Showing posts with label Simplicity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Simplicity. Show all posts

Thursday, January 16, 2014

5-ingredient "stupid" chicken

My mother-in-law first shared the recipe* with me back when we were in college, so it's been with us since the very start. It reminds me of a recipe my Aunt Joan used to cook when I was a kid that she called "Stupid Chicken" because of how easy it was to make, so that's what I'm going to call this recipe now. I think hers involved white wine and black olives, but the good thing about this recipe is how easy it is to change. You can add salsa to make it spicy or wine and olives if you want to fussy it up.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

channeling Atticus

Charlie's best impression of Gene Simmons.

The other day I told Nate that I thought Banjo was a good name for a dog. He countered that "Banjo" falls into Category #3 for names, the ones you think are unique but aren't really. He's right, you know. I admit that I fancy myself "cool, but not too annoying." Nate's astute observations are a good reason to keep him around.

I occasionally point out good dog names to Nate in the same vein as I mention boy's names to him; I don't have a specific boy or dog I'm naming, it's just a thing I do. I name stuff. This aside is apropos to nothing I'm writing about today except that I also think Atticus is a good dog name and a good boy name, and typing the title made me ponder my naming proclivity.

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

the 12 days of {minimalist parenting} Christmas

Following Minimalist Parenting's lead of rebooting the holidays, I am taking the notes I made during their two-week camp and turning their ideas into a list of activities you can do to prepare your home, mind, and family to take a minimalist approach to the holidays.

You can take as much or little time to do these activities, but they are designed to be done over two weeks. Each numbered task below represents one day for two weeks, and each item should take approximately 15 minutes to complete. Although I titled the list "The 12 Days of Minimalist Christmas," you could insert any holiday. In fact, beginning tomorrow there are two weeks before Thanksgivukkah, so I suggest starting tomorrow with the DAY 1 activity! You can follow along on the blog, where I'll chart my own progress.



The 12 Days of {Minimalist Parenting} Holidays:


  1. More and Less List: As with every plan of action, draw a road map first. Write down what you want to do/see/create more and less of over the holidays. Like with my minimalist manifesto, I refer to my list often when something--an event, or overwhelm of stuff--threatens to steer me off course.
  2. Tackle your hardest thing first: Spend 15 minutes (use an egg-timer if you want) and do the most difficult thing on your holiday to-do list first. Procrastination drains your energy.
  3. Say Yes and No: This task goes back to what I wrote about last week, regarding saying no. Say yes to events that make you happy or excite you and say no to events that drain you.
  4. Delegate!: Identify holiday-related chores (untangling lights, taking down Halloween decorations, etc.) your kids can do and delegate them. 
  5. Declutter for 15 minutes: Go to a clutter spot in your house, and with a trash bag, spend 15 minutes decluttering by donating or throwing away toys that don't get played with, are missing parts, or are broken and awaiting fixing.
  6. Donate a bag of stuff: This task should be easy. If you've finished Day 5, then you already have a bag to donate! You can give to your local rummage sale or seek one of many charitable organizations that do curb-side pick-up (e.g. VVA or Epilepsy Foundation).
  7. Rest & reflect on Week #1: Go back to the list you made on Day 1. Has anything raised or lowered in priority? Add or remove what is needed. Be mindful of how you feel and offer yourself and others your love, hope, forgiveness, and grace.
  8. Declutter e-mail: Touch each email only three times. First pass is for deleting messages that aren't addressed to you and responding to time-sensitive matters. Second pass is for emails that require more time. Third pass is for the messages that bug or don't interest you. 
  9. Make a holiday menu plan: Figure out 3-5 dishes that can be made and frozen in advance. Good possibilities are mashed squash, cranberry sauce, pie fillings, pie dough, and stuffing. 
  10. Involve your kids in mealtime: Kids can help with grocery shopping and meal preparation. Ideas for how they can help are on the Family Dinner Project website
  11. Develop and stick with a budget: Celebrate the holidays within your means by considering and communicating how much you plan to spend on gifts, food, travel, and entertainment. 
  12. Identify five favorite ways to care for yourself: Make a self-care short list of what nourishes, nurtures, and relaxes you.
  13. Give yourself 15 minutes: Make time in your calendar today and once each week for these 15 minutes to devote to one of the five items on your self-care list.
  14. Rest & reflect on Week #2: Go back to the list you made on Day 1. Was the second week easier or more difficult? What will you plan to continue more permanently in your routine? Add or remove what is needed. Be mindful of how you feel and offer yourself and others your love, hope, forgiveness, and grace.
If you try any of these holiday rebooting tasks, consider leaving a comment here on the blog or over on the Lone Home Ranger Facebook page. I'd love to hear what works and what doesn't!

