Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Freezer Meal: Baked "Manicotti"

Our kids are STARVING for dinner by 5 p.m., and after racing home from work, I don't have time to really cook much before I have two fussy kids pulling at my legs wanting to EAT!

This is sort of a made up recipe and could be called either lasagna roll-ups or baked "manicotti." Either way it's a great meal to make ahead and freeze until you're ready for dinner. I also stored mine in one bigger and one smaller container so if I needed a quick dinner for the kids I wasn't breaking out a giant pan that would take us a week to finish.

Baked "Manicotti" - makes 10 "rolls"
2 jars of your favorite tomato or marinara sauce (or make your own!)
1 8 oz container of ricotta cheese
2 cups Parmesan cheese
1 bag shredded mozzarella cheese
2 TBL minced garlic (I used the pre-chopped kind in a jar)
2 large eggs
2 TBL fresh Italian parsley
10 lasagna noodles
Salt, pepper to taste

Boil your lasagna noodles according to the box directions. Meanwhile, while your noodles are cooking mix together eggs, all cheeses (except leave aside a 1/4 cup or so of mozz and parm to top your dish with), garlic and parsley. I didn't cook the garlic before throwing it in, but if you aren't a huge garlic fan you could saute it first. Add in a few "dashes" of salt and pepper. Mix well.

Gather your baking pans. I used a glass 8x8 pan and a glass bread pan. Pour a small amount of sauce into your pans to just cover the bottom.

Once your noodles are done, lay them flat on a dish towel. Spread your cheese across the cooked noodles. I just eyeballed the spoonfuls and it turned out fine. Roll each noodle with cheese filling into a nice little roll and place into your baking pan. Top with sauce and sprinkle your reserved cheese on top.

If you want to bake immediately, cover with foil and bake at 375 for about 40ish minutes or until hot and bubbly. Otherwise, if you want to freeze. cover with plastic wrap, then foil and place in the freezer. When ready to eat, remove from freezer and let thaw in the fridge for a day or so. Then remove the plastic wrap, re-cover in foil and bake, increasing the time by 15 minutes or so depending.

Note - you could also add meat to this. For something different, I've also made a garlic chicken pesto version of this, swapping pesto in place of the tomato sauce and adding shredded chicken in with the cheese.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Weekend Fun

Coffee Tea Print Typography Caffeine It's a Food Group - 11x14 Poster wall art decor kitchen Starbucks white cup brown tan taupe cork. $27.00, via Etsy.

Passss the coffeeeee pleassse! It's the start of another week and this week brings us to April! This year has already gone by so fast (wasn't it just Christmas?) AND for us April means Easter, a much-needed vacation, birthdays and more!

It was another sunny weekend here!  Grant did a lot of yard work/chopping more wood and we also even got a parents' night out to celebrate a friend's birthday.

Owen has (another) bad cold so I took him to the Dr. on Saturday and found he had another ear infection. Poor baby. Here he is after a nap, bedhead and all. And here I am with a ridiculous smile trying to get him to smile too.

Lila's been insisting on wearing her summer sundresses! That plus the sunshine and a lemonade made for a perfect Saturday afternoon in the yard!

Owen's also taken up coloring recently. Unfortunately, he likes coloring his mouth and hands. Goth baby! 

Grant and I went out for a friend's birthday and were able to enjoy a couple adult beverages sans kids! So nice! I am such a granny though - we went home early and were in bed by midnight, which in the morning seemed WAY too late. No matter how nice it is to be out for the evening, the kids are always up at the same time the next morning! #ilikesleep

Hope you had a nice weekend!


Friday, March 27, 2015

Happy Friday!

I'm finally home after a long week in Chicago. Work went well and I walked my little feet off around the city. I love "walkable" cities! In order to pack light, I only brought one pair of shoes (!!!!!!!!) - a pair of flat black boots. It was perfect - they were comfy for walking all over town, kept me warm with the freezing weather, worked perfectly for the unexpected snow, and looked professional enough for my work meetings.

I had fun pretending I was a city-dweller, walking everywhere and exploding my "neighborhood." I also decided if I moved there, I'd buy a condo in the Trump Tower (in the pic above on the right)... since naturally I'm sure I'd be able to afford that, right?? ;)

If you need a hotel in Chicago, I definitely recommend the Hotel Monaco. It's in a great location, has fun/funky decor and has free wine in the lobby every night!

One day, I came back to my room to find a fun "pig" towel greeting me after a long day.

Plus, you can order fries to eat in bed - no explanation needed...

Also, have you had an "Ice Storm" from a Nordstrom eBar!?? I've long been addicted to these, but I will confess I've had three (ok fine, four) this week!!! AHH! They have about 9000 calories each, so definitely a treat, but you know I love them by the fact that I kept getting them DESPITE the snow/freezing weather. I couldn't help it when our conference shuttle dropped us in front of the Michigan Ave. Nordstrom every day ... 

