August 15, 2016

Happy Homemaker Monday August 15 2016

Good morning! Thank you, Sandra, for continuing to host your Happy Homemaker Monday event. I love the opportunity to reflect on my life as a mom and homemaker and share it with others. The times that I forget, I am tempted to post on another day of the week and link up ;)

The weather Just a couple of weeks ago I decided that August was my favorite summer month because it tended to be cooler and less humid than July. Then it got hot and humid on me! Today's high is 88 degrees. At least the humidity is down to 58%. It looks like we have a hot week and then next week we'll have cooler temperatures. I hope their predictions are accurate!

Right now I am sitting at my kitchen table, as usual. I consider it my desk, lol. I have my two kindles and phone beside me, as well as my grocery list and paperwork that needs to be filed downstairs.

Thinking about the adjustments in my life at this time. My kids are all out of school. My oldest is working, my daughter is on a mission, my youngest son is preparing to go on a mission, so he is putting college on hold, and my foster son is currently in Marine recruit training and then will be attending college. My kids are adults and making adult decisions. Up until now, every year at this time we were in school preparation mode. Clothes shopping, school supply shopping. I love school supplies. I love brand new notebooks and planners - clean slates waiting for your life to be written. I am in heaven in any kitchen store, office supply store, or book store. I don't care about clothes, jewelry (all I ever wear is my wedding ring), or makeup. Now I get a pang of sadness every time I go by the school supplies at Walmart. I do not even have to shop for seminary anymore. My kids are out of school (for now) and I am no longer teaching. Now I have to find my new normal. The one nice thing is that I am saving money!

On my reading pile Currently reading A Man Called Ove (reminds me of my husband, lol) and Go Forward With Faith: the biography of Gordon B Hinckley. And the New Testament (currently in Hebrews!).

On my tv Still re-watching Friday Night Lights with my husband.

On the menu Tonight we are having a farewell dinner for one of our missionaries who will be going home in a couple of weeks. So we are having four missionaries, three of my former seminary students, and another young man from our church for pasta and ice cream sundaes. This is my happy place!

Monday - Penne with 25 year sauce, salad, bread, ice cream sundaes
Tuesday - grilled chicken, salad, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes
Wednesday - fend for yourself (which usually means Chinese food, but salad for me)
Thursday - grilled swordfish, rice, green beans
Friday - ??? maybe hot dogs and macaroni salad
Saturday - dinner out for my MIL's birthday
Sunday - pork roast with gravy, egg noodles, peas and carrots

On my to do list
Today - pick up kitchen area, vacuum (have my son home to do this), grocery shop, cook, two loads laundry

Tuesday - clean bathrooms, laundry
Wednesday - clean basement, laundry
Thursday - continue basement cleaning (includes purging), laundry
Friday - laundry, take it easy!

Looking forward to my daughter's email, my son's letter (always these two!), reading, weighing myself and seeing the the scale go down.

Looking around the house There is definitely some cleaning up that needs to take place. My son was in the play Our Town last spring. They took these old fashioned photos and made poster size prints of them and hung them in the theater. We were given some to take home, and they have been sitting on my dining room table since! We still don't know what to do with them. He doesn't want to hang them in his room. (They are pictures of his "wedding" and his "family". I really don't want to hang them in our family room. There would be too much explaining to to!

From the camera My daughter and her new missionary companion


Have a great week!

August 2, 2016

25 Year Tomato Sauce

Why didn't I snap a picture?! I am calling it 25 year because I've been married for almost 25 years and therefore cooking for almost 25 years and it has taken me until this day to make a sauce that's good enough for me to think THIS IS IT! I will still make meat sauce from time to time, and my aunt's pasta sauce with meatballs is to die for, but it takes all day, so this is now my go-to sauce, now I can stop buying jarred sauce!

To give credit where credit is due, I started with Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce, which I have made a couple of times and was really, really good. But when I went to make it a third time, I decided to add some stuff. I live in the northeast, surrounded by people with Italian heritage, and people around here, whether of Italian heritage or not, HAVE THEIR OPINIONS ABOUT TOMATO SAUCE. So I am not claiming that this will be everyone's favorite, but it is MY favorite, and my family loved it. (Can't wait to try it on my extended family to see what they think.)

I love the taste of tomato paste. I think it deepens the flavor of the tomatoes and makes the taste less sharp. I didn't have an onion, so I used onion powder, next time I may use an onion; I don't think that is a deal breaker on the sauce. Lastly, I did not have anymore San Marzano tomatoes, which are $4/can around here! I used organic canned tomatoes and tomato paste from my local warehouse store and it was still delicious.

