Wednesday, October 29, 2014

No Fresh Tomatoes Spaghetti Sauce

Yesterday, Javier learned how to make a quick spaghetti sauce when you don't have any fresh tomatoes.  I explained that if we had fresh we would cook it for a couple hours - when you need something quick - you open lots of cans and jars!

This made a huge amount of sauce - fed 10 with lots of leftovers.

3 jars of whatever kind of spaghetti sauce is on sale and has garlic in it
2 large cans of Hunts tomato sauce
2/3 of a can of Contadina tomato paste
1/4 cup of water in each of the jars to shake and add all the remaining sauce
A large squeeze of the Parsley, Italian Herbs and Garlic

And always stir with a wooden spoon!

I made the meatballs in the morning because they learned how to make meatballs already.  But meatballs are the secret ingredient to the best sauce ever.  Slowly simmering the already baked meatballs in the sauce makes the best flavored sauce.

We also had to frost the pumpkin roll and put it in the refrigerator before going to catechism class. No class next week so we can make the whole meal together!

Monday, October 27, 2014


These were our favorite Christmas cookie growing up on Hoyt Street.  I can say right now - I love the dough before it is baked - I love the cookie after it is baked - I could live on this cookie.  Mom always made them very small, my friend Jan makes them really big.  My friend Bea calls them Mexican Wedding Cookies - my Mom called them Butterballs.  Love them all.

1/2 pound butter
4 Tbs Granulated Sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups walnuts or pecans, chopped fine
1 3/4 cups Regular flour or 2 cups cake flour measured, then sifted

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla, add nuts and flour.  Refrigerate and then roll into small balls.
Bake 1/2 hour in a 300 degree oven.
Roll hot in powdered sugar then again when cool.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Quick Trip to Virginia

On Wednesday we took Robbie to Virginia.  He needed to be at the airport in Richmond on Thursday where he was going to catch his plane to Okinawa.  Joanna, Pat and I stopped at Joanna's best friend's home overnight in Virginia Beach.

Marina, Jason and their son, Mark, were such great hosts.  We had a very nice time visiting with them.  Marina didn't know that Joanna was coming, it was a nice surprise.  Their home is so warm and inviting.  This was the first time Pat and I met Jason and Mark.  It was so nice to get to know them.

On Thursday morning we got up early and Marina, Joanna, Pat and I took Robbie to Richmond.  We were so surprised at how small the airport is - it is an international airport so we expected something the size of Detroit.  But we walked in and Robbie went right to the counter to check in - no waiting.

Then after we had breakfast we watched as Robbie went through checkin.  It was very hard to watch him go.  Marina had packed him a huge amount of food.  A big sandwich, homemade hand held apple pies and homemade chocolate chip cookies.

We went back to Marina's and spent the night.  She made the best shrimp boil - I know I will be making that here for our friends.  It was delicious.

On Friday we left to come home.  It was a whirlwind trip - but one so filled with love and laughter and stories and good times and good food.

Robbie had a delay in Chicago, missed his flight, because of that delay, in Tokyo and then finally texted his Mom to say he made it to Okinawa.  Already miss that guy.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

It's Elsa!

I LOVE Pinterest!  There was a picture of a cake that was made to look like a Crystal palace. I figured I could do that for Ayva. We found sugar crystal candy on sticks at Rau's in Frankenmuth. I printed out an Elsa from the Internet and taped her to a stick. The cake is two rounds - one for the bottom, the other cut in half for a send layer and the other half I cut the ends off and made a small third layer.  The two small ends I used to fill in under the third layer.

I crumb coated with white buttercream. Then swirled blue into the second batch and frosted again. I sprinkled clear sugar glitter and put it in the refrigerator.

Once it was cold I put the crystal sticks and Elsa on the layers. The only thing that didn't work too well was the expensive tube of Wilton glitter frosting I bought to write happy birthday.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

American Prophet

So excited. Jonathan Stewart formerly a co-parishioner at the Cathedral (and a son of one of the famous Allen Girls) will be playing the lead in the short film The American Prophet.

Bishop Gumbleton was a great friend to our beloved Bishop Ken. I cannot wait to see this wonderful man play such an important role.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Half Day of School Fun

Ayva has been waiting all year for this day.  We only get the Halloween box out in October - that way it really is special.  She loves dressing up in all the outfits - especially the scary ones.  However Javier really didn't want too much to do with it this year.  He still had fun though.  Neither one will try on the old man old woman masks - they said they are freaky.  Nana and Papa like them!