Author's note: I did not get paid anything to write about Minimalist Parenting, but I like the authors and think you'll enjoy some concepts from their book. This post is part of The Homestead Barn HopWorks for Me Wednesday, and LHITS DIY Friday.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

the motherhood curator


I was just making some cheesy popcorn tonight in preparation for tomorrow's choir rehearsal--it's my turn for mom snack duty. {It is an easy and delicious recipe; just follow my dad's basic popcorn recipe, then as you're drizzling butter, also sprinkle garlic salt and grated parmesan/romano cheese.} As I was stuffing the finished product into ten snack-sized baggies, I began pondering my week ahead.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

making a molehill out of a mountain {rhythm of the home}

Rhythm of the Home's Holiday edition is out today! Check out my article about simplifying our kids' toys. I'll be conducting our "pre-holiday purge" soon. Care to join me?


Author's note: You can read my past contributions to Rhythm of the Home here.

Monday, October 21, 2013

holiday planning {with cards by minted}

You're probably thinking, "Is this the second post about Christmas she's written before Thanksgiving?" Yes! I am discovering that to simplify our lives, I often need to plan ahead. If I'm organized, I'm able to say with confidence whether Vivi can take that skating class or I can volunteer to hand out holiday gifts for our town again. Otherwise, I'm flying blind and trying to guess whether we have time and space to take on more. I owe my better preparations to Simplicity Parenting--for philosophy-- and Minimalist Parenting--for strategy. Have you read them yet? I'm betting they will change the way you approach the holidays this year.

After a few years of ho hum holiday cards, I'm looking forward to getting some crafty cards from Minted this year. Have you heard of them? I first found their website via my friend Nole's stellar website devoted to stationery, calligraphy, and design. Minted is a crowdsourced marketplace that connects consumers and designers for everything paper, from cards to wall art. Personally, I'm psyched that they have both ornament and foil-press options for holiday cards.

minted
So adorable! If I got these, I think I'd save one and put it out again every year, don't you?

Right now, you can get 10% off holiday cards at Minted using the promotion code FALLHOL10 (thru Oct. 29th)! If you get some, let me know in the comments which ones you got. 

Minted and West Elm are also hosting a chance to win $500 each in their products at this Deck the Halls/Deck the Walls Sweepstakes. I hope you win! If you do, send me this picture of a cardinal, pretty please.

Yes, Minted is giving me free stuff from their store for posting about them. But I truly love them and think you will too!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

it's beginning to feel {not at all} like Christmas

I know it's insanely early to discuss such things, so if you are a person who is easily offended by the slightest whiff of Christmas talk prior to Black Friday, this is not the post for you.

But if, on the other hand, you are a planner like me who is petrified that her girls will get more pink plastic crap instead of games and toys that challenge their minds, then step on down! You are the next contestant on...

The Price is Wrong...But We're Buying It Anyway Because of Guilt and Competitive Parenting

Tell them what they've won, Bob!

A Brand New Scooter!

Monday, October 07, 2013

a family dinner by any other name

Selfie in Sweden, pre-kids
After graduating college, Nate and I embarked on a journey as a newly minted family, leaving behind our home state for adventures in the uncharted beyond. Moving away from our families of origin was exciting! Graduate school and moves to the Midwest, the US capital, and across the Atlantic Ocean opened our eyes to different and interesting ways of thinking and living.

Along the way, we became parents. Welcome to the best learning experience of all! While we were thrilled about our growing family, we also encountered our share of challenges and foibles. None of our friends had kids yet, so we navigated the choppy new waters solo while they smiled and did their best to understand the dark circles and panicked voices. Without family in town to assist us, we floundered quite a bit on just what to do with our new bundle of joy. We relied on our nanny to tell us what and when to feed Vivi. I chuckle to remember how we browsed stacks of parenting volumes promising new and different ways to achieve better results, as though she were a new iGadget instead of a person.

Although advice was still only a phone call away, the temptation of “the unknown better” beckoned louder. Eschewing family secrets for propaganda, we replaced the village with pop science. Whereas pride in continuing our families’ traditions was once the goal long ago, shiny-new-object syndrome stepped in and took over.

