Bonus Recipe – Penne a la Vodka – from Julie and Kelly

It’s the day after Mother’s Day, and what a nice day I had! My men treated me well. We went out to a nice restaurant in Naperville, and afterward went to one of my top 4 favorite musicals, Les Miserables at the Drury Lane.

What are my other 3 favorite musicals? Well, The Sound of Music, obviously. I was named after Julie Andrews, so that’s got to be the winner. Has anyone seen the Carrie Underwood version? I’m interested to hear what it’s like. I also have a fondness for Brigadoon and Oklahoma, because the music is so great, and because I have great memories of my brothers performing in these shows in high school.

My one claim to fame was when I was one of three “angels” in Anything Goes in high school. They didn’t really want to cast me for the part–think blonde bombshell, which I only fit half of those requirements. But it was fun. I learned how to tap dance during that show.

It’s appropriate to talk about musicals around Mother’s Day because it was my parents’ love of music, and especially my mom’s love of these shows that has made me appreciate them. I still remember going with her to see “Annie” as a child and loved it.

The great thing about my relationship with my parents as an adult is knowing they are always in my corner, cheering me on. As a child, of course they were always supportive and cared for me, and my biggest fans. But time and distance has changed our relationship. I love how my mom gets mad with me about things that upset me, or is happy with me about things that are great. Having a cheerleader as an adult is an important thing, and I’m always appreciative for their care. Thank you, Mom!

The other great part about Mother’s Day was getting the yard spruced up. After our horrible winter, it was in pretty rough shape. The two mulberries (which I hate) are dead, it appears. My neighbor had the great idea of calling ComEd to see if they’d take them down for free since they are directly under power lines. So I’m going to try that route before shelling out the money to pay an arborist. Slowly, year by year, we’re getting the house and yard in better shape.

My dream yard would be full of lilacs, snowball bushes, and perennials that need almost no care.

Because it was Mother’s Day yesterday, I didn’t cook anything, so don’t have a recipe to share. But I’ve got some new ones coming up this week to serve to my family coming in for Jacob’s graduation–including some breakfast recipes! On the docket for this week are: Beef Brisket (Barb S.), Huckleberry Pie (also Barb’s), Egg Casserole (Karen O.’s recipe), and Double Cranberry Bread (from Donna H.). Looking forward to them!

And now, from Kelly…Post Mother’s Day reflections

Hi again friends! I am writing this as I’m still basking in the glow of the special day.

photo 2

I have lots of wonderful homemade cards. But the most priceless were the lists my husband had each child (almost 6 and 7.5 years) compile of their “top 10 random acts of kindness”.photo 3

The impetus for this exercise was naughty behavior, of course. My darlings were interlopers at several neighborhood gatherings earlier. I almost LOL when I read #7 on my daughter’s list- no meltdowns. My son’s list has me pictured with hair that is down to my shoes, also written in “brave spelling” with “clen rom” (clean room) and be tide (tidy) written several times.

photo 4   photo 1

Penne A La Vodka, adapted from All

Here is a recipe that I found on a favorite website of mine, Being a true registered dietitian, I am always analyzing recipes and finding ways to decrease the fat, sodium and calories while keeping the flavor. The original recipe called for heavy cream and twice the amount of Penne pasta. The whole grain pasta boosts the fiber in the recipe and we found it didn’t need as much pasta with the addition of mushrooms to the sauce. For those with diabetes who want to try this recipe, be sure to cook the pasta only to al dente. This will keep the glycemic index of the pasta on the lower side- meaning that it won’t cause blood sugar levels to rise as much after you eat it. Fat-free half and half works quite well in place of heavy cream in many recipes. I serve this recipe with a tossed salad and garlic toast. Bon appetit!


2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

28 oz can lower sodium diced tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1 cup of sliced mushrooms

1/4 tsp. white pepper

1/4 cup vodka

1 tsp. Cayenne (optional)

1/2 box whole grain Penne pasta

1 pint fat-free half and half


1. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook garlic in olive oil until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and mushrooms. Stir in basil, white pepper, cayenne (if using) and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in vodka and cook 15 minutes more.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

3. Stir fat-free half and half into sauce and cook 10 minutes more. Toss with hot pasta.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s