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Monday, January 30, 2012

Spicy Sausage Lasagna

a birthday dinner calls for a new recipe. 
lasagna is one of my all-time-favs... 
but it was time to spiceit. up! 
the "everything-but-the-kitchen-sink" meat sauce.
take note- this will make other appearances. 

Spicy Sausage Lasagna

·        6 lasagna noodles, cooked al dente
·        1 lb spicy {or mild} Italian sausage
·        2 cups mushrooms, roughly chopped
·        1 medium onion, chopped
·        3 cups fresh baby spinach
·        1 can diced black olives {optional}
·        1 jar marinara sauce {25 oz}
·        1 cup skim-ricotta cheese
·        2 cups low-fat mozzarella cheese
·        1 cup parmesan cheese
·        1 tbsp dried basil
·        1 tbsp garlic powder
·        1 tbsp Italian seasoning

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Coat bottom of casserole dish using 5-6 ounces of the marinara sauce.
3. Cook sausage with onions until no longer pink.
4. Add mushrooms, olives and spinach. Stir and let simmer until spinach leaves are wilted and mushrooms are golden.
5. Add garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and s + p.  
6. Stir in remaining marinara sauce and remove from heat.
7. Line 3 lasagna noodles over marinara sauce in casserole dish.
8. Top noodles with meat sauce.
9. Add 5-6 dollops of the ricotta cheese on top of meat mixture.
10. Sprinkle ½ of mozzarella and parmesan amounts over ricotta.
11.  Top with lasagna noodles.
12. Dust with remaining mozzarella, parmesan cheese, and dried basil.
13. Bake [un-covered] for 20-30 minutes, or until bubbly. 

red velvet cupcakes with butter-cream frosting.
I cheated.
that dude Duncan Hines may or may not have been involved.
I don't care what Betty says...
happiest of birthdays to you, momma :) xo

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

random finds + favs

1. Pinterest
we all know this site is the greatest thing since sliced bread. 
few may know that the creator of fabu site- is from York, PA.
which just so happens to be where both sides of my family are from.
[which secretly makes feel like I have some sort of a personal connection to this phenom.]

things I've learned-loved-and-savored from pinterest this week...

scarf inspiration from the fashion spot
just recently learned a new way to tie my daily scarf from one of my besties
[just so happens to be number 3 on the website]

here's my attempt.
[[it's like a whole new accessory!]] 


This is something I want to try-
just sounds so refreshing + great benefits :)

To boost weight loss + increase energy - 
2L water, 1 medium cucumber, 1 lemon, 10-12 mint leaves. 
steep overnight in fridge and drink everyday.


 found this deelicious inspiration for our "football" dinner 

I made my own version...

pull-apart pizza knots
  • 1 can Pillsbury buttermilk biscuits 
  • 20 pepperoni slices
  • 2 mozzarella cheese sticks, cubed
  • 1 egg [for wash]
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Generously grease the bottom and sides of desired casserole dish with non-stick spray.
  3. Pop open biscuit can. 
  4. Split each biscuit in half.
  5. Make each half into mini pizza circle. 
  6. Layer with 1 pepperoni [cut in fourths] and 1 mozzarella cube.
  7. Bring biscuit dough up around cheese + pepperoni to form a "knot."
  8. Repeat with remaining biscuits, pepperonis, and cheese. 
  9. Place in casserole dish, pinched side down, and pushed up against other knots. 
  10. Brush egg wash over knots when finished. 
  11. Dust with Italian seasoning and sea salt.
  12. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until tops begin to brown. 
  13. Meanwhile, heat marinara sauce in microwave or stove-top. 
  14. When finished-let cool, pull-apart, dunk, and enjoy!! 


2. These amazing bowls are one of my favorite kitchen tools.
 they were a wedding gift from one of my favorite ladies on the planet! {SDS}

 3. Rotisserie Chicken
the smell alone can cause one to want to pull-over 
on the way home from the store just to sample a-piece. just sayin'

something I love to do,
 is get one-- pull off the legs & save them for dinner. 
then I shred the remaining chicken + make a chicken salad for sandwiches for the week! 

shredded chicken + equal parts mayo & mustard + chopped green onion + shredded carrots

4. hair-spiration
i'm currently in the process of growing out a bob. 
thinking i'll take this route...thanks Gwenny!

