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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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Cake.

Ummm. I made this.

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Dark Chocolate Cake with Homemade Raspberry Sauce and Whipped Cream/Raspberry garnish

What you’ll need:

*1 pint of fresh red raspberries

*1 box of devil’s food chocolate cake

*vegetable oil (1/3 cup?)

*3 eggs

*water

*vodka (eye-balled it)

*cornstarch (1/4 tsp.)

*2 tablespoons sugar

*juice of 1/2 a lemon

*1 tub of reduced fat whipped cream

 

1. Make the cake as directed with eggs, oil, water and dry ingredients. Bake as directed as well.

2. While this is baking, make the raspberry sauce: Pour all but 8 of the raspberries into a saucepan with cornstarch, vodka, sugar, and lemon juice. Cook on low until raspberries have fallen apart and is thick. Let this sit for about 15 minutes to really thicken.

3. Even cakes out after they have cooled. Put one layer down on cake plate, and then top with 3/4 of the raspberry sauce. Make sure it is spread evenly. Then top with the other cake.

4. Spread the rest of the raspberry mixture on top of the cake (toward the center in a circle).

5. Next, I put all of the whipped cream into a plastic zip-top bag, cut the corner off one end, and piped the whipped cream onto the cake. I also used a butter knife to smooth it out. Lastly, I placed the 8 raspberries around the top to make the 8 pieces in the cake.

6. This step isn’t necessary (but it was for me as my kitchen was about 90000000 degrees), however you can put the cake in the fridge to let it set before serving. I let is sit for about 10 minutes before serving it.

 

YUM.

 

-L (&J and Bingley)

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Emerging Columbus Artist Breaks from Convention (and Sanitation)

A rare photo of the artist sitting still, next to her work.

A rare photo of the artist sitting still, posing by her work.

Working under the name “Bingley”, young artist Froderich H. forayed into post-modern deconstructionalism this morning with the opening of her new installation, Papier.

Bingley has a tendency toward using more flexible and chewable substances as a medium. Previous work with these materials include What is carpet for? (A daring neo-conceptual piece wherein carpet becomes comestible), and Kittypoop Sports, an interactive exhibit.

Though it has no particular focal point, the only use of color in the piece is found on the knocked-over trashcan, salvaged from the artist’s apartment.

When asked by YPH representatives if the irony of using adhesives formed from her own body to attach pieces of material commonly used for sanitary processes was intentional, the artist regarded them silently with a blank, disdainful stare (pictured above).

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This newest installation is not without a sonic element- the artist herself had a hand in its marketing, announcing its completion by dancing around, very early in the morning, saying,

“Mow mow mow mow mow MMMRRRRRROOOOOOOOOWWWW MROW MROW MROW MROW.”

Other images of the work can be seen below.

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We Made Art

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Want to do something fun?

Grab some wine and canvas and put a tarp over your kitchen table.

Then paint some stuff.

And drink some wine.

We found it to be very relaxing.

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ART PARTY. WOOOOO

J+L

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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.

WHAT IS SHE MAKING.

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.

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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.

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STOP TAKING PICTURES OF ME, HUMAN
STOP TAKING PICTURES OF ME, HUMAN
I AM BUSY TRYING TO DESTROY YOUR STUFF

SOMETHING IS COMING OUT OF THE OVEN.

It’s a chocolate cake.

Now she’s frosting it.

And having some issues.

There’s a lot of frosting.

TOO MUCH FROSTING

She is apologetic.

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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!

-J

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FALL…

…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.

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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

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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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Meet Bingley.

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She’s been with us for a few weeks, getting accustomed to domestic life…

She doesn’t think much of it yet.

I had to buy her a collar with an ID today, since she sneaked out the door onto the sidewalk when I had the door open for an instant. In her spare time, she enjoys eating and scratching window blinds, spiders, shower curtains, toes, and basically anything that isn’t nailed down or doesn’t have infinite density. She refuses to simply sit on the cat bed we got her (she much prefers eating it) but inevitably, the BOX IT CAME IN is an IDEAL DWELLING. In between long stretches of seemingly endless energy, she will snuggle for about half an hour, if it doesn’t damage her mighty-hunter ego.

Good thing she’s so cute.

