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Celebrating the Joy of Living & Home Making ~

Baking, Cooking, Decorating, Tea Time, and taking Inspiration from those I love and the world around me...

A sharing of my heart and my home from a Christian perspective

...with a wee bit of whimsy added.

Thursday, 31 January 2019

An Easy Peasy Recipe and My Four Foot Tree for Valentines Day

There are souls in this world which have the gift of finding joy everywhere...and of leaving it behind them when they go. ~ Frederick Wm. Faber

Hi everyone! Here we are, the last day of January and I'm so glad! Not that I'm wishing my life away, but I'm always happy to get January and February over with because I know Spring is that much closer. 

It is cold outside but looking out my window today, it is bright and sunny. Nature has gifted us a fresh blanket of snow which appears to be strewn with diamonds glittering all over it. It is a beautiful day and I am sipping my first cup of coffee, feeling blessed!

I still have my four foot tree up in the family room. It is decorated mostly in reds so I'm leaving it up for Valentines Day. My guys decorated it when they were home for Christmas and other than the beaded star they hung on the top, I haven't changed it. The star has been replaced by my little fairy which I think is more in keeping for Valentines Day.

This tree holds mostly ornaments gifted to me by family and friends. There are a lot of birds on it because everyone knows I'm a bird lover. There are also snowflakes like this beautiful Swarovski crystal ornament given to me by a good friend at Christmas. The ornament was very hard to photograph and this is the best shot I could get. The second photo shows the thickness of it with the crystals in every other point.  

Silently, like thoughts that come and go, 
The snowflakes fall, each one a gem. ~ William Hamilton Gibson

There are hearts too. 

This sweet quilted one was gifted to me by a blogger friend and the teapot below was also gifted to me by a blogger friend. This one has upside down hearts in it.

The birds were all given to me by my sons. Mostly cardinals but there are a couple of doves and a gold finch.

Oops, these are blue birds, but they're cute snuggling under the hat!

The guys also paired red and white balls on the tree. That is something my youngest always saw me do when he was growing up. 

Hubby and I enjoy the soft glow of the lights when we spend time in the family room.

This is the time of year that I like to make comfort food. The other day I made Johnny Marzetti. I got this recipe from a friend back in the seventies and I make this every once in a while because it makes a great big roaster full. We enjoy it for a couple of meals and then I freeze the rest for later. 
I used to have large groups of people in and this was always one of the dishes I made because it feeds quite a few people. It is very easy to make and would be wonderful for a church supper or any large gathering. I always serve it with salad, rice, and garlic bread.

I was curious to find out where the recipe actually came from and this is what I found. It originated in Columbus, Ohio at Marzetti's, an Italian restaurant established in 1896 by an Italian immigrant named Theresa Marzetti, and Johnny was her brother-in-law. Theresa must have been quite the cook!

I don't know about you, but I love old recipes that have a history like this one!

I make my recipe a little different than some. It calls for both hamburg and sausage, but since I can't eat sausage, I make it with all hamburg.

Here is my recipe:

Johnny Marzetti

3 pounds hamburg 
2 pounds hamburg and 1 pound of mild sausage
1 cup diced onions
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced green pepper

2 large tins tomato sauce
2 large bottles spaghetti sauce with mushrooms
2 cans mushrooms, drained
1-1/2 cups pasta bows, cooked
1-2 cups of cheddar cheese

Salt, pepper, oregano, and Italiano blend of herbs to taste.

Cook the hamburg until brown then pour off the fat. Saute onions, celery, and green pepper and add to hamburg with the drained mushrooms. 

*I cooked everything on top of the stove in the roaster before putting it in the oven.

*My recipe called for pasta bows but I didn't have any on hand so I used shells instead.

Add the tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, and cooked noodles to the hamburg mixture. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Serve with rice, garlic bread, and a salad. 
This recipe will make a roaster full and it will freeze well. Enjoy!

Have a delightful day, dear friends! 

