A Rainy Day Recipe

In preparation for Hurricane Harvey, I stocked up on a plethora of non-perishable food items anticipating the potential for power outages. But as long as we do have power, we’re going to enjoy home cooked meals as long as we can. Last night, I decided to throw together an easy spaghetti so that in the event we did lose power, the items in my fridge wouldn’t spoil.


spaghetti ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian Sausage
  • 1 box of pasta
  • 1 pint of portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • garnish with grated mozarella and fresh basil



Boil water in a pot with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sea salt. I typiclally use a penne or bowtie pasta because it’s easier for Liam to eat. Use your favorite pasta when preparing this dish.

In a skillet, saute onions on medium high in about a tablespoon of olive oil until translucent. Then add garlic, and saute until fragrant. Next add the Italian sausage and saute until brown. Finish with the mushrooms and continue to saute until the pasta and sauce are ready.

In a separate pot, add the jarred tomato sauce and spices. Simmer on medium.

Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the sausage and mushrooms. Then add the sauce and mix thoroughly.


Garnish with fresh basil and grated mozarella, and serve with your favorite crusty bread. Buon appetito!


final product

For my Houstonian friends, I hope you continue to stay safe and are blessed to still have power. I will continue to keep those most affected by the storm in my thoughts and prayers. Mother Nature, your kindness in the coming days will be greatly appreciated.

On a lighter note, it looks like Atticus and Liam may be following in their Mama Bear’s footsteps. Atticus proved he knew his way around the play kitchen, preparing a savory roasted garlic chicken with fresh lemon. He also seemed very interested in my blog post, pulling up on the side of the bed to make edits. Liam gave me an innovative dessert idea for dinner last night: smores made with a Snickers bar. Ingenious and absolutely delightful! My moustached wonder knows a thing or two about sweets. Who knows, I may just have to pass the cooking and blogging torch down to one of them in a few years.



Hash it Out

Sunday evening always culminates with a family dinner together. Because Sean’s work schedule during the week rarely affords him the opportunity to join us for dinner, I really treasure preparing a special meal for all of us to start the week off on the right foot.

This Sunday, I made a simple, healthy, and delicious sweet potato hash. I adapted this recipe from http://fitfoodiefinds.com/2016/03/sweet-potato-kale-hash/. It’s an incredibly versatile dish that is ready in under 20 minutes.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled & grated
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • half of a sweet onion
  • 16 ounces ground sausage
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • salt & pepper to taste



In a large skillet, sauté the sliced onions in olive oil on medium high until translucent. Next add the garlic and sauté until fragrant. Then add the ground sausage and sauté until brown. H-E-B recently offered their ground sausage products at two for $5. I always love a great deal, so I decided to try their Italian and sage options. The sage proved to be a wonderful compliment to this recipe.


Toss in the red pepper. I usually keep a jar of fire roasted red peppers on hand. The prep work is even easier when you used jarred peppers because you don’t have to worry about cutting out the stem or cleaning out the seeds.  The fire roasted flavor is a perfect addition to this dish too.

Add the grated sweet potato and sauté for about seven minutes. Grating the sweet potato helps it cook evenly and quickly. I’ve also found that grating a sweet potato is even easier than cutting it. I have the best luck with my large box grater.

sweet potato hash

Fold in the spinach until wilted and then sprinkle the dish with salt and pepper. Serve with multigrain bread and a side of fresh tomatoes for an easy, flavorful, and oh so yummy meal.


The versatility of this dish makes it an ideal way to hash it out in the kitchen. Make it vegetarian by substituting the sausage with a fried egg served over the top. Mix up your protein with applewood smoked chicken sausage. Add mushrooms for another level of flavor. Substitute the spinach with kale. The sky is the limit!

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It’s the kind of meal that will have your family eyeing you with the, “Is dinner ready yet?” look! Enjoy!


An Indoor Camping Adventure

For most of the summer, Sean talked about camping with Liam. Unfortunately time did not allow for an outdoor adventure, so Sean did the next best thing- indoor camping. He taught Liam all of the ins and outs of camping without pesky mosquitos or the atrocious heat.

After Atticus woke up from his nap, he had a great time exploring the tent with his big brother. Some day he’ll be old enough to camp with the older bears. Until then, I loved seeing him light up with excitement as he took it all in.

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For dinner, I decided that the fare needed to compliment camping. Because I’m not a huge fan of hot dogs, I decided chili would set the tone for their evening of indoor camping. Prepping for dinner can often take just as long as cooking, so on the weekends I try to capitalize on the extra time I have; opting to chop and gather ingredients while Atticus naps or plays underfoot.

It’s always important to give credit where credit is due. I love Nutmeg Nanny’s Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chili (http://www.nutmegnanny.com/2014/10/22/slow-cooker-pumpkin-chili/). I’ve adapted her recipe to suit my family’s gustos (likes). Because Sean despises green bell pepper, I omit both green and red bell peppers from the recipe. And while I’m a huge fan of pumpkin, I don’t think Sean or Liam would be too keen on the idea of it in a chili dish. Instead of using a slow-cooker, I make it in a large soup pot. From start to finish, this delicious dish is ready in about 45 minutes.


  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of fire roasted tomatoes with garlic
  • 2 cups of beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon comino
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt


  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Corn chips

First I saute the onions on medium high for about five minutes until translucent. Then I add the garlic and saute until fragrant.

Next I add the Italian sausage and cook until brown. Then I add the beef broth, spices, beans, and tomatoes and let it come to a slow boil.

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I stir periodically as I set the table, prepare the garnishes, and pause to take in precious moments of the boys playing around  me.

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This recipe, hands down, is my favorite because of the surprising flavor the Italian sausage adds. Liam loves it because he gets to top it with corn chips. Any dish that includes chips of any kind is a winner in his book. It’s definitely proven to be a family favorite time and time again.

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What camping excursion would be complete without smores? We accomplished the same results with our gas stove and enjoyed these tasty treats together. It was a messy endeavor, but with gooey marshmallows should you expect anything different.

Sean made the H-E-B run for all of the necessary ingredients as I prepared dinner. He came back with  cinammon graham crackers, which were the perfect compliment to the milk chocolate and toasted marshmallows.

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The camping adventure continued well into the night for Sean and Liam- telling ghost stories with flashlights and making shadow puppets on the cieling. This Papa Bear orchestrated a memorable evening that will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of Liam’s summer vacation.