Friday, April 4, 2014

“Mama’s Marinara Tomato Sauce” In Honor Of My Brother Christopher's Birthday

Christopher J. Sauchelli
When you were born, an angel smiled, As you became a child, an angel sat on your shoulder. When you became an adult, an angel held your hand. As your family grew, an angel walked down the road with you. And, when you died, another angel got their wings. --Unknown

This poem is in loving memory of my brother Christopher, who would have been 52 years old on Sunday. He passed away on Aug 1, 1999 from a brain aneurysm at 37 years old. He really was a true angel and I know that he is watching over our family from heaven.

There are so many happy memories of Chris; I guess I should start at the beginning. I was eight years old when he was born April 6, 1962. I remember vaguely when my parents brought him home. Chris was a very happy baby and had a head full of brown curly hair. He was 10 1/4 lbs when he was born so he was a roly-poly baby. He used to smile all the time. 

Chris at Halloween 1963-1964 ?
I have a fond memory of Chris and me at Halloween. I would help him get dressed up in a costume, with makeup, and would take him out Trick or Treating. When we were a little older I remember taking him up and down the streets in our neighborhood. Then we would go back to our house and dump out the candy, and go back out again, up one block, and down the next. At that time you would be able to go from door to door, with no worries. By the time we would finally go home, we both would be exhausted, but it was fun and I would not have given it up for the world.

Christmas time was another loving memory of excitement in the Sauchelli house. I remember going into my brother‘s room early in the morning to wake him up and see what Santa had brought us. We would try to be quiet as my parents were still sleeping at 6:00 am and we would go straight for the tree. We were so amazed at all of the toys, and gifts that were under the tree, that we thought we were still dreaming. Chris was very neat and organized. He would unwrap one package at a time and neatly put the wrappings in a garbage bag for trash. As he grew up this trait followed him. His room, his job, and even when he got married, and moved into his own house, his neatness continued. His clothes were immaculate and he always dressed appropriately. He had a good sense of humor and his passion besides the family was sports. He was a real sports fanatic. His favorite team is the Pittsburgh Steelers, and today his son Nicholas, and his daughter Lauren are following in his footsteps. 

Lauren & Nick

Chris was a self made business man. At the beginning of his career he was part owner of his own company which he started. He was Vice President of a collection agency and had many people under him. He was a fair yet understanding person. As the years went on he branched out and became President of his own company. He enjoyed sales, and was able to talk about anything to anyone. I believe that he had the “gift of gab.” He worked hard and played hard as well.

As he became a husband, and a father, his family ties were an extension of his love. He would have been very proud of his children today, especially of the accomplishments in their lives. His family was extremely important to him. His heart was filled with joy and love. Chris was always there for my parents whom he loved very much. His friends were a group of very special men and women whom were there for the family when he died. Some even flew from California to be near his bedside at the hospital. They were a big part of his life, and were always there anytime they were needed. After his family, my parents, and his friends, I was the only one left, but Chris never left me out of anything. He was very attentive to me, his only sister. No matter where I was or lived he would call me at least once a week, and find out the scoop of what was going on, if I needed anything or any help. He was there for me no matter what. He was not just my brother, but my best friend. 

My brother Chris was a very special person who I think about all the time, and will always remember the memories that were left behind. I know that if he were here right now looking over my shoulder he would be very proud of me for creating this family blog as a reminder of who we are and where we came from. But I think most of all he loved life to the fullest and loved his family, friends, and food. Chris, not a day goes by that you are not thought of, loved, or missed.  We all will cherish the precious memories you lovingly created in our lives.

One last thought about Chris was that he loved to cook and really enjoyed food. Among his favorites were my mom’s sauce (or gravy) and her meatballs. He used to make my mom’s recipe for his family. He loved all the Italian dishes that my grandmother’s and mom would make. Holidays were special and he really enjoyed being with the family. Especially when we would bake all the traditional Italian cakes, cookies, and pies. He was into traditions and the Italian way. So in honor of my brother, I am sharing my “Mama’s Marinara Tomato Sauce” (no meat). No store bought sauce can compare with the taste of a sauce that you make from scratch. This recipe was passed down from my grandmother to my mother and now I am sharing it with you. Hope that you enjoy!

