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Home sweet home

November 13, 2013
By Pat Jensen , Marshall Independent

These days I'm noticing many House For Sale signs. At the same time, there are those searching for what they consider to be the perfect house.

Years or even months after purchasing their new home, they often discover that it doesn't quite have everything they want or need. Maybe the closets aren't roomy enough or there is a lack of cabinet or counter space. Humans are never quite satisfied - it's in our DNA. Some people have it worse than others.

As for myself, I feel I'm rather easy to please. I want a house that is warm in the winter and cool in the summer. My other needs are pretty basic. Of course, I often wish I had more kitchen cabinets. Can you ever have too many? I've learned to make the best use of the space I have. And, I don't hesitate to part with things I no longer use.

We don't live in a newly-built structure. Our house is one of the older ones in town, but stands strong because of our attention to yearly maintenance and some improvements to both the interior and exterior in years past. The house isn't without flaws. It has "character."

You won't find granite countertops in my kitchen or the latest style of appliances. I have a rather old dishwasher that works when it wants to - his name is "hubby." He quietly cleans the dishes in a short period of time. This saves water; very energy-efficient!

Our house isn't filled with expensive furniture. The bargain-priced sofa and chairs look nice and are very comfy. That's all that matters. My favorite piece of furniture is a buffet that my parents acquired when I was very young. It offers much needed storage space in addition to providing memories of my childhood and beyond.

Glancing at the walls, you won't see any expensive artwork. Instead, you'll feast your eyes on framed photographs that our son, Derek, has taken. There are also some framed pictures done in cross-stitch; one of my hobbies. Another wall calls attention to an art piece that Sue designed. It reads: "Write in your heart that every day is the best day of the year." Our oldest daughter, Lisa, framed a poem she had written and sent it to us. It is titled "Wintering." I like to display it during the winter months. And I can't neglect to mention the two very large fish that my husband caught and had mounted. These items and others are very dear and considered priceless. They are what helps to make our house a home.

The house isn't perfect but if we go away even for a day, we always look forward to "coming home." As you have heard many times, home is where the heart is. And if I might add ... also my prized recipe collection.

Serve this super-thick soup with dinner rolls for a satisfying meal


1/2 to 3/4 lb. ground beef

2 cans (10-3/4 oz. each) cream of mushroom soup, undiluted

1-1/3 cups milk

1-1/3 cups water

Scant 1 tsp. Italian seasoning

1 tsp. dried minced onion

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 cup uncooked elbow macaroni

1/4 cup uncooked long grain rice

1 med. carrot, shredded

1 sm. can sliced mushroom stems and pieces, drained

2 T. grated Parmesan cheese

Shape beef into 1-in. balls; set aside. In a large saucepan, combine soup, milk and water; bring to a boil. Add Italian seasoning, onion, garlic powder, macaroni and rice. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15 min. Meanwhile, brown meatballs in a nonstick skillet until no longer pink. Stir carrot into soup, cover and simmer for 5 min. Use a slotted spoon to transfer meatballs to soup. Stir in mushrooms and Parmesan cheese; heat through. Yield: 6 hearty servings.

Easy to assemble


1 pkg. (16-oz) spaghetti

1-lb. ground beef

Salt and pepper

1 med. onion, chopped

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1 can (10-3/4 oz) cream of mushroom soup, undiluted

1 can (10-3/4 oz) tomato soup, undiluted

1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce

1 cup water

2 T. brown sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. dried marjoram

1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed

1/2 tsp. (or less) garlic powder

8-oz. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

Break spaghetti in half; cook according to pkg. directions. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, cook the beef; lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, onion and green pepper over med. heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the soups, tomato sauce, water, brown sugar and seasonings.

Drain spaghetti; stir into meat sauce. Add 1/2 cup of the cheese. Transfer to a greased 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish. Cover and bake at 350 for 30 min. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 10 to 15 min. longer.

Note: No mozzarella cheese on hand? Substitute another favorite.

Very good toasted

PEPPERY ONION BREAD (bread machine)

1 cup plus 1 T. water (70-80)

2 T. butter or margarine, softened

1-1/2 tsp. salt

3 cups bread flour

3 T. instant nonfat dry milk powder

1 T. sugar

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. active dry yeast

1 T. dried minced onion

In bread machine, place all ingredients in order suggested by manufacturer. Select basic bread setting. Choose crust color and loaf size if available. Bake according to bread machine directions (check dough after 5 min. of mixing; add 1 to 2 T. of water or flour if needed). Yield: 1-1/2 lb. loaf

Note: Great served with spaghetti or a juicy steak.

Transform biscuits into a treat


2 apples, cut in wedges

1 pkg. refrigerator buttermilk biscuits (10 ct)

Place apple wedge on each biscuit and wrap well; pressing edges together. Place in a greased 8 x 8 inch glass baking dish.

Prepare syrup ... In a saucepan combine: 1/3 cup melted butter or margarine, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil and pour over biscuits.

Bake at 350 for about 30 min. Allow to stand a few min., then invert onto serving plate.

Food for thought: You should enjoy today while it's here, because someday today will be a long time ago.



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