Sunday, July 27, 2014

Spaghetti #1 -- Friday Friend Cookbook recipe #17


I made my favorite mother-in-law's spaghetti sauce and it was great!
The Handyman said-- "I forgot how good my mom's spaghetti sauce was"
What a nice compliment from a son--who has had plenty of spaghetti sauces in his lifetime.  Most of those would have been mine, as I am constantly trying to perfect a signature sauce.  
In my quest, I asked the Friday Friends to send me their signature sauce recipes and twenty-four of them did.  
24!!  
That means I will be making 24 spaghetti sauces during my FF Cookbook Countdown.
(sigh)
Good thing the Handyman loves spaghetti.

This is a really good sauce.  Not overly tomato-y or bogged down with tons of Italian seasonings (like I tend to do.  I figure if a little is good, a lot is better), just a real full bodied meat sauce.
Her family loves it.  LOVES IT.
All 6 kids and 3 stepkids.
Her is my mother-in-law, Teresa Belcher.

Here is her sauce
Oh... she is a mixer. She mixes the sauce into the noodles before serving it.
My mother was a spooner over the top kinda spaghetti server.
How do you do it?



In the  Friday Friend Cookbook
in which our editor and publisher, Barbara Brown typed up,  she titled this sauce
"My Step Mom's Sauce"
Because one time at a family wedding or gathering, my in-laws 'fake' adopted Barb, so Barb has always had a special place in her heart for my husband's mother and visa-versa.


My Step Mom's Sauce
or
My Favorite Mother-in-law's Sauce
from the spaghetti sauce section of the Friday Friend Cookbook

1 medium onion chopped
2 T. Olive Oil
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/4 lb. lean ground pork or sweet Italian sausage
1 lb. Italian plumb or pear tomatoes, drained, seeded and chopped
1 cup tomato puree
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 cloves minced garlic
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp pepper
salt to taste
1/2 lb fresh mushroom sliced*

Saute` onion till soft in olive oil.  Add meats and cook through--around 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add the rest of the ingredients (except mushrooms) and return to heat.  Heat to boiling, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring often, till sauce is thick.  (45 minutes to an hour).
Stir in mushrooms and cook another 15 minutes. Black olives can also be added with mushrooms.

**I bought the mushrooms, but at the end I forgot about them, so we had the sauce without.





I happen to be one of the luckiest women alive-- in that I have always loved my mother-in-law and she has always loved me.
I hope that her example of what a mother-in-law should and can be rubs off on me so that my DIL's love me too.

And like me!  As I like and love them.

Too mushy?!
Heck yah---let me get on with telling you about this Friday Friend  (so lucky to get to call my mother-in-law my friend!  oh dang...mushy again)

My mother-in-law, Teresa Marie Solaro (Stone) Belcher 
is half Italian.
Her father was Italian, so lots of her  cooking reflects that influence.
She grew up with her parents in Nevada City, California, where they owned and ran a boarding house.  She said her mom and grandma cooked all the time and she remembers sitting on the kitchen floor watching them.

The half-Italian heritage filters down...
It makes the Handyman  1/4 Italian of course, and then my kids  1/16, but you'd never know it filtered down that much, the way they love and are proud of their Italian heritage.


This is not a great picture  (photo quality speaking that is)   of my mother in law, but one is which she looks so happy and I like it.
It was a a graduation dinner for one of my kids.
A lot of the family were here---not all of them, but a lot.



I tried to crop it from this bigger picture--




and while I was downloading photos, I came across this one of
Teresa and her daughters---some of my favorite sister-in-laws! (I have 10 of them)

The Handyman's mom, Teresa, and his sisters, Eva, Cheryl and LeAnne.



And that is the story of Spaghetti Sauce #1.

I am linking up to Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads.
Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share.



Saturday, July 26, 2014

Kid Konnection

We have been busy cleaning out my parents home over the last few months.  While a sad and sentimental journey for sure, it's also been kind of fun discovering and 're' discovering things from our childhood, our parent's childhood and even our grandparent's childhood.
Bibles?  I think I now have the biggest Bible collection in the known world.  I mean, how can you throw away an old family Bible that has your ancestor's name in it?  Along with old letters, newspaper clippings, etc?
I cannot.

