I found this beautiful recipe a couple of weeks ago on the Simply Recipes blog.She in turn had gotten it from her father who adapted it from a Sunset Magazine recipe.Now I’ve added my own changes to make it delightfully vegetarian.Isn’t it funny the way these things work?

Now, she recommended using zucchini to make it vegetarian, but I think I’ll wait until July when zucchini are coming out of my ears before trying that.I also considered eggplant as it would undoubtedly lend a hearty smokiness to the dish.But I already have a fantastic eggplant parmesan recipe, so I resisted.

What I did instead was use some Gimme Lean Vegetarian Sausage.You are probably wondering what I was thinking.Haven’t I always told you to stay away from fake meat?Well, yes and no.If you go back and read those posts, you’ll see that I warn you against making them a means unto themselves.As an ingredient, they can be quite lovely.And this particular product, with its hints of fennel and sweet spiciness, imparts a subtle complexity to any dish.

So I present to you the Simply Recipes dish with my minor adaptations.I hope you enjoy it thoroughly.And after dinner when you find yourself happily digesting, perhaps you will peruse her charming blog.You might just find an inspiration for tomorrow’s feast.

Polenta Sausage Mozzarella Casserole

  • 5 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 med yellow onion, halved lengthwise then cut into wedges
  • 1 medium bell pepper (red, green, orange or yellow), cut lengthwise into thin slices
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 package Gimme Lean Italian sausage
  • 2 pounds of prepared polenta, 1/2-inch slices if using prepared polenta in a tube or you can use one recipe of creamy polenta, leave out the cream cheese. (Rowan’s Note: It is worth seeking out a tube of polenta.I made my own.It tasted fine, but was a big messy hassle.)
  • 1/2 pound (8 ounces) fresh mozzarella, 1/4-inch slices
  1. Preheat oven broiler on high. Heat 3 Tbsp of oil in a 2-3 qt saucepan on medium heat. Add tomatoes and oregano, simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes.
  2. While the tomatoes are cooking, in a large frying pan, heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, salt, pepper, and chili flakes. Cover the pan, lower the heat to medium, and cook until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage, stirring and breaking it into small pieces as it cooks, about 5 minutes. Cover the pan and cook until vegetables are tender and the sausage is cooked through, about 5-8 more minutes. Add the tomato sauce and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. While the sauce is cooking, coat the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking pan with a 1 Tbsp oil. Add the cooked polenta (or slices) to the pan. Coat the top of the polenta with the remaining 1/2 Tbsp oil. Broil the polenta about 4 inches from the heating element until golden brown and crispy, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Pour sauce over broiled polenta, then arrange Mozzarella slices over the top and return the casserole to the broiler. Broil until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Makes 6 servings.


borg blog

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I found this today on Will Wheaton’s Flickr stream. I just love it. (Oh yes, I am even more of a Dorkass McGorcas than you had ever imagined, aren’t I?)

The best part, of course is that they showed up in San Francisco. You know, Starfleet headquarters, of course.

Now we know the true origin of the Borg: Hostile takeovers on Earth during the 21st century. And as we all know this ultimately leads to assimilation…

Resistance truly is futile.

God Bless you, Mr. Vonnegut.

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Kurt Vonnegut, whose dark comic talent and urgent moral vision in novels like “Slaughterhouse-Five,” “Cat’s Cradle” and “Player Piano” caught the temper of his times and the imagination of a generation, died last night when in Manhattan. He was 84.

Not bad longevity considering that he claimed to have smoked Pall Malls since age 14.

I remember my discovery of Vonnegut. It was the summer of my 13th year. I was going into eighth grade that year, and had found Cat’s Cradle on my parent’s bookshelf. I think it took me all of a day to read the book. And after that I was completely hooked. I read everything I could find by him before school started.

Fortunately, my parents encouraged a variety of viewpoints, loving debate and discussion more than absolutes. They thoroughly encouraged my evolving literary tastes. No so, for everyone. In Palm Sunday, he wrote about his view of censorship.

“There is never any shortage anywhere of
lawyers eager to attack the First Amendment, as though it were nothing more
than a clause in a lease from a crooked slumlord.”

No wonder, as he wrote his share of banned books.


Additionally, Kurt Vonnegut was a Humanist, which unquestionably entitles him to a special place in my heart. (For info on Humanism, you can check out this page. If you have continuing questions, feel free to ask me in comments, or simply Google Humanism for yourself.) So who knows where Mr. Vonnegut might find himself today. Wherever it may be, I hope that it is as unique and thought provoking as the man himself. It saddens me that I will never again be able to discover a new Vonnegut book. Thankfully, they were inspiring enough to warrant many a re-visit. Thank you, Mr. Vonnegut.

