A few Fall happenings and Marinara Sauce

October 21, 2014

Hi Readers! Are you enjoying the beautiful fall colors? The trees are bursting with fiery glory right now, and I love studying all the colors when I take my daily walk–it’s so gorgeous that it almost makes me sad, because I know those beauties won’t last.


There I go, doing it again: mourning the loss of something before it’s even gone. Gaa.


A few fall tidbits I’d like to catch you up on:

~ We didn’t go to Texas this past weekend. Miss D. caught a nasty cold and between that and all of the Ebola madness, we decided that it just wasn’t worth it. Instead, we spent the weekend doing family things: the Nature and Science Museum, the movie The BoxTrolls (cute), pizza dinners, and lots of swinging and jumping on the trampoline, as the weather was glorious. I’d call that a fair trade.

~ While we were wandering around the museum, I happened to catch Miss D. and Miss M. walking around hand-in-hand. This just melted me. The fact that my almost 13-year old will allow her little sister to still hold her hand in public is nothing less than huge.  My husband also overheard Miss D. telling M., “you’re the best sister ever.”  Of course, once my husband let her know that he heard, D. was mortified and made quite a show of being embarrassed. Ah, the teenage years. They’re such a treat.

~ We head to the middle school this week for parent/teacher conferences. Should be interesting–it’s always good to hear what teachers think of your kid at this age, and how they behave in school. They’re such mysteries at this point in their lives; extra perspective is always appreciated. I kind of feel like Miss D. is some exotic zoo animal, and I’m the keeper, looking through the glass. Is that weird?

~ Miss M. has TWO social events with friends this coming weekend; a birthday party and a haunted gingerbread house-making class. TWO! In one weekend! What a difference a year makes. It makes my heart happy to see her thriving in third grade.

~ I had to take our cat, Aria, to the vet yesterday. She’s been losing weight, and it kind of flew under our radar, until I went to pick her up the other day and realized that she weighs hardly anything and I can feel prominent ribs. We adopted her a year and a half ago, and she was a chunk back then, so it’s concerning. They’re doing a blood and urine workup, but while we were there, the vet felt a lump in Aria’s leg. She took an x-ray, and the bump was actually an old bullet lodged in her flank. That was crushing enough, but then she showed me the film, and Aria actually has THREE bullets in her body, two in her hind end and one dangerously close to her spine. Realizing that poor Aria had that in her past made me feel so sad for her, and so angry at humans. Who could be so cruel? I sniffled all the way home in the car and promptly fed her a can of premium tuna. It will be a few days before the blood results come in, but we’re hoping it’s nothing serious. That baby has been through enough!

^ back in the Chunk-O days


~ I made a huge pot of homemade marinara sauce this weekend. As the nights get cooler, my thoughts turn to more rib-sticking fare, and it’s always good to have a few containers of marinara in the freezer. If you recall, after this debacle a few years ago, I try not to buy the jarred stuff any more. This particular recipe is terrific because it makes quite a bit and it’s delicious! I used mine to make Portobello Parmesan, but this week I’m using it to sauce a batch of turkey meatballs.  What could be cozier than some pasta and meatballs–perfect for fall.

^ Cheesy mushroom love, right there.



Marinara Sauce

serves 8

1/4 cup olive oil

1 small onions, finely chopped

3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 celery stalks, peeled and chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 cup dry red wine

1 (24 oz) can tomato puree

1 (24 oz) can fire-roasted whole tomatoes, with juice

1 (4 0z) can tomato sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

2 dried bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

optional: pinch of sugar

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn


In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until the onions are softened and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, celery, carrot, salt and pepper. Saute 10 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook 1 minute. Add wine and stir. Cook a minute. Add all tomato products, bay leaves, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Simmer uncovered over low heat until sauce is rich and thickened, about an hour. Remove from heat and discard bay leaves. Let cool a bit and whizz until smooth with an immersion blender. Taste for salt and pepper. Re-heat over low flame. If desired, add fresh torn basil leaves.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Jody October 21, 2014 at 5:59 am

Who the hell shot Aria?!?!?!?!?!?! Sooooooooooooooooooo glad she’s with you now.


