January 25, 2013

On My Bookshelf...

Just finished....

I don't really have any words for this book. It took me 6 months to finish which is a big indicator of the quality of the book. I could not stand Diana Bishop and everything was so over the top I found myself rolling my eyes and saying, "oh, please". There's a small chance I may venture on to the second book because I am a little curious as to what may happen but chances are I'm going to sit this trilogy out.

Currently reading...

I know I am late to the game on this one but holy balls is this book good and I don't normally read mystery/thrillers.  I cannot put it down and I really hope I don't hate the ending like everybody else apparently did.

Up next...

Impulse purchase from Target a few months back. I am so excited to read it and have very high hopes for it. 

My sister-in-law gave me this book for my birthday. I've heard its quirky which I am excited about. I love quirky books every once in awhile. 

What's on your bookshelf?


January 24, 2013

Sausage & Spinach Stuffed Shells

On Monday, I posted about needing to take better care of myself and so far I've been pretty good. I've walked everyday this week and I actually signed up for a half-marathon that will take place on June 1st. Big things happening around here, people. 

Anyway, this post is not about how I am already nervous for an event that is 6 months from now. It is about how even though I am trying really hard to eat better I still have to feed my husband and he doesn't believe a meal is balanced unless it somehow involves meat. My husband is an accountant which means that he is entering into "busy season". This means he won't be home at a decent hour until like late March/April. This year, instead of cooking for one (which I find impossible) I decided that I would make meals that can last through the week and that way, I can eat around 7 and if he comes home hungry he can heat it up and eat whenever. 

One of my go to, makes a lot, will last all week meals is Sausage & Spinach Stuffed Shells. I got the recipe from Annie's Eats. The only modifications I made were that I used less spinach and omitted the bread crumbs. I love this dish. It is so flavorful and I feel better because it has spinach in it. I also really enjoy that the recipe uses chopped tomatoes instead of tomato sauce. In order to keep myself in check, I've been eating only two shells and having a big green salad with it as well. G, however, eats as many as he wants. He gives these stuffed shells a 10.
The beginnings.
The husband does not care too much for spinach so I make sure to cut off the little stems by stacking them in a pile.
Then, I roll them up to slice them into little ribbons.
Important ingredients.
Also very important if its being made in my house.
Cheese stuff.
Ready for the oven.
 Spinach and Sausage Stuffed Shells
Adapted from Annie's Eats

1 12-ounce package jumbo pasta shells
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 large egg
16-ounces ricotta cheese
3-4oz fresh spinach, chopped
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes

1 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta shells according to the instructions on the package. Drain, rinse in cold water, and set aside.
2 Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage to the pan, breaking up the sausage into smaller bits. Cook sausage until cooked through, and no pink remains, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute more. Remove pan from heat.
3 Beat the egg lightly in a large bowl. Mix in the ricotta, chopped spinach, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, basil, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and sausage mixture. Fill each cooked pasta shell with some of the ricotta, spinach, sausage mixture.
4 Spread 1/2 cup chopped canned tomatoes over the bottom of each of the baking dishes. Arrange the stuffed pasta shells in the dishes. Spread the remaining tomatoes over the top of the pasta shells.
5 Heat oven to 375°F. Cover the pans with foil and bake for 30 minutes, until hot and bubbling. Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese, bake uncovered for 10 more minutes.


January 21, 2013

On Health & Wellness in 2013

I don't like to make resolutions because I never stick with them and then I feel guilty and guilt is a feeling I do not enjoy. However, I always, always think about things I'd like to do differently in the new year and every year my health and exercise is at the top of the list.

I consider myself a relatively healthy person. I eat a decent breakfast and a decent lunch. Dinner is usually a little more lenient in our house but a lot of times its half a chicken breast and a lot of veggies. I don't belong to a gym or regularly run 3 miles but my job provides me a few opportunities to exercise throughout the day. At the end of a typical work day, I've usually completed between 40-60 sit-ups and held a plank position for God knows how many minutes. However, in a lot of ways I've gotten lazy. I've taken my dog on less walks. I own a bunch of workout DVDs that are now collecting dust somewhere in our basement. I have no problem hitting up the grocery store for a frozen pizza because I just don't feel like cooking. Suffice it to say, I've been taking my health for granted.

I'm writing all of this because since the middle of December, I've had a few health issues that while not at all serious, have given me pause about my health.

