Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Easy Easy Dinner

This is one of those recipes that is so easy it is hardly a recipe and yet it is better than whatever you did on your own before you tried the “recipe” version. This is from Teresa Giudice’s Skinny Italian book where she goes into a whole thing about how what we eat here in the US as fettuccine alfredo is really not at all anything anyone in Italy would really make or eat. 

(Sidebar, yes, I am a “Housewives” fan and that was my initial impetus for buying the book. It turns out the recipes are great. Although the recipes in this book are all very simple, everything I have made has been incredibly good.  When I put up tomatoes this summer hers are the recipes I will be using for red sauce and she steps goes step by step through the whole canning process, so I am really excited about trying it ) Anyway.


The quality of ingredients and the technique is what matters here because there “twern’t nothin’ to it”.

Bring a huge pot of salted water to a full rolling boil.

Add 1 pound of fettuccine.  You are supposed to use fresh, but I didn’t see any at the store and this box was 50 cents. So, yeah.

Melt 2T butter and 3T really good olive oil in a big sauté pan. Set aside. Real butter and high quality olive oil. This will just be nasty otherwise.

While waiting on the pasta, finely chop a handful of fresh parsley. Not dried. Fresh. It’s like $1.  It’s worth it. (hopefully soon I won’t be paying anything for it, it’s one of the things I planted last weekend!)

Grate 2 ounces of the best parmesan you can afford.  The book recommends aged 24 months but I could only find/afford 12 months. Goodness gracious it was good.  Keep in mind so far the meal has cost me like $2.00 so $4 worth of a $8 block of insanely good cheese is ok.

Start the garlic toast.

When the pasta is al dente, drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the starchy water.

Put the drained pasta into the sauté pan and put it back on the heat for a minute, add in the water and stir it all up and it will combine to make a light, glossy, sauce.

Salt and Pepper to taste.


I put mine on the table without the parsley or the cheese because of the kids. But the adults added it to their own plates.


It would be healthier with less fat, whole grain pasta and some fresh veggies but at our house, this one is going into rotation exactly like this because it was awesome.  And everyone ate it and loved it. And it was $6. And meatless for Lent if you do that. So just perfect.

All About Bella

Bella is full of drama. Just now she came up to me and said “Oh Mama,  there are two things I dearly love. Two things that are my whole world! Elmo and Sleeping Beauty. They are just my whole world!”  She is hilarious.

Bella should always wear this color! Look at those eyes!


I see so much resemblance to Jacob in this picture…


Can you see it too? (Aww… toddler Jacob! So cute!!1)


Bella still carries around her minky dot pink baby blanket. At one time she would pretend there was a puppy inside, named Mister Pettybone.  But now it is just a blanket named Mister Pettybone. (which is actually the cat on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.) But our Mister Pettybone is a girl.  And woe to anyone that refers to Mister Pettybone as a “he”. Confused yet?  The blanket is kind of like a friend to her, in that she will tell us what she (the blanket) is thinking and feeling and things like that.  It gets washed a lot.

Bella does not like to stay in bed at night. She will get up and lay down with her blanket on the bottom step and wait for one of us to notice her and put her back to bed.  She is very sneaky and will lie very quietly, we have found her up as late at 10 pm.  She is not very fun the next morning at 6 AM on those nights, so I try to keep an eye out in case she gets up.

She is different from Jacob in so many ways. Jacob deeply desires to please others (which is great, except when sometimes he follows the wrong kind of behavior) while Bella is much more independent.  She is a leader type personality already.  She will not obey  purely for the sake of following the rules.  With Jacob I can say “We do this because it is the rule, or the law, or it keeps us safe” and that is that.  Bella will ask “Well, what will happen if I don’t? What will happen if I do?” She wants to know exactly how much trouble she will get into if she does the wrong thing and exactly what her reward will be if she does the right thing.  So I have to parent her differently.  It’s more work in some ways, because it is easier to teach rules than it is to teach self-control and self-discipline to a three year old. But the up side is that she is adventurous and brave and truly a much more flexible child than Jacob was at this same age.

She is still loving her ballet class and has her recital at the end of April.

She wears a mix of 3T and 4T clothes. She is growing – I see her legs and cannot believe they are the same little legs on the same little girl. OK, I know all kids do this lengthening out thing where they lose that baby chub but it still startles me in a way how fast they move from toddler to little kid.

Plus, everything is magic when it’s your child, they make the smallest thing seem miraculous.



If you think that a three year old can push her baby all the way to see the turtles and back (4 blocks each way), you will be wrong. You will end up carrying the child, and the camera and the empty box of stale Kashi Go Lean (good for turtle food and not much else)  all while hunched over trying to push a tiny shopping cart most of the way back. By the 2nd block you will take your 6 year old’s mardi gras beads and wrap them around the handle and drag that bleepin’ grocery cart the rest of the way home with one hand and carry the 3 year old over your shoulder while she screams the entire way because you tried to make her walk when she was tired and “that was SOOOO RUDE MOMMY!”  and the wheel will fall off like three times. Which is also SOOO RUDE MOMMY.   But it was really cute on the way there, wasn’t it?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Coming Soon

I have so much to blog about that before I can start that I need to blog myself a list of what I need to blog about! Spring break has been awesome, including trips to Austin (all of us) and Fredericksburg (just Will and me!) and getting this season’s flowers and herb garden planted.  I am just completely inspired to COOK lately.  Partly because of the trip (we had lovely wine, cheese and several incredible meals) and what I’ve been reading lately (Anthony Bourdain and am Amish cookbook, hah what a combo) and by the  beautiful produce at the market.  Here is what is in our fridge right now:

  • A bag of organic apples (for lunches and and maybe a tart)
  • red grapes
  • bananas
  • plums
  • compari tomatoes (for plating with mozzarella and basil with olive oil and red wine vinegar), heirloom tomatoes, (For salad) roma tomatoes (for sandwiches and pasta salad)
  • lemons, limes (for pasta dishes, marinating sausage, and mixing with coke)
  • 1016 onions, scallions, 2 heads of garlic
  • a head of cabbage, baby spinach, arugula, hearts of romaine
  • radishes
  • shredded carrots (for mixing with cabbage for Cole slaw)
  • celery
  • a pound of mushrooms (don’t know yet? maybe quesadillas or mushroom stroganoff)
  • Brussels sprouts (for pasta)
  • strawberries, blackberries, kiwi (for mixing in yogurt and on top of whole wheat waffles)

YUM. We are also fully stocked on pasta, rice, cuscus, risotto – this time of year I love to eat light!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I’m JUST sayin.


Did you know you could make your own thin mints?


I’m just sayin’.

Bella has a slight fever and tummy issues.   If your 3 year old comes into the room mumbling something about having flat poop, you should not finish the report that the CEO wants. Really. you should just get up and go and check on what exactly the phrase “real flat poop” might entail.

I’m just sayin’.

There is fresh pizza dough in the breadmachine and within 30 minutes there will be pizza bites. Oh lordy I need pizza bites.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for fresh dough and pepperoni. Thank you for a washing machine that sanitizes and for making Moms with strong stomachs and washable hands. Thank you for understanding CEOs and husbands. Thank you for the blessing of a good job and a busy family. Thank you that this day won’t last for ever and that your mercies will be new tomorrow.


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