yard sale find from the Summer. I purchased little favor boxes, and glued #1-24 on them and had a piece of candy inside each day for a homemade Calendar. 

The little mouse was one of my purchases from the Lucketts Holiday open house, and the Christmas Memories Book is one of my most treasured items. It was given to me at my Baby shower, and every year since my son was born we fill in a page. It's so much fun looking back at each year!

Lastly, Here's our tree from this year! It was beautiful! 9' Tall, and smelled Ah-mazing!
I don't have a theme for my ornaments, I've been collecting them since I was 13, so it's a very eclectic mix!

Ours was a very Merry Christmas, I hope yours was as well!