Sunday, September 28, 2014

Leftovers are always left.

Happy Sunday, all you beautiful people!

I am back and in full swing!  Since I last posted on this new blog, many exciting things have happened.  First of all, I got engaged!  M tried a romantic Valentine’s Day proposal, but with my inherent ability to spoil things like this, I fell asleep on the couch while we watched a movie.  Like the trooper that he is, he pulled off a wonderfully romantic day-after-Valentine’s Day proposal and I sobbed like a little baby.  Our wedding is scheduled for October of next year, and I become a giddy schoolgirl whenever I think about it.

The second change – we moved from our beautiful but tiny one-bedroom apartment into a three-bedroom house about 30 minutes away.  We were given an amazing opportunity by M’s parents to move into their old house and we are incredibly thankful for them.  I am, however, feeling the change from cleaning a one-bedroom apartment to a three-bedroom house! Phew!

And the last change – we got a dog!  Cooper is a Siberian Husky and it seems that fate (and some wonderful friends) just brought us together.  Cooper is energetic, spunky and oh-so-sweet.  He does have some quirks, but we tell ourselves that he is just preparing us to be parents someday. 

Now that we’re all caught up with all of my latest transitions, I feel the need to talk about one of my least favorite subjects – leftovers.  M and I are famous for cooking too much, getting sick of eating the same meal for three days, and tossing the leftovers.  While I am secretly thrilled that we won’t be eating American Chop Suey for the third day in a row, my wallet cringes as the leftovers join the banana-peel-coffee-ground party at the bottom of the garbage can. 

Well, my friends, I’ve finally figured out that, with a little patience and creativity, we can all jazz these leftovers up so they seem like a whole new meal.  My obstacle for this gorgeous Sunday was some plain, whole wheat pasta.  I made a batch of American Chop Suey at the end of last week, and discovered that I had boiled WAY too much pasta.  I put the extra pasta in the refrigerator for later.  Instead of buying a bottle of boring old marinara or heavy alfredo, I decided to try my hand at making a quick basil pesto.  This tangy, lemony, garlicky goodness was the perfect sauce for the whole wheat pasta.  I tossed in some steamed broccoli and grilled chicken for the perfect toppings.  This pesto is so versatile; you can add things you like or leave things out that aren’t your fave.  Most types of basil pesto incorporate pine nuts, but I didn’t have any in the pantry and I am not much of a fan, so I decided to leave them out.  (Note:  I you don’t already grow your own basil – do it!  It can live on your windowsill and saves a ton of money when making pesto and other delicious and healthy dishes!)

 Just a fraction of the fragrant basil - excuse the horrid photography!

Here’s the super easy recipe:
Kelsey’s Quick Basil Pesto


·         About 1½ to 2 cups of fresh basil (I used lemon basil, but love sweet basil as well)
·         1 ½ cloves of garlic (minced)
·         About a teaspoon of lemon juice
·         ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
·         Olive oil (amount will depend on consistency desired)
·         Salt and pepper to taste


·         Put basil, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, and garlic in food processor.  Pulse until basil is chopped and ingredients are combined.
·         With food processor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until desired consistency is achieved.
·         Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve warm or cold!

See?  Super simple but absolutely delish!  This pesto is a light, healthy sauce for whole wheat pasta or spaghetti squash.  If you’ve got extra pesto, try freezing it in an ice cube tray for ready-to-heat portions.  Do any of you have creative leftover makeovers?  We can all stand to add some jazz to our meals and keep some money in our pockets! 

Feeling like I’ve kicked the leftover-tossing habit on this beautiful Fall day, and ready to hit the sack before a busy week.  Have a great week, all!   

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Holidays are OVER.

Ahhhh, now we can all breathe a sigh of relief.  Many of us anticipate the holidays with pure excitement the moment we put down our fork on Thanksgiving.  The Christmas season is a magical time; full of love, laughter, food and... STRESS.  The pressure we put on ourselves to strive for perfection during the holidays is, at times, unbearable.  We worry about buying the perfect gift for our loved ones who seem to have everything.  We fret over the recipes we choose to share with family on Christmas day.  We stress about how we are going to make the time to spend a few moments with everyone on the days surrounding Christmas.  What's a girl to do?

NEWSFLASH - The holidays don't last forever, this too shall pass, blah blah blah.

We need to focus on spending time with our families -  not yanking out our perfectly styled (yeah, right) hair while searching for the perfect gift.  I realized, while waking up for work on December 26th, that I did not enjoy the holidays this year.  I was thinking about whether or not our families would like their gifts.  I was thinking about how we are going to replenish our savings account once all the gifts had been given.  I was just thinking about getting through those crazy days.  

My New Year's Resolution?  I am going to enjoy life.  I am going to strive for less stress throughout the year AND during the 2014 holiday season.  I am going to spend time with my family without the distraction of what I am going to buy them for next year's Christmas.  

This, my friends, is part of transition.  This is a transition from quantity to quality.  Our loved ones don't care what we bought them for Christmas.  They care about that hour we spent reminiscing about our late grandparents.  They care about the chocolate-making tradition that serves as a welcomed hassle.  They care about our happiness.

Here's to a beautiful, semi-relaxed 2014 for all you crazy people like me.