“Mama’s Marinara Tomato Sauce

2 cans of 28 oz. crushed tomatoes (Tuttorosso)

2 cans of tomato paste
Olive Oil or Wesson Canola Oil
5 large whole garlic cloves
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon of Oregano (flakes) *
1 tablespoon of Parsley (flakes) *
1 tablespoon of Basil (flakes) *
2 dried Bay Leaves

On medium heat sauté olive oil and garlic together. When garlic becomes pale gold and fragrant (do not burn) then add the crushed tomatoes and paste. Use the paste can and add 1/2 can of water. Stir, till well blended and now add salt, parsley, basil and oregano to taste, plus the 2 bay leaves. Stir well to combine and bring sauce to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer for 1 hour. You can add a small amount of sugar (optional) if desired, to cut some of the acid in the tomato. Cover on or slightly off to thicken sauce. Stir occasionally until sauce is thickened. When you lift the cover off of the pot, the aroma of your sauce will be so mouthwatering that you will not be able to wait to devour it. This recipe makes enough for about 8 people, but you can freeze the leftover sauce, if there is any left.

**Note: If you are using fresh herbs, then you have to use more than a tablespoon or teaspoon. Just break off the leaves and use a rough chop on your herbs.

Till Next Time………………………………........

Copyright © 2014 “Family Plus Food Equals Love”  All Rights Reserved


  1. Hi Dottie,
    What loving memories you have of your brother. I too am a believer in Angels, Dottie and I'm sure your brother is looking over your shoulder right now just glowing with pride.

    It's been a very long time since I have made Marinara Sauce. I really should make some for my son and store it in the freezer. Since he has become a vegetarian, he doesn't come over as often to eat, lol...You have inspired me to get that sauce pot out and make some this weekend.

    Thank you so much for sharing such a personal story, Dottie...

    1. Dearest Louise,

      Thank you for stopping by..You are so right, Angels are all around us and I too Louise believe that he is watching over me. It was so strange, when I was writing the post I usually have the TV on for noise, and every time I was thinking of a memory to write about, the name Christopher kept coming up on the TV. So, I believe it was like he wanted to tell me he approved of my writing about him.

      Yes, this sauce is so good and you can use it for anything, besides putting it on pasta. It is good to freeze, so break out the pot and make the sauce, Louise. Your son can eat this even being a vegetarian, and I am sure he will love it!

      Thanks again, have a blessed weekend...Dottie :)

  2. Christopher was always a pleasure and you are so right he was such a chubby happy baby. I have found memories of him as a child… A great tribute to your brother and what family means to you.

    1. Hi, great to hear from you, Lucy...Thanks for commenting and stopping by...I am so glad that you enjoyed this post on Chris. It does bring back many good times and memories. He was a cutie and a happy baby, then as he grew up he was still happy, (not chubby anymore) always had a smile on his face. He was always there to help out whoever needed help. It was a hard story to write but, family is important and that is what it is all about. La Famalia! I feel blessed that I was able to know and love him, even if it was for only 37 years. Be well, Blessings on your weekend...Dor :)

  3. Oh it must have been hard to lose a brother who was not even 40 years old. Like Louise says he is looking at you all the time. I believe in angels too and we don't die and just disappear into nothing. Even if we can't see them they are there for us especially when we need help most. I had an experience long time ago which I can never forget! It was when I most needed help and help was given to me. I was guided.
    The marinara sauce is so simple yet so delicious and I think one of the most healthy and tasty pasta sauces.
    What a beautiful tribute to your brother dear Dottie!

    1. Dear Alida,
      It was very difficult to lose him at such a young age. He was married and had 2 very young children. It was a shock, he went to work, and got up from his chair, and then dropped to the floor. He was in perfect condition, healthy, thin, active. No one understands how this happens, but our faith gives us hope that someday we will meet again. Yes, the angels are among us and I believe that they are with us from when we are born till after we die. Alida that is proof that they exist, that is what helped you, and I am glad that you were guided in the right direction. All is well now.
      I agree with you, the marinara sauce is so simple and fresh which is why it is so delicious. Just proves that the simplest is just as good as the recipe that takes very long to prepare.
      Thank you Alida for stopping by...It is always a pleasure to hear from you..Have a blessed weekend...Dottie :).

