Tuesday, February 24, 2009

As overheard in Chicago O'Hare International airport...

Extremely Irate Man to airline employee: "I don't understand why if the other airline employee could get on the plane to tell my traveling partner & ride home that I was going to miss the plane....why couldn't I just get on the plane?" (can't say that I blame him for being mad)

Airline employee at gate with microphone: "Now boarding to Winnipeg....all first class passengers, passengers needing special assistance, airline mileage plus passengers..." (you know ,that long list of people who get to go first?) 3 minutes go by. Same airline employee: "Now boarding Winnipeg section 1. Section 1 please come to the gate." 3 minutes go by. Same airline employee: "Does anyone really want to go to Winnipeg? I have a full flight but no one is in my line yet!!!" (this sounds really stupid now that I've typed it out, and it was super funny when it happened. Guess it was one of those "you had to be there" situations, or maybe I am just bad at telling stories. Or both. I am really bad at re-telling stories. I'd delete it now but I'm too lazy.)

This is my favorite. Old lady wife talking to old man husband, after quietly eating almost all of a sandwich that someone they were staying with made them: "I still can't tell whether this is ham or turkey."

Oh, and I didn't overhear this, I saw it: A mouse quietly scurry back and forth behind the gate counter a couple times. I'm not afraid of mice, but I was still impressed at the airline employee's ability to not scream out in panic.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Recipe swap time!

I'm participating in the Ultimate Recipe Swap over at Life as Mom today. FishMama's post really got me thinking: what IS my signature recipe? I have so many things that I make, it's hard to pick one. But if I asked around, I think that Lasagna would win the prize.

I started making this when I was about 12, I think. We didn't eat lasagna much; as a family of 8 (half boys) you pretty much have to make 2 pans of it for it to last one meal. I remember asking my dad one time if we could have lasagna. He said, "Sure, if you make it!" So that was the beginning for me...

I started with a recipe from a cookbook, to be honest I can't even remember which one, and over the years have tweaked it. It's honestly nothing special, but it does taste yummy, and I don't think it requires that much extra work. Try it out & see what you think!

(I make this to fit in a 9x9 square pan; with my kids, we're just a family of 4 and can't eat a 13x9 pan--plus, I haven't quite perfected the ratio of ingredients for a larger pan)

Krista's Lasagna

10-12 lasagna noodles
1 lb ground beef
1 regular sized jar Ragu Tomato, Garlic, & Onion sauce (yes, this brand & flavor. It DOES make a difference & I really have to thank Ragu, because I think this sauce makes the lasagna awesome!)
16 oz shredded mozzarella cheese (I usually grate my own; whole milk tastes great but I usually use part-skim)
1 (15 oz) container whole milk ricotta cheese
1/4-1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano

  • Boil water for the noodles, cook according to package directions. I do think it's important to cook your noodles first. Drain noodles & I usually rinse in cold water so they're easier to handle.
  • Brown ground beef & drain. Add jar of sauce (it will be thick).
  • In separate bowl, mix ricotta cheese with milk & spices (salt/pepper to taste) until consistency is thick but spreadable. You don't want it to be runny.
  • Get your 9x9 pan, put a small layer of sauce on the bottom. Place 4 lasagna noodles on the bottom (they'll overlap a bit and I do trim mine to fit the pan). Cover with a layer of meat sauce, then half the ricotta mixture, then a third of the mozzarella. Repeat noodles, sauce, ricotta, mozzarella.
  • Then one more layer of noodles and sauce. Top with remaining mozzarella.
  • Bake at 375 for about 35-45 minutes, until cheese is lightly browned & sauce is bubbling. This freezes very well, and I often make it ahead & refrigerate for cooking the next day.

We eat this with a salad or some great grilled vegetables and homemade garlic bread! Yummy!

