Dec 25, 2015


Lighthouses don't run all  over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining. 

Anne Lamott

Dec 22, 2015

Italian sausage with pasta, yellow squash, and zucchini

Have you ever wanted something filling, hearty and quick to eat?  I do all of the time.  When one works a lot a hours, there is very little time to cook lavish meals during the week.  I like to cook meals in one or two pots so that there is very little clean up at the end.

I like Italian sausage and you can use it in more things than on top of a pizza.  It goes very well with pasta.  I used rotini in this dish, but you can use any pasta that you like.  Then I added zucchini, yellow squash, and chopped tomatoes.  It was delicious. 


1 lb of Italian sausage, or ground beef, lamb, turkey, or chicken
1 lb rotini, or your choice of pasta, cooked according to package directions
1 onion, sliced thinly
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 small tomatoes, skinned and chopped fine 
2 small zucchini, sliced thinly
2 small yellow squash, sliced thinly
2 TBS vegetable oil
2-3 TBS butter or ghee
1 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano
salt/pepper to taste
1 bouillon cube, optional
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup of Italian cheese, I use the Italian cheese mix in a bag from the grocer

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Place a non stick pan on med-high heat.  Cook sausage until the meat is brown. Remove from the skillet and place in a bowl, then set aside.  Next, add oil, butter, sliced onions, spices, bouillon cube, tomatoes, and saute until golden. Add the garlic and saute for a minute or two. Thirdly, add the sliced Zucchini and yellow squash.  Cook until tender.  I like to brown my vegetables a bit on both sides.  Once the vegetables are cooked to your liking add the sausage to the pot, then add the Parmesan & Italian cheese. In a large pot mix the pasta and vegetables together. Serve immediately. Enjoy!  

 Cooks Note:  You can use canned tomatoes in place of fresh tomatoes if you want the dish to have more sauce. 

Dec 21, 2015

An unreasonable request for Santa

It was two weeks before Christmas. A friend and I went to see a high school musical.  The auditorium was filled to capacity.  Parents, grandparents, brothers, and sisters filled every seat. But towards the back and in the middle sat a man. His red suit, natural long grey beard, and his big belly set him apart from the others.  I think that Santa made an early appearance this year.  

When intermission was announced my friend and I went out to the hall and filled our tins with cookies. On the way back we noticed that Santa was no longer sitting down but standing in the corner by himself.  We looked at each other and the wheels starting turning in my mind. I am going to have some fun with this man. Then my friend asked me if I would like to talk to Santa.  Knowing that I would never see him again, I felt a bit mischievous. "Of course, let's put our order in." 

We smiled at Santa as we approached like a hyena about ready to pounce on their prey. Then I told Santa that we would like to put our order in for Christmas.  He asked what we wanted. "Cowboys", I said, and then we burst into uproarious laughter. " Not just one cowboy, but we each need a cowboy." Santa stood there speechless holding my arm so that I wouldn't get away before he could find something to say. "Don't leave I am trying to think of something." he said. The silence seemed to last an eternity as we waited for a response. Tired of waiting,  I went on to say, " I don't think that there are that many cowboys in this area." Then Santa finally said, " You may have to settle for cut outs then." My friend and I looked at each other knowing that this was our exit cue. 

We headed towards our seats. "All Santa could offer was cut outs?" I said.  "No wonder kids stop believing in Santa.  If he cannot get you what you want then why bother asking." Then we burst out laughing again. 

The Santa picture came from here

Dec 14, 2015

Kheer: Indian Rice Pudding

At the Indian buffet there is a dessert that I love. It is called Kheer and consists of rice, milk, butter, nuts, raisins, and cardamom (it is spelled cardamon in the UK). This creamy dessert is light and delicious. I made it for the first time a couple of weeks ago and made it again this weekend a little differently.  The great thing is that the recipe is easy and doesn't take forever to make. 