Unfortunately, our manic pursuit of novelty did not improve our lives. The promise that the latest parenting trend would solve our problems didn’t deliver. We were paralyzed by choice and growing dizzy from the pendulum of polarized philosophies. Put simply, we were not happy parents.




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Thursday, July 25, 2013

I forgot my mantra



I love that quote by Jeff Goldblum in Annie Hall. I don't always get Woody Allen's jokes, but I get that one because it so accurately represents how I feel. I would try to meditate, but I'm certain I would forget my mantra because my pursuit of meditation would be so poorly executed. You see, I'm an ideas girl. I leave the execution of details to my life partner. We make a great team, he and I.

My church is a small congregation, and we take a break over the summer due to so many families traveling and to give our pastor some much needed time off. During the summer months, they invite speakers on Sundays to discuss any number of topics not covered over the rest of the year. Our family typically skips these non-sermons because we also need time off, but this Sunday covered spiritual meditation/prayer so we decided to give it a try. I felt I could use some lessons on learning to quiet my mind, for I lack the discipline to do so on my own. Even as I type this sentence, I'm thinking "I wonder if I have a load of laundry in the washer." Focus, girl!

It was an interesting experience just to converse with the other people who came. As it turned out, their reasons might not have been so different from my own. I have been contemplating how best to assist a family member who seems to be experiencing a mental decline lately, and it was the primary reason for my desire to meditate that day. During the candle lighting for concerns and celebrations, another member of the congregation stood up and asked us to pray for him as he helps his mother and father move into a smaller home. Then after the service, Nate called his parents and discovered his dad was also spending that weekend helping his mom move into a smaller home. Does it ever feel like you're being spoken to, LOUDLY, if you would just stop to listen?

The other immediate benefit of meditating, apart from the always wonderful shared experience I get from church, was that once I quieted my mind, solutions for a bunch of half-answered problems that have been floating around my mind suddenly jumped out at me. Could it be so easy? Whenever I have a problem, I could just sit quietly and empty my mind of thoughts, and the answer would jump out?

My theory has yet to be tested, but I like where this line of thought is headed. Slow down. Stop trying to think so much, and you might do some actual thinking. What stands out to you about this concept? Have you done any meditating?

Monday, May 06, 2013

Vivi's laissez-faire birthday party


The little dears have finally moved away from the age when a group photo involves children standing higgledy piggledy and wizz wuzz all over the place to the age when they put their arms around each other and smile. Or pout, as it may be, but look at the camera all the same.

If you know me only through the blog and not in person, it is possible I have not communicated to you the extent to which my elder child ADORES having a birthday. This little human schemes and hatches her party plans year-round. Some days she wants a Batman rainbow unicorn cake, and some days she wants to go to a water park (dear God why), but the universal components are friends and food. I like that she understands the important aspects of party-planning and doesn't get bogged down in details, which allows me lots of wiggle room.

For me, it is important that party-planning and execution be simple and relaxed. A core element of my personality is that I can't be bothered to fuss when entertaining guests. Adding a secondary layer to my character onion, I think all the focus on children's birthdays has become bananas, and I refuse to take part. The expense, the cheap plastic crap, the stress. What are we teaching our children? I won't go into details since it's a well-covered topic, but I will share my favorites of others who have covered it, e.g. UMN Birthdays without Pressure, a Boston Mamas article, and a Minimalist Parenting article.

Thus, about three weeks before Vivi's fifth birthday, I started running the potential itinerary by her, and darned if she didn't accept all my ideas graciously and even enthusiastically, bless her. I enjoyed sharing her party last year (see my original post and/or when it was featured on Apartment Therapy), so I thought I'd share the party details again this year.


Genevieve's laissez-faire fifth birthday party

The Planning

Going off our rule from years past, she was allowed to invite 5 friends, one per year of age (plus siblings. Poor Charlie had to endure a confusing moment when Vivi said "You don't count at my birthday, Charlie." Her pouty bottom lip will slay you). She has two best friends at school, so I cleared some possible dates with the moms ahead of time, figuring if they couldn't be there, it wouldn't be worth having a party at all. Really, this kid is a fiercely loyal friend.

The Activities

I knew from last year that 2 hours was a good amount of party time and that we only needed one or two scheduled activities. A few months ago, her grandparents gave her and C tie-dyed t-shirts from their island vacation, and she was enamored with the dye process as I explained it from my summer camp days, so I knew we had settled on a good activity with tie-dying shirts.

