Neighborly Fun (and Crock Pot Pasta Sauce)

The past few days have been full of neighborly fun. Someone made an anonymous call to Animal Control about our puppy’s crate; they said she was being “kept” in there “all day” and that it was too small for her to comfortably stand up and turn around. In order for someone to have seen her crate, they would have had to press their face against our bedroom window, and in order to get to the window, they would have had to climb through a bush. I’m pretty angry about the entire situation. An animal welfare officer had to come to our house yesterday and make sure the crate was adequate (it was; she actually loves being her crate, she just hates being alone for the 6 hours a week I’m out of the house). The officer was very nice and resolved the claim as “unfounded.”

Here’s the thing. I already didn’t like this apartment complex, and I already didn’t feel super secure here. And now we have a Peeping Tom willing to call Animal Control at the drop of a hat. What happened to knocking on your neighbor’s door and asking them what’s going on? Now we’re going to have an animal welfare investigation on our records, and while it’s resolved, it doesn’t make me feel like sunshine and lollipops. It means we have a neighbor (or someone who works at the complex) who is looking in our windows and making snap judgments about how we treat our dog. Someone out there thinks we’re bad dog owners and, therefore, bad people. I hate that. I hate it so much. I think I might know who called it in, and I’m going to do some poking around to find out for sure–this person is going to get a piece of my mind. They might have thought they were helping, but there are quite a few things they should have done before they made an anonymous call to Animal Control.


Anyway, I made this pasta sauce a few weeks ago and it was phenomenal. I got the recipe from Iowa Girl Eats and tweaked it a little; I added red wine, and used a combination of beef (in the form of leftover meatloaf) and hot Italian sausage. You can even use leftover burgers or any sort of meaty leftovers you might have.

Crock Pot Pasta Sauce

Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

  • 1/2 lb. ground beef (or leftover meatloaf or burgers or whatever)
  • 1/2 lb. hot Italian sausage (either links, split open and squished out, or ground)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (I used the food processor)
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
  • 1T brown sugar
  • 1/4-1/2C red wine
  • 1 bay leaf (or 2 small)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2t dried oregano
  • 2t dried basil
  • 3/4t salt
  • 1/2t dried thyme
  • 1/4t red chili pepper flakes
  • 2T butter

Brown beef and sausage with onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drain; add to a large crock pot. Add all the ingredients except for the butter, stir to combine, then cook on low for 5-6 hours. Remove bay leaves, stir in butter, then serve over cooked pasta.

This is even better the next day!



  1. Plus one on the pasta sauce as I also tried it and loved it.

    The neighbor problem is one that irritates me – it’s already a sacrifice to give up some personal freedom to live in close confines, and there are always those who have no regard for others to the point they’d do things such as what happened to you. In someone’s zeal to do the ‘right thing’ they crossed a major line of privacy, and their interpretation of the situation turned out to be totally bogus. I feel for you and hope that you’ll soon find a more tolerable living situation in the near future.

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