Anyway, that is a story for another time. For now... Look what I found!
(bad photos---taken on the guest bed---sorry)




I remember these books from when I was little. They were  not mine, but my mother's and my grandma's books.   LITTLE JANIE'S CHRISTMAS!!!   It is one that I always loved.   I am so glad my mom didn't throw it away.    It is Christmas to me.  Just look at the picture!   Santa across the night sky.
I always thought it was just like that.
In the book,  Janie writes a letter to Santa Claus on Christmas Eve and he ends up coming and taking her in his sled, where they go back to the North Pole and she visits his workshop.   The photos are gorgeous and very old-fashioned.
This book was published in 1946, and you can find it on e-bay for around  $15. 
It was much more fun finding my mom's.





A Lonesome Dolly---my grandma received this from her uncle. There is an inscription inside the front cover.  There is no year or date, but I am thinking it was the late 20's. From now on, I am going to sign and date every book I give to someone.  I usually try to do so, but from now on it's a mandate for me!





And finally, this one I shouldn't be so happy to have.   But I am.  Only for the sake of nostalgia---I have  replaced it for my own children (or grandchildren) with   "The Boy and the Tigers"  Which sounds much better than "Little Black Sambo".




In my mother's trunk there were these few books  and a handful of others.
I wonder what I will choose to keep and what I will choose to give away?
That will be a hard decision for me when the time comes, but then again, does it really ever have to come? 
I have a a whole two shelves full of children's books and juvenile novels. I love having that 'library' for my grandkids... and also sometimes my friends children.
But, is it more fun discovering a handful of treasured books or bookshelves full of all kinds of books?

I am linking up with Kid Konnection at Booking Mama.




Saturday Snaptshot

I am ready for a Vegas weekend!!

Not so sure why, since I live in Nevada.  It's not like I like to gamble--I could do that downtown here if I wanted to, but I don't.
And Reno is only  2 1/2 hours away---I'm headed there on Monday.
But Vegas? There's just something about it....
and I want it.

We spent Thanksgiving there a few years ago, which might seem weird, but it was really a nice time.
We met family from Arizona and Washington.

Since I am in the mood to go again  thought I'd share these photos with 
Saturday Snapshot this weekend.
and remember
What happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas 
(unless you have a blog)

























A little dancing with a "Great Aunt/grand niece" 




Wednesday, July 23, 2014

It's Outdoor Wednesday!




I've told you before, and I'll tell you again, there are three states I love with all my heart,  Oregon, Washington and Nevada.
I love Washington because I grew up there---I am sentimental about it and nothing can compete with sentiment.

My favorite river is there  (my middle son laughed at this--he doesn't think people really have favorite rivers.  I do tho), The  Columbia.   
My 2nd favorite river is the Snake River and my 3rd favorite is the Yakima River.  (yes, I am being kinda silly and ornery about having favorite rivers---can one really?)

Anyway, I grew up where all 3 of those rivers converged.  There was water, water everywhere!  (and yet is some weird paradox, the land is arid and dry, we use irrigation to grow all those apples and peaches and wheat )



Sometimes it looks like this:






Sometimes it looks like this:



But they are always doing this:




To get this:




There is an island in the Columbia River, in my hometown, called Bateman Island.
I will be honest here and tell you that when I was a teenager, we had parties out there---at that time you could drive out there, so we did, and then we partied down!  It's a wonder someone didn't get in a accident driving back and forth on this little one car lane.



Bateman Island is an island located on the Columbia River between the cities of Richland and Kennewick, Washington. It is approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) long and 0.5 miles (0.80 km) wide (160 acres (65 ha)) and is part of the city of Richland

Lewis and Clark mentioned Bateman Island in their journals in 1805. William Clark and two other men made their way towards the mouth of the Yakima River, but due to the time the farthest they got was Bateman Island.

In 2002 thanks to support by Bechtel Hanford and with help from many volunteers, about 27 tons worth of beer cans, and other debris left there over the last 60 years was removed.


Geez!  We drank a lot of beer!!  (27 tons?)


It's nice to have it all cleaned up now.  You can't drive out onto it anymore, but you can walk.  In May, the Handyman and I took our morning walk out there to do some bird-watching.




I had to get a list of the birds to remember what I saw, as I had forgotten a notebook.
(of course I didn't see all of these--just a few as a matter of fact)

Here are some photos of what we saw on Bateman Island on our  6am walk.
(it looks completely different than I remember from my high school nighttime keggar days.)
Now it's beautiful

Check it out for some beautiful outdoor photos from all over!