Thursday, April 29, 2010

Made me smile

I was just going through some old pictures and found these two of my cousin Lea and me. I really miss her; seeing these pictures made me smile.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The procrastinator

I am a procrastinator. I know some people will say it's silly to claim to work better under pressure but I think it's true. When I am completely stressed and frazzled, I can typically crank out some good work, although I am usually a mess while doing it. I currently have a paper due that will be about 40 pages once it is completed. Since our class is 10 weeks long, we had exactly 2 months from the date we got the assignment until the date it is due. I took one month to really think about it, stress over it and ignore it completely while focusing instead on papers and homework from my other class. Yesterday I finally hit the library as we need 8-10 research articles for the paper, too. I am not sure that working on an assignment a month out is procrastination but it might be when the assignment is almost 40 pages long! I left the library with four of my articles and a partial outline for my paper. After talking to some other people in my class last night, I actually feel like I might be a little ahead of the game or right on schedule...we will see how much I put off doing between now and the deadline.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A little bit of art

Today Joe and I went downtown to see Willard Wigan's exhibit. I had seen a feature about him on tv several weeks ago and was just completely amazed so I was giddy when I found out he had an exhibit coming to Chicago. His sculptures are so small that they fit inside the eye of a needle and are only visible by looking through a microscope. Some also fit on the end of a pin. The one that completely blew me away was a miniature Charlie Chaplin that was so tiny it fit on the end of one of Wigan's eyelashes - wow! Joe was especially taken with a sculpture of a church carved out of a single grain of sand that fit into the eye of a needle. Definitely take the time to read some articles about this very talented artist. We had to miss him at the gallery last weekend because Joe had to work but we may try to go back another time when he is in town.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Caramelized Onion Lasagna

I received an email from my friend, Amber yesterday suggesting that I should try this recipe and report back to her. Not only did it sound good, it just so happened I had nothing planned yet in the way of meals. So tonight we had Caramelized Onion Lasagna from EatingWell.

I was a little worried that my sauce didn't turn out exactly right but you would have never known that to taste it. The results were delicious; however, it took quite a bit of effort. In fact, this was more effort than I have been used to these days in the kitchen. But if you have some extra time, this is very appetizing.

8 ounce(s) pasta, lasagna noodles, whole wheat
3 tablespoon oil, olive, extra virgin
3 large onion(s), sweet, thinly sliced
4 medium mushrooms, portobello, gills removed, diced
1/2 cup(s) wine, red, table
1 teaspoon salt
pepper, black ground, to taste
4 cup(s) spinach, baby
2 cup(s) cheese, ricotta, fat-free
1/2 cup(s) basil, fresh, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon oil, olive, extra virgin
3 tablespoon flour, all-purpose
2 cup(s) milk, lowfat (1%)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 ounce(s) cheese, crumbled Gorgonzola
1/3 cup(s) nuts, walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup(s) basil, fresh

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

2. Cook noodles until not quite al dente, about 2 minutes less than the package directions.

3. Drain; return the noodles to the pot and cover with cool water.

To prepare onion filling:
1. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown and very soft, about 25 minutes. (If they begin to stick, add water 1/4 cup at a time to release them and prevent burning.)

2. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until just beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add wine and 1 teaspoon salt and continue cooking until most of the liquid is absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in pepper.

To prepare spinach filling:
1. Place spinach, ricotta, basil and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor and process until smooth.

To prepare white sauce:
1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and stir until bubbling, about 30 seconds.

2. Gradually whisk in milk and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking, until the sauce has the consistency of thick gravy, about 1 minute.

3. Add Gorgonzola and gently whisk until it is melted. Remove from the heat. (The sauce will continue to thicken as it sits.)

To prepare the lasagna:
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

2. Drain the noodles and spread out on a kitchen towel. Spread 1/2 cup white sauce in the prepared pan.

3. Place a layer of noodles over the sauce. Spread half of the spinach filling over the noodles and top with one-third of the onion filling. Evenly spread 1/2 cup white sauce over the onions. Repeat with another layer of noodles, the remaining spinach filling, half the remaining onion filling and half the remaining white sauce. To finish, top with a third layer of noodles, spread the remaining onion filling over the noodles and then spread or dollop the remaining white sauce on top. Sprinkle with walnuts and basil.

4. Bake until hot and bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Evidence of Spring

Joe and I went to the Arboretum today and found evidence of spring everywhere!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Last night while I was at class my husband hooked up our Wii so we can instantly select and watch streaming movies from Netflix; it's genius! And to think that I thought the DVR radically changed my life!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Welcome to Pleasantville

There's a bit of a problem at my local Target. The people there are too helpful. Yup, you read it right - they are too helpful. I first noticed it a couple of months ago when it seemed that the people working there had gotten oddly aggressive about trying to help you find something even if you hadn't asked. I do feel kind of bad complaining about people being too friendly but I go there about once a week and it's gotten increasingly worse.

Today I was there for a quick visit and in that short amount of time I was asked no less than five different times if I needed help finding something. They are not just overly friendly when you are wondering around aimlessly which I used to love to do, by the way, but now I am ducking overly friendly people everywhere I go and have a strict "get in, get out" policy. Today I was literally opening the dairy case and had my hand on the soy milk when someone came up behind me and asked if I needed help. "Um, no, just getting my milk. Thank you." It appeared that there was one guy whose sole job was to stand in one of the main aisles and shout, "Can I help you find something?" over and over again to every single person who passed him with their cart.

I will be the first person to say that it's frustrating when you genuinely need help and there's no one around to give it but there's got to be a happy medium. I honestly feel like I can't just be left to shop in peace anymore and so my sacred shopping place has just gotten annoying. Is it possible that I've just turned into that big of a grouch?

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Kitty Express

Over the weekend my niece thought it would be a good idea to push my parents' cat around in an old baby stroller. Fortunately, the cat seemed to be a good sport.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Monica and I had a blast tonight at the John Mayer (and Michael Franti) concert. It was the 47th and final stop of their tour and even though it was my 11th JM show (that's kind of embarrassing, huh?) it was fabulous!

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Today marked our first bike ride of spring. We biked on the trail to the next town over, stopped for some Starbucks and then biked back home. I love this weather!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Say "cheese"

My dog has enormous eyebrows. So does one of my teachers. Joe says it is a brilliant teaching device used to keep students' attention. Works for me!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Cheese love

This little surprise was waiting for me in my mailbox today. My friends are awesome!!!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Eggplant Cacciatore Sandwiches

Cooking and trying new recipes has been sporadic at best these days but I did make a new vegetarian recipe tonight, courtesy of Rachael Ray, that was definitely blog worthy!

One 16-ounce loaf frozen garlic bread, split lengthwise
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into cubes
4 ounces cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup white wine
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
One 14.5 ounce can stewed tomatoes-drained and coarsely chopped, juices reserved (I used diced)
4 ounces thinly sliced provolone cheese

1. Bake the garlic bread according to package instructions; keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, in a large, heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add the eggplant and cook, stirring ocassionally, until almost tender, about 7 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and cook until they release their liquid and begin to brown, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper.
3. Stir in the white wine and cook, scrapping up any browned bits, until the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the oregano and the tomatoes with their juices and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
4. Preheat the broiler. Halve the garlic bread crosswise. Divide the eggplant mixture among the 4 pieces and top with the provolone. Broil until the cheese is melted.

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