Monday, April 30, 2012

Playtime and Homes and Hearty Pasta

I had a play date today with my favorite 2 year old Miss Gravyboat...yes she told me to call her that. I highly recommend this kind of date. All play and no work is a delightful change from the rest of my life and the world is a pretty wonderful, fun place when seen through those two year old eyes. We started off with the Hokey Pokey sung by meow voices, followed it with a song sung by dancing we danced both times. A very zen song about belly buttons was also a hit. The Color Kittens book was read, we played with crayons and were silly with the color names we gave them, had a stuffed animal parade and dressed Madeline, drew cats and tossed plastic flowers into baskets. I even found out that the best thing to do with a TV clicker is to bang on it. Miss G gravely assured me that mommy does it that way.

When it was almost nap time she covered me up with a trio of blankets then changed her mind and gathered them up again and settled down in the sun with a stuffed kitty and an armload of other stuffed toys. I love children who know when they are tired and get settled for a nap so easily. As you can see, I didn't really babysit..I was just an oversized playmate who enjoyed a brief time of being a kid again.

One of the reasons for this happy time is that the family will be moving to a new home soon and Mom needed to pack. Much easier to do if Miss G has a friend over to play with. We talked over coffee while the little one napped and discussed some of the kinds of choices involved in choosing a new home. That got me to thinking about my top criteria for a place to live. I think my current home has the big ones covered:

- sunny inside and outside, but with periodic days that have fog, too
- not too big
- room for a garden

- outbuildings for storage and shop
- not too far away from town
- not too far from the ocean
- not too far from the city (San Francisco)
- a place where it is OK to be of a liberal outlook
- a place that doesn't have to be kept neat to please the neighborhood

One of the few things I do miss about our current home is not being within walking distance of anything except the gas station/store out on the highway a mile and a half away. When we lived in Berkeley I loved being able to walk to lots of places, including the downtown.

One of the things that I have found but didn't think about when we were looking for a place is that there are so many wonderful food producers in this neck of the woods. The fellow just outside of town has started selling his amazing strawberries again. A neighbor sells fresh eggs. I used to work at the farm of a woman who sells raspberries and goat cheese. My new neighbor is a cheese maker in Marin. As a food blogger all of this bounty is very much appreciated...and not taken for granted. And then there is the easy availability of world class wine....

What things are on your list for choosing where to live?

Guess I should include a recipe today since the last post didn't have one. Tonight's dinner was a good one, inspired by a fellow giving tastes of chicken sausage at a local market over the weekend. The tip is to cook the sausages in with the pasta. That way the pasta carries the taste of the sausage, too. It really did make a difference. Instead of a bite of sausage, then a bite of pasta with no sausage taste, each bite had some sausage flavor to it. This is a pretty quick meal, too, if you have the ingredients on hand.

Tri-color Tortellini with Chicken Sausage
makes enough for two...but can be doubled easily

1/2 package frozen tri-color tortellini pasta
1 small tomato, finely diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1/2 jar good quality pasta sauce...we used Newman's Own
2 chicken sausages...we used Saags
grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Bring water to boil in a large pot.
While the water is coming to a boil, gather the tomato, chopped parsley, chopped oregano and pasta sauce together.
When the water in the pot boils, add the tortellini and stir gently. Add the two sausages and bring water back to the boil. Lower heat to simmer. Let the sausages cook 5 minutes, then remove to a cutting board. Let the pasta continue to cook. Slice the cooked sausages into bite sized slices.
When the pasta is cooked, pour into a colander in the sink to drain off the water.
While pasta is draining, put the tomato, parsley, oregano and pasta sauce into the pot the pasta cooked in. Stir and heat the sauce. Add the sliced sausage and drained pasta. Stir gently to coat all.
Serve while hot. If desired, garnish with grated Parmesan cheese.

I served this with a Caesar salad and it made a very nice meal.

By the way, I LOVE lurkers! I like comments, too, but I'm just happy that you choose to visit my blog and sometimes read my posts. WELCOME y'all !!


  1. Two friends are moving, and an old classmate just blogged about this whole idea of making lists of what we want where we're going - and then making our lives match.

  2. Being able to walk to a desired location for any purpose greatly raises the quality of life for a place.
    The other gain from cooking the sausage with the pasta is one less pan to clean ;-) but the flavor thing tops the list.

  3. Oh and your play date is beautiful! Something we should all do, become a kid again.

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