Tuesday, January 31, 2012

FEED YOUR FACE: Zucchini-Tortellini Harvest Soup

Kathi here. I had eaten an Italian soup recipe from a meal-prep company -- you know: the places where you go and assemble meals that you will store in your freezer to cook later?

It was good, but I thought it could be even better, so I invented this version. It makes a crockpot full of soup, and helps use up some of that end-of-the-season zucchini that those of us who grow it have around.

We slice and freeze zucchini, and then we can eat this even in the middle of winter (which we did today!).

It's a very forgiving recipe, so you can add or subtract a bunch of ingredients and it's going to be good, no matter which way you make it.

Oh! And I entered this recipe at Gooseberry Patch. It was selected it to appear in the Gooseberry Patch Fresh from the Farmstand cookbook, so they sent me a free copy of the book.

Zucchini-Tortellini Harvest Soup
  • 1 lb. Italian pork sausage links, browned and thinly sliced (I usually place these in a skillet with water and boil them until they are done, which helps cut down on the grease; then I cool them, slice them, and brown them along with the onion in the skillet)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 or 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups of tomatoes, diced (you can use a can of tomatoes if you don't have fresh)
  • 2- 14 oz. cans of vegetable broth (or you can use beef or chicken broth)
  • 14 oz. can/jar of pizza sauce
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 or 2 small zucchini, sliced or shredded (I like chunkier, so we slice)
  • 9-oz. package of refrigerated cheese tortellini (left uncooked)
  • Parmesan cheese, fresh or sprinkle, for flavor and garnish
Add everything to the crockpot except for the zucchini, tortellini, and cheese. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 7 hours. About an hour before you want to eat dinner, add the zucchini and tortellini, then let it cook one more hour. (Discard the bay leaf)

Ladle into soup bowls, and garnish/flavor with parmesan cheese.

So, load up your crockpot, get out your napkins, and get ready to FEED YOUR FACE!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Quote of the Week: 1/30/2012

“Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.”

--Jim Davis, 'Garfield'

Monday, January 23, 2012

Quote of the Week: 1/23/12

"Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music-- the world is so rich, simply throbbing, with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself."

Henry Miller
American writer

Friday, January 20, 2012


This story was posted sometime last year. I am posting it now because of a request from a few of my blog followers. For those of you who have already read this, I hope that you don't mind reading it again (if you want). So, enjoy.

How long has it been since you flew a kite? Remember when kites were homemade? Store bought ones flew just as good as homemade ones and on windy spring days, kites just seemed to appear in the sky.

You would bug your parents for a kite or to help you build one. I remember my Dad making me a kite out of The Denver Post. I helped by handing him scissors, paste, and string. The wood for the kite came from our garage, and the tail was supplied by my grandmother. It only took my Dad about half an hour and we had a kite to fly.

Once outside, he would unwind the string and walk backwards up our street. I would stand there and hold the kite gently. When my Dad gave the word, I would toss the kite above my head, and duck. The first couple of times, we couldn't get it off the ground. Some of the other kids would tell him he had to run faster. 'Course, this always made him a bit ticked off, but it did seem that he would run a bit faster each time.

After what seemed like weeks, my Dad would finally get the kite up in the air. He would tug the string a bit, let out more string, and tug it again. Now, there I was, standing by, waiting to fly MY kite. He would always say "just a minute." Well, the minutes would go by and we both would watch MY kite float along on the wind.

Pretty soon, he would be almost out of string, and the kite was way, way, way, up there. It seemed like it was higher and further than any of the other kites. He would holler at me to go in the house and get another roll of string.

Well, we had taken one spool of string from grandmother when we first made the kite, so we just used it for the flying of it. But now Dad wanted more string. So I went in to get more string. Pappy was sitting on the front porch as I ran into the house. As I came out with a big spool of string, Pappy stopped me in my tracks. I had taken grandmother's twine for wrapping packages. Pappy told me that I shouldn't use it. I told him it was all I could find, and I ran off towards my Dad.

Pappy never said another word, just sat there with his pipe in his mouth, puffing away. As I got to my Dad, he had about a foot of string in his hand. I handed him the spool of twine. And I finally got to fly MY kite, for all of maybe one minute. He tied the twine to the remainder of the string, and took back control of the kite. Now we had kids watching as he started to let out the twine. Nobody had ever done this on our street before. One spool of string to a kite was the norm. 'Course, they didn't know my Dad -- over-achiever, I guess, and he let out just about that whole spool of twine.

MY kite was almost out of sight! I mean, you could barley even see it in the sky! The only way we knew where it was was by the tail of our kite. Grandmother had shredded Pappy's union suit into rags, and MY kite was adorned with a red tail, about 4 feet long. Needless to say, it stuck out pretty well. (For those of you who do not know what a union suit is, it is long handled underwear for men, you know, the kind with the flap in the back.)

Well, the kite was real high in the sky, and just a little dot, except for its tail. The other kids were just opened-mouthed about how far it went and how much string has been let out.