After a full month of bleeding gums every time I brushed my teeth, I was diagnosed with gingivitis. Yes, you read that right. Gingivitis. A gum disease I thought was relegated to people with teeth much older than mine. This diagnosis has added a good half hour to my nighttime routine. I had an eye doctor appointment, during which I was told that not only has my vision gotten worse but that my eyes are very dry and I now have to use eye drops 4 times daily. Dry eyes are not serious and happen all the time but having to use eye drops because of it is going to be a challenge for me. Lastly, I've been battling stomach issues for the past week and a half so I went to see my primary care doctor today and she thinks I've developed acid reflux so now I am on trial dosage of Nexium. I am hopeful this a temporary thing!

Like I said, these things are not super serious but I have come to the realization that I have not been taking care of myself as best I can. I am lucky these things are not serious and it is a good wake up call for me to start exercising regularly and eating more veggies and less boneless buffalo bites. I took my dog to the vet on Friday and she has gained weight which they were not happy about and goes to show that me being neglectful of my health is negatively effecting others in my house. 

So, I'm refocusing this year. I'm just going to try to be more mindful of what I'm putting in my mouth and more disciplined with myself about hitting the pavement rather than the couch when I get home at 3:30. These minor issues I've had this past month; I refuse to allow them to fester and turn into something worse. I am 28. I am not old but I am not getting any younger, either.

Here's to leaving 2013 healthier than when I entered it.


January 11, 2013

Friday Five

This weekend’s going to be a good one. I’m excited!
1. I've been home from work with a very sick husband the past two days. I guess after I left for work on Wednesday he couldn't even get out of bed. He finally called to tell me he had a fever over 102. We spent Wednesday at Righttime because the ER near us had a 6-8 hour wait. I was given strict instructions to watch him and if his fever got up to 101 (it was down after some Motrin) that  he was to go directly to the ER. Scary stuff. Thankfully, his fever hasn't gotten up that high again but its not consistently down either. We're off to the regular doctor this afternoon. 

2. I was given a gift card to J.Crew for Christmas and I'm torn over saving it or spending it now. I'm really loving the popover look and am contemplating purchasing the faded chambray popover. But I already have a chambray shirt so I don't want to regret it later. There are popovers in other colors but I'm not sure I love those as much. Anyone out there have a popover?
Faded chambray popover
Indian voile popover
Both images via jcrew.com

3. Do you workout on the regular? Do you have a Walmart near you? Do you mind shopping there even though they use unfair labor practices? I know I should be morally opposed to Walmart but I can't help it. The prices are just too damn good. Since workout clothes are my work clothes I'm always on the hunt for cheap but good quality workout clothes. The Danskin collection at Walmart is awesome. I purchased two tank tops and a sports bra last summer and I was amazed at the quality. I recently purchased a zip-up and a pair of leggings which are equally as awesome. The clothes feel like something way more expensive. I think I paid 11 for the leggings and 13 for zip up. Unreal. I couldn't find the zip-up online but the leggings can be purchased here.

4. I recently got a haircut. It is much shorter than I wanted and I really have no idea what to do with it. I haven't had hair this short since I was in 7th grade. That's pretty much how old the haircut feels. It is really not in style at all. The only redeeming factor is that my hair feels healthier.
I wanted something like this: 
and ended up with something more like this:
5. I'm headed to Farmers Fishers Bakers in Georgetown for dinner on Saturday. I can' wait. The menu looks fantastic and it will be nice to catch up with the girls! 

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend ahead of them. I'm hoping for the husband to make a full recovery!



January 4, 2013

{Christmas Break} via {Iphone + Instagram}

Love getting to spend uninterrupted days with the little love!
Christmas cards.. with DIY Glitter Clothespins!
Holiday decor around the house
My favorite Christmas show
Brownie mittens courtesy of my sister-in-law
Definitely something I did over break!
Christmas Eve at Charthouse
Christmas Eve Bloody Mary
Mom-Mom and Shelby's ears
My parents' tree!
Sleepy little love on Christmas Night
Washington, D.C.
The Newseum
What you can't see is the Scrabble we were playing
Trip to FedEx Field to see the Redskins beat the Cowboys!
Putting away the Holiday Hair ties! {Look out for Prissy's Ponytails coming soon!}
 All in all, it was a wonderful Christmas break spent with my family. I'm so thankful that I have off the week after Christmas (and the days leading up) and so does my husband. We always have such a good time. This year we were nonstop but it was a blast! We were so wiped by the time NYE rolled around that we went to a friend's house around 10 and were back home in bed by 12:30. 2013 has been off to a quiet start which has been wonderful but now the husband has some kind of cold which is so not cool. 

Pretty thankful that today is already Friday! I could use a three day week every week!

Enjoy it, my friends!

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