Category Archives: Health

Remember that one time we forgot to blog for almost a year?

So, it turns out that grad school, part-time employment and composition for J and full-time employment, tutoring, and applying for grad school for myself means that we forget to blog. Oops. So, rather than say “let’s make a goal to blog once a week” as a New Year’s Resolution, let’s start now!

This week is a big week full of concerts, work, and cleaning the house for weekend guests. Sundays have traditionally been cooking days for me, where I try and get lunches prepared for the week (portioned out for J and I to reheat at work/grad school), as well as make ahead breakfasts and maybe even dinner for Sunday night. Today is no different. Today I spent time making a “lasagna” soup. It includes sweet sausage, tomatoes, bow tie pasta, and heaps of ricotta and parmesan at the end. It transports well in lunches, warms you up in the cool of early December, and is souper delicious. Yep, I went there.

We made this soup back in 2012, but never posted the full recipe for it. I also changed the recipe a bit because the first time I made it we made buckets full since I wasn’t paying too close attention to how much we were putting in the pot… so here it goes:

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. pasta (I like to use bowtie pasta because they are cute)
  • olive oil (I never measure this…not gonna lie)
  • about a pound of sweet Italian sausage ( I usually buy bulk, but I accidentally bought links, so I had to take the casings off. Ew.)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • some oregano (again, I never measure)
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 big spoonfuls of tomato paste
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 28 oz. diced tomatoes
  • Salz und Pfeffer
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella (divided into 1 cup amounts)
  • dried basil
  • 15 oz. whole milk ricotta (indulge a little)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parm
  • frozen peas (optional)

What to do:

  1. Cook the pasta to al dente, as it may cook a little more once it hits the soup and you don’t want mush. While this is cooking, brown the sausage in a big soup pot.

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2. Once the sausage is browned, add the onions, garlic, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes. Sauté for a couple of minutes until onions are soft. Stir  in tomato paste and combine everything together.

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3. Stir in the chicken stock and tomatoes. I like to use a whisk to stir this in to make sure all of the tomato paste gets evenly distributed- no one wants chunks of tomato paste in their soup.

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4. Add a little s and p, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and bring to simmer without lid for about 30 minutes (stir every once and a while to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom).

5. While the soup is simmering, I like to mix together the ricotta, 1 cup of mozzarella, the Parm, salt and pepper, and a little more basil.

6. Right at the end I like to put in some frozen peas for a little veg, but it is up to you. I also add the other cup of mozzarella directly to the soup at this point.

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  1. To serve (or in our case, to prep for lunches), I put a scoop of pasta (you decide how much), a ladle or two of the soup, and a healthy dollop of the ricotta stuff.

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*Note: You can also make this in the crockpot, as we have done as well. All you do is brown the sausage, dump everything else into the crockpot (cheese stuff not included) and cook on high for 2-3 hours. The pasta I usually put in after an hour, and the peas typically go in with about 30 minutes to go).

 

 

I hope you enjoy this reconstructed lasagna soup as much as we do- I probably make it a couple of times each winter.

Enjoy!

-L (and Bingley who stayed nearby throughout the cooking process)

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Feaster

OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS

We made the tastiest Easter feast food ever. Fo’ realz.

Here’s how to make a whole bunch of tasty foods.

SO MUCH TASTY GOODNESS

SO MUCH TASTY GOODNESS

TASTY FOODS NUMBER ONE: MASHED GINGER CARROTS

This is a classic recipe my mom makes for Easter dinner every year (and sometimes just when we’re craving some carroty-gingery goodness).

YOU WILL NEED:

5 or 6 whole carrots

several shakes of ground ginger (or a real piece of ginger chopped up into a few tiny bits)

salt and pepper

1/2 a cup or so of chicken stock (I don’t really know what that stuff is, but it’s basically some kind of meaty juiciness that comes in boxes and makes things tasty.)

3 Tablespoons of butter

a blender (we actually have one now! Unlike during the dark times!)

WHAT TO DO:

Peel and chop up the carrots into 1-inch pieces, boil them in a pot until they’re well-cooked.

Puree in a blender with all of the other ingredients until it’s a little thinner than applesauce.

 

TASTY FOODS NUMBER TWO: SCALLOPED POTATOES

YOU WILL NEED:

2 pounds of potatoes (we used red ones), peeled and sliced into thick discs

a cup of milk

1 – 1/4 cups of chicken stock

bay leaves (if you want to be fancy)

salt + pepper

2 tablespoons of butter

minced garlic

grated white cheddar cheese (about 3/4 of a cup)

a glass baking dish, one of them 9 x 13 inch ones

a skillet

WHAT TO DO:

Put the butter and half a spoonful or so of the minced garlic in the skillet on medium heat, melt it down and stir it around a little.

Plop in about half of the potatoes in one layer in the skillet. Put down a bunch of salt and pepper, then put in the other half of the potatoes. More S&P on top.