5. tablescapes
nothing like switching up your decor' to spice things up a bit 
and put a little pick-up in your giddy-up!

used a table runner that my husband's grandmother made [gorgeous!]
and some good ole' carnations, mason jars, and old blue bottles i had. 


and with that I will leave you with a few of my favorite-furry-faces. 
goodnight + Downton be with you ;)

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rhapsody in Blue

It was a Gershwin kind of day-more specifically a Rhapsody in Blue kind of day. There were really peaceful moments and really chaotic all-over-the-place moments. Really rushed moments and really slow-as-glue moments. Moments you felt like all the right notes were coming together and moments you wanted to punch-piano keys. I feel like this piece of music could be the soundtrack to what our [teachers'] days are like. What a range of emotions, actions, paces, thought-patterns we zip through?! This music hit me tonight as I was coming home in the quiet rain from my acupuncture appointment...feeling quiet peaceful + reflective {apparently}. 

This is why I love holistic health. 
This sweet guy was my company until my acupuncturist was ready. 
 hi Chico :)

Tonight was one of the first nights all week that my husband and I got to sit down and eat dinner at-the-same-time. So, I wanted to make it a good one. After he got his second bowl; I mentally brushed my shoulders off ;) 

Here's what I came up with...

EVOO + s/p + grape tomatoes + 375 degrees = roasted tomatoes. mmmm
for no mess meatballs- make little foil cups in a cupcake pan! 

Tortellini and Turkey Meatballs 

  • 1 lb ground turkey 
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp oregano 
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp salt + pepper
  • 1 package tortellini, cooked
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 3 tbsp pesto
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, roasted 
  • sprinkle or two of parsley 
  • 1-2 tbsp parmesan cheese 
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a medium sized bowl. 
  3. Make 2-3 tbsp sized meatballs with mixture. 
  4. Place in cupcake pan [as seen above] or in even rows on a cookie sheet. Spray either [vigorously] with non-stick olive oil spray. 
  5. Place in oven and cook for 10-15 minutes. Meatballs should be firm.
  6. Meanwhile, in large bowl combine Greek yogurt, pesto, and red pepper flakes. 
  7. Add freshly cooked pasta to Greek yogurt mixture- and stir carefully. 
  8. When meatballs are finished, add to the pasta mixture. 
  9. Spoon out pasta + meatballs. Add desired number of roasted tomatoes.[the more the merrier!]
  10. Sprinkle with parsley, parmesan and enjoy! 


it's almost Friday!! 

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Monday, January 23, 2012

the little post that could

this is the 2nd edition of what was originally titled "finger food rules!"
2nd edition because...when trying to edit a photo I inadvertently deleted the entire post. [[GAHHH!!]]
holy frustration, batman. 
the cat was definitely judging me as I threw my technology-tantrum. 

If this was a live cooking show we'd definitely have a couple #$&@'s to bleep out 
+ would have to go to an immediate commercial break. 

but as they say in the biz... 

...Annnd we're back!


some snap-shots from a cozy + chilly weekend [it snowed!!]

 stayed warm by the fire ;)
mom + I enjoyed a little local hibachi and cocktails

The Mr. got home from his NC soccer tourney just in time for FOOTBALL on Sunday. 
[a moment of silence for Raven's fans...] 
we started a mini tradition this football season.
it's a little ditty we like to call FOOTBALL DINNERRRR!! [said in an echoing manly voice]
it's pretty simple. 
only one rule applies.
finger food + football = couch potato laziness at its best!

here's what I came up with this weekend...

The Perfect Guac
[seriously, I've tried a lot of guacamole in my day]

  • 4 avocados
  • 2 tbsp chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • s + p
  • 1 tbsp celery salt
  1. Cut and spoon out avocados into a medium sized bowl. 
  2. Mash with a fork until smooth[ish].
  3. Add remaining ingredients and stir until well-blended. 
  4. Grab your favorite chip and go in for a dip! boom! 


