We went to the new house this weekend. The seller graciously allowed us to invade on their intense packing to get a few quotes on an air conditioner installation and electrical work that our inspector said needed fixing ASAP. It was so nice to meet one of the sellers, hear about the house, and get to know a little bit about the first 60 years of its existence. Best I can tell, it most recently housed a sweet family, with a hard working mom, who taught at the elementary school down the road. She knew the neighbors, primarily by the 3rd graders she taught. The house was passed down from grandparents, to parents, to kids, who are selling the place. I love knowing that we are moving into a house with good history.
By the way, we are super glad we received several bids. The difference in price on air conditioner bids between the highest and lowest bidder was $4000. Can you believe that? The winner is a mom and pop shop and I like that. Alamo Austin Air, if you are interested.
The rest of the weekend was spend packing the loft.
My dad came to help while my mom is enjoying herself with more time with Fletcher, Jane and their parents. I failed to get a picture of dad helping, but the 3 of us downed a whole pizza in the process.
We close today. Noon. While we are signing our life away, I thought I would share one of my most successful recipes, which I call, the Buchholtz Family Marinara Sauce. It is a great way to eat vegetables without realizing it. And I love having it in the freezer for an easy dinner. Since discovering it, I have sworn off jar spaghetti sauce. Call me a snob. But this really is easy.
Buchholtz Family Marinara Sauce (adapted from the novel by Erica Orloff titled Mafia Chic)
1 can (28 oz) imported Italian tomatoes
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
4-5 crushed fresh garlic cloves
1 ½ Tablespoons tomato paste
½ small onion chopped
1 Tablespoon chicken granules or bouillon paste
Big grind or two of fresh pepper
Handful of chopped and shredding fresh basil
Handful of chopped fresh parsley
(If no fresh herbs, use a few tablespoons of dried herbs—a mix of Italian herbs, herbs of Provence, or whatever you have handy)
Additional ingredients may include:
veggies from your fridge—zucchini, squash, carrots, spinach, kale, mushrooms, or anything else that looks good.
Meat—Italian sausage, ground turkey, chicken, beef, venison, etc.
- Heat olive oil in a deep pot.
- Add onion and cook a minute or so.
- Add garlic. Cook a minute or so.
- Add additional veggies you would like to include. Cook about 5 minutes or until tender.
- If you have some red wine you need to use up, maybe a cup or so, pour in now, and let it cook down for about 2 minutes.
- Add the remainder of the ingredients, except meat.
- Simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Turn off heat and let cool slightly to avoid danger in blending.
- Blend sauce in either a blender (several batches) or in the pot using a hand blender. Warning: my hand blender is plastic and has become slightly warped from blending hot stuff. No biggie, but beware.
- Sauté meat and drain fat. Add to blended sauce. Let simmer for an additional 10 or so minutes.
- Serve over your favorite noodles.
Tip: Double the recipe and freeze some without meat. This gives you flexibility to use the sauce as pizza sauce, or to pour over chicken to be baked for a yummy dinner.