  4. Good evening Dottie , what a wonderful tribute to your dear brother , it was so heart moving it brought tears to my eyes . Your brother approves and he's happy to know he left so many happy memories with his family and friends . We don't understand why they leave us so young ... but you dear Dottie has him in your heart and he will always be with you . I believe in angels and prayer . You have such fun memories of your dear brother . He was a very handsome your man . Hold tightly to your faith and know your dear brother is proud of you . I am making pasta tomorrow and I will be making the Marinana Tomato sauce , I know my family will love it .
    Again let be say what a great tribute to your brother . Thanks so much for sharing your memories with us . Have a blessed weekend ... Nee :)

    1. Hi Nee, thanks for stopping by tonight...I appreciate your words, they are a comfort to me. All of you have been so wonderful to speak so well about him. Yes, the happy memories are what we need to keep close to our heart, I believe in prayer and I know that God and his angels are watching over him. Yes, he was a handsome man. We were blessed to have at least the 37 years with him in our lives.
      I do hope you make the sauce, it is so good, simple, and fresh that you can use it for so many recipes. If you are lucky to have any leftover it freezes very well. Thanks again dearest Nee, you have a very good weekend, and blessings to you and your family. Dottie :)

  5. Dear Dottie, This is a beautiful tribute to your brother. You have related beautiful memories. I remember going trick-or-treating like you did too. Those were such simpler times. I wish the kids could experience times like those.
    Your brother is gone much too soon, though I know it is difficult to understand the reasons of the Lord.
    It is very difficult to loose someone so young and so close to you. The hurt never goes away nor is the emptiness every filled.
    I will keep you in my prayers.
    I know that your brother is smiling at the delicious sauce you prepared though.
    You are completely correct, there is no replacement for the real thing. Sauce in a jar just cannot compare. The funny part is that it really is not difficult to whip up a good marinara sauce and it is so much less expensive to do than to buy the jar sauce!
    Beautiful post.

    Blessings dear. Catherine xo

    1. Dear Catherine,
      thank you for visiting and reading my post in honor of Chris my brother. The memories are what we need to always have close to our heart. No one can take that away. Yes, Trick-or-Treating was always a fun day, that is when the costume were not like those of today and you knew each person in your neighborhood. You were not afraid of what they were giving out. Like you said, kids of today have no clue as to what fun really was all about.
      Yes, I know that it is hard to understand why the Lord takes people sooner than they should go, but with our faith we have to know that there is a plan and know that someday we will meet again. You are so sweet to keep me in your prayers. I appreciate that so much.
      Oh yes, I know that he is saying up in heaven, is it ready yet! I can not understand how anyone can buy sauce store bought, I have to say after I just said that I do have one jar in my pantry, but that is just in case! I always make a big batch of sauce and then freeze the rest in smaller portions, so if I need to prepare something else I have it already waiting. It does taste better and you know what you put into it is fresh ingredients made with love, always! Blessing to you too Catherine...Dottie :)

  6. Hi Dottie :) You have prepared a beautiful post for your brother to day. You are such a kind sister and a beautiful soul, Dottie. Thank you for sharing your memories with us. I love that poem at the top.

    I am sure your brother would be very proud of you and this wonderful blog you have created. God bless you and your family and your brother.

    Sending many hugs your way.


    Thank you for the kind birthday message. It made my day extra special. xo

    1. Dear Tammy, Thanks for stopping to hear from you anytime. So glad that you enjoyed this post. It is so good when you can write your feelings and share them with so many people.Yes, the poem on the top is one I found and I thought it was perfect. I wish I had your mom's talent to make my own up, she is amazing! Thanks you again for your words, they are very comforting to me. Blessings on a great Sunday..Dottie :) Ps..Glad you had a wonderful birthday, that cake must have been fabulous! Love your posts and enjoy all of your recipes.

  7. Dottie, this post just broke my heart! It is beautiful and your brother sounds like an absolute angel (which I'm sure he is now). What a wonderful way to pay tribute to him on such a special day. Will keep you in my prayers xx

    1. Dear Christina,
      Thank you for your visit and your lovely words that I know come from your heart. Yes, this was a rough one to put on paper, but I thought I would share his love with everyone. You know sometimes they say people are the glue to the family, well he was that person. It just seemed that everytime he came into a room, it felt like the sun was shinning. But he is our angel know and is watching over his children, and the whole family. Thank you again for you keeping me in your prayers, you are so sweet, and I am so glad that we connected. Blessings on a great week ahead. Dottie :) x