Also - even the drug stores here are better (or maybe I just need to go to downtown Seattle more often). I popped into a downtown Walgreens and picked up three new "lipsticks" that have more of a gloss/sheer consistency. 

I'm glad to be home for the weekend and have missed the heck out of our little fam!!!!!! 

Hope you have a nice weekend!!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Picture Perfect?

Last week, I saw a picture of my dear BFF on Facebook and immediately texted her ...

Naturally, I had to download the app. 

Fast forward to today, when I posted this "selfie" of myself on Instagram, using said app:

AND wouldn't you know it, I got tons of comments "wow, great picture!" ... "wow, what a nice pic!" ... etc. etc. 

Within an hour of posting, Tanya texts me again.

"You downloaded the app didn't you?" 


I'm sort of feeling like all this is the nicer way of saying "WOW, you don't look as pasty and haggard as usual!" 

Here's the original picture, without the app (or Instagram cropping): 

Do you use this app? I feel like I'm probably the last one to hear about it, but it's also a little disheartening that now even social media pics are fake!! 

What do you think? 


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

When in a new city ...

Thankfully, the snow in Chicago was short lived. Even though I'm in a convention center all day, I've been trying to walk all over the city on my way back to my hotel to see as much as I can.

So what do I do when in a new city? Find the nearest Nordstrom of course! Kidding ... although when I realized I was staying one block from one I definitely popped in for an ice storm and quick stroll through the shoe department ...

What do you do when you're in a new city? Do you explore? When I was first out of college, I thought business travel was so glamorous, but that's not really the case. Usually, you work all day (indoors), then have to go back to your hotel, exhausted, only to catch up on all the email and other work stuff you missed during the day. Throw in a time zone change and you're wiped out!

So R&R it is ... fruit and cheese plate in bed? Yes, please!

Now time for a little bad TV and off to bed!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


I woke up yesterday to a snowy Chicago! (Pssst, Chicago, don't you know that I don't "do" snow?! Also, it's spring!). The funny thing is, this city actually deals with the snow, unlike Seattle when it's a total mess and the entire city freaks/shuts down. Thankfully I wore my boots!

Bundled up to head outdoors!

I realized I'm missing a hat, gloves and warmer jacket. Not used to the biting wind! Brr!!! 

After a busy day at work I indulged in my favorite business travel activity - room service! Nothing like some crispy fries in bed to warm up after a long day! PS, yes, I packed my slippers!)

Now it's onto working on emails ... hope you had a nice day!! 


Monday, March 23, 2015

Hello from Chicago!

Happy Monday! I spent my Sunday flying to Chicago. I'm here for the week for work - and although it seems like I was just here, I guess it was a few months ago now. Think good thoughts for Grant and the kiddos!!

Despite losing my Sunday to work travel, we had a nice little half weekend. Friday I was able to sneak away for an hour to relax and get my nails done. Bliss! I went for a magenta color. Bright for spring!

Friday night Grant and I started watching the new Netflix series "Bloodline." Have you seen it!? It stars my favorite "Coach Taylor" from Friday Night Lights. It's about a Florida Keys Family with dark secrets. It's a little slow getting to what the secrets are exactly (lots of open cliffhangers so far) but intriguing! BTW - when is Orange is the New Black coming back!?


Saturday morning we hung around home. Grant made a big batch of bacon on the BBQ (our new fav method - great flavor and the house doesn't smell like bacon the entire day), so I made a quick bacon toast on crusty sourdough with a slather of butter. Delish!

Then we headed out to the zoo. It was supposed to rain but was sunny for the most part and only started raining as we were about to leave.

One of my favorite parts about our zoo is the foliage! From tropical plants to pretty flowers, it's great for letting the kids run free while we can enjoy a nice walk. The lilacs, which smell amazing, were even in bloom!

Hope you had a great weekend!


Friday, March 20, 2015


Happy Friday and more importantly, Happy First Day of SPRING!!!!! Spring is one of my favorite seasons, in a tie for second place with fall, and behind my #1 BFF, summer (sorry winter, you can go). 

This is a short weekend for me as bright and early (aka middle of the night) on Sunday I'll be flying out to Chicago for a week of work. Pray for no snow - I don't do well with blizzards!

Here's what we've been up to this week!

+ Bright Blooms. I love fresh flowers but don't buy them as often as I wish, but I picked up this sweet little bunch of daffodils at the grocery store this week. They were only $1 and well worth the brightness they added to our kitchen table. 

+ New 'Do. Speaking of bright, just in time for spring I brightened my hair. This is actually a balayage, and it's hard to tell, but it's a bit brighter at the ends. Sometimes a fresh cut and color is just the ticket!

+ Baby Legs. Owen has some little running shoes but I  just bought him some little TOMS for a more summery pair he can wear with or without socks. I love love chubby little baby legs! Even though they are pricey and outgrown quickly, tiny baby shoes are one of my favorites!

