Friday, February 25, 2011

Linguine with Tomato and Pancetta Sauce

Do you ever have those nights when you don’t feel like going to the store but don’t want to get takeout? Well last night was that kind of night for me. We’ve had snowy, icy weather lately, so I left from work a little early just to avoid traffic, but I forgot to go to the store on my way home. I didn’t want to order a pizza or get teriyaki, so I went scrounging through the fridge.

I found I still had some pancetta from earlier in the week, and right next to the pancetta I had half a jar of tomato sauce. So what did I make? Pasta!

Pasta is seriously a great last minute supper. I always make sure I have a jar of some sort of sauce just in case.

Here is a quick dressed-up pasta sauce for that late weeknight meal:

Linguine with Tomato and Pancetta Sauce

Serves 4

1 lb linguine
1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce
4 oz. thinly sliced pancetta

1. Cook pasta according to directions on package. Meanwhile, stack pancetta slices and slice into ¼ in. strips.
2. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and cook pancetta for 1-2 minutes. Add pasta sauce, stir to combine and turn heat to low. When pasta is cooked al dente, drain pasta (do not rinse!) and add to pan with sauce. Stir to combine.
3. Sprinkle chopped parsley on top and serve.



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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Garlic Shrimp Sandwiches

I have something to admit. It’s not exactly the prettiest thing there, and it’s kinda weird, so I warn you. Ok here it is:

I love garlic.

I love it on toasted bread, I love it roasted, and I love it in pretty much everything! Except raw. I don’t eat raw garlic. That’s a little too pungent. But other than that I love it. Love love love love love it!

So naturally I would love garlic shrimp sandwiches, which are surprisingly delicious, even though they are so simple. Even my fiancée was surprised. When he saw what was for dinner, he scrunched up his face and asked, “That’s it?”

Yes, honey, that’s it. And he whined and complained. But then he took a bite. And another bite. And another. And then it was gone!

“So, when are you going to make those again?”

I think that qualifies as a seal of approval.

Garlic Shrimp Sandwiches

Serves 4

1 lb. shrimp
4 tbsp butter (yes a lot, I know. But it’s worth it!)
3 cloves garlic, minced (or 2 tbsp garlic powder. Not quite the same, but still tasty!)
4 hoagie rolls

  1. Heat butter and garlic in large sauté pan over low heat until melted.
  2. Peel and devein shrimp. Rinse well under luke-warm water. Pat dry with paper towel.
  3. Turn heat up to medium on saucepan and add shrimp. Toss until pink and cooked, about 2-3 min.
  4. Cut rolls lengthwise almost all the way through. Put shrimp in between roll halves, and spoon some of the melted butter on top of shrimp.
  5. Serve with cole slaw.



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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Leavenworth Ski Trip

First, a (kinda lame) story. My dad, my brother and I were on a chair lift up at Snoqualmie Pass on a Wednesday night, when my dad asked my brother how his passport application was going. He replied with, " What passport?" My dad had been planning a ski trip to Whistler since fall and I was all ready to go, but my brother forgot about it, so it had to be cancelled. So on that chair lift ride, we decided to go on a ski trip around Oregon. Later, my mom nixed that idea because it was too far and too expensive. Next idea: Ski around Washington. Ok, my mom said, but you have to use up the points for Worldmark condos. 

Problem: There are really no Worldmark condos that are closer than an hour to any ski areas in the western half of Washington. So, the solution was to suck it up and stay in Leavenworth (a small town with a German attitude), but drive between an hour to an hour and a half to the nearest two ski areas. 

Now don't get me wrong, I adore Leavenworth. In fact, I'd totally move there if they had a job opening for a chemist anywhere near there (which they don't. I totally picked the wrong profession!). Seriously, my heart belongs in the mountains, specifically the eastern side of the Cascade Mountains. Hillbilly, podunk town USA.

Unfortunately, February and March are the slowest months in Leavenworth. Nothing is open, except the restaurants and bars. Especially on weekdays. But we were determined to ski!

On Wednesday, we all got up bright an early and were at the lodge at Stevens Pass by 9 am, when the chairlifts opened. We skiied a ton! The snow was great, it was super sunny, and we even got to watch a guy jump off a cliff and live to tell about it. Pretty awesome stuff. I also skiied with my mp3 player for the first time, and now I wonder why I never did before! All I can say is that the right music really makes the day all better (i.e Alter bridge is 1000000000000000 times better to listen to while skiing than Merle Haggard, but don't get me wrong. I love the Hag.)

Wednesday night, we roamed around town for some grub and stopped in at Ducks and Drakes. German town, gotta eat German food. And drink beer. Lots of beer.

Chilled on the couch, iced my knee. Ok good to go.

