Family in a time of War


You haven’t heard much from me in a while I know- first I had a bad cold and then I let a few things fall to the wayside as my son returned home for an 18 day leave- plus we went on a quick road-trip to California to spread my FIL’s ashes. Our son had a long list of things he wanted to do while at home and many of them included food and “dishes he misses.”  So I have been cooking but not really taking the time to photograph or write about it.

 I  think I’ve mentioned this before but when I married Rick he came with the “gift with bonus” of three teen-aged stepchildren.  Our youngest son, Ryan, is the only one who lived with us and with him I got an instant motherhood experience. Amid all the promise and peril that parenting holds, becoming his Mom-G is one of the best experiences in my life.


Ryan is currently serving in the U.S. Army in Iraq. Everyday I say a little prayer to keep him safe and return him to us unscathed- I try to visualize a bubble of safety around him. I don’t like to publicly discuss politics much- I feel much the same about religion- best kept to one’s self but I try to take the position of “live and let live. ” But without regard to what I feel about the war- I absolutely support our men and women in service. I think we should do better by them and I think we should expect them to uphold their creeds of honor and duty and in return we must do the same in caring for them. When Ryan chose to join the military it was not to wage war but because he wanted to make a difference, pay for his education and because he also had a strong conviction that it was better for him to serve than for a married man with children to have to leave his family. I will say that I just about busted my buttons with pride at that sentiment. We’re very proud of the man he has made of himself. Okay so the Mama will get off of her soapbox now and share a recipe. 🙂





Gabi’s Tomato Sauce with Italian Sausage

  • 1 pound of sweet Italian Sausage links
  • 1/2 pound hot Italian Sausage links
  • 1-2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3-4 ribs celery, minced
  • 1 large purple shallot minced
  • 1 large carrot, finely minced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced with some salt
  • 2 cloves roasted garlic, smashed
  • red bell pepper, diced
  • green bell pepper diced
  • 2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
  • large can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons of Tomato paste
  • several washed fresh sprigs of Oregano and Thyme, leaves removed and minced
  • basil pesto- a big spoonful
  • 2 bay leaves
  • splash of red wine- whatever drinkable you’ve got on hand
  • salt, pepper to taste and a pinch of sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes

Roast the links if you want to heat the oven for another purpose or brown them well in a heavy bottomed skillet. Slice into bite sized chunks and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed stock pot or large saucepan. Add the onion, pepper, shallot, mushrooms, celery and carrots and cook until the vegetables are soft and the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook a bit, then add the sausage back in. Add the tomatoes, herbs, wine and seasonings- cook until bubbling and thick and then transfer to a slow cooker or simmer on the back of the stove all day stirring occasionally. Taste to adjust seasonings and serve over cooked pasta. Finish with a little grated Parmesan cheese if desired.


Enjoy with someone you love and treasure your time together!

Ryan’s on his way back to Iraq now, it was hard to let him go again  and I can’t wait for his tour to be over. I’m baking some cookies to send in his next package to keep my mind off of it.

Also I’ve finally put my package together for another soldier for the 3rd round of Operation Baking GALS and I’ll get that up ASAP.




  1. Gabi says:

    Jess- Thanks for the lovely comment I appreciate your kindness!

    Marie- Thanks- I will tell him -oh you’re so lovely- thanks for your friendship xoxo

  2. Marie says:

    Tell that handsome young man how proud we are of him! How fortunate he is to have a Mom-G, like you!
    Just look how you take care of him!!

  3. jess says:

    It’s wonderful that Ryan was able to come home for a while. Thank you for helping to raise such a responsible and good young man – you should be very proud.

  4. Gabi says:

    Deborah- Thanks and thank you for Ryan-I will tell him- it does mean a lot to them to know they are appreciated. xoxo

    Tanna- Thank you- you are so kind! i appreciate you taking the time to lend your support xoxo

    Bellini Valli- Thanks- yes I must say-he’s a great young man- I’m proud for him. I agree- love the soldier even if not the war. Yes a favourite among others.xoxo

    Courtney- Oh thank you- you are so kind and supportive I really appreciate you xoxo

  5. Bellini Valli says:

    I know you are busting at the seams with pride Gabi. No matter how we feel about the war we need to support our troops:D I hope this was one of his favourites:D

  6. Deborah says:

    Tell Ryan thank you from me! I am SO appreciative of all of those who are serving our country!

    And what a great meal to make for him. I know if I was in a foreign country, I’d be missing this sauce!

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