Then all of a sudden the wind changed, and the kite started to drop. We knew, because the tail was now at the top. My Dad started to pull on the string, and tug, and run up the street a ways. He started to reel in the string. He reeled and reeled, and tugged and pulled on the string. And reeled some more. He reeled it in so fast that he started to miss the spool and had a big wad of string around his hand. He kept on reeling, and soon was getting red in the face.

Pappy was standing up, and looking off towards the kite. It was getting lower in the sky, and my Dad reeled in the string like a man on a mission. By then you couldn't see the spool in his hand because string covered his hand. It almost looked like one of the oblong bee's nests you see every now and then. Then Pappy was on the stairs of the porch, and his hands were moving like he was reeling in the string! The kids were telling my Dad to reel faster!

I was just standing there, watching my Dad and Pappy. Then Pappy was off the porch and hollering at my Dad to reel faster, and the kids were hollering to reel faster, and My Dad had this funny look on his face like he was mad, but just can't seem to keep a straight face, and he started to laugh.

We lost MY homemade kite that day. The kids talked about it until about the middle of summer. We never did get all the string and twine back. It was tangled and I spent I don't know how long trying to untangle it. My Dad had a hard time getting it off of his hand. I never got a piece any longer than about 2 feet.

Pappy went back to setting on the porch. Grandmother chewed us out for using her good twine. And my Dad felt so bad about the whole thing that he went out and bought me AND my sister store bought kites. He helped us put them together, but never offered to come out and help us fly them.

We did find our kite though. It ended up on the utility wires on Colfax, across the street from the Casa Bonita Mexican restaurant. I had just happened to look up and there it was, tangled up, hanging upside down, the red tail was fluttering in the wind. I pointed it out to Pappy. He chomped down on his pipe, his face turned red, and he said that that damn union suit got more miles on it now then when he wore them. Then he smiled.

You know, I just may buy me a kite and wait for the wind to be j-u-s-t right.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Whoa. I see that I have some new followers here at my blog. Thank you all for stopping by and for "following" my blog.

Come by, set, and have a cup of coffee. Or you can feed your face, and just kind of follow along. Make comments or just kind of poke around the blog. Check out some of my older posts. Or maybe go back and find a recipe that you might like.

I don't have the blog split up into categories just yet. Sorry. You will just have to be a lookie-lou and find it.

I try to get to other blogs and leave a comment when I can. If I miss you, give me a shout or a boot to the butt. And for those who come by and don't have a blog? Leave a comment now and then!

If you have something that you want to know about, just ask. If I don't know the answer, I might make one up or pass you on to someone who does know.

Also, here is my e-mail address, if you want to drop me a private note.

So stop a spell, prop up your feet, browse around the blog, and let me entertain, amuse, inform, or show you something new or old. And again, thank you all for reading my little blog.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What Bears Do in the Woods

I think that just about everybody has seen a bear in his or her lifetime, whether it was on television, at the zoo, or maybe in the wild. And for those who have seen them in the wild, my hat is off to you.

Bears are really cool to watch. . . from a distance. Sometimes it is up close and personal.

And when it gets personal, who knows how it is going to go or how it will end!

We all have heard or read about bear contacts with people. And so, now it is my turn. No bears were hurt in this story...

The summer of 1977 found me up in the mountains here in Colorado. I had decided to forego my job and take a little vacation. So I packed up my camping gear and fishing pole. I loaded up my Chevelle, said goodbye to Grandmother and Pappy [I was living with them at the time] and headed up the highway towards Kremmling (Colorado).

After driving to Kremmling, I stopped and talked to my Uncle Fay, who was then running a store. I asked Uncle Fay how things were going, and he said that things were kind of tight right now and that he needed to get away for a day or two. So I invited him to go camping and fishing with me. He said that was a good idea, but that he would have to meet me up at my camp.

I told him I was going up on the Gore, by the cabin that was called the Mac. He said, "Great, I'll see you up there."

So I got up to where I wanted, pitched camp in the perfect spot -- lots of aspen trees -- and made myself at home. It was time to do some fishing. So, down the trail I went.

It was maybe a quarter of a mile or less to the beaver ponds that I liked to fish. I still bring friends there to fish and camp all these years later.

The fishing was great! I'd caught three or four brook trout, enough for a meal, when I heard what sounded like several people screaming and fighting. So I started to follow the sound. The farther I walked back up the trail, the louder the screaming got, and it was starting to really get to me. Of course, by then my imagination was starting to take over. (We can talk about my wild imagination more some other time.)

So I was starting to think that someone was fighting for their life, or that someone was being attacked by wild animals.

I was running up the trail, wishing that I had my pistol with me, but I'd left back in my tent. As I got closer, I found that all of that racket was coming from my camp!!!

So by then I was running like my butt was on fire.

As I came busting into my camp, my tent was no longer where I had put it up, but was now moving through the trees, bashing into some of them as it went.

All of my stuff was still in the tent, including my car keys. The tent was making good time, and I noticed that each time it hit a tree, I could hear a growling sound.

Now, it takes quite a bit to get me rattled and a lot to scare me. But this was the damnedest thing I had ever seen.

