Category Archives: Holiday

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:


  • 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.


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.


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.


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.


  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.








*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.


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

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Butter and Chocolate and Mysteries

L is making something in the kitchen.

And she won’t tell me what it is.

There’s chocolate, and butter.


I’m sneaking in and taking pictures when she’s not looking, and narrating the whole thing in film-noir-type voices. I’ve been kicked out of the kitchen three times so far. I’m sure she’ll tell me what it is when she’s done, but this way is way more fun.


The butter has been melted and mixed with some cocoa. It just went into the microwave.

Apparently it takes 13 minutes to bake.

Apparently it takes 13 minutes to bake.

No recent activity to report. In the meantime, I'm having a Shiner Holiday Cheer brew- it's fantastic. Highly recommended. Nice spicy/caramely/Christmasy beer.

No recent activity to report. In the meantime, I’m having a Shiner Holiday Cheer brew- it’s fantastic. Highly recommended. Nice spicy/caramely/Christmasy beer.

Here are the adorable stockings she made for us earlier, plus a li'l one for Bingley.

Here are the adorable stockings she made for us earlier, plus a li’l one for Bingley.


This is Bingley, not caring.

This is Bingley, not caring.

Here she is, not caring under the Christmas tree.

Here she is, not caring under the Christmas tree.

Here she is not caring IN the Christmas tree.

Here she is, still not caring, IN the Christmas tree.




It’s a chocolate cake.

Now she’s frosting it.

And having some issues.

There’s a lot of frosting.


She is apologetic.


Also, she’s…Sony?

Oh. Sorry.

Isn’t she the greatest? All is forgiven, honeybabe. You didn’t have to bake me a cake!

But let’s eat some, since we have it.

Happy Christmahannukwanzikkagiving, everybody!


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…is here.

We have been waiting for fall…cool weather, decorations, all things pumpkin and apple cider related. Yum.

To welcome the season that shall arrive quickly, we made a wreath on our door this afternoon.

Photo on 9-14-13 at 5.01 PM

How we made this:

*one foam wreath

*roll of burlap (ours was about 3 in. wide)

*bunch of fake flowers (whatever you like- we liked the size and color of these)

*a wooden letter (and perhaps some paint, if you like the chevron look we made)

*wide ribbon (again, whatever you like- we chose orange wire ribbon with gold polka dots and and brown/white patterned ribbon)

….we also made some warm, hearty foods. Well, food…but made in TWO ways.

FOOD(s) 1:

Ratatouille over Baked Potatoes

Photo on 9-7-13 at 1.16 PM

You will need:

*2 baby eggplant

*2 baby zucchini

*a red and a yellow bell pepper

*2 onions

*can of diced tomatoes

*2-3 stalks celery

*olive oil

*salt and pepper

*oregano, parsley and basil

*potatoes (baked in the oven)

1. Chop all the vegetables into about the same size pieces (diced-ish)

2. Drizzle olive oil into crock pot.

3. Dump in everything else, with an extra drizzle of olive oil.

4. Go to the farmers’ market for 5 hours while this cooks on high.

5. Serve over baked potato (we paired a lovely red wine with this for lunch).

FOOD(s) 2:

Roasted Vegetable Soup

Photo on 9-8-13 at 6.52 PM

You’ll Need:

*leftover ratatouille (no potatoes necessary)

*chicken stock (1 cup)

*provolone cheese (or whatever type you may want on top)

1. Purée ingredients 1 and 2 in a blender.

2. Heat in pan.

3. Serve with cheese on top.

We enjoyed both of these this weekend, and they were each great in their own way!


-j and l

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

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




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


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!)


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.




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


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°.



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

400° for ten minutes.





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


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


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.




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


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.


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“Quesadilla,” Quesadilla

Happy Presidents Day!

Working in education, I had the privilege of having the day off! This meant spending the morning with J-yay! We had breakfast together (rare opportunity), went grocery shopping and worked on wedding stuff.

We can’t believe it, but our wedding is a little over 2 months away-eek!

One of the things still on our wedding to-do list was creating a “must play” and “do not play” list for our DJ, and friend, JM.

We had a good time putting together our list today, creating a good mix of our favorite music. This was actually a harder task than we expected, having to consider if it is “dance-able,” if people will want to dance to it, as well as put together our first dance song, father/daughter dance song, mother/son dance song, and what music will play when we enter the reception.

Bands we featured often? Queen, Electric Light Orchestra, Vampire Weekend, Matt & Kim, The Black Keys, M83, and Walk the Moon.

Small note: Walk the Moon played a mean show at our college before they made it big. One of the best concerts I have ever been to. One great song off of their album is titled “Quesadilla.”

Guess what is for dinner?


Cheesy-Corn-Black Bean Quesadillas:

You’ll need:

  • olive oil
  • 1/2 bag of frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed
  • 10 tortillas
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • s&p
  • 1 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese
  • some sour cream for topping
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 (will keep quesadillas warm while others are cooking).
  2. In a pan with olive oil, toast corn until it starts to brown.
  3. While toasting, mash the rinsed beans in a bowl.
  4. Add corn to bowl and return pan to burner.
  5. Add onions and jalapeños to heat, cooking for a few minutes.
  6. Add garlic, and cook 2 more minutes.
  7. Add onion mixture to corn mixture to combine.
  8. Add shredded cheese.
  9. Take a tortilla, spread 1/2 cup of mixture in bottom half, and foldover.
  10. Place in pan and flip when brown.
  11. After the other side is cooked, place it on a cookie sheet and put it in the oven.
  12. When quesadillas are done, cut in wedges and serve with sour cream.


Photo on 2-18-13 at 6.41 PM




Ok, no, we’re not.

But kind of.

Just looked at how many different countries our readers and subscribers come from, and it felt kind of cool.



Now that I’ve moved home, L and I are planning a New Year’s party, our first big-time entertaining attempt in our home together. We’re being a bit ridiculous- as I sit here next to her on the couch, we fist pump every time someone responds to our facebook event. I am going to marry this woman.

Here are a couple things we’re thinking of having at said party:

-Pigs in a blanket, arranged into a wreath

-Champagne (I believe it’s pronounced Shamm-pag-in) cut-out cookies (kind of awesome)

Shamm-pag-in jello with pop rocks (really awesome)

Mini-vegetarian-tacomuffin-type-deals (remember those?)

Any other ideas? Leave comments and let us know!


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Behold…My First Christmas Tree


“I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It’s not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love.” – Linus Van Pelt, “A Charlie Brown Christmas”  (From one of my FAVORITE Christmas traditions)

Ok…it’s not my FIRST tree, but it is the first one that I have owned and put up by myself. Unfortunately, it seems I own just a few ornaments. Not really sure where J is going to put his ornaments…

Looking forward to J moving home in 17 DAYS! Just in time for Christmas!

Anyway- more Christmas-y decorations to come!