Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Winter 2013 Driving Mix...

It's time for a new playlist, my friends!  On New Years Day, they had a whole concert series from Napa Valley on my very favorite satellite radio station (The Pulse, in case you're wondering).  They had a bunch of great artists on, singing new music that I wasn't familiar with, and it got me in that iTunes-obsessed mood that means it's time for a new driving mix!  Grace Potter made it on the CD twice, which is sort of unheard of (unless you're Maroon 5...they show up all the time...lol).  I love her...and she was AWESOME live.  You know who was NOT awesome?  Alanis Morrisette.  I was so disappointed by her.  As someone who grew up on Jagged Little Pill, I was pretty excited that she was going to be singing a bunch of songs live on my 4 hour drive back to Des Moines.  It didn't start out on a positive note...the host asked her what music inspired her, and she said she was really busy with her own music and that she really didn't have time to listen to anyone else...so her music inspires her...and sometimes her husband's music.  What?   Lame answer, lady.  That's like the most anti-music lover answer in history.  And then she went on to "sing" some of the songs from Jagged Little Pill, and it honestly seemed like she had forgotten a bunch of the words and was just mumbling nonsense words, which was disappointing.  Anyway, I wouldn't bother buying a ticket to see her live.  Also, on my short list of pet peeves about live music, it annoys the hell out of me when artists get up there and sing two lines of the song, and then wait for the audience to sing the next 4 lines.  I mean really...people are buying tickets to hear YOU sing...if I wanted to hear the drunk guy next to me belt out an off-key version of your song, I could go to a bar for that.  Blah.  Anyway, we're off topic...back to the new driving mix.  I love it, you may or may not love it, but either way, here it is:

Winter 2013 Driving Mix

1) Tonight Tonight - Hot Chelle Rae
2) Mermaid - Train
3) Put the Gun Down - ZZWard
4) So Beautiful - The Dunwells
5) Fallout - Marianas Trench
6) Thinking of You - The Maine
7) February Seven - The Avett Brothers
8) Picking Up the Pieces - Paloma Faith
9) Stars - Grace Potter and The Nocturnals
10) Try - Pink
11) Good Time - Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen
12) Man Like That - GinWigmore
13) Paris (Ooh La La) - Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
14) Bottom of the River - Delta Rae
15) Stubborn Love - The Lumineers
16) Carry On - Fun.

That's all for now...enjoy!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Spicy Sausage Pasta...

Well, I found this recipe on one of my recent (and incredibly brief) visits to Pinterest.  The picture looked beautiful, and I gotta say, I'm a sucker for beautiful food.  I can't help but think my blog would probably be more popular if I bothered to learn anything about food photography, but hey...I'm busy...maybe someday when I retire...when I'm 105 or so.  So yeah, don't hold your breath for that :)  Anyway, the original recipe can be found at kevin {&} amanda.  I adjusted to get a little more out of it, because as a general rule, I like to get 6-8 servings out of a meal for the month, and the original only made 4.  Plus the original called for a pound of sausage in 4 servings...I like smoked sausage, but yeow...that's a lot.  So, there were a few adjustments.  The recipe as I made it is as follows:

Spicy Sausage Pasta
8 servings - 412 calories

1 T. olive oil
1 package smoked sausage
1 med. onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 c. chicken broth
1- 10oz. can Rotel (Tomatoes and Green Chiles - Mild)
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 lb. pasta (I used Penne)
1 c. shredded Colby Jack cheese
1/3 c. diced green onions

Saute sausage and onions on medium high for 4-6 minutes until onions begin to soften.  Add garlic and saute an additional 30 seconds or so till it gets fragrant.  Add broth, tomatoes, cream, and pasta and bring to a boil.  Turn down to low/med. low and simmer for an additional 15 minutes until pasta is cooked through.  Add cheese and green onions and stir as cheese melts.  And that's it...voila!

I'm serving mine with a crescent roll for a total of 512 calories.  Also, I forgot to take a picture of the portioned out servings before I ate one for lunch (whoops!), so no pic for that...sorry!  You get the idea :)

January Menu Plan...