I was looking for a big stick to whack the hell out of whatever it is. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something BIG and hairy, and it was headed right for me! I turned my head and saw that coming right at me from about 15 yards was this black bear. Now, I know that the bears here do not seem that big, but when they are headed your way, they look to be the size of a bus.

I didn't know what this bear wanted, but it really looked mad, and I seemed to be in its way!

I tried to think quickly: Do I fall down and play dead? Should I try to spook it? Would I crap my pants, or what?! I decided that maybe I should just get the hell out of the way.

I did the fastest thing I could: crawl under my car. That's right -- under a 1970 Chevelle.

Do any of you know how low a 1970 Chevelle is to the ground? LOW! Really low. Those of you who know me right now know how I have put on a few pounds. Well I just seemed to be custom fitted to the bottom of that car. No way I could do it now, unless you jacked up the car first.

As I got under the car, who should show up but my uncle. So there I was under the car, waving at Uncle Fay. He was laughing and pointing, and my tent was still moving through the trees and getting further away. We both watched as a bear ran to my tent and jumped on it. The tent was now screaming in protest and making little jerky movements.

Fay hollered for me to stay put. We watched this bear take and rip my tent completely in half, like paper, and out came two little bear cubs. I realized what all the racket was about: I had left my tent open and there was a sandwich in the tent. Dumb, dumb, dumb. . . I know.

We watched as the three of them decided that it was the tent's fault, as well as the fault of the sleeping bag and all my clothes.

Everything was ripped, torn, chewed, and I think some of it might have been eaten.

And those fish I caught? Well, I dropped them in camp and those damn bears ate them also.

After getting out from the car and getting Fay to stop laughing, we went ahead and did some more fishing. The fishing was still good and we caught our fair share.

Later, after cleaning up the bear mess, we built a fire and cooked our fish. Uncle Fay offered to put me up for the night in town, but I turned him down. Fay left a little after sundown. I built up the fire, grabbed a blanket that I had in the trunk of the car, wrapped up, and looked at the stars for awhile. I had some more coffee and listened to the wind.

The next morning, I headed back for home. As I drove, I wondered what the bears thought about this. I'm sure they laughed about me trying to get out of the way. I know that Grandmother and Pappy did!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Quote of the Week: 1/16/12

"Insist upon yourself. Be original."

Ralph Waldo Emerson
American transcendentalist, poet, philosopher, essayist

Thursday, January 12, 2012


I want to thank all of you. Your thoughts and prayers mean so much to me and my family.

Sometimes a person does not really know how blessed they are. I feel that I'm very blessed by knowing all of you out there who read my little blog.

Things are getting better. Dad's funeral service was good. Just as they were playing taps, a flock of geese flew over, honking. Dad loved the sound of geese. Maybe that was his way of saying, "I'm home, and don't worry, I love you all."

Again, I thank you all for all the comments and prayers.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Overwhelming. It is all so overwhelming. I've lost friends, relatives, and people that I have worked with, but the loss of my Dad has hit me the hardest of them all.

As most of you know, my Dad passed on December the 23rd. He had had medical problems for quite a few years. It seems that I always feel that it will get better, even though I knew deep down that it wouldn't. You hope, you pray. Things seem to get a bit better for awhile. Then, it's back to the hospital. And again, you hope, and you pray.

His heart just gave out. He was tired and in pain all the time. He didn't say it. But you could see it in his face now and then. It was his time to go. He told Mom that he loved her. And he waved at her. Then he was gone.

Mom is really having a time of it. We kids have rallied around to help, to do what we can. It is much harder on her. How do you cope with the loss of some ne that you have spent the last 40 some years with? I can't imagine it myself.

Plus, there is the 40-some years of stuff that my Dad thought was important enough to keep. Silly stuff, if you think about it. He had five address books, the little pocket kind. With numbers! Not phone numbers, just numbers. Or little notes that he would write to himself. Or a list of things for prepping. Or a recipe for hard tack.

He had some news clippings from the paper, about little towns that no longer exist that we were going to go and metal detect once he felt better. He had written down directions to several lakes and ponds that he wanted to get to to fish. And, like a lot of men, there was that new firearm that he wanted to buy.

As we go and go through his belongings, we get to see a part of him that we may not have known about. Or a part of him that we have not thought about for years. Or we find something that we made for him when we were kids that he has kept all these years, hidden away, in a box or envelope, in the bottom of a drawer. Pictures of hunting trips or vacations from long ago.

It helps to talk and write about him. It gets hard to see the computer screen at times. I need to slow down and not be in such a hurry to help. That's probably why I ended up getting sick: pushing too hard.

Dad was cremated, as his request. He will be interred at Fort Logan National Cemetery on Friday, the 6th.

As it stands, I have his ashes. We have talked. Or I should say that I've talked to him. And that has helped some. Kathi has been a rock and of the greatest help. And, Nugget, our dog, seems to know whats going on. He was sitting in front of the table that Dad's ashes are on, and he just sat and stared for a bit.

Dad was quite a man. I wish you all could have known him. He touched an awful lot of people. He will be forever missed. He is now with family and friends who have passed before him. He is in great company.

I can just hear him now, starting a story with a smile on his face and a glint in his eyes.

He is home.