Tie-dying might be good for older kids, but for five-year-olds, it was mostly me & moms doing all the work. Meh.

Because we normally plan her party close to Cinco de Mayo (giving me a good excuse to serve my favorite snacks, salsa and guacamole), I mentioned to a friend we might get a piñata, and she told me about this great kind with ribbons the kids pull instead of beating it to death a la Steve Martin. Sold!


An activity we didn't do that I still love the idea of is to get an old big white sheet for a picnic, and then when everyone's done eating, give the kids fabric pens and let them draw on the sheet. What fun that would be!

The Food

On the morning of her party, I did a quick shopping trip to our local farm and Trader Joe's to get everything except the avocados and kiwis, which I purchased a few days ahead to give them time to ripen. The kiwis are part of another birthday tradition I started with her last year, which is to buy her exotic fruit. She gets to watch it ripen all week, which just adds another layer to birthday excitement.

I got veggies and strawberries at the farm (a rare time for us to buy out of season). At TJ's, I bought all of the other party stuff: that tray of four kinds of hummus, a bunch of various chips and salsas, and brownie bites and lemon squares. For refreshments, Nate got beer and hard cider (an elderflower type from Angry Orchard, so good), and I got a bunch of those fancy sparkling juices from TJ's. The kids had a big serve-yourself juice container of watered down pink lemonade.

As for the dessert, we have noticed she doesn't love birthday cake but obsessively craves ice cream, so I brought up the idea of an ice cream sundae bar. YES YES YES! I knew at that point we were all set. The kiwis and strawberries went into a bowl, and the brownie bites and lemon squares in another bowl, to serve alongside the ice cream sundaes. Thanks to my mom, who bought Vivi some cooking supplies at Christmas, we already had a bunch of fancy sprinkles to go on top. Oh, and I got the ice cream and mini cones in bulk at the supermarket for cheap a few weeks ago and stashed them in the basement chest freezer I love dearly.



The Party

When the guests arrived, the kids ran around the backyard playing with our hastily purchased dollar store accoutrement, sidewalk chalk and butterfly nets. Watching them enjoy the unscheduled play time, I realized that even with short activities, I was still over-orchestrating the whole event. Next year I'm filling up the galvanized wash tub with water and bubbles and putting some tea pots and cups out there, and I have no doubt it will be enough. You should have seen them chase each other around the yard with those nets, trying to nab their friend's heads instead of bugs. The parent crowd eyed each other, shrugged, and passed around more food and drinks. Three cheers for good friends!



After-Party Run-Down

Here's another party tip: have the right adults present. I had fretted over the possibility of Vivi getting a bunch of crap we don't need for her gifts and pondered the idea of telling them not to bother ("Your presence is the present" kind of thing), but in the end I opted to let them make their own decisions, and it worked out perfectly! All the gifts she got were thoughtful and not what I would call a waste of resources. A fairy garden, a date to paint pottery, and some retro games like a Jacob's ladder. As time goes on, I am more convinced that all I need to do to raise good kids is to surround myself with a good tribe. The rest of the details fall into place on their own, if I have the courage to let go.


Tie dye was a bit of a mess. The kids were into it for about three minutes, until they realized the moms were doing most of the heavy lifting, and then they slowly wandered off. It was nice to be able to send everyone home with a t-shirt, but it wasn't an expected addition so I wouldn't do it again.

The ribbon piñata was fun in that it's much easier and more civil to have the children take turns without having them blindfolded, dizzy, and swinging a heavy bat, but I will tell you that the ribbons did not make the dang thing open. In the end, Nate still had to do the Dad Maneuver (sans wood saw, fortunately) and rip it apart.


To my surprise, the kids didn't dive in and elbow each other to get candy; they were all first-timers, so most stood there with dazed expressions, except for one girl who wisely grabbed a butterfly net and shoved it under the ladybug just in time to catch the spilled candy guts. I high-fived her mom for raising such a practical kid. My mom found these adorable peanut butter and jelly wallets on sale, so we let the kids put their piñata score in them, and I counted those and the tie-dye shirts as "goody bags."


I'm repeating myself with this last party rule, but it's worth saying again, as it is probably the most crucial element: invite a close friend of family member you can boss around, preferably of the female species. Of all the days I say "I wish I had a wife," the day of a party is the day I most need a clone. Last year we had my friend Liza, who stepped in beautifully to pull off the Spiderman (and Spiderwoman!) cookie cakes. This year my mom agreed to come and help wrangle, and I couldn't have done it without her. You want her and Liza on your party-planning team. Thanks Mom!