Pour milk and chicken stock over all that business, put the cover on it and let it sit on low-ish heat for 3 minutes.

Rub a stick o’ butter around on the glass dish, and toss in all dem taters.

Sprinkle the cheddar on top, and cut up some little cubes of butter and put them on, too.

Bake it on up for 20-25 minutes at 425°.

 

TASTY FOODS NUMBER THREE: ROASTED ASPARAGUS

Asparagus, olive oil, salt, pepper, minced garlic. In a pan.

400° for ten minutes.

umm…

TADAAAAAA

 

TASTY FOODS NUMBER FOUR: GUNKY ROLLS

Probably known by several names, this is another family classic.

YOU WILL NEED:

a roll of those suction-y biscuits (regular, not croissants) that explode when you peel them open

1/2 a cup of water

some cinnamon

some sugar (1/4 cup?)

splash of vanilla

WHAT TO DO:

Open the explodey biscuits, cut each one in half. Pack them into a circular 8-inch pan (Teflon, if you’ve got one).

Mix together everything else in a bowl or measuring cup and pour over the biscuits.

Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes.

OPTIONAL: If you’re feeling brave, flip the pan over onto a plate or platter after it comes out of the oven. The biscuits should (usually) slip right out of the pan, and it makes for a nice presentation.

 

TASTY FOODS NUMBER FIVE: PORK AND STUFF

YOU WILL NEED:

a crock pot

a pork roast

1 onion, peeled and chopped

2 cups of beef stock (again with the stock stuff).

a bunch of rosemary, chopped

5 cloves of garlic, minced

salt and pepper

WHAT TO DO

Put the onions in the bottom of the pot. Place the roast on top, then dump in everything else.

Pour water over the whole thing just until it covers the pork.

Cook it on low heat for 4 hours.

 

Since it’s Easter, and Easter is a time for family, I’m going to break blogging etiquette and gush about a bunch of stuff that’s been happening in my life lately, namely how fantastic my wife to be is. We’re sitting on the couch right now, and I faced the computer away from her at the moment so she doesn’t know I’m typing this 🙂

I’ve been having a bit of a tough time at work lately. It was my first few weeks of having my general work performance be reviewed, and I had a lot of criticism coming my way. A lot of times the only thing keeping me going was knowing that L would always be there for me when I got back.

But that’s the thing about living your entire life alongside someone else. Marriage, it seems, isn’t about making everything perfect (despite our shared love of stylish clothes and minimalist interior decorating). Maybe marriage is more about keeping each other happy, healthy, and alive.

And that’s what we’re learning to do for each other. In fact, she’s improving my mental well-being as I type, since she’s now trying on my giant thick glasses and making me laugh. Sometimes, something that simple is all it takes to get through rough patches together.

1 month to go until I marry this woman…

…too long a wait.

-J

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you know…

…all things considered, we’re pretty lucky. There are a lot of people who aren’t nearly as happy or healthy as us. The storm might have knocked out our power (and the AEP report says it may be out for about a week), but here’s what I’ve been thinking:

  • We were able to save nearly all of our groceries (even though we had to get up at 6:30 am to rescue things from the fridge)
  • We have a family who would never let us go without food or somewhere to stay. (We’re staying with them temporarily.)
  • We managed to avoid panicking, kept clear heads, and got through the worst of it.
  • As we drove around our dark, tree limb-laden town, we saw people helping each other in different ways:
  • For the most part, drivers were patient and kind, taking turns going through dozens of intersections without working traffic lights.
  • Early in the morning, one of the local coffee shops was offering coffee out of cardboard carafes at a table out in their parking lot.
  • Neighbors were helping each other move branches out of one another’s yards.
  • At the moment, we’re sitting on the couch at my brother’s, watching the Olympic trials and snuggling with cats.

-J

BBLLARRGHABLARG WE ARE SO TIRED

TODAY:

HOW TO RELAX: MOJITO

HOW L SAYS “MOJITO” AFTER A MOJITO: HILARIOUS.

We had a pretty good day. L stuffed her brain full of words and sounds at school (Orton-Gllingham tutoring certification) and can’t stop spelling things. And talking like Ben Stein. She even made me watch a video about how a silent e vowel works. I don’t mind. Mostly. But I thought this was a little creepy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJS3M_DCegA

Here are some other ways to unwind that we like:

  • pillow fights
  • yoga
  • mmmoooojjjiiitttoooos.
  • walking through the park
  • going to the library
  • Bailey’s and milk (OH MY GOODNESS IT’S LIKE CHOCOLATE MILK FOR GROWN-UPS OH MY GOODNESS)
  • cleaning (oddly enough)
  • paint
  • reading books that you don’t have to
  • cooking together
  • Yuengling (is there a trend with this list?)
  • Wedding TV shows
  • Massages- (the Aveda salon we go to will give you one with your haircut)

We don’t know if these work for everyone- Comment and let us know if you have your own!

Every good post needs a photo, so………

Here’s a kitten.

-J

D’aaawwwww.