Alrighty...the January Meal Plan!  Woot!  As I said in my last post, we're running a little short on new recipes due to time constraints, but I did manage to get one in there.  I went ahead and linked the ones that I've already made so in case you're feeling like you couldn't live without making one of them, you don't have to sift through a bunch of stuff to find it (I know, I'm pretty thoughtful sometimes).  By the way, have you noticed I'm in a much sassier mood since I've moved to Iowa?  People who know me keep pointing it out...I'm gonna go ahead and say that equates to me being in a BETTER mood, so get used to it!  :)  lol.  Here goes:


Baked Chicken Panzanella (6 servings - 290 calories) with Garlic Bread (153 calories) = 443 calories

Chicken Pillows (8 servings - 335 calories) with Potatoes ala Boulangere (117 calories) = 452 calories

Lazy Sunday Casserole (6 servings - 195 calories) with Biscuit (170 calories) = 365 calories

Sweet Potato-Topped Shepherd's Pie (8 servings - 250 calories) with Crescent Roll (100 calories) = 350 calories

Spicy Sausage Pasta (8 servings - 412 calories) with Crescent Roll (100 calories) = 512 calories


And that's all for now!  Recipe and photos to come for the Spicy Sausage Pasta!

The Big Move...

Yeah, so it may seem like I gave up on this blog.  That's not actually true though, so hooray for that, right?  :)  In actuality, I literally haven't made any new food since the last menu plan.  And on top of that, that last menu plan was made three weeks later than planned...in Iowa...because I moved!  So yeah, the last two months have been crazy.  There's really not a less convenient time to move than the weekend after Thanksgiving.  You end up right smack dab in the middle of family time, Christmas chaos, and oh yeah...I work in retail too...so not a great time for taking off a week or two to move.  Sooooo...I took off 5 days.  Yep.  5.  To move 7 hours away to Iowa.  And let me tell you, by the end of that 5 days, all boxes were unpacked, pictures on the walls, groceries in the fridge, and furniture delivery was scheduled for the new couch, AND the new bed (because I now have a SECOND bedroom...that's right folks...you know you're movin' up in the world when your guests don't have to sleep on an air mattress in the livingroom anymore!).  Why on earth would all of that be done in five days, you ask?  Because I'm just that crazy.  It took a week and change to pack (because I actually PACKED this time...like, put stuff in boxes...with bubble wrap and everything.  I know, right?  Normally, I'm throwing shit in laundry baskets and garbage bags the day before I leave).  And let me say, I literally cannot focus on my day-to-day life when all of my worldly possessions are in a pile of cardboard in my diningroom.  So it was priority number one to not start my new job (actually, the same job I already had...just 7 hours away from where I had it before) before that cardboard nightmare was eradicated.  So yeah.  Unpacked.  The saving grace for this move was...drumroll please...I hired MOVERS to load and unload on either end of the move.  It was a-ma-zing.  I'm never carrying my (excessive amount of) shit by myself again!  I drove the UHaul myself, which was pretty miserable, but we made it (Note to self:  Get a boyfriend before you move again, so he can drive the UHaul). 

Anyway, so yeah...I live in Des Moines now, which is actually pretty great, if you ask me.  It's sort of weird...it's like a real city, with tons of stuff to do, BUT it's also sort of country.  People like, say hello and hold the door for you instead of avoiding eye contact and thinking you're a suspicious character for waving at them.  There's a mansion of a house right in the middle of everything...that constantly has a tractor sitting in the driveway!  That's what you get when you move out of Chicagoland, I guess.  As a girl who's from a farm just outside of the middle of nowhere (I know it's hard to believe with how anti-outdoorsy I am, but it's true), I can appreciate that.  I'm from the land of waving at strangers you meet on the highway on your way to work...and subsequently wondering what their problem is if they don't wave back.  Yeah.  So Chicagoland was a bit of a disconnect for me.  I obviously made great friends there and loved my apartment there and it was a great experience and I will DEFINITELY be going back to visit.  However, Des Moines just feels more like...home, I guess.  Oh yeah, AND it's a college town, so there's actually young people here and nightlife (ha...like I'm part of nightlife anymore!), which is cool.

Soooo...it's been crazy, but things are finally all settling in.  Cooking begins again today...I apologize that I'm only making one new recipe.  I literally have not had time to browse Pinterest for new recipes and figure out calorie counts and all that nonsense.  So...one newbie, and the rest of the plan will be old favorites.  NEXT month, my intent is to get back more newness.  No promises though.  I've got a lot going on here, people!  lol :)  Anyway, that's all for now!  Hooray Iowa!  Recipe plan coming shortly...  :)