30 January 2010

My Favorite Pasta Dish

Stuffed Shells

2 cups of ricotta cheese
1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
1 egg
2 tsp of Italian spice mix
1 pinch of garlic powder

Mix all ingredients together and transfer to a pastry bag or ziploc bag (snip end) for easy shell stuffing.

1 Jar Bertolli Organic Olive Oil, Basil and Garlic sauce
1 cup sauteed green peppers
1 cup sauteed red onion
2 tbsp sauteed garlic
1 cup cooked ground beef (optional)
Combine all ingredients

Boil shells for 10-12 minutes
Rinse with cool water and drain
Put about a cup, cup and a half of the sauce in the bottom of a 13-9 inch pan
Stuff shells and place in single layer of the pan
Pour remaining sauce mixture over stuffed shells
Sprinkle with additional cup of shredded mozzarella cheese

Bake for 30-40 minutes in 350 degree

24 January 2010

The Picture Doesn't Do Them Justice

My husband loves the convenience of Ego's. And no offense to the Ego company but when I actually read the ingredient list to him, his eyebrows did raise a little. So I set out to find a recipe I could make that had more human friendly ingredients. Well, Mom came through for me because these waffles were supper easy and really delicious.

I froze several small ones wrapped in wax paper and a freezer bag so now he can just pop one of these in the toaster and he's actually getting something with real ingredients.

1 3/4 Cup Flour
2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Add to dry ingredients
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs

Whip it all together and you can either do pancakes or waffles.

19 January 2010


We are very lucky to have a winery here in our town. Genkota Winery. It is a gorgeous place to visit. There is a beautiful wrap arouond covered deck where you can sit and enjoy a glass of wine while looking out onto part of the vineyard. Their "Sunset Rose'" is my favorite with the "Drake Port" a very strong second.

Dr. Bradley Drake, his wife and his parents Gerald and Ina Rae opened the winery in December 1997. The name Genkota came from combing the names Gennifer and Dakota, the Drakes two daughters.

From the research I did, I found that when they first opened, there were only 5 other wineries in the entire state of Illinois and now just 12 years later there are 70.

The winery has a very mission style feel to it that is apparent in the double mission style doors to the winery. Ina Rae designed the interior of the winery and Gerald designed the exterior with the help of an architect who had an Amish construction crew from the area build the building. Dr. Drake is the winemaker.

I of course have not had my camera with me when I have visited, so the pictures are from their website www.genkotawine.com.
In my defense, I haven't visited since my resolution of always carrying my camera.

18 January 2010


My heart goes out to the people of Haiti and to all of their friends and family that have been directly touched by this horrific event. I can't imagine there is anyone who has caught a glimpse of the devastation there and not been touched in one way or another.

I was reading about a study in the UK by Oxfam that predicts the number of people hit by climate related disasters is expected to increase 50 percent by 2015 affecting over 375 million people. That is just natural disasters. That is alarming.

It seems that there has been so much going wrong in the world for the last few years. Between the natural disasters, the failing economy, the corruption, the wars...it is hard to stay positive about the future. I worry what our futures have in store for us.

I realize that every generation has had there own life altering events that have changed the course of history. People have survived horrible events and have grown stronger because of them and I hope to become a stronger, better person because of it all too.

I am trying to remind myself to really SEE the miracles that are all around me. I am praying a lot more than I have in years. I am even saying Thank You more often because I am truly grateful for any small good that comes my way. I try to over look annoying little things people do because it's all minor in the big scheme of things. I want to live each and every day to its fullest capacity. I want to remind myself that the only thing I can control is how I react to all that is around me. I need to stay focused and centered.

09 January 2010

Jalapeno Poppers Update...

The jalapeno poppers that I made last week and froze tasted awesome too.
I put them in 350 oven for about 15 minutes and they were pretty close to the original. Much better than any you could buy frozen at the store.

So freezes well is a plus for this recipe.

02 January 2010

A great way to recycle trees...

Our city will be again partnering with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to use a portion of the trees at Rend Lake as fish congregators. Donated trees will be bundled together and sunk in Rend Lake to create underwater fish structures. The structures serve a variety of purposes, according to George Bryant, Mt. Vernon Parks and Public Facilities Director, such as providing feeding areas for fish of all sizes, providing areas of refuge for small fish and are fishing areas for anglers.

“This is a great opportunity for the city to coordinate with Midwest Waste and the Corps of Engineers as we continue to support recycling our natural resources,” Bryant stated.

Christmas trees left at the drop off sites and not used by Rend Lake will be mulched by the City Public Works Department.

We did have one small farmer that was selling trees that could be planted after the holidays. But this is another good step in the right direction for our community. I'm so glad to see programs like this taking place here in my town.

Jalapeno Poppers

I made this recipe last night for my once a week new recipe goal that I set for myself. They were very easy to make and very tasty.
I froze four of them to re-heat at a later time to see how well they do. I would love to have these available to just pop into the oven for a quick snack.

12 jalapeno peppers
4 ounces pepper jack cheese or could use cheddar for less heat
3 ounces cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
2 large eggs
2/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
sour cream for dipping

1.Preheat oven to 325*. Lightly oil baking sheet.
2.Leave about a quarter of an inch from stem and cut lengthwise, scrape out and discard seeds.
3.In small bowl, mix together cheese, cream cheese, garlic powder and chipotle pepper;fill each pepper with some of the mixture.
4.In one bowl, lightly beat eggs until frothy. In another bowl, stir together bread crumbs and salt. Roll each filled pepper in egg, then in bread crumbs. Place on baking sheet.
5.Bake until tender and browned, about 30 minutes. Serve warm, with sour cream for dipping.

01 January 2010


2009 was a tough year for a lot of people.
Hopefully 2010 will bring health, happiness and peace to everyone.