Well, Hello Again!

I'm back....

Wow, where have I been for the last 6 months? I can tell you a few things... one, the kitchen reno project has been to hell and back and I am utterly amazed that I am still married. The kitchen is THE most important part of my world and we ended up with a contractor that "ahem" doesn't deal with women. Now there's a whole long story associated with this guy but since I'm not one to throw folks under the bus, I'll spare you the details and give you a bit of an electric shock instead. This contractor has been in my husband's family for like forever and trust me, he looks like it too and so it began as a no brainer to use him. Little did the family or he know that he would be up against ME! I won girls... I won the battle of his old fart's sexist attitude. I know how to sling a tape measure. I know how to design a functional environment too and anyone who truly knows me, "I ain't all up in the clouds with lofty design ideas" they will attest. So the project has been stalled since January. It took a call on a Saturday night with a glass of red vino in my hand to get this arse up off his... arse and finish the job! Just finish the friggin' job! I'm happy to report that he reported and two weeks in we are 80% done. The island counter top arrived last Friday morning and now it's all about install now and tile work --both, he has promised, will be finished by the 16th of July.

Final pics to follow!!!


We Both Won!

In Mid January, I was asked by The Bright Side Project blog to host a give-away. This isn't just any blog, I had 206 answers to the simple question of: What is your go-to meal for friends, family, lover?

Holly's answer was my fave! She eluded to a recipe that I knew would make my taste buds go wild and I was right! I made this recipe last night for my favorite guy and it was proclaimed "The Most Delicious!"

Thanks Holly!!! It's so good I have to share... Oh! but first, Holly is an Etsy Seller too which endeared me even further! Check out her lovely shop that features Hand Painted Pottery, Baby & Family Gifts, Personalized Note Cards & more! Holly Slay

Italian Sausage & Spinach Stuffed Shells with Tomato & Bechamel Sauce

For the tomato sauce:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 med. onion, chopped
2 large cans Italian plum or stewed tomatoes (cut the tomatoes up a little bit)
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
pinch freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Soften onions in olive oil. Add remaining ingredients, simmer 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

For the béchamel sauce
2 cups milk
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch ground nutmeg & pepper
Melt butter in sauce pan, adding flour and stir to blend. Add milk, salt, nutmeg and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring until you reach desired thickness.

For the meat filling
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 10-ounce package frozen, chopped spinach, cooked & drained
1 pound sausage
5 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons cream
2 eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon oregano
Sauté onion in olive oil until soft. Add spinach, cook until all moisture is gone. Transfer to bowl. In same skillet, brown sausage. Drain and add to the spinach mixture. Add remaining ingredients.

To assemble
Cook, according to package, one box large pasta shells. Spread thin layer of tomato sauce in large baking dish. Place meat filling in pasta, arranging in baking dish seam side down. Spread remaining tomato sauce over shells, then béchamel sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan. Bake at 375 degrees until bubbly and beginning to brown on top (about 20 minutes). Enjoy!!


The Bright Side Project - FREE GIVEAWAY!

The oh so fabulous blog
"The Bright Side Project" is featuring Kitchen Stories today
with an chance to win a $35 gift certificate
to use on anything in my shop!!!
How exciting is that?
Head on over and check it out!


Creative Inspiration

I happened to be flipping through the pages of a photography magazine this weekend and found this incredibly thought provoking piece about where creativity comes from. Erik Wahl is a photographer and the keynote speaker at Imaging USA this week in Nashville and in the magazines' interview the question was asked:
You make an intriguing statement: Creativity is not a genetic trait. Where does creativity come from, then?
Wahl's answer:
"Creativity has been wrongly diagnosed as a genetic trait". "Rather, it is a learned and practiced skill --just like reading, writing, and arithmetic --into which every single one of us can tap.
Our minds have been trained from childhood to think in lockstep and conformity. Our school systems automated us to sit in straight rows; color within the lines; and respond with sequential, one-dimensional, regurgitated answers. We were taught to take all our wonderful, multidimensional answers and to narrow them down in search of only one right answer. Ultimately, our analytical systems blocked our natural paths to creative thinking. In a sense, we were trained to become creatively constipated.
Don't get me wrong - these left-brain analytical functions are important. In fact, they are absolutely, categorically, 100 percent necessary. Necessary, but no longer sufficient to compete in the rapidly changing global economic marketplace. Sales and marketing strategies that worked yesterday will not necessarily work tomorrow for the changing needs of customers. The success paradigm has switched from knowledge and experience-based learning to a new frontier that emerging organizations are successfully embracing; imagination-based thinking".
He essentially closes the interview regarding the state of our economy and says:
"The current economic state mandates creativity is no longer a luxury --it is a necessity. Those who embrace creativity are better equipped to succeed in the future".
I thought this was one of those highly inspiring interviews and so my take on it is: keep on thinking outside of those proverbial coloring lines!