1\2 cup of Basmati rice
1 TBS ghee (clarified butter) or plain butter
4 cups of milk (whole milk, not low fat)
1 tsp cardamom
1\2 cup of sugar
a pinch of saffron
a pinch of nutmeg (optional)
1 TBS golden raisins, Sultana  
1\4 cup of cashews, crushed
1\4 cup of sliced almonds, slivered will work too
1\4 cup of pistachios, crushed

Soak the rice in water for 30 minutes.  Drain and then break the rice up in smaller pieces by rubbing between your fingers.  Place a medium sized pot on medium\high heat. Once the pot is warm add the ghee. When the ghee is melted add the sugar and stir for a couple of minutes, then add the milk. Bring to a boil. Stir frequently because you don't want the milk to scorch. Add the rice and simmer until the rice is cooked, usually 20-25 minutes. Stir frequently throughout the cooking process. Once the rice is tender add the raisins, nuts and spices. Turn the heat up a bit and simmer until it is somewhat thick. Sprinkle with nuts. Serve either hot or cold. Enjoy!

Dec 11, 2015

Time is Gold

When we have time we are capable of doing and achieving what we desire. Gold is a sign of wealth. Time cannot be captured nor are we able to move forward or backwards, it is therefore more precious than the golden metal that we all desire. It is like the wind, you cannot see it but feel the effects. Time can be read on a wrinkled face or a withered leaf but not recorded on a page. Seize it like you would a captive. Be in the moment as much as you can. Love what is and now. 

Dec 8, 2015

The White Swan and Winter

Last night while driving over to my cousin's house I saw the Bass Mansion all lit up.  It is a beautiful place in the daytime, but at night it is a vision. 

The pond was surrounded with milk jugs filled with light.  Exactly how, I have no idea, but the effect is stunning, and from the road you cannot tell what the lights are. While visiting with my cousin I asked my aunt if she would like to go and see the covered bridge in Spencerville the next day.  So, today we decided to go on an adventure.  

Somehow, we ended up on the wrong road and went to another city. While trying to navigate with the GPS we drove past a white bridge. I saw the reflection in the water that was so lovely. I turned the car around.  I'm not sure if we were on private property or not but I drove up as close as I could leaving tire tracks in the grass. 

As I was backing up, my aunt noticed a lovely swan swimming gracefully in the pond.  I was out of the car again, hoping that the owners of the property were not home, I was really pressing my luck by staying so long.  Swans remind me of a ballerina or maybe I have seen The Nutcracker too many times. Their feathers seem light and airy as if they are floating around the body of the swan while they glide effortlessly in the water.  

We eventually made it to the Spencerville bridge that was built in 1873.  A year or so ago a semi truck drive got lost and drove across the bridge causing severe damage to the structure.  

There are now new boards in the upper portion of the bridge, supporting the structure.  

This is a view from the side of the bridge and below is a shot from inside looking out at the water. The reflection of the sky illuminated the water giving it a blue cast, it was absolutely beautiful.  

Here in Indiana it has been very warm and I would rather be outside than trapped indoors until April. 

Dec 6, 2015

David & Peter Turnley: Fort Wayne's famous photographers

Recently, I began taking classes at the local college to help me improve my photography skills. In my first class, we learned about a lot of famous photographers. But I didn't know about the famous twins who came from Fort Wayne, Indiana.  The instructor showed us a picture of an African American lady riding the bus and I loved it. David & Peter Turnley were working on their first photo essay for school and it was 1972-1973, they were 17 years old at the time. They published around 100 photographs and showed us America through those living on McClellan Street. 

My uncle's house in the background 

The photographs eventually made their way into a book called, McClellan Street. This is where the story becomes more personal for my family.  My uncle and his family lived on McClellan Street for many years and they, too, were photographed by Peter & David Turnley.

It's a small world huh?  I didn't find this out until the other day when my cousin and I were having dinner. She invited me over to see the book and I was amazed that two seventeen year old young men had such good eyes for taking pictures. I can just imagine the kind of cameras that they used then.  

Photograph by Steve Linsenmayer\The News Sentinal

I spent a lot of time on McClellan Street visiting with my uncle and his family.  I came over nearly every year to watch the fireworks display on the 4th of July while sitting on the porch. The congested neighborhood gradually turned into a large parking lot.

Peter Turnley with the Smith Family

The Turnleys revisited McClellan Street throughout the years and on a couple occasions have taken pictures with my relatives again. Sadly McClellan Street no longer exists, at least downtown. Parkview Field was built in the same location a few years ago.  Now hundreds of people flock to the same spot to watch sporting events. 

Two brothers from the Midwest had dreams. Big Dreams. They have been all over the world photographing but keep coming back to a small city in Indiana that is called home.