We also had lunch - grilled cheese - yum.  And we frosted Aunt Betty's Easy Sugar Cookies so they could take some home in the empty container from Jesse's rice.  You know the rule - don't send back an empty container. Unfortunately, Nana forgot to replace the food coloring!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Mmmm Mmmmm Mmmmmmm

Dinner with friends. It was so nice to sit and talk.

I combined two recipes for delicious chicken enchiladas with this being the main recipe. The change I made was to make the alfredo sauce from this recipe instead of the heavy cream.

Then I cheated and asked Jesse to make rice. 
Best cheat ever! 

Green beans saute with onions in a little butter.
Then crush up potato chips and mix them in.

Cannoli Poke Cake

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Frozen Fun

The Apple Orchard had a Frozen Frenzy Day. 
Ayva loved meeting Elsa and Anna. 
Javie liked riding the train and horses.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Wednesday Cooking

We were busy yesterday so we couldn't have our cooking day. So we picked the kids up yesterday. We had so much fun, even if Papa had to go help his friend.

Javier and Ayva took turns with the apple peeler/corer. They liked making the peel come off in one long piece. Then they ate them. We made the best apple crisp and named our bakery The World Famous Bakery.

The apple crisp was extra delicious

Combine in Food Processor
1 cup flour
3 cups oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 TBS cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp nutmeg

Add through opening 1 tsp at a time

2 sticks unsalted butter - save 3 tsp of the butter for the apples

Apple Filling
15 apples
1 TBS cinnamon
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp nutmeg
the 3 tsp of saved butter from the topping

Peel and core the apples and slice very thin.  Toss the apples with the sugar and cinnamon and nutmeg.  Put in 9 x 13 pan or larger.  Dot with the butter.  Sprinkle topping evenly over the apples. Bake in 350 degree oven for 40 minutes or until bubbling.

They each made a menu. And we talked about what they should say to Grandma Caroline, Grandpa and Aunt JoJo when they arrived.

Javier pounded the steaks so they would be tender. Then they went outside to collect leaves for decorations.
Ayva put the leaves on the table. She asked, "Nana, did God make pink leaves so I would pick them? " I answered, "Yes of course."
We  put candles on the table which invokes the Nana rule: No burping or farting at the table. I know how terrible that sounds to some of you but it has worked for about 16 years.
When our guests arrived for dinner they were welcomed to our bakery and asked how their day was.
Pound steak
Drizzle with olive oil and red wine vinegar
sprinkle with garlic, Mrs. Dash, salt, pepper, thyme
Grill 4 minutes on each side

We had a delicious dinner of steak, smashed potatoes, broccoli, green beans, salad and apple crisp.  The hit of the evening were the green beans that I sauted in butter and olive oil.  Added dill, salt and pepper and then when they were done and I was looking for my small bowl and realized it still had potato chips in it from the kids afterschool snack.  I crunched them up and added the green beans - yummy! Then clean up and Aunt JoJo helped Javier with his math homework.

What a great day.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Thank You St. Anthony

Caroline asked me yesterday where she could get crates to make book shelves.  I told her we would watch estate sales. I said to myself, "Maybe St. Anthony will help us find some."

Today we found eight.  Thank you St. Anthony.

Friday, October 3, 2014


You would think I would be sad because Robbie received his certification and we weren't there to see it.  But instead I am so happy that his mother's best friend was there with her husband cheering him on. 

We were so happy that Robbie was assigned to technical school so close to Marina and Jason. It just made everyone feel that he was safe and secure, close to people who love him.

A big thank you and hugs to both of them.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

U.P. Color Tour

What beautiful color! For the last several years the fall colors have been so dark. This year the vibrant pops of color intermingled with the green pines have been a joy to see.

We stopped overnight at Mr. Lepeak's in Grand Marais. Even with the rain we love the drive. The tree trunks are jet black and they set off the oranges, reds and yellows.

We brought dinner with us and sat at the kitchen table drinking his famous raspberry wine. It was delicious. We heard all about his family and Grand Marais. He just had his 89th birthday and was proud to say he had just been certified again for the coast guard auxiliary. 

He took us to breakfast at the new bakery/restaurant in town. It is a beautiful place with pine siding, fireplaces, unique tables and delicious food. He pointed to the wall and told us he gave them an antique set of snowshoes he had laying around the shed.

A very nice visit.