uh oh

I can’t find my camera charger….. have looked through every room in the house and its just totally MIA…. so we may be going light on the pics the next few days while I look to order a new one…

allllll coulda been avoided if Santa would have broughtme a DSLR this year…. bummer….

pasta night

It goes without saying that I greatly embrace my Italian heritage and love making traditional pasta dishes though I will admit I often cheat and base my sauces with a plain store bought sauce and then spice them up…

So the other night I wanted to make something that I could keep well for left overs and would make use of some sweet sausage that I needed to cook up….

The result was this baby….

I do wish I would have let it bake another 10 minutes but it was still damn good…

The pasta bake included crumbled sweet sausage, chicken, “chunked up” pasta sauce, cavattapi pasta and mozzarella cheese…. simple and yummy…

not gonna lie, I love the steam in this pic

cook your sausage and chicken, season liberally, drain off any grease and add onion, garlic and any other veggies you would like to include that will need sautéed… (zucchini, peppers, mushrooms) and cook down for 5 minutes…

Add in diced tomatoes and choice of plain pasta sauce…

simmer while the pasta cooks and the sauce will thicken a bit…

mix your pasta of choice (curly pastas are best in my opinion) and put in a large baking dish… If you haven’t figured it out this dish is all about eye balling and making it what you want… no true recipe…

top with mozzarella cheese and bake at 350 for 30 minutes…. I did mine for 20 and I think it would have been better if left in longer…  This made about 8 servings… so you can portion it out and save it for your next couple lunches…. it reheats really well…

ENJOY!

snacking

since my back hasn’t been letting me move around too much I’ve been making a few snacks here and there and got up the energy to make a big pasta bake who’s leftovers I’ve been living off of since Monday…

grilled cheeeeeesus

please tell me someone who is a gleek gets that caption….

my creation has grilled onions, tomato, american and muenster cheese…. it was uber delish… I was a hardcore grilled cheese addict when I lived in Maryland and worked at a little diner by the university… one of the cooks used to make them for me when we were slow…. yum…

mmmm ranch

and then I topped it off with ranch dressing because that’s how I do….

and like the rest of the blogging world I tried my hand at Jessica’s Cookie Dough Dip

She has recipes for snickerdoodle, peanut butter and double fudge…. but becuase I can’t make up my mind I just combined the PB and the chocolate… 🙂

mix ins!

mmmmmmmmm

this was sooooo sweet I could only eat a little at a time but def good….

My dippers…. were a plate of these….

cinnamon sugar tortilla chips…. mmmmmm… reminded me a little of my favorite snack when I was little – toast with butter cinnamon and sugar….and I wonder why I have a sweet tooth, mom indulged me a little much…

To make these I just cut up some tortillas and laid them on a baking sheet and sprinkled with a layer of cinnamon and sugar and popped under a low broiler setting just keep a close eye on them!

Be back tonight with my successful chicken and sausage pasta bake… if there’s one thing I’m good at its casseroles, so I’m just gonna embrace it and role with it lol…

Belated Christmas

So sorry that I’ve been missing for a few days… I seem to have crashed after the insanity of the last semester and the holidays… plus my back isn’t getting any better so I’ve only be moving from the recliner when I have to cook or take the dog out…

Today I’ll be venturing to the grocery store hopefully, maybe getting moving will help a bit…

Christmas was exhausting but great… I was spoiled beyond belief…

Steve’s family goes all out… this was just Christmas morning… Christmas Eve had just as many at his Grandmothers with the extended family…

minnie's present!

Minnie got a red barn filled bone… normally she demolished a bone in a day or two…. she’s barely made a dent in this one its awesome!  (thanks for the tip Rachele)

Steve's brother's wrapping

see the plain box with the ribbon? that is Dan’s idea of wrapping… made for good laughs… its the thought that counts and he did it himself afterall…

guns........... boys..

unbeknownst to each other the brothers got each other rifles for Christmas… Dan outdid his big brother with the camo and scope though… hehe

breakfast

we then proceeded to eat a bunch ofthese while waiting for papa H to make scrambled eggs for breakfast…

Steve and I headed to my Maya’s for an early dinner and some presents with my mom, step dad and maya… it was pretty good given our history of bad holidays…

Back to Steve’s parents for dinner the last of the presents and finally home to go to bed….