Oh, I almost forgot! The best part of making this in a 9x9 pan is taking the ends of the noodles you trimmed and sopping up the last bits of the sauce & ricotta that didn't make it into the lasagna. My hubby & I are always fighting over these last bits of noodles!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Reflections over ramen noodles

Just got home from grocery shopping, lugging it all up my hill to the house, bringing it in the house, setting it all up on the counter to take a picture (yes, I actually took a picture...just wait til I get it uploaded!), putting it all away, and now I'm really hungry.

I make myself a package of chicken flavored ramen noodles and I've had the following thoughts:
  • Although this is my favorite flavor of ramen noodles, it doesn't really taste like chicken. Come to think of it, it's never tasted like chicken.
  • I marvel at how many different ways there are to eat ramen noodles. Some crush up the whole package before they plunge the noodles into the water. Some people prefer their noodles to be unbroken. Some people like lots of liquid, very broth-y. Some people like it to be just noodles. I know people who make the noodles (no crushing allowed), then pour a bit of the seasoning packet over each bite, instead of adding the packet to the whole mixture. However, I feel the perfect way to make ramen noodles involves no crushing, almost no liquid, and all the seasoning mixed in. Nothing like a 17 cent bowl of noodles.
  • Why is it that I can never eat this "perfect" bowl of noodles without slurping the liquid somewhere outside my bowl? (yes I realize this could be fixed by crushing the noodles...)
  • I was probably around 9 or 10 years old at the time. My mom started working at this restaurant, and she needed someone to watch all five of us kids (my youngest sister only a glimmer in God's eye at this point). Someone (either desperate or crazy, still not sure) who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent....took my mom up on it. So every afternoon that my mom worked, our bus would drop us after school at her trailer. She had 2 nice children, and we always had a blast over there. She always said funny things like she was going to "redd up" the living room. Anyway...we would have our afternoon snack over there on occasion. She liked to purchase ramen noodles for her children. This was not an item that we ate at home, so it was one of those "treats" for us. We would beg her and beg her to make us some ramen noodles, and I distinctly remember her telling us they were too expensive. So I've been pondering tonight. If I paid 17 cents for this package of noodles, how much less must they have been almost 20 years ago? And they were too expensive? Hmm.
  • I only eat ramen noodles about 4 times a year. Unless I'm pregnant, and then there's no telling how many times I eat them!

That's all for tonight, you guys have been great!........


I'm falling in love with God's Word all over again. Here are some verses from Psalm 119 that are speaking to me. Maybe they'll minister to your heart, too.

119:18 Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.

119:28 My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.

119:32 I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.

119:37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.

119:50 My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.

119:55 In the night I remember your name, O Lord, and I will keep your law.

119:60 I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.

119:62 At midnight I rise to give you thanks for your righteous laws.

119:114 You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.

119:147 I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word.

119:148 My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.

119:165 Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.

119:176 I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Smiles & a PB 'n J

I'm finally getting in the habit of taking more pictures again....Enjoy!

(Z got tired of waiting for us to fix him lunch on Sunday so he decided to fix his own PB & J!)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Steeler Nation

Just a few more members of the Steeler Nation supporting their team! Zach saw this balloon at Kroger the other day & we had to get it for the Big Game. And check out his new hoodie, $3 at a consignment store, courtesy of my friend Melissa. Thanks, girl!

Sorry that this next one is blurry. We just realized our camera has a self-timer. I've got to figure out how to make it focus, but we just didn't have time tonight before the kids went to bed. Sad to say this is only our second family picture taken since Kenna was born. We've got to get better at that!

Did you notice Z picking his nose? Typical. And you might not be able to see it well, but Kenna is also sporting her Steelers bib over her jammies.
Usually by Super Bowl time, I'm fed up with being a football widow....but even this football widow is excited about their team playing in the Super Bowl! We enjoyed some special snacks & things we don't normally eat--eating in the living room makes it fun for Z, too!


Is when I started crying.

I don't know that I will be able to get this out of my mind, nor do I want to.