Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thankful Thursday - Giving Thanks for...



Fall foliage

Father-in-law's endless project ideas

Finishing projects

Feeling good 
Finding time to dance 

Fantastic sunsets in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fall + Mountains = BREATHTAKING!

We are delighted to be spending the week with EZ's parents in beautiful Black Mountain, NC. Though we are probably about a week or so too late for peak leaf color, it is still absolutely breathtaking. I wish the pictures did the mountains justice, but guess you will just have to believe me when I say it is gorgeous here. The sky has been cloudless and Carolina blue, the air perfectly cool and crisp, and the trees all shades of orange, yellow, green and red. We snapped these shots today as we walked to a scenic overlook, all  on Baker property. We will never get over the magnificence of the mountains, the enormity of the boulders scattered throughout, or the beautiful color palette displayed...all the work of a mighty Creator. We stand amazed...

Fall is quickly becoming our favorite season. For those of you who don't experience much of a change, just live vicariously through us and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Our Favorite Lasagna

When it comes to Italian food, my favorite by far is lasagna. I prefer it with Italian sausage, rather than ground beef,  and the recipe I use has been my go to since EZ's sister, Sherry, introduced me to it, and she found it in the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook from 1976. (Yes, you read that right, 1976... before some of you were even born!). I decided to make it last weekend to feed our eight adults and four children before Leah and Kyle headed back to Georgia. Serve it up with some crusty Italian bread spread with butter and garlic salt, and a tossed salad. Your family will love it!

Here is the recipe:

Lasagne (Can also be spelled this way)

1 pound Italian sausage
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon whole basil (I used freeze dried)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (I used coarse Kosher salt)
1 1-pound can diced tomoatoes
2 6-ounce cans tomato paste
10 ounces lasagne noodles (8-10)
2 eggs
3 cups fresh Rocotta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese
2 tablespoons parsley flakes
1 teaspoon salt (I used coarse Kosher salt)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced very thin (I used 2 cups shredded)

Brown meat slowly; spoon (or drain) off excess fat. Add next 5 ingredients and 1 cup water. Simmer, covered, 15 minutes (I simmered uncovered 30 minutes); stir often. Cook noodles in boiling water (I add a dash of olive oil), 10 minutes; drain; rinse. Beat eggs; add remaining ingredients, except mozzarella.

Layer half the noodles in a 13x9x2 inch baking dish, spread with half the Ricotta filling; add half the mozzarella cheese and half the meat sauce. Repeat. Bake at 375 degrees about 30-40 minutes (or assemble early and refrigerate; bake 45 minutes). Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serves 8-10.


Monday, October 24, 2011

The NC State Fair 2011!

EZ was very disappointed last year when he realized he couldn't carry on our family tradition of going to the NC State Fair every October. It could probably be classifed as "germs central", so with his baby immune system following transplant, going was out of the question. This year we more than made up for it by enjoying a gorgeous fall day, full of fun, with four of our grandchildren and their mommy and daddy! There were rides, sights, smells and sounds to behold with the little ones, and most definitely there was the FOOD. From roasted corn, to lemonade, mini-donuts, ice cream cones, cotton candy, funnel cakes, caramel apples, rootbeer floats, ribbon fries and corn dogs, it's all good!

Of course who could miss the unusual things they actually fry at the fair. Just look at the selections here. I mean fried Kool Aid. Really? We skipped this booth, but according to our daughters, the fried Oreos and Snickers are really pretty good!

Nathan and Natalie are so big now they can ride the kiddie rides together. Here they are enjoying the dragon and catepillar without fear. And the closer to the front, the better in their eyes. Such big kiddos!

Samuel and Samantha got to ride on the firetruck high in the sky with the whole family.

Samuel's favorite way to travel was on Grandpa's shoulders. These pictures tell it all!

Samantha was fearless on the rides and was the biggest eater of the four! Her heart should say, "I love the fair!"

Luckily we came home without carrying one of these!

A fantastic time was had by all, and after 3 hours or so, we called it a day. Already looking forward to next year when Emery can come along and join the fun!