Friday, April 29, 2011

Best Bolognese Ever

My sister gave me this recipe years ago. At least 14 years ago I think. She edited it a bit and I have edited it since then. I don't even know where she got the recipe from in the first place but it has been a favorite in my recipe box ever since. And, considering that we have a blustery, grey, damp day here today I thought I'd make this hearty comfort food meal and I couldn't help but want to share the recipe with you.

Bolognese Sauce

3 T extra-virgin olive oil
5 T butter
1 onion (finely diced)
1/2 cup diced celery and carrots
1 lb lean ground sirloin
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup milk (or cream for a tasty substitute)
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 28oz can whole tomatoes
1/2 cup grated parmegiano reggiano
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Brown the beef in the oil and butter. Add onion, celery and carrots and saute until veg is tender. Add 1 cup white wine and simmer until evaporated.

Add milk or cream and nutmeg and simmer until evaporated.

Add tomatoes and parmegiano reggiano. Break up tomatoes with a fork.
Simmer, uncovered, on low for at least 3 hours, preferably 4.
Serve over a large type of pasta. I like to use rotini or rigatoni. They really grab up the sauce.

Use additional pamegiano reggiano passed around at the table.

Serve with a leaf salad and please, don't forget to have a glass of wine with it!
It also wouldn't hurt to have some Italian folk music playing in the background either.

I usually mince my veg for this recipe and I also whiz up the tomatoes in the can before I add them as I have a little one who does not like cooked vegetables. Tastes the same either way.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Ten Good Things

 Freshly "Easter egg dyed" play silks drying in the breeze.

 Egg nest cookies. A yearly tradition and oh so tasty.

 Little migrating Dark-eyed Juncos. Only here for a short visit in the spring.

 Fresh Hutterite turkey dinner. Saskatchewan grown!

 Grandchildren (and puppies) who clearly love to swing and clearly love their Papa.

 The courage to try something new! A very wobbly swing.

 Modelling clay which keeps the girl busy for hours on end.

 This little gal. What a gift. Her smile melts me.

 Bowls of pastel candies.

Kid dyed eggs. Cracks and all.

Oh and one more thing. A week off of school.
Much needed by both Mama and little one.

Ten Good Things as suggested by Soulemama this morning. What good timing too. There is so much goodness all around me every day.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Guilty as Charged

So, we are sitting down to breakfast the other morning and everyone is quiet, just waking up really. I had been up for a while and already read the paper and had my coffee. And so I initiate a conversation with my family.

Me: "So, I have an idea..."
Paul: "Oh oh."
Me: "Why would you say 'oh oh'?"
Paul: "Because everytime you say you have an idea it either has to do with eating tofu or smashing the tv."

Guilty. It did have something to do with the tv. Not smashing it, just having one day a week with no tv, computer, blackberry. For your information, neither of them went for it.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Well, what can I say? Its Monday. Good old Monday. The day when I have mounds of laundry to do and back to school work. Is it just my kid or do any other kids balk at doing their school work on Mondays. My eldest daughter pointed out to me a few weeks back that it is almost always on a Monday that Athena has trouble. And she is right. Not great starts to our learning week to be sure. Today the same daughter gave me a piece of advice that I think will work very well for little miss A. She suggested that I do some sort of school work with her every morning so she gets in the groove. Some days are longer, like Monday through Thursday and some days are just a few minutes. Brilliant. I'm going to try it!

But she did make this cute little dot-to-dot.
I love it.
It made me smile.

We had a busy weekend with a few trips to The Home Depot for supplies but mostly Paul put in the new flooring. What a lot of work. He couldn't find his knee pads for the job (the same knee pads he couldn't find TWO years ago when he made the deck) so he took a beating on his knees. But... he did an excellent job as usual. I really appreciate having a husband who is so handy and does such great work. He installed the new Allure Resilient Flooring. It has a 25 year warranty so I hope it lasts. I think it looks great.

Old floor


New floor

I made the only bread I know how to make well and I have posted about it here before. It is the No-knead bread from the Mother Earth News website. And on that note, thanks for all of the advice on bread and cookies. I'll let you know how it goes on my next attempt.

Also, I hate lunch. I hate making it and eating it. It is most often the meal I'll skip. But I think I found a "go to" lunch just so I eat something. Plain yogurt, strawberries and walnuts with a drizzling of maple syrup. Hit the spot today but I would still rather have ripple chips.

On a brighter note, it truly is spring. Our temperatures have been very warm and the snow is melting at a rapid pace. And just this very morning, this little guy was lingering on the lawn across the street. He/she even let me get close enough for a picture. Athena ran out with a carrot a little while later and she even called out to him not to run away because the carrot was organic. I guess he didn't appreciate her gesture. She did leave the carrot out for him should he choose to come back later for a snack.

 Here's hoping the rest of the week goes just a little bit better than today. I am not asking for much.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Simplicity Parenting

There comes a time in each person's life when something changes them on a deep level. This book has done that for me. I couldn't put it down but it was not a fast read. I read it in rather a slow manner as I wanted to absorb it bit by bit.This book was written in such a clear, practical manner. So simple yet so profound. I cannot stop thinking about its message.

Since beginning to read it I have radically reduced the number of toys that Athena has in our home. And by reduced, I mean really reduced. I must add here that before I started this venture, she probably had half of the toys most girls her age have. Honestly though, there were boxes of toys given away to cousins, donated to charity or chucked in the garbage bin. I kept the good ones. Building blocks, modelling clay, her basket of animals, some toy cars and some wooden people figures. I then bought her some play silks (which have yet to arrive) and a large dump truck and front end loader for the sandbox. I bought a few balls as well. What more does a child need.

I also drastically weeded out and gave away some books (gasp!). Yes books. We had too many and she appreciated very few. I kept some books for a rotational library but most I gave away. I packed up everything neatly in boxes and had my husband haul them away to a second hand store. I very politely asked him not to go through it all and he didn't. This is after I assured him there was nothing of his in the "giveaway pile".

There have been more changes taking place around here than I can mention in this post and I still want to smash the television with a sledge hammer but I think my husband would seriously DIE if I did. Baby steps, right? Perhaps some day.

This book is so good. It is a life changing book. For me it was anyway. If you are really not happy with the way things are going with your child, or if you are just curious about what I am talking about or if you just want to raise a calmer, happier more secure child, please read this book. Please.