Thursday, June 30, 2016

Italian-Style Magic Dinner

Wouldn’t it be nice if there really was such a thing as Magic Dinner? Maybe Jetson’s style? Push a few buttons and dinner magically appeared! Yes, you can grab something from the freezer section of your grocery store and let the microwave magically make dinner. But let’s face it, most of those options are not exactly healthy. Therefore, I try to limit those meals. Then you have those wonderful meals in a box just waiting to “help” turn ground beef into a meal. You know the ones! I used to buy them by the dozen in the early days of my marriage. My husband LOVED them. Seriously…..it was a bit insulting to the cook in the house. Ego aside, they are easy and relatively inexpensive……but they are not healthy!
So what’s a girl to do when she is trying to serve healthier meals to a “helper”-loving man? Make it herself, of course. And it is easy and even more affordable. Win, win!!!!
You can mix up your own Magic Dinner mix and store it in the pantry until needed. While the ingredients are out, mix up several. They can be stored for a long time….just use the “best by” date on your ingredients as a guide.
Now on to the recipe….
Italian-style-Hamburger-Helper-2_thu

Click here for printable version

Italian-Style Hamburger Magic Dinner


Prepare your pantry meals:
(each recipe make 1 meal of 4 servings)
  • 2 cups uncooked penne or macaroni 
  • 2 tbsp. dried onion flakes
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder or granules
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
Combine all ingredients in a ziptop bag or quart canning jar. Seal. Store in pantry until ready to use.


To Cook:
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 recipe of Italian-style Magic Dinner (above)
  • 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 3 cups water
In a large sauté pan or skillet, brown the ground beef. Drain off any fat. Add water, tomato sauce, and Magic Dinner mix; stir. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 12 to 18 minutes, until pasta is al dente. Stir often to prevent sticking while simmering. Let sit a few minutes in pan, but off the heat, to allow the sauce to thicken slightly.


* I start checking the pasta after simmering for the pasta's recommended cooking time. Since it is simmering, instead of boiling, it usually takes several additional minutes to cook; but it never hurts to check. If the sauce is too thin, remove the lid from the pan during the last few minutes of cooking. If the sauce to too thick, add more water a little at a time to the desired consistency.
 
 
Until next time,
Sammi













Friday, October 3, 2014

Early Autumn

As you may remember, we moved the week of Spring turning to Summer. Summer was super busy. A week after we moved BoyWonder graduated from high school. A couple of weeks later my daughter and her family (including BoyWonder the 2nd generation) visited from N.C.  Here is a recent photo of BW2. Isn’t he cute in his little leather jacket and converse sneakers?

one cool dude beating his drum

We then got back to unpacking boxes AND planning for BoyWonder’s graduation party (which kept getting moved back). We partied the 1st of August and barely recovered in time to gather all BW’s STUFF for college.

Anyway…while all this was going on, I was trying to enjoy summer in our new home as much as possible. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to stop and enjoy this view?

rainy day 3

Okay….so it was a rainy day when this picture was taken, but you get the general idea.

As beautiful as summer was here, I have decided that autumn is even more so. I took the camera out for a stroll a few days ago….

Enjoy!

house from bridge

 

geese and autumn colorgoose dots on lake

geese on lake

MM dam

lake from outback

Unadilla from the outback

One of only TWO projects that I’ve managed to finish since moving:

sign of autumn

And just for fun….the house edited with some special Halloween effects from Picmonkey.com.

Spooky House 2

Although these photos were taken just a few days ago, the color on the trees on the hill beyond the lake is much greater. Unfortunately, it is a yucky weather day. If the weather is better before the leaves fall I will try to get a few more pictures.

For now, I am off the market to buy some of the comfort foods of autumn.

Until next time,

Sammi

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Joys of…..

Moving!

Hot Mess Studio

studio 2

 

The studio is completely packed now. These were taken a few weeks ago. Yes, I am a SLOW and terribly messy packer. Now it just looks sad….filled with packed boxes.

On to the Living/Dining Room/Bar area:

living room

 

That wall in the background? Gone. It was a temporary wall that had to be put up by hubby to make a bedroom…. Our bedroom furniture was too large to go up the narrow staircase in this old house. I guess people had smaller furniture back in the day. Honestly the “living” room was a large room (a relative new addition to this old house)…..like a 1000 square feet large! Yes. One room. So that wall hid our bedroom and my hubby’s office/storage area.

Just off the large room is a bar. Yes, that type of bar complete with beer taps and a sink! It, too, is stacked with packed boxes.

living room 2

At one time there was stemware hanging from racks in front of that mirror. They belonged to our late landlady. Note: the “late” part of that statement is why we are moving. Nothing like estate disputes….despite a will! A sad state of affairs. Anyway…to make it a little less bar-like, the glasses and racks came down and are neatly packed away for whoever ends up being the new owner.

