Darkness To Light… And a Basement…

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible”

– Walt Disney

Hello, sweet friend…
I hope you are well…

On my way home from a recent hair appointment…

an interesting thought ran though my mind…

I have never lived in a home that had a basement

there was a darkness about them…

At some level I even thought they felt a little creepy
all those scary movies I watched as a teenager didn’t help.

Needless to say

I wasn’t sure the best (happiest) way to utilize 800 square ft.
of basement

Fortunately with the extra time spent at home I finally saw the light…

In my mind I began envisioning the room as 4 different spaces…

A space to enjoy the view of the forest…

A workshop area with enough room for a ping-pong table…

A space for organizing (since there are lots of shelves)…

and perhaps in the future…

a space for a mini exercise area…

I now refer to it as the daylight basement and the perfect place to sit…relax… enjoy the moment…

and let’s face it…
continue to dream.💖


What’s Cooking?

Serving comfort in the winter time is always a good idea… this cottage pie is easy & also very delicious. I think I’ve posted a similar recipe before. This time I used Marie Callender‘s frozen pie shell as the main base for filling…and plant-based meat instead of ground beef. This is definitely a forever classic recipe especially perfect for a cozy winter day.


  • For the filling:
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 sweet white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon each dried oregano and thyme
  • 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup beef stock or broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots
  • chopped parsley or chives of garnish
  • For the Parmesan mashed potatoes:
  • 3 pounds yellow potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup 35% cream
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • white pepper to taste
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F with the rack in the middle position.
  2. To make suggested Parmesan mashed potatoes:
    Place potatoes into a large pot filled 3/4 full with cold water. Bring potatoes to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook until fork tender, 10-15 minutes. Strain boiled potatoes returning them to the pot. Add the butter and cream. Using a potato masher, mash potatoes to desired consistency. Add a tiny bit more cream if potatoes seem too dry. Add salt and season with white pepper to taste. Stir in half the quantity of cheese, mixing well to combine. Add the balance of the cheese and bring the potatoes together with a few quick strokes. Serve immediately.
  3. Prepare the Cottage Pie filling:
  4.  Place large pot on stovetop set to medium-high. When the pot comes to temperature, add the vegetable oil, followed by the onion, garlic and celery. Stir to combine, cover and cook until vegetables are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the ground beef, little by little, stirring after each addition to break up the meat and cook it through. Stir in the salt, pepper, oregano and thyme.
  6. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add the beef stock, the tomato paste and mustard. Stir and cook for 2 minutes while the mixture thickens.
  7. Remove the pot from the heat. Add the corn, peas and carrots, stir and transfer to a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish. Smooth the mixture out evenly.
  8. Add small dollops of the mashed potatoes across the top of the pie, then smooth them out to create an even layer. Make sure to draw the potatoes right to the edge of the casserole dish.
  9. Place the casserole on a foil-lined baking sheet and transfer to the oven to bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped chives or parsley too.

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4 Responses to Darkness To Light… And a Basement…

  1. Jose says:

    Wow, after reading your post I feel like I am right in your wonderful basement.
    Great job, by the way!!
    Also, that cottage pie is amazing!
    Thank you

  2. Nancy J Coughlin says:

    Your basement is wonderful. So bright and shiny!! Our basement floods when the power goes off and the sump pump can’t work! Have had to replace a water heater and the washer and dryer went in the last episode. Even on raised area, we lost the washer and dryer. Afraid our basement fulfills your original view of basements. No outdoor access, either. But, love your basement. I am the only fan of cottage pie in the house and I realize I will have to forego this treat. Maybe I can order it out!!

    • Marcia says:

      Hi Nancy, I hope your great is going well. Basements come in all Aussies and sizes don’t they… Good and not so good too. I’m so glad ours had huge windows to help brighten everything. I’m sorry about the problems you’ve had with yours… Hopefully things are better now. Oh… And wish I lived closer I’d bajer you a cottage pie to enjoy!
      Stay safe dear friend. Hugs.:)

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