Virginia October 21, 2014 at 9:00 am

Dude, I don’t even know how to respond to hearing that about your cat’s past! That’s just so, so terrible! Ugh. I hope the results turn up something minor and easily fixable.

Thanks for the marinara sauce recipe. I’m always on the hunt for one to be “ours”. I have yet to find it.


Biz October 21, 2014 at 9:23 am

Aw, that sucks about the cat – some people are just assholes – glad she’s with you guys now!

And love the affection your daughter shows to her little sister. Even though I have a twin sister, I thought because I was born 30 minutes before my sister that I was the “older” sister and had to take care of her. I talked for us, made decisions for us and didn’t realize how much I did for her until we went to separate colleges – she called crying and said “I wish you were here with me – it would be so much easier!”


C. Troubadour October 21, 2014 at 10:37 am

I … have no words for the bullets. That Aria SURVIVED those injuries is amazing in and of itself.

Glad the fam is otherwise doing well. Glorious autumn days at home are my pick over anything else!


Foodiewife October 21, 2014 at 7:00 pm

Good grief. Your post took my heart on a roller coaster ride. I was up high on how sweet it is for big Sis to show affection for L’il Sis. Then, the cat. I still see bits of fur left from my recently departed cat, so my eyes welled up pretty quick. I surely hope that her weight loss is easily managed. I’m so sorry for what Kitty has been through, but glad that you discovered it. Here’s to a happy update from you.
As for the marinara sauce, I love my “go to” sauce as well. It saves the day when my knuckles are dragging and I need to cook. Enjoy Fall. Stupid California is still stuck in summer and no rain!


Dana Talusani October 22, 2014 at 6:31 am


I remember how sad you were about the loss of your sweet kitty. Broke my heart. xoxo


Naptimewriting October 22, 2014 at 12:13 am

I love a good Fall recap post with shattered jars of marinara and embarrassing sister moments. I won’t dignify the jackholes who shot Aria with any mention, but I do hope her blood work is clear and she just really wants more premium tuna.


Shannon October 22, 2014 at 5:14 am

Poor Aria. I hope she feels better soon.
I love the sister love. I think it’s about at this age that older sisters realize the power (for good) that they have over little sisters. I know there is no one who has more influence over my sixth grader than her Senior sister.


Dana Talusani October 22, 2014 at 6:30 am


I really hope that’s the reason for her sisterly affection. It’s true that Miss M. has serious sister worship going on. :)


Lisa @ The Meaning of Me October 22, 2014 at 8:36 am

How did Aria get three bullets in her self??? The Rotten Cats send their love.
Portobello Parm looks absolutely fabulous. I am also thinking meatballs for this week – coincidentally, chicken parm meatballs. Yu-um. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I read “I made a huge pot of homemade marinara sauce this weekend.” as “I made a huge pot of homemade marijuanasauce this weekend.” My eyes are terrible today – I have a huge weather-induced headache and I can’t see a damn thing. It was good for a double-take and a laugh, though!
As for fall, I love it. I try to think of it as the world coming alive in a blaze of color, rather than think about what lurks behind it. Fall could last forever and I’d be perfectly happy, though.


Tiffany October 22, 2014 at 3:33 pm

I love teenagers…they’re like puppies.


Alison October 23, 2014 at 12:56 am

So glad to hear Miss M. is having a great school year!
Poor Aria. I hope she’ll be okay.


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes October 23, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Oh poor Aria!!
I love it that miss D and Miss M hold hands.


Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri October 26, 2014 at 8:24 am

Aww, glad Miss M.’s school year is going well. I see now that you never made it to Texas… we did and we are Ebola free. Though the madness there was hysterical.


Sherri October 27, 2014 at 7:59 am

Good sauce… good thoughts…. beautiful leaves. I’m with you…. life is good this fall.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: