Author Archives: TaMara

Garden Fresh Pasta Dinner

I had friends over on Sunday and by request, made a garden fresh entrée. The advantage with this type of dinner is, it is quick and easy to prepare while guests are there. We had pleasant conversation as I put it together, which from start to finish was less than 20 minutes.

I apologize in advance, I have no photos of the final dish because I was having such a good time I completely forgot to even get my camera out.

Garden Fresh Pasta

  • 4 tomatoes
  • about 4 basil leaves (or 1/2 tsp dry)


  • 12 oz linguine
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper (or red or orange as desired), chopped into large pieces
  • 2 zucchini, cubed
  • 1 large eggplant, cubed
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 tomatoes (I used a variety from my garden and my friends’ garden), chopped into large pieces
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil (or 1 tsp dry)

saucepan, skillet, large pot

Blend 4 tomatoes and 4 basil leaves together until smooth and add to saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer while prepping the remainder of the dinner.

In large pot, cook pasta according to package directions, to al dente. Drain, but don’t rinse.

In skillet, heat 1 tbsp of oil, add onions. Saute for a minute and then add peppers. Stir occasionally until they are softened and onions are translucent. Add additional tbsp of oil, once heated, add garlic, zucchini and eggplant. Saute until tender. Finally, add tomatoes and basil, cook for one to two minutes and then add the tomato mixture from the saucepan. Stir together gently and bring to a low boil for about 1 minute. Serve over pasta.

I served it with grated Parmesan, tossed salad and fresh baked bread

Go wild and add whatever fall garden vegetables you have on hand….


“Nobody Wins Unless Everybody Wins” – Bruce Springsteen

Happy birthday to the performer who gave me my life philosophy:

In case you don’t know the story – during the Born in the USA tour, Springsteen often repeated that phrase and asked everyone to bring canned goods to his concerts to be distributed to the local food banks. In 1984, that was novel. His charity is well documented.

I had many his albums, but haven’t converted to digital – well except Born To  Run, because it’s a necessity – so it’s been a long time since I’ve listened in-depth. But now he has a book out, so I’m finding myself searching out songs I haven’t heard in years.




A Chill In The Air

Beyond Easy Recipe For Fresh, Hot Bread


I love this recipe, it is so easy. I was looking for a slow rise bread – they are thought to be easier to digest for people who have trouble with yeast or gluten sensitivities. And it has the added advantage of being super easy and almost fool-proof to make. Instant yeast is a must here, because the idea behind the slow rise is that the yeast has time fully flavor the bread and become more easily digestible.

Crusty Slow-Rise Bread

  • 5 ½ cups unbleached flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 ¼ tsp instant yeast (instant is important)
  • 2 cups + 2 tablespoons lukewarm water (about 95 degrees F)

Add yeast to water and allow to proof for about 1 minute. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl until well blended and smooth, about 1 minute. Let rest uncovered for 5 minutes.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead for two minutes. The dough should be smooth, tacky, not dry or sticky. Adjust by adding flour and water as needed.

Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to four days.

It makes two loaves. If you’d like to make loaves separately, you can divide into to equal pieces, cover and refrigerate separately.

To bake:

Two hours before baking, remove from the refrigerator. Shape into desired loaf, spray lightly with oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise about 90 minutes until it’s increased 1 ½ times its original size.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and remove plastic from bread. Just before baking, score with three slices across the bread with a sharp knife. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and place in hot oven. I add sesame seeds on the baking sheet and place the loaf on that so it doesn’t stick and has a nice sesame seed crust.

Add a tray of ice to a baking sheet and place on the rack underneath the bread to create a steam bath for the bread.  This will give you a crispy, chewy crust.

Bake for 15 minutes, rotate pan and bake an additional 15 minutes, or until the bread reaches and internal temperature of 200 degrees F.  For crisper crust, turn off the oven and leave the bread in an additional 5 minutes.

Remove to a bread board and let cool for 45 minutes (ok, seriously, if you can wait that long, you’re a better person than I – I’ve scorched my fingers more than once sneaking a fresh hot slice).


Moody Day Up In The Mountains


Banner day for me, I saw a moose with a full rack running at a quick clip through a meadow. And a bear cub just sitting around in the tall grass. The aspen were in full color, too. So it was a nice evening up in the mountains.

Waiting For Our Meet and Greet


…she’s a shy girl. Likes other dogs and wants to be part of the pack. She is super unsure of herself and needs other dogs to help her figure out how to act

So this little girl has stolen my heart. Bixby and I have passed the home inspection and are waiting for our meet and greet. If it all goes well, I’ll formally introduce you to her once we’ve adopted her. Until then, keep a good thought for us.

I’m going to try and get a recipe exchange up tonight since I still need to write up the jelly and bread recipes. They are easy enough, it’s just a matter of time.

The new home continues to confound – first a new washer, now a new dishwasher. I’m just rolling with it. In my research for the dishwasher, I found out I might qualify for extensive rebates for some home upgrades – dishwasher, whole house fan, extra insulation and furnace checkup. So I’m going to say it wasn’t all that bad it broke down when it did.

I’m thinking a Bosch, what do you think?


Your Daily Dose Of Adorable

Photo via Triple R Horse Rescue

Need a companion animal? These guys are looking for homes (take two, they are small).

There are 20 miniature donkeys in need of forever homes.

Triple R Horse Rescue in Arizona announced it will be receiving a shipment of the adorable animals — and are anxious to find families and animal lovers to step up and adopt.

More than 160 of the donkeys wound up at a Texas rescue after a “breeding situation” occurred, according to the rescue’s president, Ken Bacher. About 20 of them are headed to the ranch in Cave Creek, Arizona as a result.

The donkeys come in a multitude of petite sizes and colors.

“Miniature donkeys are ‘herd’ animals,” according to the National Miniature Donkey Association. “To avoid undue stress and loneliness, it is strongly recommended they not be kept singly but with another Miniature Donkey or other animal as a life-long friend.”

So, maybe you should go for two.

Those interested in adopting a mini donkey should visit and fill out an adoption application. There is a $400 adoption fee for each animal.

Donkey owners will be chosen by lottery.

Good thing my yard is small….


Bread and Jelly

I’ll post recipes for these in a bit. But I finally downloaded the photos. The jelly turned out great and it was very easy to make, well after all the fruit prep. The bread is four easy ingredients and very little kneading.


Saturday Later Night Music: Bob Seger, We’ve Got Tonight

Weekend Playlist: Two Tickets To Paradise, Eddie Money