10/21: Tasty Tuesday: Arrabiata Sauce

pasta sauce

 

Ok, so I don’t have a recipe this week. We were on vacation this weekend so that means Monday is spaghetti night! I had to share a post on my favorite pasta sauce of all time……Trader Joe’s Arrabiata sauce.

I love this stuff. Can I just tell you how quick this makes dinner?!?!? The sauce has no preservatives, is completely all natural and only like 4 ingredients. It has a little quick, its super thick and delicious, it’s just wonderful! I want to share a few ways we use this amazing stuff.

1. Spaghetti with meat

2. Spaghetti with arrabiata, a bit of cream and frozen peas.

3. Lasagna

4. Sausage pasta bake (so simple, brown some sausage, toss the sauce, stir in some al dente pasta and bake with a bit of cheese on top, perfect!)

5. And the best…..Pizza sauce!! Even with simple toppings this pizza POPS!!

If you are looking for  a quick healthy dinner, that tastes home made, stock up on this stuff!!!

Vacation……from Vacation

Tropical-Vacation

 

Does anyone else know how I feel? We went out of town this weekend, it was my very late birthday present. We went as a family and really enjoyed ourselves but why is it that when we take time for ourselves to enjoy ourselves and just rest it always makes more work and basically the need for another vacation?

I have neglected the blog, the Etsy shop and to be honest, my laundry, all for this weekend trip. I am back though, running on fumes but back and plan to get back to my 31 day challenge this week I promise.

Happy Monday!

10/16: Fall Fashion: Zest Cafe and Home Art

 

After yesterday’s post I had so many uplifting messages to keep things going that I am very excited about today’s post! I was thrilled when Zest Cafe and Home Art started selling my jewelry in their shop. I have loved Zest since I was 10 years old, yes this restaurant is over 20 years old! Not only does Zest have amazing food, the brie and fruit appetizer is out of this world, the little shop attached has the most unique finds!

I love Zest for a fun girls lunch or dinner, you never mind waiting for a table because you can shop! The times I love Zest the most are the holidays like now. I don’t love fall decorations, yes I LOVE fall but I also hate orange, especially with black, so that makes it very difficult to find items that work with my taste. Zest never fails me, I always find at least one thing I can’t live without. And Christmas…..don’t even get me started! But, Zest also has a wonderful back section with all things baby and toddler, I even loved this section before I had a child.

So if you live in Raleigh and you have never tried Zest, or you are traveling there soon please check it out!!!

10/15: #Write31Days so far, My Thoughts

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I’m half way through. The 31 day challenge has been just that…..a challenge. But I also realize that I’m not completely sure I like the direction this challenge has taken me. Sure I’m sharing fun things for fall but I don’t feel like I am connecting with readers like some of the others in the challenge, or that I am being open and honest like I want to be. Long and short, the posts seem empty to me.

So with all that, I’ve decided I’m not sure I want to keep things going the way they have been. I do plan to write every day for the rest of the month and I do plan to have fun fall things but I also have thoughts I’ve been wanting to share that I feel like I haven’t done for the past few weeks.

Would love your feedback, have you enjoyed these posts?

 

10/14: Tasty Tuesday: Sausage and Kale Soup

sausage and kale soup

 

Sausage Kale Soup

Serves: 6-8

2-3 sausage links cut into slices

1 small onion chopped

2 cloves of garlic chopped

1 green pepper

1 red pepper

2 tbsp. tomato paste

1-28 oz. can of diced tomatoes with juice

6 cups chicken broth

1 bung of kale trimmed

salt and pepper to taste

shredded cheese optional

Saute the onion and peppers on medium high heat in a large dutch oven until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and continue to cook for about 2-3 more minutes. Add the chopped sausage and brown for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and mix everything together. Add the chicken broth scraped up all the bits on the bottom of the pot are removed and mixed in. Let this simmer for 20 minutes then add all the kale and mix in. Season with salt and pepper. Once the kale is cooked down it is ready to serve. You can serve with some shredded cheddar cheese as well.

I had all the ingredients ready for a crock pot kale and sausage soup that I forgot was crockpot when I went to start dinner at 3:00 the other night so I made this up as I went along. It was really great! We used a somewhat spicy chicken sausage in ours which gave it that extra kick! Let me know what you think.

