A few days have passed since my sister and her family lost their house, and your kind words and donations have been so sweet and comforting to them. They are staying with our youngest sister for right now, just a few miles away from their place. She and her family welcomed them and their pets, plus all the rest of us and all the friends and neighbors who bombarded their home over the weekend. The outpouring of love for them is staggering.
My brother-in-law suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns that are being treated at a burn center in Pittsburgh, but he is recovering; Evie, Owen, and Ayden started back to school today; and Bea is taking everything one day at a time. The enormity of their loss hits them in different ways at different times, but they are healing.
The overwhelming response from their community and from people who don’t even know them is astounding. I can’t say enough about the help they received immediately from the American Red Cross. You always hear that they are the first to come forward, but until you see it, you just can’t fully appreciate what they do to help. The family’s pharmacy immediately filled their medical prescriptions at no cost, Walmart’s eye care center got them replacement glasses at no charge, local restaurants sent food or gift cards for meals within hours. I am just in awe of the generosity and kindness that I saw.
In spite of all they’ve lost, I keep thinking of the lyrics to one of the songs we sing at church.
“God is good all the time
He put a song of praise in this heart of mine
God is good all the time
Through the darkest night, His light will shine
God is good, God is good
All the time”
Hey there. If you’ve been reading my blog for very long, you know that I share bits about my life, but I keep it pretty light. You also must know that no one’s life is carefree all the time.
At 2:10 this morning, my sister’s house burned to the ground. I’ve talked about Bea on the blog; in fact, she’s the one who originally started this blog with me. She and her family are all safe, but they’ve lost everything. Saying that sounds wrong, because they’re here and they’re all safe, thank God. They haven’t lost everything, and they will be okay.
My brother-in-law was burned, but because my sister thought so quickly and covered his back with snow, his skin will heal very quickly. Bea is amazing. She woke up everyone and got all of them out of the house minutes before it was engulfed. I’ve always said she is the bravest person I know. I’m in awe of her. I am looking at the faces of her three sweet kids, and I am just so grateful.
We’ve created a donation badge for her family. I’m adding it to the sidebar of the blog. I know you don’t know my sister, and you may never, ever meet me. But I also know this blogging community is remarkably caring. More than anything, I’m asking for your prayers and your good thoughts to be sent out into the universe. For Bea and Jim, for Evie and Owen and Ayden. Thanks.
This is one of those quick weekday meals that takes a couple of standbys and shakes them up a bit. The talk around our dinner table was all about what this meal should be called. LaPizza? Pasagna? It’s a little like spaghetti, a little like lasagna, and a little like pizza. And it was nice to have some leftover in the fridge the next day for lunch. Spagheftovers, anyone?
Recipe: Spaghetti Pizza
(adapted from Allrecipes)
3/4 of a box of spaghetti, broken into 2″ pieces
1/4 c. milk
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese or “pizza blend” cheese, divided
1-26.5 oz. can spaghetti sauce
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
pizza toppings, such as pepperoni, sausage, etc.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 9×13″ lasagna pan with cooking spray and set aside.
Cook spaghetti pieces according to package directions for al dente; drain and return to pot. Set aside. Beat an egg in a medium bowl. Add milk and 1/2 c. mozzarella cheese. Stir in salt and garlic powder. Pour mixture over cooked spaghetti and mix well. Transfer to baking dish and spread evenly over bottom. Bake for 15 minutes.
Remove dish from oven and lower temperature to 350 degrees. Spread sauce over spaghetti. Sprinkle with oregano and basil. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese and pizza toppings. Return to oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until edges are bubbling. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.
As soon as the new year rolls around, we seem to get into soup mode around here. Soups are usually healthy and flavorful, and easy to freeze in single servings. Perfect for a quick lunch or dinner. This Italian sausage soup was a cinch to make because I already had all the ingredients in my kitchen. I just needed to put them all together, and Jim got a whole week’s worth of lunches. I am so good. hehe
Recipe: Italian Sausage Soup
(inspired by Cooking Light)
1 lb. hot or sweet Italian sausage
1 onion, minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
4 c. chicken broth
20 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 c. uncooked small whole wheat shell pasta
1 14-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 c. kale, frozen or fresh
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Remove sausage from casings, and cook sausage and chopped onion in hot pot. Stir to crumble sausage and cook until sausage is cooked through and onions are transparent. Add garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes. Drain, and return to pan.
Add broth, tomatoes, pasta, chickpeas, and seasoning. Bring to a low boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook about 10 minutes, until pasta is done. Stir in kale until wilted. Sprinkle each serving with Parmesan cheese or add cheese to soup pot and stir until melted and combined.