Monday, May 4, 2015

House Update!

I haven't updated much about the house, so I thought I would share some before and after pictures of a few rooms. If you have no idea what I'm talking about you can read a bit more about the house here. Honestly I feel like everything is taking forever. Dramatic, I know. I was so motivated right before we moved in, and right after we moved in. My husband and I would stay up late painting, cleaning, and unpacking. Then he got busy with work and school, and I kind of lost my motivation there for a while.

So far we've managed to paint the kitchen, dining room, living room, entryway, hallway, master bedroom, and laundry room. And I've pretty much, on my own, repainted the crown molding and baseboards as well as touched up the white molding around things like closet doors and doors. We also used a product to restore the hardwood floors. We did not refinish them; it would have cost too much, and we didn't want to take on that big of a project. So we basically cleaned the floors really well, stripping off any previous residue. Then we used microfiber bonnets on a couple of sponge mops to apply the product. The results were amazing and the floors are holding up really well. 

I'll go ahead and get into some of the before and after pictures. I, stupidly, forgot to take a before of every room before we changed anything. So some of the pictures were taken after painting had already begun.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Baked Ziti with Meat Sauce

Oh my goodness this is so delicious. This week was all about using up leftover ingredients. I had a big hunk of whole milk mozzarella, and a container of ricotta. I used some of the ricotta to make rolled eggplant, but had almost an entire container left. I didn't have lasagna noodles on hand, but I always have a few boxes of penne.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Ricotta Filled Eggplant

I'm on an Italian food kick this week, mainly because I bought a lot of eggplant and I have fresh basil in my garden! This recipe comes together fast and is really filling, would be the perfect dish if you do Meatless Mondays.

(sorry for the picture quality, snapped this right before sunset)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Zucchini Pasta with Roasted Eggplant and Mozzarella

I could eat this multiple times per week, it's that good! I finally bought a spiralizer after years of wanting one. I used to have a mandolin which seems to have disappeared, so I haven't been making any vegetable noodles. I got the spiralizer in the mail, and made this dish that same day for dinner. It was fantastic and very filling. Hope you enjoy!

Zucchini Pasta with Roasted Eggplant and Mozzarella
      serves 5
  • 5 small Zucchini, spiralized or cut into noodles
  • 1 Eggplant, peeled halfway or fully and chopped into big chunks
  • 28 ounce can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp + 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup White Onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup fire roasted Peppers & Onions (frozen, or just use 1 whole small onion)
  • 2 tsp minced Garlic
  • 8 ounces Mozzarella cheese, cubed (the vacuum packed type, not water packed)
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh Basil cut into ribbons, or 2 Tbsp of the freeze dried kind
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a baking sheet add the chopped eggplant, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss together to coat the eggplant, and bake at 400F for 20 minutes. While the eggplant is baking make your sauce. In a large saute pan or skillet with high sides add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and peppers and cook for about 5-7 minutes, then add the garlic and cook and additional minute. Add the crushed tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Simmer on medium-low while the eggplant roasts. When the eggplant is finished add to the sauce, and simmer and additional 10 minutes. 

The zucchini pasta is super easy. I used the spiralizer and made the zucchini into noodles while the eggplant roasted. To cook I actually microwaved mine for 9 minutes, although it can also be boiled or sauteed. I just wanted to cut down on clean up. Once the sauce has finished simmering add in the zucchini noodles (be sure to drain the excess water), the parmesan cheese, and the basil. Stir well to combine, finally add the cubed mozzarella. It will begin to melt into the hot sauce. Give it a good stir and serve immediately. 

I really enjoyed this with extra basil on top as well as hot pepper flakes, but I couldn't add those to the whole recipe because it's too spicy for my toddler. Who absolutely loved this meal by the way! Per serving: 323 calories, 19 grams of fat, 16 grams of protein, and 16 grams of net carbs!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Crock Pot Chicken & Dumpling Soup

This is a definite crowd pleaser. Super easy to put together, you can even make this into a freezer bag meal that you thaw out the day before you cook it. I love using the crock pot when it's too hot to be in the kitchen. It's been in the high 80's here, and just last night cooking pancakes for dinner I was sweating bullets. This was a total fuss free meal and it's so delicious, give it a try when you're in need of some hearty comfort food!