Snow Day Soup

Since I've been cooking a LOT. I've decided to share some of the recipes here.
I am not a measurer especially when it comes to cooking outside of a new recipe.
So today after shoveling for what felt like the millionth time this Winter, I decided to make a snow day soup. It is my take (and what I had in the cupboard) on wedding soup.

I started out by chopping carrots and celery. Probably about 1/2 cup chopped altogether. I put a soup pot on the burner with some olive oil (I don't use extra virgin... just reg oo) I added the carrots and celery to the oil and let it saute (not sure how to spell that). Then I added some chopped garlic and salt, pepper and red chili pepper flakes (I add this to EVERYTHING.... even scrambled eggs). Let that cook for a bit and get soft. Not sure on time but I don't let any of it get any color. In the meantime I had some ground beef and pork and made little meatballs (very little of both... probably a cup and 1/4 altogether). Both meats, one egg, bread crumbs, parm cheese, salt, pepper, garlic powder... mix it up well but not over mixed and rolled little balls. I put that in a 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes. They don't have to cook all the way through because we are going to add it to the soup. When the carrots and celery mix is soft I added a can of white canellini beans, drained. I love white beans. After I put the beans in the pot I take a couple of tablespoons of water and swish it around the can to get the bits in the bottom and add that as well. Let that cook a bit. I constantly taste and season accordingly. While the beans are cooking I chopped up some fresh spinach and add it to the beans. Add some more salt, not that much but the spinach has no seasoning whatsoever. After I stir that around a bit I added two boxes of chicken broth and then 1/2 box of water... just fill it up and pour it out. I love the boxed stuff... so super easy and yummy. Bring that to almost a boil and add the meatballs. When it finally comes to a boil I added a little pastina... Which is just the little pasta. 4-6 minutes later the pastina is cooked and soup is ready. And yes there is enough for the whole block.... but I love soup. So cut down accordingly and make for your family next snow day or tomorrow.


Winter blah

It's getting to be that time of year where everyday is BLAH! We are trying to keep busy and this weekend was no different. Friday night we ventured into Hartford for the unveiling of the new facade and gallery at TheaterWorks. It was PACKED. You couldn't event walk around. We saw a few folks and corralled a few to join us at Hook and Ladder afterwards. We laughed and gossiped and chatted and were home by 10pm. My kinda night let me tell you.
Saturday I woke up early to head to the gym. I've been a little weary of the Saturday morning class, especially in the Winter. But this past Saturday proved me WRONG. It was a full class and they enjoyed it. I came home, did some cleaning and then headed out to meet up with the ladies for lunch at Panera. A friend was visiting from Maine, it was nice catching up. Afterwards Heather and I went to the movies to see Rachel Getting Married. Wow! Really amazing soundtrack and the movie wasn't so bad either.
Today we got up early and loaded the crock pot... chicken, beans, tomatoes, seasonings, onions, bacon.... and about 6 hours later... YUMMY. Heather and her man are over and we are watching a Dexter marathon. Not my favorite show, but my favorite peeps are here so that makes me happy.
I hate Sunday nights because it means the beginning of another week at home. I got a few leads late in the week last week so that was promising... we'll see what next week will bring. I'm going to start planning a party for the hubby; he has a big birthday coming up. Any ideas that you can send this way for a frugal yet elegant party are greatly appreciated. There are friends flying in for this one peeps.
The highlights of last week were:
• Watching the inauguration with my sister and the kids.
• Definitely book club (and the cake).
• Spending time with all my girlfriends (movies, lunch, unveiling...)
• No snow!
Okay peeps. Take it slow and enjoy the coziness!
The pictures are random bits of happiness!



Book Club

Tonight is the first night of book club for me. It feels like Christmas morning and a first date all at once. I'm so excited to meet these wonderful women and hang at Jenn's place, but at the same time I'm feeling a bit vulnerable. I told Jenn I would make a cake... what the hell was I thinking??? I'm a terrible baker! I searched for a good recipe for hours yesterday and then had nightmares about it not being edible. Ugh.
The first thought I had when I woke up this morning, "What if I can't remember anything about the book?".
Am I the biggest dork that ever lived or what?


There is a baker in me yet peeps. The cake is looking delish and the frosting even better. It may be lopsided and a little unevenly cooked but delish none the less. Maybe I could be a bakers assistant... I kick ass at measuring... except flour. :)

Update #2
The cake was a hit. It is even better the second day! Book Club was awesome and as promised the ladies were lovely. Can't wait to keep reading.


Snow Day Sunday

It snowed all night and most of the morning today. I was a little hesitant to head out and shovel. Last week after I did I threw my back out. But I didn't want hubby to go out alone and the snow looked so light. When I got out there the snow was incredibly light... it looked fake or like someone had a pillow fight and all the feathers leaked out. I shoveled the back staircase and the front walk. As I was walking back I watched hubby snow blowing our neighbors walk and thought instantly that I am the luckiest person alive. I know that lately I have been in the dumps and have let my uncertainty get the better of me, but from the beginning (and every day since) my man has been my biggest cheerleader. He has always fought to put a smile on my face, has listened to every tear filled confessio of uncertainty and "why me" and always reminded me that this is not about me and that I am awesome. As I watched him walk up the sidewalk I was filled with love and thought, "I love this man so completely, utterly, and forever". Then if that wasn't enough he is making the most delicious smelling sauce ever.... YUM.
I am trying peeps. I know that this is temporary and that things will happen for me. This week I am going to concentrate on "Choosing Happiness" and "Organization".
Thank you all for your constant encouragement and love. Jenn dinner was awesome!
OH and of course one of my favorite shows starts tonight and for that I am super excited.... bring on the BIG LOVE.
S (love me for my cheesy smile)



