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I Bet Even Jesus Liked Spaghetti!


By Gini Raineycookbook_junkie[1]

Well, without giving anyone’s age away here, let me say that I have just returned from sharing dinner with my husband for the 51st time – his birthday, not mine.  He is waaaay older than I.  We have had many, many, many memorable celebrations for his birthday – some more memorable than others.  Like the surprise party I gave him for his 30th birthday, when he shared later that he didn’t like surprises.  So remembering this, there was the half-century surprise party I gave him at El Charro’s when I was only expecting about 18-20 people and over 50 showed up.  He had mellowed by this time and really did have a good time seeing family and friends at our favorite Mexican restaurant.

Well, tonight, after having a family celebratory dinner at The Jalapeno Tree last night, the two of us went over to our favorite Italian restaurant for a little pasta and wine.  And, hopefully not stepping on anyone’s toes, I mentioned to Mario, our server, that the mood music was a little different than what we expected – it was Jesus rock.  I told him that I would have thought that something by Frank Sinatra would be more fitting, and while remaining politically correct, he explained that he and the owner had a little discussion about that choice and he, being the gentleman that he is, gracefully deferred to her choice.

So, (segue here) on that note, I was birthday-gifted a really great cookbook, “The Sinatra Celebrity Cookbook,” a few years back by my cousin and her husband.  Compiled by The Affiliates, a volunteer organization of men and women dedicated to supporting the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center and its mission to break the cycle of child abuse, this fund-raising book sinatrawas published in 1996. This book is a virtual compendium of the stars of Hollywood from the late 20th Century.

With lots and lots of great recipes on its 260 pages, it also has photos of the contributors as well as a lovely center section with color photographs of the Sinatra’s and some of their friends and the children whose lives they have touched through their humanitarian endeavors.  The purchase of the cookbooks benefited their foundation at Eisenhower Medical Center, Rancho Mirage, California.

With a really great section dedicated to pasta and sauces, there are also sections filled with everything from appetizers to desserts.  But, I must say that one of my favorite pasta sauces is my own, and I would love to share it with you.  First, brown 1 pound of ground chuck in a large skillet, then drain off any grease that remains.  Then, stir in a 6 ounce can of tomato paste, a 14.5 can of diced tomatoes, a 7 ounce can – drained – of mushroom stems and pieces, and 12 ounces of water.  Now, add 1 tablespoon rubbed dry oregano, 1 tablespoon rubbed, dry basil, 2 tablespoons dry, minced onion, ¼ teaspoon celery salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and 2 bay leaves.  Cover and simmer for about 1 hour and serve over pasta of choice, we like thin spaghetti. Top with your choice of grated parmesan or asiago cheese, and you’ve got some mighty fine eating.  Oh, and put Frankie on the stereo, dim the lights, light the candles, and a bottle of Mark West Pinot Noir will finish it off with finesse.



UT Tyler Seeking Participants for 3rd Year of ‘Born to Read’ Program

ben wheeler

Program promotes early language and literacy in young children

The University of Texas at Tyler announced today that it is seeking participants for the third year of the “Born to Read” literacy program, which promotes early childhood literacy in East Texas.

“The purpose of this program is to encourage children’s early language and literacy skills, while also helping parents understand their critical role as their child’s first and most valuable teacher,” said Dr. Kouider Mokhtari, UT Tyler Anderson-Vukelja-Wright Endowed Professor of Literacy Education.

“We provide parents with training and an initial tool kit of books and resources that   help and encourage them to raise children as readers,” said Dr. M. Sathyamoorthy, UT Tyler professor of mechanical engineering, who has coordinated support for the program from the Tyler Sunrise Rotary Club.

The Born to Read program is designed for expectant mothers, parents and legal guardians of children up to 3 years old. The program is free to the first 25 participants who register by Monday, Sept. 30. Participants will be involved in the program through June 30, 2020.

To register or for more information, contact Azalia Perez, or 903.566.7016.

Other program sponsors include Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and UT Tyler K-16 Literacy Center.

A member of the prestigious UT System, The University of Texas at Tyler focuses on student success and innovative research in the more than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered. With more than 10,000 students, UT Tyler has facilities in Tyler, Longview, Palestine and Houston.


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Book Lovers Events: Hot Summer Signings & More


From book signings to Meet & Greet’s, Tyler  offers every Book Lover a lot of fun things to do. Check out these events:

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Reading the Kids Back to School

By Gini Rainey

“Mischief and Mayhem: Part I of the Faerlands Chronicles”

by S. D. Nicholson

I think you know me by now to know that magical kingdoms and fantasy are not the usual genre of reading that I reach for.  So, when I was approached by the author’s publicist to read and review this book, I wasn’t even aware it fell into this area.  With that being said, I must admit that I have thoroughly enjoyed and been intrigued by the characters and tiny world that Mr. Nicholson has created in his first book.  Without a doubt, the main character, the tiny fae Ophelia, is every bit a heroine as are her six-foot tall counterparts.

I have no doubt in my mind that while the faes and faers of Nicholson’s book are In a struggle to preserve and maintain peace in their homeland, it is also analogous to the struggles we humans face on a daily basis while trying to attain a peaceful coexistence with the other inhabitants of this big blue marble.

The not so terribly hidden messages in Nicholson’s book came through loud and clear to me:  that if we spend quiet time by ourselves, we will be able to find and explore fully what our capabilities are, and additionally, fight for what we hold near and dear.  This is an outstanding read.  Not only will it capture your imagination, but it will also have you start thinking about what undeveloped talents and truths you might not have discovered about yourself.

I read the teaser at the end of the book and am anxious to read Part 2 of the Faerlands Chronicles!

5 of 5 – Copyright 2019 – Köhler Books

“Big Little Lies”

by Liane Moriarty

This book from which the HBO series starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman was adapted, is a pretty slow starter.  Working backwards from an event, the first third of this book was busy building strong characters, exposing bullies (adult-sized and pint-sized), failed and new relationships, and various points of view about the culmination of events.  As usual, Ms. Moriarty isn’t afraid to cooly broach hot topics: blended families, sexual assault, violence against women and children, all carefully tempered with unexpected humor and human emotions.

Set in a rather cliquish, upper-end Australian beach community, the human interests begin to develop by retrospect following a murder at the exclusive private school.  Liane develops some pretty interesting characters using her very successful skills and creating some of the most flawed people this side of Sidney.

Definitely worth the read for anyone with school-aged children as it brings together three moms whose only commonality is their kindergarten-aged children. While pointing out each of the character’s flaws, Moriarty gently has a couple of fingers pointing at the helicopter-parenting skills of modern-day moms that perhaps are creating our current crop of young adults who are clueless.

Without a doubt, this is yet another in a long stream of controversial topics that Liane Moriarty isn’t afraid of writing about and the plot twist at the end will keep you reading till the final page.

5 of 5 – Copyright 2014 – Berkley

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