+ St. Paddy's Day. We celebrated St. Paddy's Day with a corned beef recipe. It was a delicious crockpot of goodness - corned beef, cabbage and carrots marinated in Guinness. I'm not the biggest corned beef fan, but this was delicious and always a fun treat.

+ Goofballs. Wednesday I realized that Lila, Owen and I were all wearing red (and I hadn't even dressed either of them!) so I decided to take a pic. However, goofy photos ensued! Look at Owen's little teeth - so cute!

Have a nice weekend!!


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Spring Goals

Spring is such a lovely time of year (if it's not pouring everyday!) and I have so many fun things on my mind for us to do, but I narrowed it down to my top 10 "must do's" before summer is in full swing. Here's what's on my list ... 

Watch the sunrise - sometimes there's nothing better than getting up early and seeing a beautiful sunrise!

Read three books - I've had the same unfinished book sitting on my Kindle for months now! I LOVE to read and miss reading each night before bed (yes, I've gotten sucked into looking at my phone before bed and not reading!)

Have a picnic - The kids love having picnics and I can't wait to have a picnic lunch or dinner at the park soon! 

Do yoga - Haha ... this is my most 'lofty' goal, but I'd love to add a little quiet/peace to my life. I won't even begin to mention how long it's been since I've worked out either, so I think if I can handle dead man's pose, yoga would be a good start

Go on three hikes - There are so many beautiful hiking trails in the Northwest and now that the kids are older it'll be easier to head out on a few trail adventures and get some fresh air.

Plant flowers - I hate buying annuals just to see them die a few months later, but alas, every year I fill our planters. I do like how pretty bright flowers look in our yard and on our porch though so will be on the look out for some pretty blooms once the weather isn't as cold at night. 

Go to the beach! We have some gorgeous beaches around here and the kids both love playing in the sand. Several of the beaches around here have train tracks nearby so they also get their fill of waving at the passing "choo choos" - win! I love the beach and even if it's not warm enough to swim I love a good beach walk.

Try something new - I don't really know what this will look like, but with work, kids and our busy schedule it doesn't leave much time for new things. Any ideas? 

Take Lila to paint at “Color Me Mine” - I want to start to take Lila on a few more "girl days" where she can do something special just with me and we both love arts and crafts, I think this would be a fun one!

Eat dinner outside! We love to eat dinner on our patio table when it's nice out, so I can't wait until it's warm enough to eat outdoors! The best part is the kids can get down early and run around the yard while we relax with a glass of wine a at the table - win win! 

What's on your spring list? Is it shorts weather yet!?


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Hellooooo Spring!

Spring is in the air and I just love, love breaking out the bright colors to reflect the season. Here are some things that are getting me into the spring spirit recently!

Target. Target has so many cute springy finds lately. I seriously can't stay away from the $1 bin. Aren't these little post-it notes too cute?

And since my Easter baskets for the kids are going to be "swimming" themed, I  had to snag these sweet little sunnies for Lila and Owen!

Wallpapers. One fun way to celebrate a change in seasons is to swap your "technology" backgrounds! Kate Spade has some really cute wallpapers each month (and who knew they had a blog?!). I love this pretty floral for March!


Fancy Feet. Owen has one little pair of tennis shoes he wears, but I wanted to get him something more summery but still supportive enough (although they are fun, I'm afraid he'd trip in flip flops). These little grey TOMS are so cute on him and he doesn't have to wear socks! PS - I love chubby baby legs!! 

Hair. I always seem to get brighter hair for spring (not necessarily on purpose) and this year is no exception. When I got my color done this weekend I went for a blonder 'do to reflect the sunshine! I don't know if blondes have more fun, but I certainly do!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

8 x 10 Irish Blessing Typography by JMPaper on Etsy, $15.00

From this (partially) Irish family to yours, Happy St. Patrick's day! Are you wearing green? To celebrate, we have a large corned beef, onions, carrots and cabbage in the crockpot waiting for us when we get home.

I based my recipe on the one from Skinny Taste, although made mine slightly less ... skinny, by adding beer. Oops.

Crockpot Corned Beef
2 lb corned beef (mine came with the corning spices)
4 Irish beers, such as Guinness
6-8 large carrots
1 head of cabbage
1 onion, chopped into quarters

Place corned beef in the bottom of the crockpot. Add corning spices (don't make the mistake I made one year, when I didn't notice the little bag of spices and cooked the bag - plastic and all - along with the meat #oops.). Add carrots and onion. Fill crockpot with beer (I used about 4). Cook on low all day. About an hour before you're ready to serve, add your cabbage (if you like it extra cooked, add earlier). My crockpot is set on low for 10 hours, we like it a little more "shredded." If you like it more like steak slices you can cook on high for 4-6 hours. 


to Top