So here it is (this made more than enough for a pound of pasta).

1 (28 oz) can tomatoes
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
7 Tbs butter  Yes, that is right, you may be able to cut back a bit, but the butter makes this amazing.
 2 - 3 tsp Italian seasoning
@ 1 tsp salt
@ 1 tsp sugar
@ 1 tsp onion powder or chopped onion or a whole onion removed, whatever floats your boat

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium heat, then turn down to a simmer for about one hour, partially covering pot to cut down on splatters. Stir frequently, breaking up the large tomatoes with a spoon as you stir. You can always blend the tomatoes before putting them in the pot if you don't want to have to break them up while stirring, just make sure stir anyway. I included the diced tomatoes because I like the little bit of substance they contribute to the sauce.

Since I am trying to lose weight, I bought a vegetable spiral cutter and had my sauce over spiral cut zucchini. Yum! I really didn't miss the pasta because the sauce was so good. And no mozzarella cheese like the rest of my family had.

By the way, I lost nine pounds in my first week and yes, a lot of that is water, but I have edema so losing water is a very good thing! It's still nine pounds that I am no longer carrying around!

August 1, 2016

Happy Homemaker Monday August 1 2016

Good morning everyone! Oops, it's almost noon here. If you have commented on my blog and I have not responded, please forgive me. I rarely get comments and stopped getting notification for them because of spammers, so I hadn't even noticed the comments that were left. But THANK YOU for stopping by and leaving a comment. I will try to be better about checking and responding! Thank you to Sandra at Diary of a Stay At Home Mom for hosting Happy Homemaker Monday. Stop by and see her!

The weather is beautiful! We finally had a good rain last night, which we desperately needed, and today is is cool (74 degrees) and comfortable. We are due for some more rain over the next couple of days, but I am not complaining, we still need more. The rest of the week will have lower temperatures - in the low eighties. I love August!

On my reading pile (Kindle) I am still reading the New Testament this summer, currently on 2 Corinthians. Does anyone else struggle with the epistles of Paul? Oh, I tell you, he gets my head spinning in circles, but I am always able to pull out a nugget or two of wisdom, so I keep reading. Still working on the biography of Thomas S. Monson too. In between I snuck in The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. I started reading it a few years ago and got about halfway through, this time I read the whole thing and really liked it. He is very thorough and it was interesting. Now I need to find another book to read.

ON my tv Still re-watching Friday Night Lights with my husband. That's it. 

On the menu: I haven't updated my monthly menu so I will share it here. I have finally been able to lose some weight and want to keep going. My strategy is first, to take it to the Lord and prayerfully ponder what is best for me. This is what I have been led to so far:

Breakfast: usually a big bowl of fruit with almonds, eggs with veggies a couple of times per week, sometimes a little cereal with lots of fruit

Lunch: usually a salad with some protein, occasionally rice and veggies or a sandwich on whole grain bread, fruit.

Snack: two dark chocolate granola bars

Dinner: a big salad with a little of what I make for my family

Monday: pasta with homemade sauce, salad, garlic bread
Tuesday: Taco Tuesday! Ground beef tacos, taco soup, corn on the cob (we are feeding a crowd)
Wednesday: fend for yourselves, I'm having a salad! (I have youth group at church)
Thursday: grilled chicken, zucchini, rice-a-roni
Friday: maybe grilled fish...that's as far as I've gotten.

Basically, I am trying to listen to my body and pay attention to how I feel after eating and stick with the foods that give me energy. After a day or two of a lot of salad, I am ready for a sandwich or something a little more substantial, and it's okay. It seems to be working so far. Will have to tweak as I go. I am trying to avoid white flour and sugar. Have not given them up completely, but am working on it, and the cravings haven't been bad, so I am happy and GRATEFUL.

On my to-do list: washing sheets today, clean and vacuum uncarpeted area of the main floor (kitchen, bathroom, mudroom, foyer).

Looking around the house: my youngest (17) son is off from work and it looks like he is making a quesadilla (he makes really good quesadillas). The cat and dog are both outside. My husband and oldest son (22) are working, my 20 year old daughter is sleeping because it is 3:33 am in New Caledonia right now, and my 19 year old son is recruit training for the US Marines. Actually, he may be getting his wisdom teeth out right now, poor thing.

From the camera: breakfast


I hope your week is full of love!