Sunday, March 03, 2013

mincamp, toddler braids, and new shoes

Sometimes it feels like a random download kind of day, and today is like that. Care to take a walk through my stream of consciousness?

We had neighbors over tonight for pizza and salad, and it was a fun first date! I sure hope they like us too, shucks.

It was a lazy, unproductive kind of weekend, but one highlight of productivity was my first tasks in the MinCamp, a 14-day workshop run by the ladies who wrote Minimalist Parenting to help parents enjoy "family life more by doing less." I've already done some basement organizing, sewn an eye onto Charlie's froggy hat, set aside some toys and clothes for a secondhand sale, and said no to some linen ironing I was planning to do before our guests arrived for dinner. You can still join any time, and it's free! Fun times.

Charlie has wispy hair these days, and the curl seems to be weighed down by the length. Part of me still worries that when I get it cut the curl will be gone forever, so I'm stalling on the cut for a while. In the meantime, we're enjoying some braids, like this one:


I'm slowly weaning Vivi off the all-pink-all-the-time, and I'm proud to say that I didn't even have to use the "Mommy is allergic to pink" excuse. Check out her new shoes!


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

frugal living

Welcome to the February 2013 Simplicity Parenting Carnival: Finances
This post was written as part of the monthly Simplicity Parenting Carnival hosted by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM. This month we are discussing how we balance finances, family, and simplicity. Be sure to read to the end to see a list of the rest of the excellent carnival contributors.
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When we bought our first Mac laptop seven years ago, it helped us in many areas of our lives. Perhaps the biggest way was that we started using Quicken. I smile when I ponder the pre-Quicken days of writing down every expense on a paper tablet, but that is one instance when I can say for sure I don't long for the Good Ol' Days.

Although Quicken did help us establish our first budget, it wasn't until we took on a frugal living challenge last year that we really began to analyze closely our needs versus our wants and attempt to make cuts to family spending. The frugal living challenge was a 23-day experiment in which we redefined "enough" and discussed the merit of each individual purchase we make on a regular basis.

We altered our lifestyles greatly after the challenge to be more frugal. For instance, we got rid of cable (for a year; we're back on cable now in our new house). One area that took lots of time and soul-searching to change was grocery-shopping. I realized in doing the challenge that so much of my coupon-clipping was to purchase items we didn't really need (e.g. toilet bowl cleaner can be made at home for pennies on the dollar!). Upon that realization, I decided once and for all to cut out coupons from our lives; I shared the results and my tips for shopping frugally without coupons on the blog.

 I have written several posts about living frugally, so if you're pondering how you can live more simply and within your means, come pull up a chair and learn from my foibles and follies on our path to frugal living:




How do you live frugally? What does frugal living mean to you?

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Thanks for reading the Simplicity Parenting Blog Carnival! We hope you’ll take time to read these other great contributors’ posts (Note: Links will all be live by 3pm ET on February 26th): SimParCarButton150x150
  • Keeping Finances Simple - Becky at Crafty Garden Mama shares how using the Neat scanner, price books and setting a budget helps her family keep their finances simple.
  • Living Within Our Means - Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM discusses how her family attempts to simplify their financial life by not spending money they don't have.
  • A Confession: I'm a Cheapskate - Jade at Faith in the Shade confesses her frugal nature and shares the stresses of simplifying her budget in all areas of the home.. even the most hated- groceries.
  • frugal living - Justine at The Lone Home Ranger recaps how participating in a frugal living challenge last year changed the way she approached family spending.
Thanks to all the fabulous writers and readers for being a part of our simplicity parenting community! Stop by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM to see how to join us for a future carnival.


Editor's note: This post was shared with The Homestead Barn Hop.

Monday, February 04, 2013

call for February carnival submissions: {finances}


Thanks to everyone who participated in the November Simplicity Parenting Carnival! It was a great success! We hope you'll join us again, Justine at The Lone Home Ranger and Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM, for another simplicity parenting carnival. If you’re joining us for the first time, feel free to check out the May, June, August , October, and November 2012 carnivals as well! Read more about our carnival and future topics here.

February 2013: Finances
How do you handle finances while living simply? Are your finances complex despite your simple living priorities? Do you wish your finances were simpler?