In the mean time, here’s what I’m making for lunch:

Meatball and Veggie Crock Pot Soup

I used something resembling the recipe in the Taste of Home Healthy Cooking book, but didn’t really follow it exactly…

I skipped certain parts, like “measuring”, or “using the ingredients on the list”.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • A crock pot
  • 1 bag of frozen meatballs (the recipe says to thaw them. I didn’t.)
  • 1 bag of frozen veggies (I used California Blend- broccoli, cauliflower, carrots- the recipe says to thaw them. I didn’t.)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of beef stock (how do they even make  that stuff? Do I really want to know? NOPE. JUST LOOKED IT UP. NOPE NOPE NOPE.)
  • 1 can of stewed tomatoes (not really sure what that means, either.)
  • black pepper
  • fancy spices of your choosing
  • 1-ish box or package of your choice of pasta

WHAT TO DO:

  • Dump all that nonsense into a crock pot, except for the pasta.
  • Cook on High for 4-5 hours. While you’re waiting, make sure your cat hasn’t disintegrated its collar.
  • After 4-5 hours, add the pasta, and cook for another 20-30 minutes.

-J

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AS LONG AS WE BOTH SHALL EAT*

*And even if we don’t, for some reason. Shout-out to our pastor who mentioned Young Poor and Strangely Happy in the sermon at our ceremony! It was perfect…

So we’ve been married a week, and it’s AWESOME. Please excuse our CRAZY LOVEBIRD HAPPINESS but I think we’re allowed to have some at this point.

We’ll put together a full spread of wedding stuff eventually, but we’re enjoying spending time together- the internet can hear from us later.

🙂

Just for now, here’s what L made me for dinner:

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Roasted Vegetable Risotto

GET:

-Rice (of some kind, fluffy, long-grain, white, brown, martian, whatever)

-a thing of asparagus

-2 carrots

-2 celery stalks

-1 small onion

-2 cups of chicken stock

-salt und pepper

-olive oil

-parmesan cheese

-lemon juice (opt.)

WHAT TO DO:

Preheat the oven to 350, or if it’s our oven, 15,000,000,000. But I’d go with 350.

Chop the vegetables into small pieces.

Toss them on a foil-lined baking sheet with some olive oil, salt, et pepper.

Put the vegetables in the oven for 15 minutes, or until they’re soft-ish and tasty-looking.

Put the 2 cups of stock in a pot and heat until boiling.

Dump 2 cups of rice into the stock, let it cook until it looks like, well, rice.

Toss the vegetables into the rice, with a healthy dose of the parmesan.

If you like, squirt a few drops of lemon juice in- it gives it a nice brightness, and counteracts the saltiness from the salt και pepper if need be OK BYE

-MR AND MRS L AND J

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So I just bumped into the wall in my hallway for the 27th time this morning…

…and then felt compelled to look at the positives of our apartment. When you can’t swing a cat around without hitting the wall or furniture of a tiny living space, it can be frustrating to work/cook/relax at home. Here are 5 things that have made life easier for L and me, residing within 650 square feet:

Try not to have one space where all of your extra junk goes to die. We’re actually guilty of this at the moment, given that the office has become “wedding central” until we can organize where it’s all going to go- but kicking myself into getting organized has helped me breathe easier, once I can walk into any room and see floor space and clean surfaces.

If you have limited counter space in the kitchen, keep it free of appliances. Even if it seems like a bit of a hassle to keep the toaster/coffee maker/QVC-purchased-object-that-almost-kind-of-works in the cabinets or on top of the fridge, a clutter-free counter gives the illusion of having much more space.

Got a small-ish rug? Stick it partway out from under the couch or love seat. This will give the look of having increased floor space, so that other matching rugs or the coffee table seem to have a bit more room.

Think vertical. A tall bookshelf or floor lamp (or this cool clock from IKEA) will draw the eyes upward a bit and create some depth to the living room.

A few minutes of straightening up every day is way easier than spending an afternoon on it. Take ten minutes, right now, and see how many things you can get off the floor. Tomorrow, do the same thing with your kitchen table/counter, etc. Small amounts of work at a time can be just as efficient, and MUCH less stressful.

This last one may not really count…

Get yourself a bigger apartment. We’re planning to move pretty soon. Fear not, we’ll keep blogging!

-J

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