Friday, October 28, 2011

COLOSSIANS 3...Setting my heart on things above, and clothing myself with love.

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Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, 
set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, 
seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds 
on things above, not on earthly things. 
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Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, 
clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, 
gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and
forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against
someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all 
these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in 
perfect unity.  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, 
since as members of one body you were called to peace. 
And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among 
you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all 
wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, 
singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever 
you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the 
Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
COLOSSIANS 3: 12 - 17

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God, I pray you focus my heart on you and get rid of the distractions.  
I pray you remind me daily of your free gift of grace. Please 
give me the humility to share that grace with others ever so freely.  
I pray your peace, love, and patience would humble me and that I will clothe 
myself daily with the kind of kindness and compassion that only you could
bear in me.  God please keep my heart clearly focused in exalting you 
as I sing and praise your name, and may I continually be grateful for 
what you've done and continue to do for me.  Lord, I praise you for who 
you are, for your gift of everlasting life, and for the consequence of sin you 
bore on my behalf.  Heavenly Father, thank you for your mercy.  I love you.

In Jesus name I pray, amen.

May you be blessed today.  I pray you find time to meet with your Savior.

Big hugs,

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Pumpkin spiced donut holes.
Boy does he ever know the way to my heart!
How many are left?  Don't ask!

Hope your day is full of lovely surprises.


Monday, October 24, 2011

DIY Art...So inspired...What should I make?

I have been in the mood to create something...some art if you will.  More specifically, I want to paint.  I want to get all up in a canvas's business with color and brushes and creativity.  Haven't done so in quite some time...and I'm so ready.  

I enjoy painting with my nearly three year old son, but I'd like to venture out on my own soon.  I bought a couple canvases that were majorly discounted at Joann's, and am trying to decide which route to take.  There are so many inspirations out there.  I thought I'd share just a few that were speaking to me.


Loving the large, colorful polk-a-dots all lined up.
Love that they are all imperfect.  Love the girly hues.
I also love the idea of rough stripes/streaks...hmm.

I have saved this polk-a-dot art image for a LONG time now.
There is just something about polk-a-dots and fun, bright color.


Neat-o design.  I would change up the colors a bit.


Love the idea of word art.  This could go a million different ways.  
I'm thinking I would go the route of scripture.

And song lyrics?  Just as lovely.
Worship music speaks to me, and it would be great to see the lyrics visually every encouraging.

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Below I added a few of my favorite color inspiration boards. I absolutely
LOVE it when folks put together color boards.  Such eye candy, and
I can't get enough.  I am so inspired by the reds, pinks, oranges, yellows,
and greens.  A little aqua or green/blue would be great too.  So many
of these palettes just sing to me.  Can you tell by my header?  :)  He he he!

I also love the calm neutrals, but right now, all I can think about is COLOR.  Take a peek.

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Do you have any favorite art inspirations?  Any suggestions?  Tips?  Ideas?
Love it.

Blessings to you!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Can't Be Beat!

I have shared my love for homemade spaghetti sauce on the blog before, but with it being fall and comfort food season, I thought it couldn't hurt to share it again.  Here it is, in all of it's glory, along with a link to our favorite caesar goods and homemade croutons.  Happy Friday!

Although my husband thinks I am a little crazy for feeling this way, I long for fall in the middle of summer. Fall is my season. I'm not ashamed to shout out a big, "Woo hoo!" when the weather starts turning. Summer is beautiful and full of all things wonderful, but fall holds a very special place in my heart.  Fall gives me the warm fuzzies for so many reasons...the chill in the air, the warm cozy nights in by the fire, the candles burning, the beautiful reds, oranges, and yellows, the return to coats and scarves, the holidays, the family gatherings, and gosh darn it...the yummy, comforting food!  I thought I'd share one of my all time favorites that is perfect for fall...and all year through!

I'd have to say, hands down, one of my favorite meals to prepare (and eat of course) is Spaghetti and Caesar salad.  I mean really, who doesn't love spaghetti?!  There's just something about it that feels like home, and for a large family gathering, it seems to hit the spot for everyone. Actually, it is one of my very favorite "beginner" meals, as I vividly remember standing in the kitchen with Brian, married a little over a year, and preparing to have our entire families over for dinner in honor of my 25th birthday.  I was still arthritic, so our every day was not your average newly wed's life.  My body didn't do well with standing for long periods of time, and I had no stamina.  I had recently discovered a desire to cook that I didn't know I had after watching hours of The Food Network (while immobile on the couch).  With this inspiration, we wanted to cook something fun and family friendly for everyone to enjoy.  I was not quite as experienced then, and boy was it a learning experience.

I don't think the Mr. would be thrilled that I'm sharing this picture, but it is too priceless!  Doesn't it look like he's trying to convince me it is working?! 