Monday, January 28, 2013

these are the days


It's snowing again. I consider it the reward for enduring the sub-20's weather we've been having for a week or more. I am thankful we don't live in sub-20's for months on end like we did in Wisconsin. Brrrr.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

you had me at free shipping



BlogHer asked me if I wanted to write about a new Proctor & Gamble eStore, and at first I wasn't sure it was my thing. I always check these offers out to make sure they actually appeal to me, and thus hopefully to you as well. And then I saw it: "free shipping on orders over $25 and a 15% discount for new members." Sign me up! I love deliveries to my door. Oh, and free samples with every order. I live for free samples. Sold.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

starting holiday food traditions

Welcome to the November 2012 Simplicity Parenting Carnival: Food
This post was written as part of the monthly Simplicity Parenting Carnival hosted by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM. This month we are discussing how we balance food, family, and simplicity. Be sure to read to the end to see a list of the rest of the excellent carnival contributors.
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It makes some sort of sense that after disappearing for a week I would come back to the blog talking about food. Practically nothing else (save decorating) has occupied my thoughts for the past fortnight. Just about my favorite part of this Thanksgiving--after my mom visiting, of course--is that the whole event somehow came together easily.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

perfect is as perfect does

Don't bother telling me that title doesn't make any sense. Grammar is not my friend today. In any case, that modified Gumpism is the phrase that's been going through my head over the past few days.

It all started with an episode of NPR's On Point about perfectionism. Did you catch it? I enjoyed it because members of my immediate family--who will remain nameless--have perfectionist tendencies, and I've often wondered if striving for perfectionism is simultaneously a sort of strength and weakness. The radio program addressed this issue in a way that didn't point fingers but at the same time offered an impetus for perfectionists to be less perfect. It's worth a listen.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

call for November carnival submissions: {food}

Chocolate cookies with toppings (recipe from The Pioneer Woman)

Thanks to everyone who participated in the October Simplicity Parenting Carnival! It was a great success! We hope you'll join us again, Justine at The Lone Home Ranger and Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM, for another simplicity parenting carnival. If you’re joining us for the first time, feel free to check out the May, June, and August carnivals as well! Read more about our carnival and future topics here

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

DIY holiday fun

Welcome to the October 2012 Simplicity Parenting Carnival: Holidays
This post was written as part of the monthly Simplicity Parenting Carnival hosted by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM. This month we are discussing how we simplify the holiday season. Be sure to read to the end to see a list of the rest of the excellent carnival contributors.
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In the past I wouldn't have considered myself the crafting kind. That's an understatement, really. I tried one Martha Stewart craft project in college--creating my own criss-cross ribbon photo board--which was an abysmal failure. Lately, though, I've been enjoying taking up more craft projects with my girls. Perhaps it's the fact that they are so small that makes me adventurous. After all, who cares if a child's art project isn't perfect?

Monday, October 15, 2012

pasta amatriciana

Amatriciana is a classic Italian sauce that traditionally includes cured pork and pecorino. I love it because it allows me to turn some bacon ends into a meal. I learned about it from my CSA farmer, who is never short on great use-it-up recipes. After making beef bourguignon a few nights ago I had some bacon I needed to use up in the fridge. I grabbed a jar of marinara, some spaghetti, and a wedge of Parmesan cheese. Voila! Dinner is served.



pasta amatriciana

1 Tbs. olive oil
½ lb bacon cut into 1 inch pieces
1 red onion, chopped
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 jar marinara sauce
1 lb spaghetti or bucatini
splash of red wine vinegar
freshly grated Parmesan
chopped flat leaf parsley (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. In separate pan, heat olive oil over moderate heat, add bacon and cook 5 minutes or until it begins to render some fat.


Add onion and continue to cook until onion begins to brown and bacon begins to crisp (about 12-15 minutes).



Remove all but about a teaspoon of bacon fat. Add marinara sauce and crushed red pepper flakes. Turn up heat slightly to bring to a simmer, scraping any bits off bottom of pan. Simmer 5 minutes. Turn heat to low and add splash of red wine vinegar.



While sauce is simmering, cook and drain the pasta according to package directions. Reserve a bit of pasta water if your sauce needs thinning. Add pasta to the sauce and toss well. Serve with cheese and parsley.

Our farmer also recommends green salad, bread and a nice merlot to round out this yummy meal.

Editor's note: This post is part of Real Food Wednesday, Monday Mania, and:

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