Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sausage and Pumpkin Pasta

If you're like me you read that title and had two thoughts. 1) "Sausage and pumpkin together? Gross." 2) "There is no way my family would eat that, especially if I told them what it was called. Who eats that stuff?" I stand corrected, because, apparently, my family does. The amazing part was that everyone liked it- even after I told them the name. Most had seconds. Steven took his first bite and declared it "disgusting". I chose to ignore him and was surprised a few minutes later to hear him declare it "delicious" and go back for more. In fact, he just came back in for another serving and we finished dinner 2-1/2 hours ago. Thinking that was just about as miraculous as it could get, I thought I'd share the recipe. I did make a few changes for tonight and I'll put those at the end.

Sausage and Pumpkin Pasta
Healthy Cooking Magazine Dec/Jan 2010 p. 61

Prep: 20 min.
Cook: 15 min.
Yield: 4 servings

2 cups uncooked multigrain bow tie pasta
1/2 lb. Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed
1/2 lb. sliced, fresh mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup white wine or additional reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp. rubbed sage
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, in a large non-stick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook the sausage, mushrooms, onion, and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the chicken broth, pumpkin, wine (extra broth), sage, salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5-6 minutes or until slightly thickened.

3. Drain pasta; add to the skillet and heat through. Just before serving, sprinkle with cheese and parsley.

Nutrition Facts: 1-3/4 cups equals 348 calories, 9 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 38 mg cholesterol, 733 mg sodium, 42 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 23 g protein.
Diabetic Exchanges: 2-1/2 starch, 2 lean meat, 1 vegetable, 1/2 fat.

Now, for the changes:
1) I hope it goes without saying that I used chicken broth and not white wine.

2) I'm fresh out of pumpkin, but I have a TON of zucchini from the garden this summer. It's even already pureed because I hide it in lots of dishes. I made a double recipe tonight, so I used 2 cups of pureed zucchini, but did not add the extra 1/2 cup (1 cup for a doubled recipe) of chicken broth because the zucchini was pretty runny.

3) I used a 1 lb. chub of mild sausage that I had in the freezer. I'm not a sausage aficionado (or how ever you spell it), so I don't know if that changes the taste at all.

4) Most of our family doesn't like mushrooms, so I added the same amount of TVP instead to keep up the bulk. (Don't know what TVP is? Click here for an introduction.)

There you have it. A miracle in a cook book. Hope it's as big a hit at your house as it was at ours.

Monday, January 11, 2010


It's 1:30 (in the p.m.) and I should be taking a shower, but I'm allowing myself to be slightly distracted for a little bit.

My day started out just fine. I even got up a little early to read my scriptures before everyone else was up and the noise level increased. The idea was that when I got back from walking my boys to school and getting some exercise I could come right in the house and get busy cleaning my bathrooms. Today was my day to do a complete Houseblessing. (If you've never heard of a Houseblessing, click here and scroll down to "Basic Weekly Plan".)

I was thwarted. Trying to be a cool mom and remember what it's like to be 16 with a freshly minted drivers license, I finally agreed to let Erica drive the van to school. Her Auto class will even wash it and change the oil for practice today. (Good deal, if no one dies and nothing gets munched in the parking lot. I've driven in that lot and others like it and am not totally sold on the idea.) The idea being that Erica can drive and I have to be home with my house blessing because I can't let a little errand- like that stamp I need- distract me.

I left the house with my boys right on time. We walked down to our friends and were just leaving their house when Ryan informs me he forgot his backpack. Not a big deal, except that it's a bit of a walk back up to our house and would require running all of the 3/4 of a mile to school to be on time. I'm all for exercise, but not so much for killing myself. I contemplated making him go to school without it and dealing with the consequences but today is "Penguin Parade Day". I had to get up at 7:30 (the only day to sleep in last week, mind you) on Saturday morning to help my 3rd grader make "clothes" for a paper penguin out of material scraps. I'll be darned if they don't get to parade! I didn't have a car to make the clothing run later or to drive Ryan to school. I probably should have just made him run and/or be late.

