Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm zipping around town, getting ready for Christmas.

Decorating has begun at the Cozy Kitchen. I bought the identical nativity for my grandmother a few years ago, and I remember how much she loved hers ! This was the first decoration I put out this year.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Spinach - Mushroom Salad

This is one of our very favorite salads. I've been making this for 17 years. This has been requested as our salad on Thanksgiving.
Spinach-Mushroom Salad {The Southern Living Cookbook}

1 pound fresh spinach ( I like to use baby spinach )
1/4 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
3 hard cooked eggs,chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped

1/2 C. vegetable oil
3 Tbs. vinegar ( I use cider vinegar )
1/3 C. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
dash of pepper
8 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled

Wash spinach and pat dry.
Tear into bite size pieces.
Combine spinach, mushrooms, eggs and green onions in large bowl.

Combine oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, dry mustard and pepper in a jar. Cover and shake vigorously.

Top spinach with dressing just before serving. Sprinkle with bacon on top.

P.s. It's DIY Day over at A soft place to land.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Salsa All' Amatriciana by Giada

When my kids walk in from schooland smell this simmering, they say the same thing every time !
"OOhh ! Oohh ! Is that the sauce with the bacon ?" Making this sauce makes me happy because I always know how they will react. They love it !
The recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks, Everyday Italian by Giada de Laurentiis.
This is super easy, and fabulous. comfort. comfort. comfort.

A family favorite of ours !!

{I originally posted this last year, but forgot to take a photo.}

Salsa All' Amatriciana { Giada de Laurentiis }

2 tablespoons olive oil
6 ounces pancetta, diced ( I use 6-8 slices of bacon )
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano ( I use freshly grated Parm. Reggiano )
1 lb. favorite pasta

For the sauce:
In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta or bacon and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta/bacon and reserve.

Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and the cooked pancetta/bacon.

Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve over your favorite pasta.
over at Designs by Gollum!

{Also participating in DIY Day over at A soft Place to Land & the krazy kitchen & Tuesdays at the Table.}

Monday, November 16, 2009

Here's a peek around my cozy town.
The color of this home is stunning....

And the color of this house reminded me of the book

I just finished...

Is that not one of the most beautiful colors ever ?

It's my 'giveaway'.

If you would like to read this book, please leave a comment. will pick winners Wednesday Night (11-18), and I will announce them Thursday.

*UPDATE* and the winner is comment #12 (Jboo) !

Happy Blue Monday! Thanks for hosting Smiling Sally !

Also participating in Watery Wednesday & Waterside Wednesday !

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sausage & Potato Casserole

I mentioned this recipe last year on this post. I've made it every fall for 15 years!
Eating this feels like a great big HUG... TOTAL COMFORT...which I really need right now.
{A heartfelt Thank YOU to everyone who left sweet comments for me regarding my Nanny. I didn't expect any was just a private note to my Nanny.... but you lifted my spirits ...truly. Thank you...all of you. }

If you are lucky, you'll have just enough leftovers for a yummy lunch. It's amazing the next day!
Click for recipe
It's Foodie Friday over at Designs by Gollum.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray
the Lord my soul to keep
If I should die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

Dear Nanny,

I know you must have taught mom that prayer because she taught me. I've said it every day of my life and I still do.

I know you are with Jesus now and so I know you see my tears. When I woke up this morning, my heart was heavy and I was cold.

And when I opened the door to your great granddaughters room to wake her, I could not believe the white light streaming through the window. It was so bright that the entire window reflected beside her bed.

I felt the warmth of the sun on my cheeks and couldn't help but think that this is your first morning in heaven ! I felt your love surround me instantly. I had to get my camera because I never want to forget what that felt like. The memories...oh the memories. That is what the tears are for.

Thank YOU for the memories Nanny.

The story of how you met Grandpa at a dance...

how you went to a dance with someone else! and met Grandpa and it was love at first sight ... followed by 69 years of wedded bliss!!

when I think of you, I see you & Grandpa dancing. Always.

I love how you and Grandpa made me believe that true love does exist. Neither of you wanted to be without the other, ever.

I loved your house in Idaho. I loved that you collected those tiny white avon lipstick samples.

Did you know I tried on every shade ? I think you had a zillion.

I loved every single Lanz Nightgown you sent me for Christmas !

