Mar 31, 2006

Carb Lover's Recipe

I was raised in a family that ate a lot of carbs - pasta, bread, potatoes (any and all kinds), etc. Personally, I don't see that as being a problem. However, there has been, and continues to be a trend where people actually cut carbs from their diets. Weird, right? Well, I'm not one of those people. I cannot and will not give them up. Having said that, here is one of my favorite recipes:

You Won't Be Single for Long Vodka Cream Pasta
Rachael Ray

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, once around the pan in a slow stream
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 cup vodka
1 cup chicken stock
1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces)
Coarse salt and pepper
16 ounces pasta, such as penne rigate
1/2 cup heavy cream
20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn
Crusty bread, for passing

Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, garlic, and shallots. Gently saute shallots for 3 to 5 minutes to develop their sweetness. Add vodka to the pan, 3 turns around the pan in a steady stream will equal about 1 cup. Reduce vodka by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente (with a bite to it). While pasta cooks, prepare your salad or other side dishes.

Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves. Pass pasta with crusty bread.

Mar 30, 2006

What's Happening?

In the past 5 months, my family has had to deal with the following issues:
  • Stage 4 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Advanced prostate cancer
  • Alzheimer's

What's happening to my family?

We are in dire need of some good news...

Mar 26, 2006

What Did I just Eat???

I'm not on a diet. I don't need to lose weight, but I do need to change my eating habits - specifically, I need to be more consistent. I am a sporadic healthy eater. Fortunately, I love almost all vegetables (no asparagus, please). So, after a hectic week at work and 5 straight days with migraines, here is what I ate on Friday:

peanut butter (lots and lots of peanut butter) on wheat toast and a glass of OJ

Cheese pizza and water

Cheese pizza and a Diet Coke

Two peanut butter cookies (Girl Scout!) and water

While eating dinner, I commented to Husband, "I didn't eat a single vegetable today."

Husband: "So what?"

OK, in my defense: 1) I had my performance review at work, so I wasn't really hungry for lunch, 2) With it being Lent, I felt like my choices were limited, and 3) Stepson had a sleepover, and as we all know, kids love pizza.

Lame excuses, I know, but what can I say. OK, so Saturday wasn't much better...

Mar 23, 2006

Spring Has Sprung

I was ironing my shirt this morning and, like I usually do, looked outside to see what was going on in our neighborhood - not much at 7 AM. That's when I noticed the tree right outside the window in our spare bedroom (yes, that is where the ironing board is setup). There were buds, actual buds on the trees! I couldn't have been happier. Despite the snow we had on Monday, spring is actually here.

Now if only the baseball season would officially start...

Mar 21, 2006

Headache At Work

It has been a while since my last post. Things have been hectic at work ever since returning from Las Vegas, which reminds me that I need to post some pictures from our trip.

I'm at work right now...with a migraine. Actually, the migraine is gone thanks to a nice, strong dose of narcotic painkillers. I don't know why I feel the need to distinguish between "pain relievers" and my painkillers. It must be because I've had lots of people ask me if a migraine is "just a really bad headache." I usually just laugh and explain that it's not even the same kind of pain as a regular headache.

So, right now I am working on our big special event our agency has once a year - a golf event. I know nothing about golf, but I do know how to run a huge fundraiser. I'm trying to focus on my work, but it's difficult now that the meds have kicked in.

Mar 11, 2006

It's a Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood

It has been a gorgeous day today. I believe it actually hit 73 degrees the last time I checked. We had the windows open all day - it smells and sounds like summer. There's just something in the air that smells sweet. I'm not sure what it is exactly, but I love it. There seems to be a lot more traffic, but maybe that's just because I have the window open. The birds are out in full force. I'm sure they'll be in for a big surprise when it drops back down into the 30's at the beginning of the week. I guess this is to be expected in mid-March in the Midwest. I remember one Sunday during my freshman year in college. It was February 28th and the temperature reached 78 degrees! I had an English paper that was due the next day and it was so difficult to stay in my room and finish it while I heard everyone outside laughing and playing Frisbee (why was that so popular in college?). As soon as I was done, I headed outside with the rest of my friends. I remember thinking that I had better soak it all in because I just knew we'd be getting more snow soon.

I'm waiting for baseball to start. Believe me, I love football, and I love my Bears, but I just HATE the time between the Super Bowl and the baseball season. Boring. I was able to catch one pre-season Cubs games on TV the other day. God, I can't wait...

Mar 8, 2006

I Made it Back Alive (and other thoughts)

Well, I made it back from Las Vegas alive and well - aside from the raging migraine I developed while waiting outside of In & Out Burger. Actually, it started while we walked through a mall near Treasure Island. I like malls. I like shopping (even if it is just the window type). I think it was a stress-related migraine. The problem was that I took a painkiller in the morning before checking out of the hotel. I couldn't take another one because soon we would be at the airport, and I would be downing a Valium to get through the flight. Valium and Barbituates - it could have landed me on E's True Hollywood Story (or non-Hollywood story).

But I digress...

We made it back, and I loved Las Vegas. I'm picking up my pictures tomorrow afternoon and I can't wait to see them. I'm a bit worried some of them didn't turn out - especially the ones I took at night. I'm also totally paranoid that the scanners at the airport destroyed my film even though the sign said that all film under 800 would not be harmed. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

On to a different topic-

I've decided that sugar isn't what is triggering my migraines, but that the culprit is chocolate. Not a huge deal to me as I've never been much of a sweets eater or a chocoholic, but I do love my brownies. I haven't had chocolate in almost 7 weeks and I really think I'm OK about it (aside from that desperate moment a few weeks ago when I licked a brownie and then promptly threw it away). However, today I went to Walgreens to drop off my film. I picked up a b-day card for my grandpa (who will celebrate his 90th birthday on March 15th!). I strolled down the candy aisle to see what was there. I think there is only one candybar in the entire world that contains no chocolate - Payday. I bought it and ate half of it. It's actually really good. Of course, it's no fudgy brownie.