Archive for January, 2014


Dear Readers,

I’ve been counting calories since the first of the year and wanted to make something that was low in fat and calories.  Found this recipe that I had cut out of a magazine years ago in an old folder.  Tried it and found it very tasty.  Maybe you will want to try it too!

White Bean and Sausage Rigatoni

8 oz. rigatoni pasta (5 cups)

8 oz. fully cooked turkey kielbasa

1/2 of a 10 oz. pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed

2-15 oz. cans low-sodium stewed tomatoes

1-15 oz. can great northern beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 of a 6-oz. can tomato paste

1/4 cup dry red wine or reduced sodium chicken broth

1-1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning, crushed

1/4 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan prepare pasta according to package directions, drain and return to pan.  Bias-slice kielbasa.  Drain thawed spinach well.  Add kielbasa, spinach, tomatoes, beans, tomato paste, wine or broth, and Italian seasoning to the cooked pasta.  Stir to mix.  Spoon mixture into a 2-quart casserole.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake, uncovered, in a 375 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes.  Makes 4 servings.  Each serving contains 498 calories and 7 grams total fat.

Enjoy and remember to

Keep smilin’!


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Dear Readers,

The other day my sister and I viewed the movie, The Butler, which chronicles the life of a black White House butler, Cecil Gaines, who served eight presidents. Forest Whitaker along with Oprah Winfrey, who plays his wife, Gloria, portrays the story of a middle class black family in Washington, DC where one son becomes a freedom fighter in the south and his brother volunteers to serve in the Vietnam war.  The history of the civil rights movement together with the violence and race riots of the 60’s are vividly depicted in the movie.  It is a deeply moving story of this loyal White House butler and his personal struggles with civil rights.

At the conclusion of the movie, my sister remarked that we were pretty sheltered from the civil rights movement and all that it entailed.  I quickly agreed but then on the drive home I remembered an incident caused by racial strife that I will never forget.

It happened like this.  My Dad and I stopped at the neighborhood filling station to get gasoline for my car.  It was a warm sunny, Saturday afternoon in Louisville, Kentucky during the summer of 1968.  (Starting in May of that same year, race riots and protests filled the streets of the West End of Louisville, following news of a possible reinstatement of a white policeman for beating a black man.  Stores were looted, cars were overturned and fires were ignited.  But we lived in the East End of Louisville and were not touched by the riots.)

In the 60’s gas was pumped by an attendant, so we waited in the car as the owner, a man we had known for a long time, came out to fill up the tank, along with checking under the hood and finally cleaning the windshield.  While he was pumping the gas, a young black man drove up in his car and asked for the keys to the men’s restroom.  The owner refused to hand over the keys and soon the two men were arguing loudly.  Suddenly the owner called the young man the “N” word and pulled a handgun out of his jacket and pointed it directly at the other man.  My Dad and I felt like we had a front row seat in a horror movie.  The scene played out like slow motion when the gun was being drawn, as we sat and watched in stunned silence.

It seemed like an eternity until the young man turned around, headed to his car and left.  But as he drove off, he shouted “tonight you will burn, baby, burn”.  The owner finished pumping the gas and I paid him.  Not a word was uttered by any of the three of us.  I couldn’t drive out of that filling station fast enough.  I just wanted to be safe at home and away from that scene.  My Dad and I couldn’t believe what we had just witnessed.  We were both scared to death!

As I recall that incident of more than 40 years ago, I wonder why my Dad and I didn’t ask the owner why he felt he had to draw a gun after a simple request by the young black man.  We knew he was a “hot head” but never thought his anger would drive him to point a gun at another human being.  Thank God no one was shot or filled on that warm Saturday afternoon in Louisville in 1968.

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