You may laugh at what I got but its what I put on my list…

  • iron
  • ironing board
  • 2 books (jane green and jodi picoult)
  • mario galaxy game (which is totally on my level lol)
  • new wii remote – since minnie eats them for snacks
  • Despicable Me DVD
  • 40 piece rubbermaid set (seriously… I needed it)
  • bunch of socks
  • some votives
  • a steelers hoodie and t-shirt
  • handmade ornaments
  • flannel pj set
  • slippers
  • gift cards

told you I got spoiled…. plus that envoy in the driveway…

and to top it off… Steve’s dad has been here all week working on home improvement projects during his week off… he’s rebuilt the access panel where we had to redo the plumbing, secured the basement stairs that were collapsing, and insulated the 2 basement windows that were apparently letting out half the heat in the house…

so blessed this holiday season….

I’ll be back tomorrow

Sorry for the brief hiatus… the Christmas insanity kept me pretty tied up for a few days and I woke up this morning with such severe back pain I basically laid in the recliner for 5 hrs straight and didn’t move…

The pain has dulled and I’m hoping that by tomorrow morning it will be a bit better as I have errands to run and tons of posts to get ready!

I will admit that I did not get the DSLR camera I asked for because Steve helped put money towards they new vehicular… but I can’t be too disappointed… the car was more important… there’s always next year…

Hope everyone had a wonderful christmas!!!!!!

counting my blessings

Last night I began to feel sad, even tearing up a bit, thinking that this has been such a wonderful holiday season so far and that the one thing missing from it was Dad… it is amazing how that one thing can begin to pull you down…

The more I sat there the more the logical side of me began to win out… I realized that I got to see my dad’s siblings this week and my cousin’s new daughter… I learned how to “paint” sugar cookies like my grandmother did years ago…

I will be spending tonight with Steve’s family, going to church for the first time in years…. something that can only do me good…

My mother has been in the Christmas spirit for the first time in my memory and it is heartwarming to see and touches me deeply….

My family has come together to help me purchase a much needed new vehicle… something I never thought would happen…

I will spend tomorrow with not only Steve’s family but with my mom and 94 year old grandmother…

I cannot wait to see the looks on everyone’s faces when they open their gifts… for once, its not about me…

Dad cannot be here…. but I have so many other amazing things blessing me right now that I can’t be anything but thankful….

I love you dad…. merry christmas….

good friends good food

Monday night my two best friends and I synced our schedules to go to a great fondue restaurant in Pittsburgh, The Melting Pot.  Every year around christmas we try to get together and go have fondue and drinks just us girls, no boys allowed…

love these girls!!! Melissa and Ashley

Melissa needs to make a food blog by the way because I call her constantly for rescuing when I’m baking or cooking… She’s fantastic at it…

The Melting Pot always has a specially menu with some type of fusion food offered on it, usually its “ok” but you can’t beat the price so we usually get it and sub out what we don’t like…

This year they had FRENCH FUSION!

We didn’t even bother looking at anything else…. well except the wine…

We’ll take a bottle of sweet reisling please!

by FAR our favoriate wine…. I LOVE a sweet white wine and this is just tops for me…and thankfully it isn’t 100$ a bottle!  Melissa, her brother and I had two bottles of this in Vegas last year and since then we’ve been hooked…

Forgive the next pictures, the food was so good that I forgot to take pictures when it came, so they are all aftermath shots lol….

Cheese was the brie and 2 other french cheeses with BACON and white wine base…

apples and bread as some of the dippers

I had the niscoise salad which was delish… dressing was tangy which I love…

are those beets on the top?

 then came meats…which is usually disappointing but this time, they were seasoned so well!!!! filet, lobster, chicken, shrimp and ny strip… yummmmm

The aftermath…..

the dipping sauces tasted better than they have before too…especially the terriaki sauce… I put it on everything!

Round 4 was the chocolate turtle foundue – milk chocolate, caramel, and pecans…. I have no good pictures of this…. just of my plate after I demolished my dippers which had included naners, rice krispy treats, graham cracker and oreo covered marshmellows, pound cake, brownies and cheese cake…

Right about now, we all realized that our pants were ready to burst and we were so stuffed it hurt to move…. so we forked over the mulah for the bill and then waddled back to the car…. having enjoyed out christmas girls dinner night….

Side note of the night – we pull up to the restaurant and I realized I left my wallet at home……… so thankfully the girls had me covered until we could get home and I could pay them back lol…. I was so excited to drive them in my new vehicle that I walked out with no wallet!