2009 was truly a year of growth for our family. Not just physically, with the birth of our fourth baby, Joy Elizabeth, but also we each have grown spiritually. Over the course of the year, God has slowly given us a clearer vision of what He is leading us towards as a family… and now in 2010, things are coming more and more into focus everyday! We are celebrating and overflowing with joy in looking back at the last year, and even the years prior, and seeing how God has slowly, specifically, and lovingly (always lovingly!) been preparing us for what is to come and the dream that has been planted within Ian and I both.

Psalm 128
Happy is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways.
You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall go well with you.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.
Thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord.
The Lord bless you from Zion. May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life.
May you see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel!

We will be sure to keep you updated as our dream becomes more of a reality! May God bless you greatly in two thousand ten!

Salsa Recipe

I realized several people have asked me for our salsa recipe and I decided to post it here… it is easy to make and can be modified to be taken up a notch… after all, “some like it hot!”

Ingredients should go in the blender in this order:

1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes
1 can of green chiles (I think they are usually 4 oz)
1/2 jalapeño w/ seeds (could put the whole thing in!)
2-3 garlic cloves chopped
1/2 large onion (quartered)
2 Tablespoons of lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of salt
Then I usually add in a couple shakes of chili powder, red pepper flakes & cayenne pepper and even some Tabasco sauce
Last put in as much fresh cilantro as you’d like (we like a lot!)

Pulse in blender 5-10 times or until mixed

Best Quick Tomato Sauce

We love a simple meal such as spaghetti and sauce or ravioli with red sauce… We were gifted for Christmas from dear friends a subscription to Cooks Illustrated and have loved the recipes that are in each issue. Plus what is great about this magazine is that there are no advertisements in it… it is all just for the cook… nothing to sell you on. They also test many items and tell you honestly what works best based on multiple tests in a kitchen (even if it is the cheaper version of something!). In the May/June 2009 issue, there is a great recipe that we have now used a couple times… and love it! It is the Best Quick Tomato Sauce recipe… it truly is quick and delicious! Enjoy!

Quick Tomato Sauce
Makes about 3 cups, enough for 1 pound of pasta
Note: High-quality canned tomatoes will make a big difference in this sauce. Our preferred brands of crushed tomatoes are Tuttorosso and Muir Glen. [Reilly Note: we only had Publix brand of crushed tomatoes, and thought it still tasted pretty good. Haven’t tried these other brands yet to compare.] Grate the onion on the large holes of a box grater.

2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/4 cup grated onion, from 1 medium onion (see note)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Table salt
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (see note)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves [fresh from the garden is delish!]
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Ground black pepper

Heat butter in medium saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add onion, oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and onion is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and sugar; increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Off heat, stir in basil and oil; season with salt and pepper. Serve.