Deborah, my friend and hero of the day, offers to drive me back home, then to take the kids to school. (She's the best, by the way.) I thought I'd go for the drive so we could visit a little bit. Still trying to make Ryan somewhat responsible for his actions, I gave him the house key and sent him in to get the backpack. He did just that and very obediently locked the door with my keys still sitting inside on the chair. AHHHH!! Deborah added "Drive Shannon to Greg to get a key" to her list of things to do today and even managed to not laugh at me too much. Greg did, though.

Deborah and I visited for a while- longer than we would have on our walk- which was way more fun than cleaning bathrooms. I grabbed a midmorning snack and got going on the bathrooms. I got 1-3/4 done. The second just needs a floor job. I did get the floor in the laundry room washed, too. That's amazing in and of itself. The third bathroom will just have to wait. The rest of the houseblessing? Maybe next week, or later this week if the stars align.

So, here I sit with dry skin on my hands and the rest of me in desperate need of a shower. I need to leave in an hour to get the kids so that I can have at least a little exerecise today. My to-do list was hardly scratched today, but I'm thinking the following. It's sunny and almost 40 outside. If I don't look up, I can even ignore the terrible air quality from the inversion. The cleanliness of the house is a notch above what it was this morning. I have a family who fills it with love (and sometimes other stuff!) whenever they're here. They all love to be home and have their friends here. I have friends who are willing to help out at a moments notice and like me even if I haven't showered. I am blessed and wouldn't have it any other way. I'll clean the bathrooms and whatever else when I get to it. Someday my days and house will be quiet and empty much longer than the current school day. For now, I'm happy and in 30 minutes I'll be clean. What more can I ask for?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

They Didn't Come

Joy For Your Journey asked about our shoes this morning. Sad to report they were still all over the floor and had nothing fun or exciting in them. Too bad. Mine would fall into the "large and therefore prosperous" category for this particular holiday. Maybe we should leave a treat as a good will offering next year. I should also not put my shoes away if I want them filled, huh! On second thought, Ryan has been overly concerned with robbers breaking into our house lately. He prays every night that none will break in and if they do that they will be caught by the police and we'll get our stuff back. So, maybe it wouldn't be a good idea to invite strangers in just now. Greg went to work, church, and school, the kids went to school and scouts, I went grocery shopping, and my Visiting Teachers came to visit. They gave me two messages since they didn't get here last month, which was sweet. One even went back home to get my Christmas present she forgot- a box of chocolate covered orange sticks. She didn't put them in my shoes when she came back, though. We had a smattering of rain, but no snow. Pretty normal day on the whole. Off to bed. Night!

Happy Dance

Have to take a moment and be pleased. I stopped at the store today and bought 3 boxes of Trix, 2 boxes of Cocoa Puffs (the kids only get one box per week, don't think I'm dooming us to hyperactivity!), 5 tubes of toothpaste, and 1.5 pounds of tomatoes all for $6.65. I love hitting a great deal!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

If You Leave Them By The Door, They Will Come...Maybe

It's not something we celebrate here, but tomorrow is "The Day of the Kings" in some parts of the world. We have a friend in New Hampshire who is from Spain and she makes sure to celebrate with her family every year. The kids even get to skip school. Our kids wished they could be adopted every Jan. 5.

How does one celebrate? In essence, one leaves their shoes out with treats for the Wise Men and their mounts and wakes up in the morning to find treats and presents left as a Thank You. As Erica said, "This is one day when people with big feet prosper".

Why do I mention it? Well, if you were to walk in our front door right now and through the living room, you'd think we were trying to entice every wise or semi-wise man who ever lived to stop by and visit tonight- at least the children here are. It's one of those "If I had a penny for every shoe (coat, backpack, etc.) by the door..." kinds of days. We aren't leaving any treats out, unless crumbs count, so I'm fairly confident that no one will stop and we'll wake to find the shoes right where they are and just as empty as they will be when the lights go out.

I'm not trying to make light of a holiday, especially one that marks such an important day. And, I'll admit, the shoe/coat/backpack situation has been worse so I shouldn't complain. Most of the coats are even heaped all over a coat rack instead of all over the floor. It's just nice to think that once a year the shoes can be left out and all around for a reason, no matter how remote.

So, Happy Day of the Kings if you're from Spain. Have a great Jan. 6 if you're from the US- and all you kiddos have a great day at school!