However, all is not bad. In true “GOD is GOOD” fashion, we quickly found a place to rent when we realized that we were about to be dragged into someone else’s problem and that our lease was not being renewed (truly a blessing!!!). It is only about a mile away in the same little community. AND….that is not all….no that is not all. The first time I saw the “new” house when we first moved to NY a little over 6 years ago, I looked at my husband and said “If I have to live in NY, WHY can’t I live there?” And then I tried to just appreciate its beauty when I drove by…because covetousness is a sin!!!

Living in this house for the past 5 years has been challenging….despite my attempts at trying to make it more homey, it just never felt like home. It was just a house….a roof over our heads….. in the community that my hubby fell in love with. My new landladies were saying that they hope my family will be happy in our “new” home, and I told them that despite only being in it a few times it already felt more like “home” than this one ever has. One told me that she wasn’t surprised since this house has “Moose Lodge” vibes. As soon as she said it, I realized that was IT. DUH! Huge open room…and a bar. It never felt like a home, because it is made more like an event hall!

Here is a sneak peek of our soon-to-be new-to-us home:

Lake House

I snatched this photo from the county’s property tax site….So it is not of great quality. This southern girl would still rather live south of the Mason-Dixon; but if I have to live in NY, I’m glad I’m going to get to live here.

Until next time,

Sammi

Friday, April 25, 2014

Purpose or A New Season

 

The crickets may return tomorrow, but for today, I am back.

This morning while eating my breakfast, I scanned my Facebook home page. Last night a friend had posted:

Ever wonder what your purpose is? Or if you even have one?

As is usual for me, I get rather reflective—lost in my own thoughts—when winter refuses to leave. This year even more so than usual. Partially because winter was so HORRIBLE here in upstate NY this year (it is still trying to hang on!). Mainly because my nest is about to be empty. Therefore, my purpose has been very much on my mind. I started to answer on FB, but decided that could get rather lengthy. So why not make it a blog post?

Here is my answer to her question—the long version:

Lately, I have given quite a bit of thought to my purpose in this life. Not the BIG picture purpose—I believe that is to reflect the image of Christ. No, I’ve been thinking LITTLE picture—how to actually live out the BIG purpose in the day-to-day living. The little stuff that adds up to the big stuff. What do I need to do today, tomorrow and everyday to be the hands and feet of Christ?

I/We look at the Billy Graham’s of the world or even community leaders and see them doing what we conceive as great and mighty things, and we feel so…..little. We read in our Bibles the sacrificial works of Moses and Paul and other mighty saints and think “How am I suppose to live up to that?”.

We forget that behind every great saint were numerous NAMELESS everyday Christians. What were they doing? They were plowing their fields, weaving their fabric, cooking meals, tidying homes, and selling their wares. In other words, they were doing their work and living their day-to-day lives. The difference was that now they were doing it “as unto the Lord”. They were using their everyday lives to reflect the image—the love of—Christ to those they interacted with in their everyday, ordinary lives.

As an introvert, this is especially comforting. I do not need to lead a large non-profit to serve my purpose for Him. I do not need to speak to large groups of people in order to serve my purpose for Him. I don’t even have to necessarily leave my house in order to serve my purpose for Him.

Today I just need to answer the question: How can I serve God/reflect His image with what I am doing today?

I also need to pray that God reveals any specific task that he would have me do. And then—and here is the hard part for me—LISTEN for His answer. Often these are little promptings that we too often dismiss….the sudden urge to call a friend or mail a card to an acquaintance….to invite a neighbor to dinner or to go shopping with us….sometimes just to wave at a passerby. How small these gestures are; but to a friend having a bad day? not so small. To the neighbor who is feeling lonely? a life preserver.

If we are faithful to do the small things everyday, He will lead us to whatever larger things He may have planned for us. One day that may include leading a large non-profit or giving a speech or traveling to a foreign country to do missions. It may lead to a dream job or dream home or a great love (for those looking for that). It may lead to writing a book that helps millions see Him. Or it may just be that He has a quiet life planned for you where you touch people through the years in ways that seem insignificant to you but is life altering to them.

As I move into this new season of life with my husband—empty nesters….I feel so old—I hope to be faithful in the little things and that God uses them for His big purpose!

My friend? A nurse and a teacher (of others becoming nurses). I am by nature in awe of anyone who works with patients, because I cannot stand being around sick people! But I think the thing that she does that really makes me admire her most is her practice of hospitality. She opens her home often and the love she has for others truly does reflect the love of Christ!!!

What are some of the “little” things that others have done for you that have brought you “Big” blessings?

 

Until next time,

Sammi