Thursday, January 31, 2013

Spaghetti Squash

Ever had spaghetti squash?

I’ve never been a big fan of spaghetti. I don’t love most tomato sauces so I’ve just never enjoyed it. When I was a kid and my mom would make spaghetti, she would keep the noodles and sauce separate and I would just eat spaghetti noodles with a little butter on them.

Since Stephen and I have been married, I’ve never made spaghetti. (Up til two weeks ago, at least.) He’s the same way as I am with red sauces… just not a fan. BUT I did read a recipe for a chicken lasagna one time on a blog, and the blogger recommended Bertoli’s 5 Cheese tomato sauce, so we tried it.  Stephen and I BOTH like this red sauce.

I’ve been trying to make healthier meals and I read blogs/follow several people on Instagram who suggest healthy alternatives. One girl (Skinny Meg) raved about how easy spaghetti squash was to prepare. Stephen had voiced at some point in time that he wouldn’t mind trying it, so when I was shopping in the produce section one day, I saw one and thought I’d give it a try.

It’s SO easy to make. It does take a bit more time than just boiling spaghetti noodles, but it’s just as easy.  Mine came with a sticker on it that instructed how to prepare it… but there are several ways and you can just google it for more suggestions. I’ve made this twice and used two different methods to cook the squash and I still want to try a few more before I decide which way is easiest.

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We use turkey smoked sausage, spaghetti sauce, and spaghetti squash.

Put a little olive oil in a skillet and then while it’s heating up, slice the sausage into rounds. Sometimes I slice it into rounds, then half those again so that they’re half-circles. Once the oil is nice and hot, add your sausage and get them good and brown on both sides.  I zest some fresh garlic in while it’s cooking, just for some extra heat. I’ve even thrown in red pepper flakes for days when I needed my sinuses cleaned out. I like for the sausage to be almost burned on both sides.  Once it’s cooked the way you like, throw in the spaghetti sauce and let it all meld together on low for 5 minutes or so. This makes the sauce a little less runny, which we like.

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Take your squash and remove the seeds then scrape out the “noodles” using a fork.  You can see the picture above. One-half of a squash filled made a big heaping pile of noodles on a plate. It makes a ton!

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{Buzz Lightyear plate optional!} I topped ours off with a little parmesan the first time I made it but it doesn’t really need it. Christopher LOVED this. Loved it. He always asks for seconds when we have this and always cleans his plate with no whining! It’s a super easy and healthy dinner for me to make and we all three love it; Stephen and I prefer the spaghetti squash noodles to regular spaghetti noodles. I will say that they are crunchy, not like you would expect, but I think it gives the dish good texture and not such a baby-food-like quality.

Sooooo, the next time you’re in the produce section I would highly recommend getting a spaghetti squash and giving it a try!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

bedding and possums

Stephen and I received some Christmas money from my parents this year. Our first thought was to put it towards the G6 (we’re sooo close to having it paid off!) but we were given strict instructions to spend it on something we needed/wanted and not groceries, bills, etc.  We talked about several different things we wanted to do with it; buy a KitchenAid Mixer, buy Stephen an iPad, etc. We ended up deciding to buy ourselves… a new mattress.

Boring, I know.

I don’t WANT to spend my Christmas money on a new mattress, but we need a new one really badly, and it’s something that we both need that is a little out of our price range right now. Had I gotten a teaching job last fall, it would have been a purchase we probably would have made before Christmas.

We were gifted a king size mattress when we got married – it was actually my parents, and they were getting a new one so they passed theirs down to us. And now Stephen and I have slept on it for close to 5 years. It’s got a hump in the middle and it’s sagging on the sides and worn out and just not in good condition at all. So we did some shopping around and found a mattress that we both loved and ordered it and it should be in next week! And as much as I didn’t want to spend my Christmas money on a new mattress… I am SOOO excited about sleeping on a nice soft plush mattress and not waking up with an aching back!