Thursday: Mission Ridge in Wenatchee. Best. Ski. Day. Evarrrrrrrrrrrr!
Mission Ridge should be renamed Windy-but-totally-awesome-on-a-clear-day-with-five-inches-new-powder-but-has-a-totally-unreliable-quad-chair Ridge.
From the top of the quad chair, you can literally see for miles. In every direction. Except when there are clouds in the way. The coolest part was that they had groomed all the black diamond runs on the previous Sunday because they were so low on snow, but then they got 5" new powder between Monday and Thursday that no one skied on because they are closed for the first half of the week so we basically got to ski on powder on super steep runs. Which is my favorite. The steeper the hill, the better!
After a great day of skiing (minus the ouch in the knee part), we headed back to Leavenworth. Grilled some steak and sweet potatoes, went to 8 different bars before deciding to have a beer at Uncle Uli's, then crashed into bed. 
Friday: We were too tired to ski Snoqualmie so we just headed home. And then I headed back to Leavenworth with Tim later in the afternoon to stay the night. But... about halfway through our drive, traffic came to a screeching halt on the way up to Stevens Pass. Turns out there was a head on collision about a mile ahead of us that blocked the road for 2 hours. Didn't get in to Leavenworth until plenty after dinner time, so we ate leftover sandwiches and chilled on the couch. 
Saturday: Ate at Sandy's, grabbed a pretzel on the way out of town and boogied home over Blewett and Snoqualmie. Took some pretty pictures going over the pass, then headed home. Overall, awesome trip. 
  I so can't wait to go back to Mission Ridge.

Tortellini in Broth

One of my favorite ways to enjoy tortellini is in a soup. I’ve seen many recipes for tortellini in broth. Some have lots of additions, others are very simple, but so far this one is my favorite. It’s great on a cold, winter day and it’s quick to make. I do use store-bought chicken broth, even though I know homemade would be better, but I think if you buy a good brand, it will still taste fantastic. Personally, my favorite is the Low-Sodium Pacific Natural Foods Chicken Broth. It’s very chicken-y, with a hint of onion, but it’s really low in salt so you can adjust the seasoning to your taste. This recipe is so simple, but really is so delicious.


Tortellini in Broth

4 c. chicken broth
10 oz. fresh cheese tortellini
2 tbsp. white wine

  1. Bring chicken broth to a boil in a large saucepan and cook tortellini as directed on package (usually 4-5 minutes).
  2. Turn off heat and stir in wine. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with chopped parsley.



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Monday, February 21, 2011

So Many Things

There are too many things I want to try. I am currently trying out making jewelry. So far, it's been going pretty well. I'm learning a lot, and the stuff I'm making keeps getting better.

I'm also trying out knitting and making cards. Both are kinda difficult for me since I'm more of a numbers and data person, but I'm trying to bring out my creative side.

But it's not just crafts that I want to try. I was to explore Washington state. I want to going hiking more. I want to try backcountry skiing, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. I want to write a novel, publish a cookbook, open a bakery.

And yet, there seems like there is no time for all of that.

How do you fit in all of your hobbies? Did you ever have to give any up? 

I have a feeling I'm gonna have to do some serious sorting.

I really should..

I really should post more stuff on here. My life has been changing so much so quickly in the past month that I almost wish time would slow down so I could enjoy it more. Since I can't change the speed of time, I'll just make a quick recap and then try to post more when new stuff happens, so I can look back and remember everything!

1. Tim got a new job! His current (and soon to be old!) boss is such a jerk, tells him that he is working too hard and making everyone else look bad and then a month later expects him to work 1 to 2 hrs overtime everyday and come in on weekends! His boss would spend his days playing games on his computer while shoving all his work off onto Tim. So Tim had enough and applied for a job at a couple of other places and he got an interview at a place he had interviewed at before he graduated, but just never heard back from the company. The amazing part was that he got a job offer from them about half an hour into the interview! And the super cool thing is that 4 of his close friends from college all work there. So now instead of him working nearly 50 miles away from me (and each of us commuting 40 min or more each day!), he will now be working only 15 miles away!

Which brings me to number 2....

2. We are going to buy a house! Since we no longer are required to live halfway between our jobs, we are going to move to an area that is about 2 minutes from his parents, 5 minutes from my parents, 10 minutes from my cousin (who is like my older sister) and 10 minutes from my grandparents! I'm so excited to be near my family again. I'm really close to all of them, and I've been so far away for 4 years now. But first we have to find a house that works for us. We can't decide if we want a cheaper fixer-upper that we can customize to our liking, or a more expensive house that is already super nice. What to do????

And now number 3:

3. I bought my wedding dress! Well, possible wedding dress. But that means that I'm actually starting to plan my wedding. I've put it off for over a year now and I was dreading planning the whole shin-dig. Now, it seems like everything is falling into place. Isn't that just the best feeling?

Oh and here is a picture of my (possible) wedding dress:

Ain't it pretttyyyyyy?

Outdoor wedding in mid-September.. gotta be prepared for the mud!

Hmm.. does anyone think that cowgirl boots won't clash too much?

Oh and I totally promise to start posting my cooking. I've been in a cooking rut, with lots of takeout lately, but I'm trying to get back in the swing of things. And I found my missing third desk lamp so now my light box shouldn't have the weird shadows anymore. So tomorrow, expect Tortellini in Chicken Broth. Yum!

Have a totally fantastic day!

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