In winter we lead a more inward life.
Our hearts are warm and cheery, like cottages under drifts. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Sharing from my heart ~ Sandi


  1. That recipe sounds delicious, and perfect for church meals!

    Your tree is sweet and so nice that your sons decorated it for you! The fairy on top is so cute, and perfect for Valentine's Day!

  2. I love your tree Sandi. I hope to get time to photograph mine this afternoon. Your recipe looks so delicious. I am making soup this morning. It is too cold to go outside here today.. -31 with the wind. I am in the Eastern Township. I spend the Winter months with my sister. We've had a lot of snow here.
    Take care Thelma xo

  3. Now you have made me feel hungry. It looks like good old fashioned winter comfort food

  4. The lights of your tree would be very lovely on dark winter evenings. I remember making Johnny Marzetti years ago, and it is delicious. Funny how recipes fall to the side sometimes. Stay warm, Sandi!

  5. Sandi, I've never heard of Johnny Marzetti--love that story! And I'd love to be having that for dinner. It's so satisfying to make a really big batch of something on a cold winter's day. Enough to eat for a couple days AND freeze for future meals.

  6. Your Valentine's Tea is adorable, Sandi! I'm so glad that the teapot ornament can also be displayed in February. I take my trees down after Christmas so I enjoy seeing the creative Valentine trees.

  7. Your tree has some pretty pieces. I have a few glass birds I use too. The Swarovski ornament is very pretty and the teapot and tea cup are perfect.



  8. Sandi your tree is beautiful . I love it . Makes me smile . Yum on the recipe too . Wish i had some of that good stuff . 😊 Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  9. Your tree is simply lovely, Sandi! It's so nice that you've kept it up to enjoy.
    Growing up in Columbus, Ohio, I did know the story behind Johnny Marzetti. It's a yummy meal, and my mom made it quite often.
    Happy February, my friend! xx

  10. Sandi,
    First of all, I Love your Tree!! I love the birds. I usually do a winter Tree in the Kitchen but I just could not get around to it this year....
    And this recipe really sounds like something my boys would love so i just may give it a try!! Thanks so much for stopping by!!

  11. Good Morning Sandi. I love your little tree! I just put my little tree that was in our dining room away, and I miss it, especially because of the lights. So I put up a little silk floral arrangement and put tiny lights in it, and that brightens our room on these still early dark evenings and dark mornings. Now...Johnny Marzetti...I am amazed to have this recipe...My mother used to make this (but we used regular macaroni instead of the other pasta noodles), and I remember her saying that it was called Johnny Marzetti...and especially I remember her brother (My Uncle) talking about that...and they were from the Columbus, Ohio area! I never knew the connection before! Now I know! Especially strange, because I rarely ever saw this particular uncle, but when you said this name Johnny Marzetti, I immediately thought of him because apparently he's the one who called it that at some point in my memory banks! So you triggered quite a memory for me. I make my own version of this, but always just called it beef-a-roni! LOL. thank you for sharing this recipe today. You solved a mystery as to why I heard my uncle call our beef-a-roni "Johnny Marzetti". Have a blessed day my friend!!! Try to stay warm!

  12. It’s a lovely idea to keep the tree up ... as there are so many lovely memories hanging on the branches... love those little tea ornament... Thanks for the yummy recipe and story ..I'll definately have to try it .... ENJOY your week...Hugs

  13. Thanks again for visiting and for your kind and encouraging comment on my post about my health issues!! I was wondering if you watch Murdoch Mysteries on TV. We get it here on one TV station and it is the reruns of the show but we love it!! Yesterday , we watched the show about Lucy Maude Montgomery and Anne of Green Gables and I thought of you!! Maybe some day, Joe and I will come to visit Prince Edward Island. It is on my bucket list!!
    I hope you are having a great weekend!!


I am delighted to have you visit me and I read every comment. Please forgive me for not being able to visit you all as there are so many of you lovely bloggy friends now. I will visit as much as possible. I wish you a day filled with JOY!

Also, due to the amount of spam I've been getting, I have had to set Comment Moderation. ~ Sandi