So I've recently had the revelation that: This is probably going to take a while. Ugh. This week got worse and worse as the days went by. My back was ACHY, Hubby was super busy (and continues to be), I made phone calls on Tuesday that never got returned. I got together with a friend today to talk about job searching and interviews and whatnot and the bottom line... this may take awhile. Ugh.
So here I am at home, freezing (it is 15 degrees out or less) and I need to get back that cheerleader that was in me at the beginning.... So here is an attempt at the things that went well this week and the list of happiness.
• Waking up at sister's house with the kids was awesome. Watching little Juju and K get on the bus was adorable and spending time with R without the other kids was priceless.
• I had great aqua classes on Monday and Thursday, lots of compliments and it was great to move and not think about this damn computer.
• Going to the theater to see Ave Q was tons of fun. Hubby surprised me and we met up with some friends. I have wanted to see it for awhile and actually the fact that the main story line was about a kid that gets laid off from his job and tries to find purpose in his life... didn't bother me as much as it could have. :)
• I've been reading a TON more... and getting all the books from the library.
• Spending time with Ali and her kids ALWAYS makes me happy.
• Having dinner with Jenn tonight.... whoo hoo!
• Craigs list is fun....
• My sister always calls at the right time and says the right stuff.
Nuff for now.... Need to save some of these feel goods for next week...



Another week

Not much more happening this week than last. It's getting old people. I guess the only difference is that I threw my back out shoveling... ugh. I was supposed to babysit yesterday and with the snow Saturday night I tried to help hubby before I left. After the shoveling I came in to take a shower and when I came out I was a hurt puppy. I still babysat and tried to have a good time doing it. But you know how it is when you have to sleep in someone else's bed when you are not feeling 100% and when a 5 year old decides that they HAVE to sleep with you.... I'm worse today. I am going to the dr this afternoon so that will help.
Babysitting was really really fun. We played rock band... I was supposed to be a lead singer. ;) We played Wii... it is crazy physical. I practically knocked R over. We read, we put a USA map together. We ate.... I made turkey burgers and fries, you would have thought that these children had never seen fries... the littlest one kept saying, "These are really good!". We got tattoos.... check the picture above (can't seem to post pictures at this time... check back later). I put a huge one on K's chest and he loved it and his mom did not. :) I live to aggravate my sister. My sister stayed home from work today so we went out for coffee and chatted. It was so nice to spend some time with her today.
On the job search front: NOTHING BREWING. I'm still looking and applying so keep those fingers crossed even though you think that at this point they might stay that way. Have faith peeps.


That's all folks....

The official holiday season is over.... except for one day celebrated by few. Tomorrow is 3 Kings day. Doesn't mean much to most but in my family we celebrate La Befana. She is the Italian equivalent of Santa Claus. I'm sure that by now they also celebrate good ol' Sant Nick in Italy, but La Befana is special.
Christian legend has it that La Befana was approached by the three kings a few days before Christ's birth. They asked for directions to where the baby Jesus was, but she did not know. She provided them with shelter for a night, as she was considered the best housekeeper in the village with the most pleasant home. They invited her to join them on the journey to find the baby Jesus, but she declined, stating she was too busy with her housework. Later, La Befana had a change of heart, and tried to search out the astrologers and Jesus. That night she was not able to find them, so to this day, La Befana is searching for the baby Jesus. She leaves all the good children toys and candy, while the bad children get coal or bags of ashes. (taken from Wikipedia) Even more the Italians leave a glass of wine for her by the chimney (instead of cookies) and legend has it that she will sweep before she leaves. How about that.... Santa doesn't do windows does he?
All growing up we used to wait for 3 Kings day to take down the tree because inevitably there were a few treats for us. I have two distinct memories of those gifts... I must have been in 5th grade when "La Befana" brought me a jean skirt and a purple notebook.... I was THE happiest kid alive. Then when I was 16 my Mom and I traveled to Italy for New Years and the week after. It was the first time that I was in Italy for Befana so my aunt made sure that she had gifts for me as well as the little girl next door. We opened our gifts from Befana at the same time. There were about 6 or 7 and they were all wrapped separately. La Befana makes sure to put some "coal" in your stocking because every kid is bad sometimes.... among our gifts were wrapped potatoes and onions. Every time the little girl unwrapped a potato she would cry out with sadness, but when the adults weren't watching she turned to me and said, "I deserve this potato, I know I was a naughty girl." It was adorable.
So keep a glass of wine by the chimney tonight in case La Befana stops by and don't mind those potatoes, they are there just to keep you honest.


Happy 2009

I haven't posted cuz I'm a stinker. I've been cursing the new year.... what's so good about it anyway?
That is starting to wear off and I'm ready to start anew.
I'm tempted to make a few resolutions, but I really need to be careful about what I want out of this year. The past few years I have exclaimed, "This is gonna be my year!"... But what does that really mean? And if the year turned out not so great (even though good things happened) does that mean that it was or wasn't my year?
So this year I want to be really careful about what I resolve to accomplish and do.
It goes back to my, be careful what you ask for, you just might get it! attitude.
General things that I want this year:
• a challenging job with like minded people
• healthy habits
• spend more time with friends and family
• read all kinds of books (hence joining the book club)
• get rid of the white noise (things that are cluttering the house and ultimately my life)
So far that is all I can come up with.
I will keep you posted on all these fronts.

Here are some pics of the food that I have been making lately. I meant to add the fish (that we've been eating a lot of - healthy habit) and the potato skins that I made for New Years... but I forgot. The skins were TASTY.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Butternut Squash muffins (so tasty - a great recipe)

Banana Bread (and muffins - not shown here)

Roasted green beans with grape tomatoes