We started chopping, and all of a sudden Brian ran upstairs.  What was he doing?  Well it turns out he thought it was a good idea to bust out some ski goggles to protect his eyes, as the onions were making our eyes water like crazy.  I laughed so hard, I nearly peed my pants.  It was a genius move though...totally helped.  We were new at this, what can I say?  (In the years since, I have found that if I run the faucet with cold water and stick my face right next to the cold running water, the tearing up is a bit relieved, as it is if I walk over to my sliding glass door and stick my head out for a moment.  What is your favorite way to avoid crying onion eyes?)

Anyhow, we were finishing just as folks started coming in the rushed...and not the way I wanted to welcome them into our home!  In hindsight, I can now vouch for the luxury of planning ahead and making certain elements of a meal prior to the day you're serving it.  Who knew?  Ahhh well, you definitely live and learn, and hindsight is definitely 20/20.  Fun to look back on.  I assure you,I've we've gotten better!

Being that I was not able to last long while standing (boy did my arthritic feet hurt), Brian helped with a lot of the prep and cooking. We shared a lot of giggles, and it was only just the beginning.  Good times!

Below are the recipes for Spaghetti Sauce (my own tweaked version) and Mini Turkey Meatballs  inspired by Giada De Laurentiis.  I sure hope you love these recipes as much as we do.  Definitely family staples.

Simple Tomato Sauce
(My version inspired by Giada's Simple Tomato Sauce)

*I usually double this recipe to have enough extra to freeze for a few more dinners down the road!  Love to see bags of this stuff in the freezer!  Quick and easy dinner of those know...the kind where you look in the freezer and say, "Hallelujah!" when it's time for dinner.

1/4 - 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 sweet yellow onion, chopped
2 - 4 cloves garlic, chopped (Just depends on your garlic preference here.  I use 4, and it is not overpowering.)
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped (I use regular long carrots...I noticed baby carrots have a difference in flavor.)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 - 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes in rich puree (plain or with Italian seasoning)
1 - 14 oz. can of tomatoes (diced, crushed, fire roasted, or Italian seasoning)
*When I double the recipe, I usually use 5 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes and/or diced tomatoes, a mixture of plain and Italian flavored. 
2 dried bay leaves
4 - 6 fresh basil leaves (Tastes great without it just depends on if I have it in the fridge or a basil plant that is alive...oy!  I also add dried basil in a pinch.)
2 - 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

In a large pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent. Add celery and carrots, season with salt and pepper, and stir well.  Continue sauteing until vegetables are soft.  Add in tomatoes, bay leaves, and basil.  Simmer partially covered (to avoid the splatters!) on low heat for about 1 hour or so. Remove bay leaves and check for seasoning. If sauce still tastes acidic, add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time to round out the flavors.

Cuisinart CSB-76BC SmartStick 200-Watt Immersion Hand Blender, Brushed Chrome

Use a handheld blender to blend this sauce until smooth.  I use THIS nifty handheld blender right in the pot, and it is magical.  Before I got this blender as a gift, we would blend the sauce in the food processor.  I will NEVER do that again!!!  Can I hear a HALLELUJAH for handheld mixers?!

If you are not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and pour portions into plastic freezer bags. I try to freeze in portions that would be about the amount we would need for a dinner and a little leftover.  This will freeze up to 6 months.

I serve this sauce over spaghetti or linguine, as they stand up nicely to this thick and luscious sauce!  It's also delicious over tortellini and ravioli and as a dipping sauce for breadsticks and the like.  Accompanying the spaghetti is often a side of Ceasar Salad with Homemade Croutons...or little flavor bombs as my husband likes to call them.  Yum!

If you'd prefer some meat in your sauce, here is what I do.

Although the meatball recipe below is scrumptious, sometimes I'm not in the meatball making 
mood.  So, I combine all the ingredients for the meatballs below in a mixing bowl, (excluding the 
olive oil and Simple Tomato Sauce), and brown it in a pan.  Then I add this meat mixture to 
the sauce I am using for the evening.  Once added, I let it cook for about 15 more minutes 
to ensure all the flavors marry.  One batch of meatball meat is enough for one batch of sauce.

Mini Turkey Meatballs
Recipe inspired by Giada De Laurentiis
(Tweaked by Yours Truly :)

*I eyeball a lot of this measuring...after making it enough times, I just don't take the time to measure it all perfectly!

1 small onion, grated
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
3 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound ground dark turkey meat
*I use ground turkey breast.
3 tablespoons olive oil
26 ounces Simple Tomato Sauce, recipe follows, or store-bought marinara sauce

Add the onion, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, ketchup, parsley, Parmesan, Pecorino, salt and pepper to a large bowl and blend. Mix in the turkey.

Shape the turkey mixture into 1 1/4-inch-diameter meatballs. Place on a large plate or baking sheet. 
Heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and saute until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat. Transfer the meatballs to a plate. Pour off any excess oil. Add the marinara sauce, about 3 cups. Return all the meatballs to the pan. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly and the flavors blend, 15 to 20 minutes. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Transfer the meatball mixture to a serving bowl. Serve with toothpicks.

MARCH 29, 2010

Do you love spaghetti night in your house?!

Hope you give it a try.  Set aside a couple hours, and have fun.

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