Ranch-Cheeseburger Crescent Roll-Ups
:crescent rolls make for a fabulous foundation when coming up with creative finger foods:


  • 1 can Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
  • 1/2 lb [lean] ground turkey
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 2 tbsp [light] ranch dressing  
  • 1 egg [for wash]
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp worchestershire
  • s + p
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Brown meat in pan over medium heat.
  3. Add garlic powder, worchestershire, and s+p to season.
  4. Remove from heat and empty meat into a medium-sized bowl. 
  5. Stir in ranch dressing and set to the side.
  6. Line a cookie sheet with foil and grease with non-stick cooking spray. 
  7. Pop open crescent rolls and lay them out on the cookie sheet.
  8. Begin layering each flat roll with 1-2 spinach leaves, 1 tbsp of meat mixture, and a sprinkling of cheese. Repeat on each crescent roll. 
  9. Carefully roll up each one. Trial and error worked best for me. [they do not have to look perfect!]
  10. Brush egg wash onto each roll-up. 
  11. Place in oven and bake for 9-11 minutes.
  12. Watch carefully! Remove when golden brown. [thank you, egg wash!]
  13. Let cool for 2-3 minutes before devouring :)  


check out my latest pinterest experiment.
they say you can re-use and re-grow your old {mushy} green onions.
snip off the old bits and submerge the roots in water.
place by a sunny window + watch grow. {apparently}
we shall see-stay tuned! 

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Crock-Pot Chicken Curry

oh if only the internet had a smell button.
i adore my crock-pot. it makes life so easy when it comes to meal planning! 
[[AND]] it fills your home with the most amazing, cozy,
mouth-watering fragrances to come home to.  

yesterday I made a delicious version of one of my favorite meals... chicken curry 
it's so simple, it's stupid
try it out- I dare ya!

Crock-Pot Chicken Curry


  • 1 16-oz jar of medium chunky salsa 
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 3 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 lb chicken thighs, skin removed 
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt 
  • pinch [or 2] of chopped parsley for garnish

  1. Place chicken in crock-pot.
  2. In a medium bowl combine first 5 ingredients.
  3. Pour over chicken. 
  4. Cook for 6-8 hours on low.
  5. Turn off heat.
  6. Using tongs, remove chicken bones [that's right, it just falls off the bones!].
  7. Mix in Greek yogurt.
  8. Serve over rice, mashed-taters, or even grits! 
  9. Garnish with parsley. 
[[ I served mine over my favorite; Uncle Ben's Jasmine Rice]]

--------->super yummy + quite low in fat and calories.<-------- 
sweet score!

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

football, fashion, and food...oh my!

This weekend was just lovely. It was a 3-day wknd, so what's not to love? 

isn't our town darling?
enjoyed some brews + oysters at our local micro-brewery [brewer's alley]

watched football. lots and lots. 
playoffs! playoffs?! Ravens WIN! whew-hoo! Packers lose? weird. 
[[how adorable is my fur-cousin Jagger?]]

watched the Globes...well more like glanced at the Globes.
mainly just to get a peek at these ^

[Jessica + Reese were my favs!]

also watched this. holy cow. incredible story.
a few of the images + sounds, still haunt me.
powerful stuff.

Got a little crafty! thanks to pinterest, I was inspired 1st to make this holiday card wreath.
then when putting our "holiday" things away, the thought occurred to me to hit up good ole' JoAnn's Fabric and find some pre-cut hearts to put in place of the holiday cards.
think it turned out pretty darn cute...if I do say so myself ;)

I also decided the winter outdoor wreath had to go. So thanks again to pinterest [addicted!]
I got a little inspiration for a sweet-heart XO wreath.
This one took a lot more time + work. Got all of my supplies from JoAnn's again.
Both projects cost maybe $20?! Gotta love that teacher discount :)


did a little cooking---->Crab Dip!! [recipe below] [[YUM!]]

enjoyed a mini road-trip with the hubs

AND...became absolutely enthralled with this show! [[highly recommend]]murder, betrayal, British accents, love affairs 20th century fashion, war
...need I say more?


Quick + Easy Crab Dip

  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup low-fat mayo
  • 2 tbsp mustard
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire 
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp Old Bay
  • 2 cups [divided] cheddar cheese [or any cheese you'd like, I used pepper jack for an extra kick!]
  • 12-16oz crab-meat 
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl using only one cup of cheese. 
  3. Spoon crab mixture into baking dish.
  4. Top with remaining cheese and a sprinkle [or 3] of Old Bay seasoning. 
  5. Cover with foil, and bake for 15-20 mins or until bubbly. 
  6. Remove foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until top begins to slightly brown! 
  7. Grab your favorite cracker or chip + dig in! Enjoy :)
[I think either Ritz crackers, or Stacy's Simply Naked Pita chips work best!]

this weekend was just easy-breezy [as they should be]
and an all-around...

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