Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thankful Thursday

We’ve been having a bout of mostly warm temps here the past week or so.  I even broke down and turned on the central air last week!  Which brings me to today’s topic of gratitude.

I am thankful for sunny days. Days when the weather cooperates and I can sit outside and read a book or play with the pups.  I am also very thankful for central air conditioning.  Without it the temps inside my house would climb several degrees higher than those outside.  Not only would that make me miserable and headachey, but it would be unhealthy for the furkids.

I’m also thankful for rainy nights.  I love listening to the rain and feeling a slight mist come through the open bedroom windows.  I love the smell in the air just before it rains, and the scent of the rain falling. 

While it does get hotter than I like, I’m thankful I live in a place where bad weather rarely kills.  Yes, we can get tornados in our part of Ohio, but the likelihood for twisters is slim compared to the Plains.  Additionally, when we have experienced tornados, they haven’t been nearly as devastating as the ones recently experienced in Oklahoma.  My thoughts are with those who have lived through those storms, and with the friends and family of the humans and animals who did not survive.

And on that note, I’ll end with the gratefulness I have knowing every day I can snuggle with my pups when I am at home and I can hear my husband’s voice on the other end of the phone.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tuesday Tastes - Sunday Dinner

On Sunday the Hubby and I went to his parents’ house for two reasons.  One – to do laundry.  Our washing machine died on us a few weeks ago, so we’ve been going there every two weeks instead of paying at a laundromat.  Thankfully we can afford to buy a new washer once I get paid on Friday.  Yay!  The other reason we went to the in laws’ was to celebrate Mother’s Day.  Instead of going out to dinner, we came over and I made a meal.  Originally it was going to be just the four of us, but one of Hubby’s sisters and her family came over as well, so I made dinner for eight.

After a few discussions as to what to make, Hubby and I decided to make spaghetti.  Nice and easy.  Of course, I can’t just use a jar of sauce without doing something to it.  Using a jar of Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic red sauce as a base, I added the following to it: 1 large can of crushed tomatoes with basil, 1 bag of frozen roasted peppers and onions (from Trader Joe’s), 1 large Vidalia onion, 1 ½ pounds of sliced baby Bella mushrooms, 1 ½ cups shredded carrots, ½ pound sweet Italian sausage, ½ pound hot Italian sausage, minced garlic, Italian seasonings, and red pepper flakes. 

So. Very. Delish.  Seriously, I love my pasta sauces.  I rarely brag about myself and really mean what I am saying, but this is one case where I really do believe it.  My pasta sauce rocks.

In addition to spaghetti, we had cheesy garlic toast and a large salad with my homemade vinaigrette dressing.   It’s so easy to make.  I don’t know the exact measurements as I usually just go with how it looks and/or tastes.  The main ingredients are: balsamic vinegar, Mrs. Dash seasoning, garlic (minced and/or powdered), and extra virgin olive oil.  I will sometimes add flavored vinegars, such as raspberry, or some honey and mustard. 

For dessert we had fresh red raspberries and strawberries with vanilla sugar over vanilla bean iced cream with whipped cream. 

Of course, I don’t have any photos of the yumminess.  Instead I am going to share the recipe and photos for Garlic Croutons.  I made these with bread leftover from Sunday’s dinner.

Mmmmm. Roasted Garlic bread

Garlic Croutons


  • Dense bread (my local grocery store sells a roasted garlic bread that is perfect)
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic powder
  • Italian seasonings
  • Onion salt


Preheat the oven to 400*F
Cut the bread into cubes

Cut the bread into cubes

In a quart or gallon sized storage bag, put olive oil, garlic powder and Italian seasonings.  The amount depends on how much you are making.  I used about 1/3 cup of oil and a teaspoon of each garlic powder and Italian seasonings.

Add bread to the storage bag and close bag.  Coat bread.
Coat with olive oil and seasonings

Place bread cubes in a single layer in a baking dish or sheet pan.  Sprinkle a bit of onion salt on top.  For a more garlic taste, use garlic salt instead.

Single layer in a baking dish

Bake for approximately 10 minutes. 
Let sit to cool.  Once cool put in a storage container or bag.  Enjoy.
Ready to eat! 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Thankful Thursday - Embrace the Positive

Recently I saw an acquaintance I haven’t seen in about a year.  I was polite and said hello and reluctantly asked how she has been.  Why reluctantly?  Because this particular person is a Negative Nelly. This isn’t to say that she doesn’t have good reason to be unhappy with certain situations in her life, but rather that she chooses to focus on the negative.

I know how difficult it can be to maintain a positive outlook.  It is something that I struggle with on a daily basis.  Sometimes I even struggle with it on a minute by minute basis!  However, a positive outlook is something that I strive to have.  Yes, there are times when I break down and wallow in the negativity.  It is only human to feel that way from time to time.  Over the years I have found that when I try to focus on the positive I feel less stressed and overall happier.  As someone who battles depression, this is an important task. 

How can you keep positive despite negative circumstances?  Here are a few suggestions:
  • Surround yourself with positive people.
  • Laugh often.
  • Think about the things that make you smile.
  • Ask yourself: Will this matter tomorrow? Next week? Next month? A year from now?
  • Look for the sun shining through the dark clouds.
  • Luna Belle about to kiss snipe me.
  • Make time for activities you enjoy. Whether it is once a day or once a month set aside a bit of time for you.
Don’t think you are a Negative Nelly?  Think about what you say to others.  When you are asked, “How are you?”, do you reply with a litany of complaints? Are most of your Facebook posts gripes about life?  If so, you will be amazed at the difference that small positive thinking alterations will make in your life.

As today is Thankful Thursday, I don’t think it is a stretch to bring this post around to that topic.  I’m thankful for the good in my life.  Although there are situations that may upset me and times that I am sad, I know that my blessings far outweigh my troubles.  Thankfully, I can see and embrace the positive in my life.