The BEST spaghetti sauce ever!

I have a horrible confession to make – up until last year I always bought Ragu bottled pasta sauce, I would always add a little of this and a little of that and cook it on low for hours until it tasted “just right” but it was never all mine.

Barry had been hounding me for years to make it from scratch, “you’re a great cook, you can do it, c’mon honey”.  I have to admit it did always bug me that while I was striving to get away completely from processed food I would still buy Ragu in bulk.

I FINALLY gave homemade sauce a try and it was a smash hit.  Of course I never make it the same way twice and actually writing a recipe seems weird but here it goes.


1 pound ground beef or turkey (I use beef)

1 pound Italian sausage, sweet or spicy

1-2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Some olive oil depending on how lean the meat is

4-6 garlic cloves, minced

1 large chopped onion

4 cans tomato sauce – 15 ounce

2 cans of tomato paste – 6 ounce

1 large can of diced tomatoes – 28 ounce or 2 – 15 ounce cans

2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste

2 teaspoons basil

1 tablespoon oregano

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Red wine – to add to, drink while preparing or to drink with dinner

Brown Italian sausage and ground beef together. Add onions. Drain if needed. Add the rest of the stuff and simmer on low for a long time. You can add either water or wine depending on your preference for the sauce. I’ve found if I add a lid or cook in the crock-pot I don’t need to add water. Enjoy over your favorite pasta or if eating low carb zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash and bask in the compliments.

This will make a ton, at least two meals but probably 3 depending on how many people your feeding.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.



Oh crap, it’s a fire…6 years ago today

A lot of things go through my mind when I think back to Thursday November 13, 2008.  Excitement, annoyance, fear, disbelief, relief and thankfulness.  I woke up excited, Barry and I were going to San Francisco the next day, we had tickets to see the Giants on Saturday, it was my first NFL game and they were Suite tickets so I didn’t have to freeze.  We planned to stay for the weekend.  We had a child sitter AND a dog sitter.  I had a ton of things to do before we left, (shop for an appropriately colored outfit, wash the dog for the dog sitter, clean the house and I still had work that day).

I left work about 3pm, grabbed Brandon and headed to the mall.  Success!!  I found clothes that fit, were cute and on clearance – a triple bonus!!  We jammed home, I changed into my cleaning clothes, short shorts and a nasty, fabric boogered tank that saw it’s best days long ago.  I started dinner and began cleaning.  It was HOT and windy that day, getting hotter as the day wore on.  The dog loved his bath that day, it was a refreshing change from the weather.

It was getting along into the evening, dark because of the time change the week before.  I was in the bedroom and Barry calls for me to get the binoculars.  I was grumbling a little that he couldn’t come in and get them himself, we were about equal distance to them. But I grabbed them and headed outside to see what was going on.  Barry was focusing on an orange light coming from across the hills, it was about 1/2 mile as the crow flies.  He tells me to call 911 quick, it’s a fire.  Oh crap!  It’s dry, hot and windy!  Perfect conditions for a firestorm.  SERIOUSLY!?!  You have got to be kidding?!?!

A few minutes later I get a panicked call from my daughter, she was at dinner at the Santa Barbara Harbor.  “Mom, there’s a fire! I’m coming home!”.  I wouldn’t let her come back to the house, I’m glad she listened for a change.  Living back in the foothills we knew it was a dangerous situation and I didn’t want her anywhere near the narrow, congested roads with panicked residents trying to get home and grab their “stuff’ and pets, people trying to evacuate their horses, all the idiots who just went up to “look”.  I suppose there were fire trucks and police somewhere in the mix but we never saw them.

So I’m all about closing circles and I’m fascinated when life moves in a cyclical fashion.  I realized last week that the TeaFire anniversary was going to fall on a Thursday this year.  I realized last night that we have tickets to a football game this Saturday.  I wonder if there a sub conscience meaning to all this or it’s just life AND football season coming together. Either way it’s pretty wild.

It’s crazy how life takes all these twists and turns and somehow they still turn out ok.  I thank God for our safety that night, so much could have gone wrong.  Looking back the fire isn’t a sad event, it’s a time to give thanks and remember the blessing we have.  Is it a coincidence that this happened right before Thanksgiving?  I think not.

Re-visiting Gratitude


It’s been a bit more of a challenge to come up with my daily gratitudes since my lay off notice came down last week.  A challenge, but not impossible (I did wake up this morning so I always have that to fall back on). I am nothing if not resilient so here is one for every day of the month plus an extra for good measure.

1) In the process of job searching and networking I’m re-connecting with people I haven’t spoken with in more time than I’d like.  It’s always a blessing getting in touch with old friends.

2) I switched my cell service over to Verizon last week, (yes I gave up the coveted AT&T Unlimited Data Plan – gasp).  Two days after I switched they came out with an offer of $150 credit for each new line transfered over. After some wrangling Verizon gave me the credit on the two lines I opened – YAY!!

