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Saturday, November 9, 2013


An old friend and her kids made a long drive and came to stay a couple of weeks ago. We met when I first moved to Lake Charles, Louisiana in 1998 - a long time ago - and our kids have also become good friends. It was a short visit, but marvelous!!
After ordering pizza for lunch, the kids decided they wanted to just hang out and play at the house, so Rachel and I spent the chilly, grey afternoon in the kitchen, happily, peacefully and warmly chatting and cooking, pasta, meatballs, and dessert, and drinking endless cups of tea, while the girls created lavender scented sachets out of dried lavender buds, napkins and ribbon.
The one sight we did take our visitors to see, was the nearby Target Store - every one of the kids was anxious to spend their money and souvenir cash there. We had to laugh because while in Lake Charles over the summer, that was where my kids wanted to venture to - 10 hours in the car to go to a store it would take us 10 minutes to drive to!!

My husband spent his weekend days at a Rotary Conference and traveling to Kansas City for a professional football game. Out of relief, or resignation, or I like to think, graciousness, he spent the night at a hotel close to the conference, even though it was local, allowing my friend and I wonderful time to talk and continue catching up well into the night.


3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound ziti
2 (15 ounce) containers ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add garlic and cook one minute. Add tomatoes. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add salt, sugar and pepper.
Heat oven to 350F. Coat a 13 by 9 inch baking pan with cooking spray.
Cook ziti, drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking water.
Place pasta, ricotta, salt, garlic powder, oregano, red pepper flakes, black pepper, half of the parmesan and 1/2 cup cheddar in a large bowl. Stir to mix, adding a few spoons of pasta cooking water until creamy.
Add tomato sauce and mix. Place in a baking dish. Sprinkle the top with remaining parmesan and cheddar cheeses.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, utnil thoroughly heated.
Remove foil during last 10 minutes of cooking time, to brown.

Recipe adapted from Relish Magazine, February 2010‎

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