Monday, September 26, 2011

Gluten Free Spinach & Cream Cheese Lasagna Roll-ups

You know that dinner dish mom made, the one that you went crazy over? This is my dish, one that my mom made often and is still adored when it is placed on the table. Don't let the spinach in the title fool you! This recipe is really good, anytime of the year!

Thanks to gluten free lasagna noodles, I was able to make my memorable dish of lasagna. Here's the recipe, from my mother to me to you! I hope you enjoy! 

Jan's Spinach & Cream Cheese Lasagna Roll-ups 

I don't have a set recipe for this, so you can tweak it any way you want. Depending on how many you want to make, here is what I use to make 10 roll-ups:

10 uncooked gluten free lasagna noodles
1 (10 oz.) box frozen spinach, thawed and drained well (you can use fresh spinach, but you will have to chop it up)
1 (8 oz.) brick Cream Cheese, softened
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce or homemade sauce
garlic cloves, minced
garlic powder
onion powder
Parmesan cheese
mozzarella cheese
1 lb. ground beef (optional, if you want meat)
  • In a big pot, steam 10 uncooked lasagna noodles just until pliable. Carefully lay lined up on wax paper or damp paper towels. You can also let them soak in a pan of water. 
  • In a bowl, combine the thawed and drained spinach and cream cheese. Mix well. 
  • Depending on what else you want in the filling, add now: minced garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, grated Parmesan, and/or grated mozzarella cheeses (I personally suggest both cheeses). Amounts are up to you. 
  • Mix well. (If you don't want spinach, you can always make a cheese mixture only). 
  • If you want a meat sauce, brown the amount of ground beef you want in a skillet, drain and put back in skillet and add your sauce. Keep separate from spinach mixture. Use small amount of sauce to line the bottom of a 13x9 pan. I use a glass pan. 
  • With your noodles lined up in a row, spread filling evenly among the noodles from top to bottom. Roll up jelly roll fashion. Lay seam side down, with some space between them. Cover with sauce any way you like. You can always make extra sauce to add when serving if you like it saucy. 
  • If you like, sprinkle more cheeses on the top. Cover with foil. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 30-45 minutes if you don't refrigerate first. If refrigerated, take out and bring pan to a warmer temp before putting in oven and bake about an hour.

$10 is really close!

Remember the days of childhood, when a $20 bill was your fortune and financial insecurity was being $0.25 short for that $0.75 popsicle? 
Today my husband and I got excited when we saved $4 on a prescription. Four whole dollars! In theory it seemed silly to feel that way over such a small amount, but we smiled at each other anyway because those four little dollars meant one very important thing: we're not out of money yet! I recall silently scoffing at my parents years ago (during those narcissistic teen years) when they proudly exclaimed that the checkbook had balanced. I thought it was such a "lame" thing to get excited about; but then I grew up and got married, and saw money in a completely different light. $4 has become a big deal. 
September has been a difficult month for us. Unemployment and medical bills have drained the bank account, and the credit cards are gaining a lot of unwanted mileage (I'll spare you the sob story; we're all in the same boat right now).  I'm currently laid up resting and unable to work, so what used to be two incomes is now one. Thankfully, the Lord provided my husband with a job just as our account is hitting about $10. It's been incredibly hard to fall back on the trust that God will always provide. We believe it and we've experienced it before, but we also wish it hadn't got so close. $10 is really close. 
But then, I suppose the $4 savings wouldn't be that great of a deal if the timing weren't as it were. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Rare Hand-Me-Down: The Human American Eagle of WWI

We were visiting my grandma over the weekend when she pulled out the framed picture for my husband to see. I've seen this piece of history many times growing up, but watching my husband's eyes light up with fascination renewed my interest in it and prompted me to share it with you. 

The photo was taken in 1918, in Camp Gordon, Atlanta, GA. It consists of 12,500 officers, nurses, and men -- all posed in the shape of an American eagle! (This information is listed on the photo. If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can read it down in the lower corners). I can't even imagine the time it took to organize everybody! 

If you look on the right side of the shield, you'll notice a long shadow; that shadow is the photographers tower! My great-grandfather was a cook -- he is standing along one of the two shield side borders (unfortunately we can't remember which side). 

Someday I would love to scan the actual photo, but for now is it resting safely beneath framed glass and waiting to be proudly hung on the wall. 

I find this just amazing!!!!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Design Time: Fuu's Kimono Part 1

I was inspired for Fuu's Kimono template by Nuno Life's Mini Kimono pattern (she has an excellent collection of simple and easy sewing patterns for dolls -- you should check it out!). By coloring the shape of the pattern in Excel, I was able to use grids as stitch guidelines for defining different colors to create the flowered design. Each grid represents one stitch, making it easy to not only see how it will look, but also making it easy to write a workable pattern. 
I am now in the process of creating a written pattern... hopefully it will only take a day or two! 

If you're interested in the story of Samurai Champloo, you can check out the homepage or Wikipedia
**Please be aware that this is not an anime for children; it is geared towards adults and contains some adult language. 

One of my favorite quotes from Episode 16: "Lullabies of the Lost (Verse 1)"
Mugen: (to Fuu, about Jin) Tall, dark, and four-eyed here is thinking the same thing: hanging around with a girl with absolutely no sex appeal isn't my idea of fun.
Jin: That's it; you've gone too far.
Fuu: Yeah!
Jin: That four-eyed thing, take it back.
Fuu: Hey!

Friday, September 9, 2011

In Remembrance of September 11th, 2001: To the Victims

I was a Junior in high school, home that day and working on algebra formulas when the phone rang. It was my aunt, telling me to turn on the news. 
We all know where we were when we heard the news and first saw the images. We remember watching live as the second plane flew into the second tower. We remember covering open mouths with our hands as the first, then the second tower collapsed. We remember the fires blazing at the Pentagon. We remember images of the Flight 93 crash site. 
Every September 11th for the past 9 years, I've remembered those images and shed tears for the lives lost and for the lives affected from those lost. I personally knew no one involved, but I feel for everyone who was personally involved and had their lives tragically changed. 

Please feel free to post your thoughts and memories.
Please keep comments appropriate. This post is to remember the victims and to remember those who lost friends and family, not to post theories, post the tragic pictures (some people  are still traumatized) or bad mouth anyone. Please respect these requests.
Thank you.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Design Time: Fuu from the anime "Samurai Champloo": Phase 1

The anime genre was a vast unknown until my husband introduced it to me several years ago. My only knowledge of anime was the little clips I caught of Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z--not my style and not great representations of anime's full potential in my own personal opinion--but the genre has come a long way since my teen years! He and I are picky about our anime -- good writing, good voice acting, good plot, and exceptional animation are a must! We recently finished watching Samurai Champloo, a great series created and directed by 
Shinichirō Watanabe about the Edo Period in Japan. 
I absolutely love the character Fuu, perhaps because I identify with her in many ways (slightly clumsy, practical but prone to bursts of emotion, always hungry). 
I also fell in love with Fuu's kimono! So, Design Time! 

This will definitely be a larger Amigurumi doll when completed. 
(You can find this wallpaper and others @

♥ Amy S