Saturday, December 31, 2011

Pasta e Fagioli in a Package

1 pkg. of Cherchies Pasta e Fagioli soup mix
7 cups water
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb. hamburger meat (the original instructions did not ask for meat, I decided to add it myself)
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

I bought the soup mix and these rosemary rolls from our trip to Wegmans in N. Va.  I'm so excited, I can't wait to try this!!

Rinse beans thoroughly in cold water.  Put beans in a large pot adding enough water to cover by 2 inches.  Bring to a boil, cooking for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour.

As beans are standing, sauté garlic and onion in olive oil

Drain and rinse beans.

To the onions and garlic, add the meat and brown, drain fat.   Add 7 cups water

Add seasoning packet

then add the beans, stir and simmer for about 45 minutes.  Add pasta and simmer another 25 minutes.

Add the can of diced tomatoes, heat thoroughly.

Serve hot, on a cold wintry day

Sprinkle with cheese.  I didn't have Parmesan so I ended up using some Mozzarella which works just as good.

Buon appetit!!

I rarely ever make any thing from a prepared mix.  I try to make everything homemade but when I saw this soup mix on our recent trip to Wegmans in N. Va., (see my post entry titled, "A Trip Into Town") I caved and bought it.  It did not disappoint!  WOW! This was so savory and full of flavors.  Not as tomato-eee as mine but that's fine, it was deeelicious!!  Adding the meat I'm sure helped a lot.  I'm surprised the package didn't suggest that meat could be added, my hubby would not have liked it otherwise.  The meat not only gave it flavor but hearty thickness and what hubby does not like a hearty soup?!  Happy New Year bloggy nation.  Be safe and be blessed!

Say a Little Prayer for You

I featured this topic last year and feel it's worth mentioning again.  Don't know what to do with those Christmas greeting cards you received this past Christmas?

Read here


Friday, December 30, 2011

A Trip "Into Town"

Artist - Garth Williams
We make a trip to Northern VA about four times a year.  Every time we head up for our three hour venture, I feel as if we're country folk making our monthly trip "into town" like the picture above.  I seriously have a picture in my head similar to this one.

Our destination is to always make a trip to the best ever in existence, Wegmans.  Not your typical grocery store.  I feel like I go to European market everytime I go to Wegmans.  So begins my small tour of Wegmans:
That's a stick figure of me :)

I'll name this the "grab & go" section.  The lucky folk who live near this Wegmans can run in and have a pick of their dinner, easy in and out of the store. Shown: Pasta Salad, BBQ, Enchilada Casserole

Intriguing, a Crab Pretzel Twist.  Perfect for your New Year's Eve party

All kinds of seafood, seafood salads, etc.,

Fish looks so fresh, doesn't even have that strong fishy smell like some other seafood sections in other stores.

Mussels, Clams and more

Yum, Beef section.  Oh how I love a good T-Bone Steak!

Stuffed Pork and Beef.  I've always wanted to buy one of these but for some reason I don't.  We even brought our cooler with us this time.

Stuffed Hens (I'm not sure if they're Cornish Hens or not)

Italian Meat section

 I'm always intrigued with all their tarts, tortes, fancy cakes and such.

I feel like I'm back in Germany when I go through this section.  Fancy desserts galore!

Chocolate Domes?  How ever do they make these??

Artisan loaves with the Wegmans logo

A small smidgen of their European and Artisan bread section.  Sometimes these loaves are still warm, fresh out of the oven.

Bulk candy section

Make your own M&M bag.  If I were a kid, I would've thought I died and gone to heaven.  Thus ends my tour of Wegmans and I only showed you just the tip of the iceberg.  There's so much more.  Click on the Wegmans links at the bottom of this post to learn more.

Some of my loot:
-Grandma Brown's Baked Beans (Wegmans is the only place we can find these)
-Corn Chowder Soup Mix
-Pasta e Fagioli (not shown here as I made it today - will post on my next post)
-Wegmans Chicken stock
-Small individual casserole dishes ( I'm a sucker in the dish/pot & pan section).  I'll use these when I make my Eggplant Parmesan
-One container of  Wegmans Italian Soup - this better be good as I love this soup
-Meyer Lemons
-Fresh herbs - Rosemary, Oregano and Thyme
-Kohlrabi (a softer, sweet Turnip)

Wegmans in my rear view window.  That should be a country song.  But this is always the sad part of the trip.  Oh how I wish we had one closer to my house.

Wegmans Links:

Just found these few pics from our trip to Wegmans a year ago:
Wegmans in Fredericksburg, VA

Apples with Brie Cheese - soooo pretty!

Pecans and Cranberries with Brie Cheese - this looks soo good!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Paint Project - Foyer

Welcome to Spottswood Place

View from front entrance
Opposite view from front entrance (from the kitchen)
View from Dining Room (to the left of the front entrance)
I plan to get a half-moon table to replace the old round table in this picture

View from the Living Room (to the right of the front entrance)

Martha Stewart I am not.  I don't have an ounce of decorating know how in my being but I do have fun trying.  Some of the paintings in the foyer are of my favorite (as of late) local folk art artist, Fay Harris, click here for the post where I featured some of her art renderings.

I've been wanting to paint the foyer of Spottswood Place since we moved here a little over a year ago but other paint projects took priority.  Although it didn't look bad before, I did buy paint for it and didn't want it to go to waste.  I knew I would eventually find the time to paint it and yesterday, the Monday after Christmas seemed to be the ideal time since I am off the whole week.  After taking down our brittle Christmas tree much to my dismay as well as the whole family's, I decided I still had enough energy and time to paint the foyer.  Five hours later, almost 8pm, I was done painting and with the clean up.  The before pictures were taken just when I started painting and then realize I hadn't taken pictures yet, that's why you see the paint bucket and stuff.  The after pictures were taken at night soon after I had finished painting.  The final pictures were taken this morning, soon after I had put everything back in it's place.  I slept like a baby last night as every muscle in my body ached (nothing Aleve couldn't take care of).  I feel accomplished and hubby is taking me out for dinner later :)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Grandmas Cinnamon Apple Sauce Jello Mold

2 3oz. lemon jello
1/2 cup red hot cinnamon candies
3 cups boiling water
2 cups unsweetened or natural applesauce
Opt. 1 tbsp. lemon juice
One small container of cottage cheese

Dissolve jello and the red hot candies in water.

Stir in applesauce and the optional lemon juice.

Spray mold with Pam.  Pour jello into mold.

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Take the jello out and let set for about 30 minutes.    Use a platted larger than the jello mold (I used a festive tray that had a 1" lip).  Place the jello mold (slowly and carefully and with lots of patience) into the platter.  Put the whole container of cottage cheese in the center of mold.  Place back in refrigerator until ready to eat and enjoy!!

For as long as I've known my mother-in-law (about 28 years), every holiday she made this jello mold.  My son confessed  to us two days ago at our family Christmas meal that it was his most favorite dish growing up.  He said he used to scrape off all the jello and leave the cottage cheese behind.  When we moved down to Virginia, I made sure I asked her for the recipe.  Now that she lives with us, it's something she hasn't made in a long time.  She was thrilled to have it again this past Christmas as well as the (grown) kids too :)

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