3) Employment agreements – a small clause in mine has given me an additional 60 days notice. I credit this all to God, I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t supposed to have that particular agreement.

4) My Marine garden gnome – LOVE him.  He represents my son who is currently serving and back on US soil and also represents a commitment made and achieved.

5) My Precious – errr – I mean my iPhone 6 Plus.




A typo on my resume and other job search musings.

Seriously – a TYPO, it was an auto-correct typo but still a typo, one that makes the reader have to stop, hitch a bit and try to figure out what exactly I was saying.  Facepalm!!!  Same thing on the emailed cover letter – dumb, stupid typo, a word too many here or an incorrect tense there.  It’s enough to drive me crazy. Lesson learned – trying to update my resume AND create a witty and wonderful cover letter AND apply to more than 20 jobs in one day with customized cover letters is probably over-doing it.  I need to give my self a goal of say 7-10 really good contacts a day.  This will ensure accuracy on all items being sent out and not make me look like an idiot to the the wonderful companies I sent resumes to today.  Double ooofffff.

On a similar note, I decided to direct recruiters to my little blog.  Why?  Well I’m looking for a terrific employment experience, in my opinion this requires that the company get to know me a little bit just like I have the opportunity to know them through their website and various other web related searches.  I want the BEST match and if putting myself out there a little more brings the best match then I’m all for it.  A job isn’t a “job” to me,  I pour myself into the company I work for and the position I’m in.

And just for fun, here’s a picture of me at the Coast about month ago, (time does move FAST!).   I learned long ago that one

unnamednever visits the Oregon Coast without a jacket, a hoodie, ear protection, muck luck boots and gloves, especially in the summer.  This was a good day and I only needed a light coat.

Gratitude Journal – Ack!

OK, I really get uncomfortable with “gratitude” journals.  The end result is always great but I feel like a little kid being forced to be grateful for what I have.  It’s like when your mother tells you to clean your plate because there are starving Pygmys in New Guinea – it just make my hackles rise a bit and brings out the rebellious teenager.

With that being said I’ve committed to 30 days of “Gratitude”.  It’s probably pretty good timing since I’ve been a bit of a SNOT around the house lately.  I’m sure the boys would appreciate an attitude change from me.

Without further adieu:photo

1) I’m so GRATEFUL for my job and that I get to work from home;

2) I’m so GRATEFUL I don’t have to drive to work…or anywhere…in the FOG.  It is FOG-tober in the Willamette Valley;

3) I’m Grateful that I have an understanding husband who mostly puts up and even supports my “weirdness”.


Four Week Jump Start to Thanksgiving

1545673_10205461169034016_7112035102851010736_nI don’t know about you but I DO NOT want to gain weight over the holidays and I refuse to start 2015 weighing more than I did in 2014.  With that in mind here are the steps I’m taking to get things under control BEFORE the holidays get here:

1) Joined and wagered $30 that I could close 6 pounds in 4 weeks.

2) Following Neghar Fonooni and her #fallfreedom challenge for added inspiration and support,

3) Following my favorite ladies at the Red Carpet Ready Club Facebook page for support, love and inspiration. I’ve been with Valerie and her girls since the inception of the club in 2008 and we are family;

4) Eating intentionally for NUTRITION not for “dieting”.  I will eat foods that will nourish my body;

5) I will schedule my workout time daily and consider it an appointment that can’t be missed, kind of like a hair appointment, I would NEVER miss one of those.

What steps will you take?

Opps…it happened again.

We are well Silver Falls.jpginto fall, I’ve had my new job for almost 6 months and I still pinch myself, yep it’s real.  I LOVE my job but I’m finding that I spend all my time on it.  I have all but given up working out and food was so much simpler when I didn’t work at home, if I didn’t take it with me then I didn’t eat it – simple!

So over the past few months I’ve packed on a handful of pounds, about 5-7, that I’d like to shed again.  I’m bummed and embarrassed about it but glad that I’m catching it before it becomes TWO handfuls of pounds to lose.

I thought it would be easy working from home, and it is in many ways. The fact that I no longer have a 50 mile a day round trip is so AWESOME. I thought it would free me up some – ha!!!  I’m busier now than I used to be and getting me to leave the house for any reason is almost impossible.

Juggling work and family didn’t get any easier and I still put myself last behind the two.  I decided that needs to stop.  I need to take at least 30-45 minutes a day for just me.

Starting tomorrow I will begin to schedule “me” time.  I will get out of my head for a little each day and work towards de-stressing a bit through physical activity.

I do look forward to the day where this is all on autopilot.  I’ll have my workouts dialed in, my food will be good and I’ll be a peaceful, contented, confident person…until then…well I’ll just keep plugging away and keep trying.  Practice makes perfect.

On a positive note: I went for a mini hike with all my boys, 6 miles and about 6 waterfalls – that was good for the soul.  I need to work more of those days into my life.