Spaghetti Squash

I’m at the grocery and I see all of these beautiful fall squash and I’m thinking about Spaghetti Squash. It’s great tasting, a healthy alternative to pasta, and it’s so easy to make.

P1010284 This is a Spaghetti Squash. Put the whole thing in the microwave for about 90-120 seconds.

P1010285  P1010286 Carefully cut it in half. Then scoop out the seeds and soft fibers and discard them.

P1010287 Turn the halves upside down on a microwavable dish and then place about 1/4″ to 1/2″ of water in the dish and microwave for at least 12 minutes. (I cooked ours for 12 minutes, but it was still quite crunchy.) If you want it closer to the texture of cooked noodles you’ll need to cook it for closer to 20-25 minutes. Be careful when you pull it out of the microwave…it’s really hot and steamy.

P1010291 When it’s cooked to the tenderness you’re looking for, take a fork and pick the strands apart. It looks just spaghetti.

P1010290 I browned some butter.

P1010289 Then made a mixture of Parmesan cheese, Myzithra cheese, oregano, garlic powder, basil and a little salt and pepper.

P1010294 Seriously delicious, and healthy. One half of the squash filled this large plate.

Here’s the recipe:

1 medium spaghetti squash

4T butter

1/4 c. Myzithra cheese

1/4 c. Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. dried basil

salt and pepper to taste

Enjoy~Bam

Meet the newest member of our family

I knew it wouldn’t last long. Being a family without a dog, I mean. It’s been about five months since we had to put our beloved Keidi (a mini-dachshund) down. She had severe kidney failure and the vet said even with treatment there was no hope of a complete recovery and she was pretty miserable. At that point we knew what we had to do.

My husband’s been very mopey for that last several weeks. I knew it was time for another dog. We went to several rescue’s last Saturday. Man, that was difficult. I wanted to take them all home with me, but, we didn’t see anything that we thought might fit our family; so we thought we’d be going home alone again. At the last minute we ended up at the local Petsmart store. On Saturday’s they have various Humane Society and other shelters in for a few hours for pet adoptions and there he was…

Meet Brownie…BROWNIE…He’s such a cute little guy. He’s a German Short haired Pointer. (Awe…look how happy my husband is to be getting a dog)

IMG_20141103_220920_139 He’s already fitting in with the rest of the family. At first they didn’t know what to think of each other. I had a feeling that with both of them being rescue animals and around other animals they would be fine together, and after a couple of rounds of growling and hissing at each other, they decided to calm down and be friends.

I just keep looking at these wonderful little animals and can’t get over how many there are to be rescued still. It really bothers me to think about them locked up in crates all day. Only to be let out briefly enough for a volunteer to walk them or let them out for a bit and then back they go.

If you’re thinking about bringing a loving cat or dog into your family I really hope you would check out your local Humane Society or Animal shelter. You never know, you may find the perfect pet for your family!~Bam

The Best Meatloaf

I love meatloaf. Pretty much anyway it’s made, but my favorite meatloaf is made with ground beef and ground turkey. It just seems more substantial and doesn’t fall apart as easy.

Making it with turkey also makes me feel like I’m at least eating a little healthier too and there definitely isn’t near as much grease.

P1010273 I begin by getting everything out that I will need and then cube up some day (really a couple of days) old French loaf. Just cut them up in small little pieces.

P1010278 Mix the wet ingredients so it’s easier to mix with the meat and bread mixture.

P1010279 I pat the loaf out onto a cookie sheet lined with heavy duty aluminum foil and it goes into the oven.

P1010282 When I have about ten-minutes left I brush ketchup on it and let it bake just a bit longer.

Here’s the recipe: Turn the oven on to 375 and line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. (or you could use three loaf pans)

1 pound ground turkey

2 1/2 pounds ground beef (I used 85% lean)

1/2 loaf of French bread – cubed into small pieces

1 large onion – diced

1 Tbsp ground mustard

1 Tbsp ground black pepper

1 tsp. ground garlic powder

1 tsp, sea salt

1 tsp. dried parsley flakes

1/2 tsp. ground sage

1 cup whole milk

3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 eggs

1/2 cup ketchup

In a large bowl mix both meats, bread and onion with all of the seasonings really well.