SOOO, Stephen and I have said for over a year now that when we bought a new mattress, we would replace our bedding set. The one that we have now is a bed-in-a-bag set from Walmart. I really liked it when we bought it but it’s cheap and has rips and tears and the tassels have fallen off the throw pillows and it’s basically in worse shape than our old mattress! I don’t know why we felt the need to wait till we got a new mattress to get a new bedding set… but whatever, we did.

I was avoiding getting online to look for one though, because I knew I’d get overwhelmed and plus I hate shopping online for stuff like that. I want to see it, feel it, etc. So I just figured we would make a trip out of town sometime and go to Bed Bath and Beyond or JC Penney’s and look for a good quality one that I liked.

Last night was my monthly Bunco night (dice game) and while I was getting a tour of the Bunco host’s house, I saw her bedding set and fell in LOVE with it.  I immediately asked where she got it – JC Penney – and as soon as I got home, looked it up online.

“Kashmir”
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I knew I loved it, but I didn’t love the price of everything, (once you added in the pillows and all) especially considering the fact that it didn’t come with a bed skirt or matching sheets. (My current sheets are chocolate brown and won’t really go with it.)  So I decided to look around the clearance bedding to see if I found anything else that caught my eye. Big mistake.  I found the “Rochelle” bedding in clearance and fell in love with IT, too. It came with a bed skirt and would be about $40 cheaper than the Kashmir set, not including the money I would spend on a bed skirt for the Kashmir.

I especially love that chevron throw pillow!

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Sooo, what’s a girl to do when she can’t make her own decisions?!? Solicit advice from others, of course! I texted Britney and my mom. Then I posted it on Instagram. Then I texted my MIL. Then today I had my hair done and asked my hair dresser and another girl who works at the salon. Most people on Instagram preferred the Rochelle.  Most people in real life like the Kashmir. Some people were no help and said they liked both. Basically, I still didn’t know what to do!

I drove myself crazy all day today thinking about it.

I finally just decided tonight that I knew that I loved the Kashmir set when I saw it last night and it was the one I wanted. There were also some other factors. We’re living at my MIL’s and have been for over a year. (ANYBODY want to buy our old house that’s up for sale?!?) I haven’t done anything to the inside of this house as far as wall decorations, painting, etc, because it’s not “my house” and it’s not something that we plan on staying in long term. My MIL told me to make myself comfortable here and treat it as my own, and I know she meant that, but I just didn’t see the point in spending my time/energy/money panting and decorating a house that is not intended to be a long-term thing for us. So anyway, this house is pretty neutral. It has a lot of earth tones on the wall color, it has hardwood floors throughout except the kitchen and bathrooms… and I’m getting just getting tired of the brown and green. Even our old bedding set is earth tones; gold, brown, burgundy. I felt that if I chose the black and white bedding set it would just be another “blah” thing in this house. I’ve been wanting to branch out of my comfort zone and I feel like the Kashmir bedding set is the perfect thing for me to start with. Plus, there will always be black and white bedding sets to choose from and if I want to go with that when I buy my next one, I will!

SOOO I ordered the “Kashmir” set tonight and it should be in around the same time as our new mattress next week and I’m sooooo excited to get everything in and all set up!

I should probably be sad about the level of excitement I have over a new mattress and bedding set. But I am just excited for some CHANGE! haha. And COLOR!


IMG_5108Before I go, a story about Christopher. This kid cracks me up every single day. I need to do a post soon of “Christopherisms” because he says so much funny stuff and I want to remember it. Tonight he was eating leftover spaghetti for dinner. I had cut up some turkey smoked sausage and put it in our tomato sauce when I first made it, but tonight there was just enough of that batch of sauce left for one plate of leftovers. Christopher finished it off and asked for seconds. I just popped open a second jar of tomato sauce (Bertoli 5 Cheese is the BEST) and poured it over the noodles (actually spaghetti squash, maybe a new post on that coming up soon) and heated it up for him. When he started eating it, he looked at me and pushed it back and said “Momma I want some-tin in this.” I knew he was missing the turkey sausage but I played dumb and asked what he wanted in it.

 

“Some-tin, Momma. Some… uuhm… possum.”

Huh? You want what?

“Some possum.”

Possum? Who told you about possums?

“I don’t know.”