10/13: Yorktown Fall Festival

Market Days

 

Yorktown has a farmer’s market every Saturday called Market Days and it stays open much longer than most….8:00am-3:00pm. We had never been before but in the month of October they also have a fall festival every Saturday as well with pumpkins, hay mazes, tractors, hay rides and live music. We decided to take Hoke, check out the river and make a day of it.

We had such a great time! The River Landing area is absolutely beautiful and it’s just so much fun to find these cute little areas of town that you never knew about before.

Below are a few pictures from Yorktown and the River. There is a River cruise you can take, a beautiful beach area and the coolest bridge.

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Hoke got to meet some Alpacas, check out some tractors and listen to his favorite music….bluegrass!

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If you are planning a trip to Williamsburg in the near future of course do the typical touristy things….Colonial Williamsburg, Busch Gardens and Great Wolf Lodge, but don’t forget this cute, historic town only 20 minutes up the road! You won’t be disappointed!!

 

10/11: Family Movie Night: Curious George Halloween Boo Fest

Last night we had our second fall movie night and we chose………Curious George Halloween Boo Fest! Hoke LOVES George, in fact it is pretty much the only show I can get a solid 15 minutes of silence and stillness out of him.

We had a picnic in the living room, all natural nitrate free hotdogs, organic sweet potato tots and roasted green beans and I am happy to report, he ate the whole meal!

Now he still woke at 4:30, that is a work in progress but we had a really fun low key evening at home. This is a great movie for anyone with a child 2 and under. It held his attention the full 50 minutes and it is instant on Netflix right now!

Please share any other, wholesome, fun family films you may know of…..that will keep a busy 19 month old happy!!!

10/10: Friday Fall Faves

 

The image above links to one of this weeks faves, homemade hot chocolate…..and this picture!

Have a side of Halloween Chex Mix with it.

How cute is this fox scarf?

I’m always up for trying a new soup

This doesn’t have me convinced, Pink is the best color, but since it’s fall I gave it a read.

Happy Weekend! What are your plans for fall fun?

10/9: Living in the Present

I didn’t have this post planned for today, and let me tell you, veering off the planned path is not something I do often. But I’ve been blogging about Fall Fun this month for the write 31 days challenge and it made me stop and think about living in the moment and embracing the present. I made this goal, that I wanted to experience October to it’s fullest…..get pumpkins, watch movies, go to fall festivals, have a party…….but then the stress starts, will I have time, will it be as great as I hoped, will I be able to budget for it all…..and good grief am I tired. For some reason I didn’t plan that Hoke would start waking at 4:00am this month or that I would just get a whim and want to start running again.

Cary and I have had so much change in our 8 years of marriage. We have lived in 5 different houses (that doesn’t include the 6 months we lived with my parents while gutting our first house) 4 different cities, had more jobs between the 2 of us than I can count, finished his PhD, had a child, got a dog, moved 3 times…..ok now I’m getting tired. But I was thinking the other day how every time we start a project, make a move, buy a house, it’s always “what do we do next, where do we go from here?” and we (well I, Cary seems to just go with the flow) never enjoy the moment we are in.

An example is my time in Florida. I was terrified, ok terrified doesn’t even come close to explaining how I felt, of moving to Florida. It was one of my biggest fears in life, leaving my parents (remember my little post a few weeks ago about making plans?) but there I was, faced with living 13 hours away from my parents and I hated every second of it for the first 3 months. I moped, I cried, I had a real live panic attack, but after living in Florida for almost 3 years, it was 3 of the best years of my life! While living there I did not feel this way, all I did was look for jobs at schools for Cary, dream of being back in NC and constantly book flights home. But I learned more about myself, grew a much stronger marriage and made life long friends in those 3 years.

I guess having a child can make you stop and think, and sometimes just wish time would stand still, how precious every single moment is. There are days I just wish would end, when I am up to my elbows in yogurt and spilled milk, haven’t showered and somehow forgot to wear shoes. There are days I just wish I had 2 minutes to myself, to do absolutely nothing. There are days I am so tired I can barely open my eyes. But I am trying very hard to grab hold of these moments, even the very hard ones, because one day I will long for them again. Just like there are nights I long to have nothing to do but walk to the local wine bar and have a glass of wine with Cary without having to find a sitter, have dinner ready, a baby bathed……just to get up and go, I will long for these days one day, sooner than I expect.

So that is what I want to leave you with today, not the DIY project I had planned. I want to share with you what I am trying to work on for me this month, to embrace the present, not to long for the past or be anxious for the future, but to enjoy and be satisfied with right now!

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