Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cooking Soothes My Soul

I really enjoy cooking.  I really enjoy baking.  There's something about cooking on a Sunday for your family that makes you feel so good.

Today I tackled Pasta Fagioli.  I think I am in love.  I enjoy it while out but today I made it and I don't think I will ever enjoy it as much as my own.


I even managed to photo my cooking as I went along (a little secret, taking the flash off was amazing - even in my terribly lit kitchen.  Mucho happiness).

Here's the recipe and some yummy photos...

Pasta Fagioli (adapted from Rachael Ray)

2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 oz  Pancetta
2 Sprigs Rosemary
1 Tablespoon Thyme (or 2 sprigs)
2 dried Bay leaves
1 medium onion chopped
1 carrot chopped
1 rib celery chopped
4 large cloves garlic
1 can cannellini  beans
1 can red kidney beans
1 can crushed tomatoes (next time I may add more)
2 cups water
1 quart vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups dilatini
grated parm/reggiano cheese for table
crusty bread for "mopping"


Heat a deep pot over medium high heat and add oil and pancetta.  Brown the pancetta bits lightly and add herb stems, bay leaf, chopped vegetables and garlic.  Season vegetables with salt and pepper.  Add beans, tomato sauce, water and stock to pot and raise heat to high.  Bring soup to a rapid boil and add pasta.  Reduce heat to medium and cook soup, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Remove Rosemary stems and Bay leaves. Place pot on table on a trivet, let rest and cool.  Ladle soup into bowls and top with lots of cheese.  Crusty bread for mopping.

The finished product, which was/is delicious.
Here it is in a favorite dish we received as a shower gift when we got engaged.  I so love it.  This soup just really seemed fitting for it.

Enjoy!  Bon Appetit!


Cleaning House


I need to get rid of some stuff.

Crib. Table and chairs. Pram stroller. Pack 'n Play.

See what I mean?  Stuff.  It needs to go.  It is all in the basement and I want it out.

Craigslist?  Is it worth it?  I guess so.  I have never had a garage sale and don't know how I feel about having people go through my stuff in front of me and than asking to pay a quarter.  I think that leads me to thinking that if you do stuff like that, garage sales, you need to not be attached to your stuff anymore.

So, here's to not being attached to stuff anymore.  I will *try* to post some stuff today to start cleaning house.

Wish me luck!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Motivation Mondays

Have you ever felt unmotivated?  Either by the sheer thought of a task or not knowing where to start of just plain, lack of motivation?

Lately I felt that way.  Things have been going on that left me down in the dumps and I want out. I want out of the dumps and get moving on some stuff around here.  I want to paint my room, get some decorating done in my family room, get some tables in the living room and do some decorating there and the list goes on and on and on...

I need motivation.  This motivates me today.  This will be a brand new week.

Life is a Daring Adventure or Nothing - Helen Keller

What motivates you?  Keeps you going?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bond, James Bond that is

We went to my brother in law's 50th birthday party over the weekend.

It was a James Bond Themed party.  Here are some of the highlights

It was truly a good time.  Everyone was good sports, even my hubby who does not like to dress up.

Hubby and his siblings

Great time had by all and enjoyed ourselves.  Nice to get out once in a while.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Healthy Eating

The other day grandma picked up some fresh flounder to make for dinner, before her purchase she asked me if I would make it.  I said absolutely and the wheels got a turning.

(courtesy of

I took the filets, washed and dried them.  Laid the flat, put frozen spinach on center of the filet, sprinkled parm/reggiano on top of the spinach, rolled the filet and put into a baking dish.  I repeated with the rest of the fish filling the dish.  The dish was oval shaped (I only cooked 4 filets).  I added the remaining spinach and tri-colored peppers (they come in the bag at Costco) sliced in half around the filets. Drizzle olive oil over the fish.  Then I sprinkled Sea Salt, a little pepper and smoked paprika on top of the filets.  Finally I topped the fish with chopped (little cubes) tomatoes.  Covered baking dish with foil and baked at 350 for about 20 minutes, then removed foil for another 5-10 minutes.

You can serve over more spinach or even rice.  I just ate it with a salad but everyone else had a little pasta.

For the children I fried the flounder after dredging in egg and then a panko/breadcrumb mixture.  That had leftovers which I had for lunch the next day.  I need to make fish more often.

**Recipe for Baked Flounder

4-6 Flounder filets
frozen spinach
1/4 cup parm/reggiano cheese
Sea Salt
Paprika (I had smoked paprika)
6 tri-colored peppers (yellow, red, orange)
1/2 tomato
olive oil



Sunday, February 6, 2011

Party Planning Mode

This is a big year for me and most of my friends, we are all turning 40 this year.

Yep, the BIG 4-0.

No biggie, it's just a number and I am okay with it, really.

We have been going to parties and there seems to be more on the horizon (yay!).

My brother in law turns 50 this year and my sister in law is throwing him a James Bond themed party.  She wanted to do this for his 40th but he wanted no part of it.  Clearly this time he lost out.  She is requesting people dress as their favorite Bond character, bond girl, henchmen or villain.  I am thinking of Solitaire - Jane Seymour's character, the Tarot card reader.

My sister in law is trying to do food themed around the name of the movie, so now I am thinking...

On another note, my parent's are throwing me a big 40th birthday.  The invitations are through this site it is really cool and very nice stuff.

I will let you know more stuff as it comes along and if you know any recipe that could be used for the Bond party let me know.