You mean you want some turkey sausage?

“Yeah! I want some turkey sausage!”

I explained to him that he had eaten the last of the turkey sausage and there was none left. I couldn’t figure out where he had come up with “possum” until I turned Curious George back on for him after dinner and realized he was in the middle of a “nocturnal animals” episode and they were talking about… you guessed it, possums.

I came out of my bathroom one day to find him laying like this on my bed.
His PJ pants were pulled clear up to his armpits. Crazy child!
(Also, if you were curious what my old bedding set looked like, that’s it!)
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Monday, January 28, 2013

January 2013

The month of January is almost OVER. It seems like I just blinked my eyes. Confession? It’s the 28th and our Christmas lights are still up.   ……that’s bad. Also, all (okay, MOST) of my Christmas supplies are boxed up and shoved in a corner of my living room.  They’re supposed to go to my MIL’s storage building but I was waiting until the lights came down so that we could take everything out there in one trip and have all the Christmas stuff together and not spread everywhere.  Eh.  It’s at that point where I know it’s there….but I just don’t really notice it anymore.

Mommy, I want to wear a hat… just like Bubba!

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  Dog pile Bubba!
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The second week of January, Stephen had a basketball tournament to cover that was 30 minutes away. He was gone every day all day (until 11ish pm) for 6 nights in a row.  I know that a lot of wives have to deal with this as a normal part of everyday life. Army wives, men who work on the road, doctors, etc. But I’m not used to it, and I was more than ready to have my husband home for the evening after nearly a week away.

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Christopher was sick that Saturday, out of the blue with some sort of stomach virus. Poor guy.  He spent a lot of time on the couch watching Curious George.

Sick buddy, take one.
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The following week was pretty low-key.  On Thursday, Stephen and I made a last-minute decision to go to Branson for the weekend. We called up his mom and stepdad to see if they had plans and wanted to meet us there. (Branson is halfway between us and them, so it’s a perfect place for us to meet up. And since it’s an odd year, we have unlimited use of the condos there this year.)

Headed out of town!
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All Lovin’ No Oven? Don’t mind if I do!
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We left late Friday morning and met the in-laws in Branson. Since it’s not tourist season, there’s not much open or do. Stephen and I both needed some new jeans. Usually I buy Christopher clothes, but he didn’t need anything. Christopher stayed at the condo with his grandparents and had a blast. When we got back, it was his naptime and he wasn’t feeling well.  He was actually sick the rest of the weekend, running a fever off and on. We didn’t do much, just hung out, played cards, had a relaxing time! We came back home on Monday.

Sick buddy, weekend #2
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I tried getting Christopher to the doctor on Tuesday, but it was Wednesday before I could get him in. That’s a long story I don’t ever want to repeat again. Can I just saw how incredibly irritating it is to live in a town where it’s basically impossible to get into a physicians office for a same-day appointment? Final call was an ear infection, 10 days of a prescription, and a cold, give him OTC meds for that. He stayed home from daycare all last week. We had a great time together even though he was sick… love him SO much.

Christopher passed his cold/cough/congestion on to me and Stephen. I was over it in about two days. Stephen’s been sick since Friday. I’m not sure how it’s possible that when Stephen has the same sickness that I do he always has it twice as long and twice as bad. I have many things I could say about this. I’ll choose not to.

Christopher’s room, pre toy purge. It was NOT pretty.
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New Erin Condren Take Note! Notebook.
Loved my Life Planner last year, this is a bit different layout.
LOVE IT so far!

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Surprise SNOW we had a few weeks ago.
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I have no idea…
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That’s all I’ve got for now.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Catch Up…

I’m playing catch up with my blog. Sort of. I blogged about Christmas but I know I still have so much more to catch up on…. I wrote these posts today and post-dated them to December 30th so that they show up in the right month and year on the blog.

Christmas 2012 {Part 1}
Christmas 2012 {Part 2}
Christmas Vacation in Missouri

I still have so many adventures from 2012 that I need to document and I’m hoping to get that done soon. I’ll hate myself if I can’t go back and read about the fun things we did this year.