In a smaller bowl mix the milk, and Worcestershire sauce with the eggs. Once beaten well add to the meat mixture and mix really well (wash your hands and just go for it – it’s much easier than trying to use a spoon).

Once everything is mixed well place it on the baking pan. Bake in the oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until well done (remember there is some turkey in there so it needs to be cooked well). I always serve this with a side bowl of ketchup, because even though I don’t like mine smothered in it, my son and dad can’t get enough of it.

There were seven of us and we all had plenty to eat with a few pieces left over for a cold meatloaf sandwich for my lunch the next day.

There’s nothing meatloaf for comfort food~Bam

Give me air…conditining

Shortly after our sons semi accident our air conditioner stopped working, the pipes just starts over freezing, and it’s only eight years old. I’m like “seriously”!!!! I never want to think “what else could happen” but, I was thinking it. It just seems that sometimes life is full of thorns. A series of unfortunate events can really get you down sometimes.

My husband and I are thinking we just need some freon or whatever that chemical is that they are using now. Oh no…it couldn’t be that simple. The “A” coil under the furnace was rusted out and leaking. We already knew we had to have a new furnace before winter -  it was twenty-five years old (I’m telling you the truth it really was 25 years old – we had a beast of a furnace, a Rheem). We had even already had two HVAC companies scheduled to come out in September for furnace estimates. We had a few choices to make now.

1) Just replace the ‘A’ coil under the furnace, but it would have to “match” the current air conditioning system that wouldn’t be exchangeable when it completely breaks down in the next few years, because of the new Government laws regarding freon. We were told by more than one company that when that happens we would need a new ‘A’ coil to match the new air conditioner that we would be getting then. Ugh!!

2) Just replace everything now. The new air conditioner and matching ‘A’ coil would all be in line with the new Government regulations. If they replaced both air and furnace they would “match”. They would have a ten-year service warranty and a two-year parts warranty.

We ended up going with a completely new HVAC system for a few reasons.

1) It will cheaper to do it all at once and we would have “matching” system.

2) They have to replace some of the vent system – more Government regulations regarding higher efficient heating systems.

3) The ‘A’ coil sits under our furnace so when it needs to be replaced again they would have to take the furnace out to get to it…we would endure extra labor costs with that.

In the last couple of weeks I’d say I’ve learned a lot more about HVAC systems than I ever wanted to know. Then again, knowledge is power. My husband and I got on-line checked out reviews for Trane vs. Carrier systems (those were our choices here in our area). We had four different estimates, so we also compared all of the different model numbers of each system.

We ended up going with a local company called Masters, Van Valer. They offered the models we wanted for the best price, changed out the breakers and replaced the flue system to it would be up to the new code. They’ve been in business for a long time and we just felt good about they way they worked when they came to give us the estimates.

We went with the Trane system and I’m here to tell you, I don’t remember our house EVER being this cold, especially in the upstairs rooms. We are so happy to know that when winter comes along we aren’t going to have to worry about our furnace going out either (last year we had two blizzards and extremely cold temperatures – let me tell you we had our fireplace running all winter long and praying our furnace wouldn’t go out).

Here are pictures…everything is s quiet and clean. (I just love it)

20140830_084058 Trane XV95         20140830_085114 Trane XR17

So the moral of this story is…if you need an HVAC system do your research and get a lot of estimates. Don’t leave out the local companies, they usually offer better prices and are a lot more friendly to work with.~Bam

Semi’s and Cars Don’t Mix

First, I have to say sorry…It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything.

A couple of weeks ago our son was on his way to school for a 6pm class on the North side of Indianapolis and the quickest way to get there realistically is by interstate. My husband and I are at Subway having our sandwiches made and I get THE call. “J”: “Mom, I’ve been hit by a semi – what’s the number to the police?” ME: “call 911″ “J”: “Well, it’s not an emergency. What’s the non-emergency number?” ME: “Any accident on the highway is an emergency”. We grab our food and head toward the highway. That’s definitely one call you don’t want to get from your child – no matter how old they are.

Luckily, traffic was going very slowly and there was a city policeman behind them on the interstate. He didn’t see the accident but he did see them both trying to pull over and he was nice enough to help with that and he stayed until the State Trooper came along and gave my son the non-emergency number to the state police. By the time we got there everyone was at the side of the road and they were exchanging insurance and driver’s license information.