“Reverend, we have a little problem.
I heard the English teacher is planning to teach that book.
Slaughterhouse Five. Isn't that an awful name?
That's a great book…Slaughterhouse Five. It's, it's a classic.
Do you read much? 
- In another town it's a classic.
- In any town.”
Kevin Bacon & John Lithgow in FootLoose

here’s hopin’

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We leave tomorrow morning for Phoenix. There, Kajsa will receive her latest IVIG
infusion. Here’s hoping it works and
that we’re back tomorrow evening by this time.   

If all goes well, I’ll be able to give a full report on my
latest knitting project, the books I’ve been reading, and all the latest gossip
from the hospital.

Medical Drama

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Tomorrow is Kajsa’s monthly nephrology appointment. And I’m sure it’s going to be upbeat, to say
the least. Especially since she’s eating
like a horse and has so much energy that I’m seriously thinking of renaming her
Boing Boing.

Meanwhile I have an appointment today to massage the owner
of a local Salon & Day Spa to see if he wants to hire me on as the third
Massage Therapist. I haven’t been this
nervous about doing a little bodywork in about 10 years. Seriously, I reaaally hope I get it.

The only problem, though, with being gainfully employed is
that it takes us precariously far from practically indigent. And while you might think, “Well,
whoopdeedoo, fantastic for you!” It
kinda isn’t.

Lemme explain. You
see, as long as we are horribly poor, Kajsa is covered for her thousands of
dollars worth of medications each month, her close-to-that doctors’
appointments, and heaven forbid – any hospital stays.

Yep. Last time we were in Phoenix

I had a long talk with Kajsa’s social worker. It turns out that there’s a huge gap between being eligible for assistance
and being able to actually afford a chronically (read never goes away) ill child.  Well crap.

So we’re in a super serious Catch 22. As I see is, we have three choices.

1. We
stay too poor to pay our bills, buy food, and have a happy go lucky life.

2. We
get good jobs and watch our child go without healthcare.

3. We
lie our butts off and hope no one catches on.

In other words, we are royally screwed. As my husband, not to mention my mom will
gladly tell you, I am the worst liar in the entire world. In fact, I turn beat red, stammer and
eventually break down in tears over the guilt of it.

That only leaves to first two…

Working poor and middle class terror.

Now what I’m about to tell you might turn you off a
bit. But honestly, I’m not trying to
push any agenda. Never mind, I totally
want to push my own agenda…I just haven’t a clue what it is, yet. So bear with me.

I was perusing the Hillary and Obama sites last night when I
stumbled upon this little video.

And if
anything will make me sit up and listen to a politician, it’s talking about
healthcare for all children. Hell, that’ll
make me stand up and vote. Anyway, check
it out.

I’m not a huge fan of any politician. But I like the fact that she’s at least
talking about this topic. The way I see
it, even if she’s lying through her teeth, she’s trying to reach a
target audience.

And that means that I’m not alone.

Update on whole body donation

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I got an email today from the Community
Education Coordinator
of the Donor Network of Arizona. I had written him to ask the same questions I
did of all of you. The following are
recommendations he made to me for places to start. In fact, here’s the letter in its entirety:

Rowan, here are the answers you seek

She of course could be an organ donor and if she
cannot be or if all is donated then her body can then be transported to an
organization that does WHOLE BODY donation.  Most people think you can
only do one or the other but you can do both. One does not affect the
other.  She would just make the organization aware of her wishes and she
should be good to go.  Here are the organizations I’m aware of in AZ that
do whole body donation.

Life Legacy 1-888-774-4438

Science Care 602-331-3641

of Arizona

Hope this helps you out.  Have a great day.

So. There you have it. The world is certainly full of interesting

Hello World!

Tuckered (3)

Didja miss me?  Huh?  Huh? 

I know.  The internet was so boring without my perky presence that you were ALL sleeping on your keyboards.

I feel like I’ve been gone forever.  So I finally bit the bullet and signed back up.  Writing is just such a great way to reflect upon the day.

Well, Rowan, what’s been going on, you may ask. 

Let’s see:

  • We moved into town. 
  • Maya went to Iowa – and took me with her.  The World Food prize was outstanding. 
  • Chris quit The Home Depot and has been working construction while continuing to study welding. 
  • Speaking of school,Kajsa’s going five whole days a week.  If she had her way, it’d be seven.  Furthermore, she’s almost completely out of diapers.  (Let’s all just take a moment to sigh with relief at that one.)
  • I’ve submitted my paperwork to get my Massage License back, have been knitting like mad, and am daydreaming regularly about our garden – but haven’t been to the nursery yet.

I guess that about sums it up.  I’ll post more after I’ve had a chance to properly compose myself.  Meanwhile, here’s a fun little movie Chris took of Kajsa a couple of weeks ago at the Kids Count event where I was volunteering at the Donor Network Arizona booth.