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Sunday, April 26, 2020


From British cookbook author Nigel Slater, this pasta dish has a very interesting combination of flavors.  Perfect when you want to put something together quickly and you're also looking for a pasta dish that's really unique!
Rated one of Food & Wine's 40 best recipes in 2018.  This dish takes just about 20 minutes to put together.   Serves 4


1 pound penne, rigatoni or medium shells
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ pounds hot Italian sausage  (I used mild)
3/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 Tbsp. grainy mustard
pinch of crushed red pepper
1 cup thinly sliced basil 

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente; drain.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet.  Add the sausage meat and brown over moderately high heat, about 5 minutes.  Add the wine and simmer, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom, until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Add the cream, mustard and crushed red pepper and simmer for 2 minutes.  Remove the skillet from the heat, add the pasta and basil and toss to coat.  Serve immediately.

Since I don't like really spicy foods, I chose the mild italian sausage, and for me it had the right amount of spice.

I couldn't find fresh basil  when I was shopping for the other ingredients (and I wasn't going to run around the city to find it), so I used freeze dried and it tasted great.

We ate two servings and I froze the other two.  I found when we re-heated the frozen servings, the spices blended even further and it had even more "kick" to it the second time around.


Monday, April 6, 2020


I use this recipe exclusively for my banana bread.  I found it years ago (I don't remember where originally) and love how moist the bread is....can't believe I haven't shared it yet!
It's so easy and makes a nice big loaf, even for us high altitide folk.  No adjustments needed for high altitude.


1 cup granulated sugar 
½ cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (usually 3....but I've been successful if you only have 2)
½ cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ½ cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x5 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray.   In a large bowl, mix together oil and sugar.  Add the eggs, vanilla, banana, and sour cream; blend well. 

Add the dry ingredients; stir just until the dry ingredients have been moistened.  Spread evenly into the pan.  

Bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool for 5 minutes and release from the pan.   I usually cut it in half and freeze half the loaf (it freezes great!)......not this time. 

By the way.....I chose to add some mini chocolate chips to the batter before baking.  Whether you include them or not, it's still the best banana bread ever!!!!


Wednesday, April 1, 2020


In this amazingly unreal situation the world is currently experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I like many people was feeling a sense of helplessness.  My heart hurt for the healthcare workers and the concern over PPE (personal protective equipment), so when the opportunity arose to help by sewing handmade face masks, I was all in!  After all, that's exactly my skillset.
I learned that Boulder County Health was looking for masks and I was impressed by how organized they were.  They had laid out specs on how they wanted them constructed (prefered fabrics) along with drop off information.  

After I had made my first 18, I took off for the Boulder JoAnn store which was a drop off location for this grassroots effort.  I chose to go there since I also learned they were helping out in providing free materials to those who were sewing masks.  Perfect!  Because, I was ready to keep making more, but I was totally out of elastic, and I was having difficulty finding any online.

I did score on the elastic....I also bought more cotton for the inside panel....but I was sorely disappointed in their approach to providing materials.  They had "kits" available with materials for six masks!  I had driven 24 miles one way, so when I asked if I could have another kit, they said "sorry I can only give you 1".  I'm sorry.  But that's absurd, this wasn't a craft project,  where every participant gets just one.....I (along with every other seamstress) was participating because I wanted to serve the community.  I accepted my one kit and headed home.

Once I had another 20+ masks sewn, I decided to look up hospitals closer to me that might be accepting donations.....what I learned was the vast majority of Colorado hospitals were not accepting homemade masks due to the new CDC guidelines.   What????!!!  I realize this situation was fluid, and I definitely want our frontline healthcare workers to be safe, but I also felt that maybe there were other uses for these.   This new approach had happened in just a matter of a couple of days.  In fact, Boulder County Health was now only using these "as a last resort".  Frankly, I didn't want to continue using my time and energy if they weren't going to be used, or placed in some storeroom never to be seen again.   I had even begun making a few of the surgical type masks which allows for a filter to be added and includes wire at the nosebridge for additional safety measures. 
I posted my frustration on FB.....and I was pleasantly surprised to find there were individuals who absolutely wanted masks.  I've since sent some to New Jersey and Florida assisted living caregivers who were desperate for masks and several Texas pharmacists.    I'm so pleased these can help those front line workers.  I've also provided some locally to essential employees who work in grocery stores.....another group of people who I so appreciate in this difficult time.  I've made over 50 now, and have a few more cut out which pretty much depletes my supplies. As of last night's news however, the CDC may be suggesting that the general public should be wearing masks when we're out and about and the homemade variety would work fine in those situations.  We'll see how this continues to evolve.  For now, I'm just happy to have been able to provide some assistance to those very important individuals who are in the thick of this thing day in and day out!