IMG_20140729_181240_936  Really this is the extent of the damage. Thankfully, God was watching over him. The tire is GONE, it had two huge holes in it and the hubcap was smashed beyond repair. Amazingly, the underbelly wasn’t damaged at all.

Which brings me to why I’m sharing this in the first place. Jacob had been feeling a little down lately, About a week before this happened he said he felt like he’d been abandoned by God. What does one say to that?? I’m sure a lot of us feel that way at one time or another in our lives. I just really didn’t know what to say to him other than that.

Sometimes he’ll tell me things, not really looking for conversation, but, to just let me know how he’s feeling.

This made me think about this comment he’d made to me. If God had abandoned him I truly believe this could have been a lot worse, even deadly. I’m not saying all of this because I want to debate “religion” with anyone. I’m just letting you know how I personally feel about things. I don’t believe God abandons any of us. If anything we abandon Him. I do not have an answer as to why bad things happen to us. It’s just a part of life. I was talking to “J” after all of this happened and even he realized God was definitely watching over him.

IMG_20140729_182144_849  The semi didn’t have any damage at all, just a little bit of white paint on his big ol’ tire. (wow those things are ginormous)

I am so thankful that the semi driver and my son were both fine. I’m also thankful the semi driver actually pulled over.

P1010263 The semi driver’s insurance paid for the car to be fixed…Yippee.

What a beautiful new front end you have….Thanks Jamco!!. We had gotten a couple of estimates on our own and my husband told the insurance company he’d prefer a ‘cash’ settlement. They worked completely with us. I wouldn’t say they were the fastest, but, in the end it all worked out just fine.

PB2

I’ve said it before, but, here in our family, we love peanut butter. We like it all kinds of ways too – creamy, crunchy, with peanuts, with cashews, hazelnut and chocolate, and now even powdered.

 

  We’ve recently discovered PB2. It comes from a company named ‘Bell Plantation‘.

This stuff is so yummy. It’s also a lot healthier than regular peanut butter because 85-percent of the fat calories have been removed when they pull out the oil and dehydrate it into a powder. It’s preservative free, all-natural, and has no artificial sweeteners. It comes in plain or chocolate.

P1010251  It’s very user friendly – the ratio is 2-1. Two tablespoons of PB2 powder to one tablespoon of water. Mix well and depending on the consistency wanted add more water for a creamier version (less water for a thicker version). This peanut butter really doesn’t taste like the processed stuff. I tastes more like natural peanuts.

P1010252 To give you any idea of how much peanut butter mixes up, this is half of a bagel with a thick layer of peanut butter and there was still quite a bit left in the little bowl.

I will admit this product does cost a bit more than a traditional peanut butter, but with a longer shelf life I’d say it’s worth the difference. It’s also a good alternative to regular peanut butter for those who like to keep an emergency disaster kit.

I can’t wait for a ‘free’ Saturday to make up a batch of peanut butter chocolate brownies….

Enjoy~Bam

 

Meet Maverick

Well, I couldn’t do it…I couldn’t  go that long without getting a new pet. Really, my husband and son were a little more ready to jump in to animal ownership again. My husband wanted another dog, my son was a little indifferent but was leaning more toward a cat.

Last Saturday the local Humane Society had a huge adoption event at the state fairgrounds. Apparently they have this event twice a year. I’d never heard of it until we saw a commercial for it on T.V. We ended up getting there about an hour after they opened and literally most of the dog crates were empty already. Of course they had more coming in but I was really surprised to see how many people walking out already with a new pet. All of the animals had been spayed/neutered, chipped and fully vetted for the year, and the adoption fee was reduced to $30. They had about twelve different Veterinary places there and were advertising over 750+ animals that needed to be adopted.

We started in the cat area and my son fell in love with this little guy right away.

IMG_20140703_074109_339 This is Maverick…he’s such a sweet kitty. He’s about ten months old, missing the tip of one of his ears and has had some sort of eye infection that has left one of his eyes looking a little cloudy, other than that he’s healthy.  He’s long and lanky, loves laying on the couch pillows while we’re watching T.V., being held, and having his neck and chin rubbed. I’ve never seen such a docile happy kitty.

If you’re in the market for a new pet, I would hope that you would try your local Humane Society. It’s a great place to find an animal that just wants to be loved.

So happy for the new addition to our family~Bam