Monday, January 30, 2012

The Best Lasagna of Your Life

If you love cheese as much as I do, this Barefoot Contessa lasagna is one for the books. It's made with four kinds of cheese (yes, really), chicken sausage, and homemade sauce. First, I have to show you the finished product:

 It might look like portion control, but my plate is actually 4 feet in diameter. So, anyways...

First you make a sauce. I'll post the recipe at the bottom. But the gist is onions, garlic, chicken or turkey sausage (I did chicken), a huge can of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, fresh basil, salt and pepper. You could actually call it a day right here and pour this over noodles. But I digress ... back to what is sure to be the best lasagna of your life. As I mentioned before, the cheese to everything-else ratio is sort of appalling, but you'll just have to get over it. Hello, fresh mozz....

Then there's this mixture of part-skim ricotta, goat cheese, parmesan cheese, an egg and parsley:

Okay, calm down. Pretend it's fat-free.

Layer it all, bake for 30 minutes and dinner is SERVED. If you feel like sharing, this lasagna could easily feed eight people. Here's the full recipe and directions from Ina. Jeffrey probably looooves this.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Food Blog Favorites

Thanks to Pinterest, I'm always starving. Anyone else? Since joining, I've learned I need a crockpot, a lifetime supply of marshmallows and serious self-control. Just looking at the drool-worthy recipes my friends have pinned actually makes me feel like I've gained 10 pounds. Between the s'more cups and hash-brown-egg-bacon breakfast cups, all I want to do is whip up a batch of, well, everything. So, I thought I'd share the love. Here are some great food blogs I've pinned and pined over on Pinterest (say that three times fast.)

These beyond delicious looking s'more cups are from Texas Cottage, a super cute blog that covers everything from cooking to crafting.

I'm really loving Skinnytaste for healthier recipes. I just bought the ingredients to make these Asian Turkey Meatballs one night this week. If you're doing Weight Watchers, all recipes list point values.

Okay, back to the desserts... Rolo Cake Mix Bars? OMFG. For more recipes that will make you thankful for pants with elastic waistbands, check out Cookies and Cups.

I've always loved stove top mac and cheese. Here's a healthy, easy way to ditch that fluorescent powder mix and make it with American cheese and fat free Greek yogurt. Thanks, Confections of a Foodie Bride!

What food blogs do you love? Share the recipes you're planning to try out!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Are You a Nag?

Are you a nag? Of course not! Me neither. We are a dream to be in a relationship with.

Okay, fine. Maybe we gently remind our significant others to do things. Sometimes more than once. It's not like we're slipping post-it notes in between the ham and cheese of his sandwich like this lady. Whether it's via lunch bag or in person, there are lots of reasons behind those eye-roll inducing, annoying reminders both women and men are guilty of spewing.

In an article from The Wall Street Journal, Scott Wetzler, a psychologist and vice chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Montefiore Medical Center in New York says, "We have a perception that we won't get what we want from the other person, so we feel we need to keep asking in order to get it."

Asking your husband to unload the dishwasher is no biggie. In fact, it's required. But some experts say constant badgering is toxic to a marriage. Why? Because the cycle of nagging can lead to resentment, annoyance, frustration, and fights about fights.

I only nag in extreme situations ... like when my husband left six boxes of papers from his old job in our kitchen for months. I asked him on a daily basis to get rid of them, to no avail. So, anytime he nagged me about doing something (like putting away the four pairs of boots I left in the living room), I'd say, "I will when those boxes are gone." Oh, snap.

What I learned is that it's all about compromise. Today, our kitchen doesn't look like an episode of Hoarders, and I maturely deal with my shoe pile.*

*my husband said, "FALSE!" And then pointed to my shoe pile. 

Are you guilty of nagging? Leave a comment!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Desk Decor

If your job is anything like mine, you probably spend a lot of time sitting at a desk. So, to counterbalance the fluorescent lighting and filing cabinets, it's important to add a little personality to our work spaces. Actually, throughout the first year of my current job, my desk had zero personality. Aside from office supplies and five industrial sized tubs of antibacterial wipes that were there when I started, my little pod was a bit sterile (in two ways, apparently). Then one day, it dawned on me that my co-workers probably thought I was a germaphobe with lots of paper clips and no friends. So, I've been sprucing it up with fun pictures, and an over-dramatic plant that dies and comes back to life without fail every Monday.

If your desk is in need of a little something, here are some fun ideas:

This adorable monogrammed mug ($8 from Anthropologie) is a great pen/pencil holder. I just bought one!

If you have lots of magazines and binders, organize them in this cute set from See Jane Work.

Fill up drab wall space and keep track of upcoming vacations with a calendar. For just $9.99, you can meet a "nice jewish guy" (and make your co-workers uncomfortable) every single month!

Or perhaps Ron Swanson is what your desk has been missing all this time. Is anyone else completely obsessed with Parks and Rec? I'm one click away from ordering this poster, and a side of bacon:

Fabric thumbtacks - sure, why not?

Pictures of family, friends, and pets are always nice reminders of life outside the office. Check out stores like Marshalls and TJ Maxx for cheap (but really cute!) picture frames. Need some free wall art? Add pops of color to your bulletin boards by tacking up pretty cards and stationary you've received. 

What are your desk decor essentials?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Warm January Saturday

It was 65 degrees in DC today. Birds chirped. Flowers bloomed. Al Gore and the science community headed to their bunkers. My morning started with the creation of a 102 point word in Words with Friends that I'm pretty sure I made up. So, the day was destined to be awesome. I put away the puffy coat and set out to enjoy the late April January weather. My husband and I took a nice long walk, followed by lunch at Commissary. Then we decided an afternoon bloody mary was necessary to ponder the effects of global warming.

But instead, we opted to watch the pilot episode of The Wonder Years on Netflix, where I proceeded to cry throughout the entire thing. Then we took another walk to enjoy the weird weather.

How did you spend your unseasonably warm Saturday?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Chili of Champions

One of my new year's resolutions is to cook more often.Ya know, maybe take the Cuisinart I've had for two years out of the box? At the top of my to-make list is this delicious chili, the perfect warm meal to whip up on a cold Sunday afternoon when you have zero desire to watch another Kardashian marathon or leave the house. It's from Cooking Light, so it's (sorta?) healthy. I love the combination of using spicy turkey or chicken sausage and ground beef. Plus, the recipe calls for red wine and tons of great spices which definitely takes the average chili up a notch. 

A few helpful tips:

1) First chop up all of your veggies and put them aside.
2) Be careful with the jalapeno! If you touch the seeds, the skin on your hand could feel like it's burning. Not fun. Trust me. And if you don't like things super spicy, don't add the seeds.
3) Measure out all of your spices ahead of time too, and put them together in a bowl. This way you can just dump them all in at once, rather than frantically doing it as you go.
4) Obviously top with heaps of shredded cheddar cheese and serve some cornbread on the side. 

Not only does this chili make for amazing leftovers, it will seriously impress your friends if you choose to invite them over to partake in the deliciousness. It's a one dish wonder ... works like a charm.

Click here for the recipe.