Thursday, July 5, 2007

Easy baked pasta

I got this recipe many moons ago from a magazine. I've changed it a little to make it easier to make. Originally it was called Cavatelli but I think that is a certain type of pasta and I don't use that type so I will just call it baked pasta.

Easy Baked Pasta

2 cups (dry) rotini or other interesting shape pasta
1 lb ground beef or pork sausage
1 chopped onion
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can (about 14 oz I think) diced tomato
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried parsley
1 cup shredded mozarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350°. Boil pasta as directed on package. While pasta is boiling, brown meat (and drain it), then add onion and garlic and cook until they're done (or do what I do and use 2 tbs dried minced onion and 1/2 to 1 tsp garlic powder). Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and spices. When the pasta is done, drain it and add it to the meat mixture. Mix well. Add 1/2 of the cheese and mix. Put in a 2 qt baking dish (I line mine with foil because I hate soaking it for days to get all that stuck on food to come off). Cover with foil and bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, remove foil, and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Return to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes.

Monday, July 2, 2007

The search for sunblock

Well the summer weather has been here a while but it's just now getting really hot. I'm on my annual quest for the best sunblock again. We have to find something that won't bother sensitive skin, has no nut oils in it, won't stain our clothes, yet will protect the kids' skin. If they, God forbid, get skin cancer someday, I will at least know I did my best to protect them.

So we tried Coppertone Sport Spray spf 50, now with Avobenzone (parsol 1789 or something like that) and oxybenzone, which is supposed to be broad spectrum. It stained horribly, and I found out all sunscreens with avobenzone will stain if you have iron in your water. We have well water and even though we do have a water softener, it is not a miracle worker and iron is still in our water. So we are going to avoid anything with avobenzone in it. So that means we had to find one with a physical block like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (both of which hopefully don't stain). Apparently avobenzone/oxybenzone, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the only things that protect against pesky UVA rays.

I read about Rocky Mountain sunscreen on the peanutallergy.com board. I ordered samples for patch tests and everyone tolerated it well. I went ahead and bought a bunch of the spf-50 which has titanium dioxide. It's hard to apply-not nearly as easy a spray-but it will have to do (the kids can do most of their bodies by themselves). I refuse to ruin any more clothes with sunscreen stains (like I did 3 yrs or so back with Loreal Ombrelle) and I want my kids skin to be well protected. Especially since Sammy has freckles and fair skin and burns easily, and Jake has a few moles. Jenny has a couple too. The other advantage to this sunscreen (which I think is technically a sunblock) is that you don't have to wait 30 minutes before going out or in the water, plus it is very waterproof and doesn't need to be reapplied as often. They cited tests on their website where they applied once, did not reapply, and sent people out in the sun all day. No one burned. It was originally formulated for skiiers who are in intense sun in the mountains.

The Rocky Mountain sunscreen has to be ordered online so I might try Blue Lizard too, if I can find it locally.
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