I was shopping with my mom on Friday in Buffalo. If I ever see a penny on the ground, I pick it up saying to myself “And all day I’ll have good luck”. I found a flattened, grubby coin in the Wise Penny Thrift Store parking lot. You never know what’s in store for the rest of your day. By the time I went to bed I had five new relatives – starting with a 32-year-old nephew, his wife and three children. All thanks to one very lucky penny and Ancestry.com.
A couple of years ago my daughter Zoe, my husband Mike and I registered our DNA with Ancestry.com. It’s been kind of fun to see our biological make up, but also long, lost relatives. In my case a nephew, unknown to my family, contacted me Friday afternoon. He had recently registered his DNA and found that I was a close relative. His mother had not informed him of my brother’s name, but by the evening he knew not only his biological father’s name, but that he had three brothers, a sister and many nieces and nephews to add to his family tree. For my Mom, Dad and me it was like getting a piece of Gary returned to us nearly seven years after his death. The very next day he and his wife came to visit. The minute he walked through the door it was déjà vous. Cody looked so much like Gary in his younger years, he even wears a small beard the way my brother did in his 30s.
I have always been curious about nature versus nurture. What talents are we born with and what to we acquire over our lifespan? In Cody’s case he became a carpenter just like my brother and my dad. He likes to work with his hands and build things. The family he was raised with does not have a talent in working with tools. Over the weekend he put his talents to work fixing the ceiling in our garage. A good way to impress his Aunt Sandy. I am so excited about the direction this new journey is taking my family with the addition of these five. A new nephew, a beautiful niece-in-law, a great-nephew and two great-nieces. And to think it all started with a penny and Ancestry.com.
“Found pennies come from heaven, that’s what I’ve been told, by angels watching over us from their clouds of gold. When an Angel thinks of you, they toss a penny down, sometimes just to cheer you up to make a smile from your frown.”
Garlic Penne Pasta
1 (16 ounce) package dry penne pasta
1 medium head garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain.
In a skillet, saute garlic in oil on low heat, just hot enough to make the garlic sizzle; about 10 to 15 minutes. Season with basil, oregano, parsley, and crushed red pepper, and remove from heat.
In a large bowl, toss cooked pasta with garlic and herb mixture, and let sit for 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan, and serve.
Tomato Basil Pasta
1 (8 ounce) package penne pasta
1 tablespoon basil oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Cook pasta in boiling water until the pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite, about 11 minutes. Drain.
Heat basil and olive oils in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook garlic in oil until soft. Add tomatoes, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in pepper jack, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese. When cheese begins to melt, mix in cooked penne pasta. Season with fresh basil.