Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mexican Pasta Skillet

1 lb of lean ground beef or turkey
1 jar mild salsa
1 cup tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
Shredded Cheddar Cheese


  1. In a 12-inch skillet, cook beef/turkey over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly cooked; drain.
  2. Stir in Salsa, tomato sauce, and water. Heat to boiling. Stir in macaroni. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until macaroni is tender.
  3. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover, let stand 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Note: I normally cook with Smart Taste Pasta, but with this recipe I have to use regular elbow pasta. Also, the original recipe includes corn. If you would like to add corn, make sure to add it at the same time as the elbow pasta. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Georgetown Winery

Today was AMAZING! My friend and I visited Georgetown Winery in downtown Georgetown, TX. It's about an hour from Bastrop, but definitely worth the drive. They have such a nice atmosphere and a great wine selection. For $10 you can sample 4 different wines. We sampled some wine, ate some yummy cheese, enjoyed some good conversation, and then walked around Georgetown. I can't wait to go back sometime!!  

I enjoyed all of their wines, but here's  how I would rank their top five:
1. Palace Delight (pomegranate)
2. Funky Monkey (pineapple/banana)
3. Southern Pride (blueberry)
4. Lone Star Gold (peach)
5. Rio Red (sweet blush)

For more information visit their website: www.georgetownwinery.com/

Thursday, July 25, 2013

McKinney Falls

My friend came into town a few days ago, and we decided to spend the day cooling off at McKinney Falls State Park. It's a nice little park with swimming, hiking, biking, and camping available. There are two different waterfalls at the park; the Upper Falls and the Lower Falls. We started our adventure at the Lower Falls, but found it wasn't as big as we'd expected. You can tell the water levels are down despite all of the rain we've had recently.

After an hour or so at the Lower Falls, we decided to visit the Upper Falls. The Upper Falls had a larger swimming area, and they were easier to get to. I enjoyed watching all of the people jumping off the cliffs at the Upper Falls. I'm not sure how safe it was, but it sure looked fun!! Maybe next time I'll give it a shot!!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Spinach and Artichoke Baked Pasta

  • 14 oz of Penne Pasta
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup of Chopped Onion
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic ( Minced)
  • 1 Cup of Sour Cream
  • 4 oz of Softened Cream Cheese
  • 3/4 Cup of Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice 
  • 10 Oz of Spinach (Make sure to squeeze excess moisture, after it has been thawed)
  • 13.5 Can of Artichoke Hearts rinsed and chopped
  • 2 Cup of Mozzarella
  • 1/2 Tsp of Salt
  • 1 Tsp of Pepper
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  • Cook pasta according to the box. Keep 1/4 cup of the pasta water before you drain the cooked pasta and set aside.
  • Heat oil in pan and cook onions for 8 – 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for one minute.
  • In a large bowl mix sour cream, cream cheese,  parmesan, lemon juice, onions and garlic. Add pasta and mix.
  • Stir in spinach, artichokes, 1/4 cup of cooking liquid from the pasta, salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup of mozzarella.
  • Place mixture into greased 9 x 13 inch casserole dish and place the rest of mozzarella cheese on top.
  • Cover with foil and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
My friend came over last week to make this dish and it was delicious! 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Alphabet Photography

I'm a teacher in a small town---that's code for I have a lot of free time. Yesterday I grabbed my camera and drove to downtown Bastrop. I've always loved alphabet photography, so I decided to spend my day taking photos. At first it was kind of hard, but as the day went on I started seeing letters hidden everywhere.

Here are two examples of my photos:

 I hope to have the entire alphabet done in the next few days. Then I can make some beautiful personalized homemade gifts!