Nov 26, 2013

Pasta with Sausage & Butternut Squash

I am a big fan of butternut squash and Italian sausage.  When I saw Nick Stellino make this recipe one night on tv, I decided that I needed to try this.  I am so glad that I did. I did substitute hot Italian sausage for the mild. Yes, I am a wuss. Here is my adaptation of it.


3 TBS olive oil
1 pound of Italian sausage, hot or mild
1 onion chopped
5 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
1 TBS chopped basil
1 TBS chopped fresh sage
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes or red chili powder
1 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups of butternut squash, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 1/2 cups of chicken stock, or 2 bouillon cubs with 2 1/2 cups of water
salt to taste
1 pound of sea shell pasta, penne rigate, or rigatoni,  cooked according to the package directions
6 TBS Parmesan cheese 
2 TBS butter, softened

In a large skillet, add 1 tbs of the olive oil, when it is hot add the sausage and cook over medium heat until brown.  Break the sausage up into small pieces.  Remove from the skillet and set aside.  

Next, add  2 tbs of olive oil, when the pan is hot, add the onion, garlic, basil and sage.  Cook until the onion and garlic begins to brown. If you are adding the red pepper flakes, this is when you add it. 

Once the onion mix is brown, add the sausage back to the pan.  Mix the ingredients well. Add the wine and deglaze the pan.  Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring well to loosen the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.  Then add the squash and cook for 2 minutes, stirring well.  After that, add the chicken stock, bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce the heat to allow the sauce to simmer for 30 minutes. About 5 minutes before the sauce is done add the butter and the Parmesan or you can add it to the pasta after you pour the sauce over the top. 

While the sauce is cooking, cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Drain the pasta and put it back into the pot.  Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss well.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Nov 20, 2013

Change I'm sure you can spare

I have been driving by this picture on the side of a building for a few weeks now.  Every night I would tell myself to go take a picture of it.  I think that the message is self explanatory.

Nov 16, 2013

Elizabeth Packard: Sent to an Insane Asylum for speaking her mind

Last week, I went to see a play called: Mrs. Packard.  It was based on the life of Elizabeth Parsons Ware and her life.  Elizabeth was encouraged to marry Theophilus Packard in 1839.  They had six children.  He was a Presbyterian minister who was a diehard Calvinist.  He believed that God was a harsh and judging deity, while she leaned towards a more loving and merciful God, thru Christ, who is our teacher and friend. They also disagreed about child rearing and slavery.  If a wife is not behaving how the husband wishes her to behave, he had the right to commit her to an insane asylum.  That is exactly what her husband did. She was kidnapped from the bathroom and taken to the Illinois State Hospital in Jacksonville, Illinois to teach her a lesson. Once the misbehaving wife's spirit is broken, like that of a horse, and pledges that she will obey her husband in everything because he is superior, she is allowed to come back home. Some women refused to lie and spent their entire lives in the institution.

Dr. Mcfarland was the superintendent of the Insane Asylum when Elizabeth first arrived.  At first he took a liking to her, but when she wouldn't bend on her views he sent her to the 8th floor, where the really crazy women resided.  Elizabeth saw the deplorable state of the women and their surroundings that she began cleaning it up. She never was swayed from her views that landed her in such a place. Elizabeth remained in the hospital from 1860-1863.To keep her sanity, Elizabeth wrote about her life in the facility. Paper was smuggled to her by the staff knowing that she was banned from writing.

The picture came from here.
She was then released to go back home to her husband. Who boarded her up in a room in their home.  She managed to write a letter and a neighbor found it. Elizabeth was then released. There was a court case and it took the jury only 7 minutes to declare that Elizabeth was indeed sane. Imagine that.  Her husband moved with the children to another state. It took Elizabeth nine years to get back custody of her children.  Afterwards, she became heavily involved in treatment of the mentally ill and women's rights. She lived to be 81 years old.

As I sat there watching this women's life become a nightmare,  I thought about the millions of women who are living right now.  We just recently read about the little girl named Malala Yousafzai who was shot because she wanted an education. The thousands and thousands of girls who are raped and then thrown aside by their cultures because they are now considered not good enough to marry or are forced to marry the rapist to save the reputation of the family. I could go on and on about this subject. We have advanced with the rights of women here in America and in Europe, but there are areas of the world who are at least 100 years or more behind in their beliefs that women are valuable. I sure would like to see some changes in this area for the better in my lifetime...I really would.  

Nov 14, 2013

Sour Cream Rolls

I love bread and this time of year I enjoy being in the kitchen more.In the newspaper this past weekend this recipe was in with the coupons. The rolls looked so good. So, this evening I made the recipe. The rolls are soft and have the most wonderful flavor.  I will be preparing these for Thanksgiving dinner this year. 

2 1/4 cups of flour
2 TBS sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp rapid rise yeast
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup sour cream
2 TBS butter
1 egg

In a large mixing bowl,  add 1 cup of flour, sugar, yeast (undissolved), and salt.  Heat the sour cream, water, and butter until very warm (120 to 130 Degrees F).  Add to the flour mixture.  Beat 2 minutes on medium speed. Next, add the egg and 1 1/4 cups of flour to make a soft batter.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 12 muffin pan and spoon equal amounts into each cup. Cover and place in a warm place for 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.  Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Enjoy! 

Nov 11, 2013

English Sausage Rolls

We have sausage rolls here in the States.  There are massive amounts of meat in them, at least, that is what I have observed. I like meat, but not a mound of it.  When I saw a recipe that Jamie Oliver came up with; I decided to give it a try.  Click on the link and it will take you to his web site. The recipe calls for higher-welfare pork sausages. Higher welfare means that they are organic.  I used Irish bangers from Fresh Market.  They have a lot of imports there.  If you cannot find imported sausage, use any sausage that you like or use ground lamb, chicken or beef. 

I did make this recipe two ways.  I asked my neighbor, who is English, how she makes her sausage rolls.  She told me that traditionally they don't season theirs, but roll the sausage up in the pastry and bake it. I prefer it with a little spice.  


1-2 tbs olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 sprigs fresh sage, leaves picked
2-3 TBS breadcrumbs, I used Italian
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 lb sausage or any ground meat you prefer
1 package ready made puff pastry
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat the olive oil in a skillet and add the onions.  Cook until they are golden brown. Next add the sage leaves, cook for a couple of minutes or until crispy (crispy is my preference).  Take off the heat and set aside to cool. Crumple the sage when it is cool.

Remove the casings from the sausage and transfer to a mixing bowl.  Add the sage, onion, nutmeg,and breadcrumbs. Mix well.

Put the pastry onto a floured surface. Roll out into a big rectangle, then split it down the middle so that you have two.Shape the sausage mixture into logs and place on the pastry about an inch from the edge.  Brush the end with egg and roll it up. Seal the end with egg.  Cut into whatever size you like.  Place on a greased baking sheet and brush with egg.  Bake about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  This is great with a salad.  Enjoy!