I loved that you listened to the Mystery Theatre on the radio. When I got my first radio I would tune into the mystery theatre really late at night when I was supposed to be sleeping and knew you were listening to the same episode !

I love blue cheese dressing because of you ! Remember you would take me to Smitty's for lunch ? You ordered a side salad with blue cheese (on the side!) every time !

Sees Candy- Oh how you loved See's Candy ! I loved going to the See's Candy Store with you. Peanut brittle was your favorite. And mine too ! always had mints in your purse ! I've had more Altoids this last month than ever in my life... I've thought about you a lot...

Oh Nanny...I'm so glad I was able to call you on your birthday (92) and hear your voice. I know you remember me now, for God has restored your memory.

But mostly Nanny, mostly I am thankful for your gift of Faith. Thank you for teaching Mom about God and of faith. You taught her, Mom taught me, and I'm teaching my children. I truly would be lost without it.

So today I'm flooded with memories that I will carry in my heart forever. Thank you for your love.

And Grandpa will join you one perfect day and then you can dance in his arms..forever. and ever.

John 14:1-4
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.

I love you Nanny. Always. Forever. and ever. November 5, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Singing in the Rain

This is my Pink Saturday Post hosted by Beverly at how sweet the sound.

glorious: delightful; wonderful; completely enjoyable

rain: rainfall, rainstorm, or shower

chase: to follow in pursuit

dance:to leap, skip

It's Outdoor Wednesday over at A Southern Daydreamer & Wordful Wednesday !

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Biscuits & Gravy

I'm a California girl who married a cowboy.
(Anyone born in the midwest is a cowboy to me!) So naturally, my husband was horrified when I had no idea what biscuits & gravy was. I remember the first time he made them for me. I was more scared that he didn't use measuring cups than I was trying it. Although I liked it, I'm a purist in the kitchen and that means I like to "measure" ! I knew I had quite a task ahead of find the best biscuits & gravy recipe out there. This is the recipe we use now, and although I hate to admit it, this recipe is sooooo good and comforting and perfect for cold winter weekend mornings ! A definite 'boys' breakfast !

Sausage Gravy {adapted from Southern Living, March, 2003}

16 ounces pork sausage ( I use Jimmy Dean "Sage")
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 2/3 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring until it crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain fat from skillet.

Add flour, milk, salt and pepper to large bowl. Whisk until well blended.. Add milk mixture to skillet with sausage and simmer until thickened, takes about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve over biscuits. I use the frozen Pillsbury Grands biscuits in Buttermilk or Southern Style.

Yield: Makes 4 cups

Note: This is the recipe doubled so I can use the whole pound of sausage.

If you don't need to feed six or more, then cut the recipe in half.

It's DIY Day over at a soft place to land. & Tuesdays at the Table & Foodie Friday !

Monday, November 2, 2009

November is here. That means it's time to break out our Coco-motion machine by Mr. Coffee !

We are big cocoa drinkers, here at the Cozy Kitchen!
I bought this 6 years ago on sale at Walmart for $19.99. I cannot tell you enough how much we LOVE this machine. You can find it also at
Clearly, the best twenty bucks I have ever spent !
I love that all I have to do is add milk & cocoa and walk away !
There are so many reasons to love this little machine...
  • the kids love to watch the cocoa whirl around
  • while they are playing outside in the snow, Cocomotion is busy at work, just waiting for them to return!
  • it turns off automatically
  • serving cocoa before school on a snowy day is a breeze !
  • just press the button again, and it warms the cocoa right back up
  • it makes your cocoa the PERFECT temperature ! No guessing ! {If it's too hot for my daughter, I just add a splash of cold milk to her mug}
  • makes an awesome Holiday gift for a new family ! They will use it for years !

I feel like it's the 'simple things' that we remember so fondly.
Like sipping cocoa while watching the first snowfall...

Or maybe the time mom delivered hot cocoa to them out on the front porch because they were frozen cold, but didn't want to come inside just yet...

{We used to live where it snowed... my boys miss those winters !}

I don't want my children to remember the Legos I bought them or the newest Wii game.
I want them to remember cozy family time.

Because that is something they can re-create with their own families one day.
It doesn't cost a lot, and there is nothing like a steamy cup of cocoa to make you feel cozy, and safe and secure...and those feelings are priceless.

This cup is for Smiling Sally. Thanks for hosting Blue Monday !



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