Archive for October, 2011

Lemon-Basil Pasta
10 oz. dried linguine or desired past
1 19-oz. can white kidney (cannellini) beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 of a lemon
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves


Cook pasta according to package directions, adding beans for the last 2 minutes of cooking time. Remove 1/2 cup of the cooking liquids; set aside. Drain pasta and beans; cover to keep warm. Meanwhile, finely shred peel from the lemon half (about 2 teaspoons). In a small skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Add lemon peel; cook and stir 1 minute, or until lightly golden. In a food processor combine cooked lemon peel, basil, the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, the juice from the lemon half, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover and process until smooth. Add reserved cooking liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency, processing mixture after every addition. To serve, toss hot cooked pasta mixture with lemon-basil mixture. Makes 4 servings.

Lemon Caper Tuna and Noodles with Alfredo
12 oz. extra-wide egg noodles
1 lemon
1 15-oz. jar light garlic Alfredo sauce or 1 10-oz. container refrigerated light Alfredo pasta sauce
1 Tbsp. capers, drained
1 12-oz. can solid white albacore tuna, drained
Cracked black pepper, and/or chives (optional)


Cook noodles according to package directions; drain. Cover and keep warm. Finely shred lemon peel and squeeze juice from lemon; set aside. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan combine Alfredo sauce, lemon juice and capers. Heat through. Add tuna and noodles to sauce; stir gently to combine. Return to heat just until heated through. Top with lemon peel, black pepper, and chives. Serves 4.

Chicken and Pasta in Peanut Sauce
8 oz. thin spaghetti
1 bunch broccolini, cut in 2-inch lengths
1 medium red sweet pepper, cut in bite-size strips
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Salt and ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup bottled peanut sauce
Crushed red pepper (optional)


In Dutch oven cook pasta according to package directions, adding broccolini and sweet pepper during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain. Return to Dutch oven and set aside. Meanwhile, halve chicken breasts horizontally. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. In extra large skillet cook chicken in hot oil over medium-high heat for 2 minutes each side, or until no longer pink (170 degrees F). Transfer to cutting board. Slice chicken; add to pasta and vegetables. Heat through. Add peanut sauce. Pass crushed red pepper. Makes 4 servings.

Apple-Sausage Rigatoni
6 oz. dried rigatoni (about 2 cups)
8 oz. cooked smoked sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
1-1/2 lb. Golden Delicious apples, cored and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola or other blue cheese
Snipped fresh basil (optional)


In a 4-quart Dutch oven cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Set aside. In same Dutch oven cook sausage until lightly browned. Add apples; cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are lightly golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in cooked pasta, whipped cream, and cheese. Heat through. Garnish with basil. Makes 4 servings.



Posted: October 7, 2011 in talk
Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom. -General George S. Patton

As an extremely fair-skinned individual who has been on an unending search for the world’s best foundation, I finally slammed the brakes on that expensive hit-or-miss game. At about $40 a bottle, sampling foundations is no cheap feat, and my feats definitely need to be cheap lately. I took stock. What is going on with my face that I want to cover? Why do I need full-coverage foundation at 26? What are MY facial concerns? This is what I came up with: overall dullness of complexion, a very oily T-zone, and a lack of evenness of skin tone. “Well shit,” I thought, “foundation won’t fix ANY of that, but if I divert the money spent into quality skin care…” and here we are. Meet my muses:

First: Origins Clean Energy gentle cleansing oil. Yes, I of the oily skin, clean my face every night with an oil-based cleanser. It doesn’t strip away my skin’s natural moisture, and therefore my skin doesn’t produce as much oil. This stuff is really, I mean REALLY, magical. With about a quarter-sized bit of the oil on my fingertips, I can rub it over my entire face and it literally melts away all my makeup (waterproof, gel eyeliner, concealer, even Benefit’s Stay Don’t Stray makeup primer, which is amazing on but notoriously hard to remove) with only one wash. It’s my BFF. It’s silky and delicious and cleans deeper than anything I’ve ever used without disturbing the natural pH of my skin. Result: my skin was more evenly toned after about five days of use, and oh-so-glowy! Cost: $21.

Second: my morning cleanser! It smells like a delicious fruit pie, and since it does exactly what Origins states it does, I’ll let you read it from the horse’s mouth: “Simply swirl this lush-lathering, fruit-smoothie of a face wash over splashed-moist facial skin and let the Extract of crushed Papaya coupled with creamy cleansers dispose of dingy, dried up cells. Melts makeup, dirt and pore-clogging debris to further banish bleakness. Skin emerges fresh, radiant. Never stripped or dry.” Result: My skin is GLOWING, it’s radiant, and it has a luster that it hasn’t had since I was preggo. It’s genius and gentle and takes less than a pea-sized amount for each wash, which means the bottle lasts a reeeeeeally long time. Cost: $19.50

Last but not least (dear Lord, I originally wrote “leased…” too much work on the brain), the miracle moisturizer I told you about previously: Origins Balanced Diet lightweight moisture lotion. Never has my combination skin been so in-check. This enhances the glow and overall gorgeousness I’ve obtained by using the previous products. I thought the bottle was really small when I got it, but like the other products, you need so little that it lasts for a very long time. Cost: $26.00

Overall result: I use significantly less foundation on the days I do wear it, because I’m happier with the sheerest of coverage. On the days I don’t wear foundation (which are increasing in number), I dust on some mineral powder and call it a day. I don’t want to cover my skin anymore! It just goes to show, once you discover the root of an issue, you’re that much closer to solving it. What are your skincare miracles?

Let me get the most important thing out of the way first: RIP Steve Jobs. I’m an Android personally, but husband is a devoted iPhone fan (as are many, MANY of my friends), and even we Droids can’t forget that without Jobs, there would be no such thing as an Android, a Market, an app, or a touch-screen app-based phone. He was THE MAN. Without this guy, we might still be carrying around portable CD players. Well, probably not, but we definitely wouldn’t have anything as badass as the iPod. Anyway, a lot of the inspiration that people took from Jobs wasn’t necessarily from his products; it was his entire philosophy on living and working, his unwavering REALNESS, his sometimes sharp tongue and short temper, his you-too-can-be-a-visionary speeches that he MEANT. Steve Jobs tried to teach us that you have to like what you’re doing, otherwise you might as well not do it. We only have one life, so every day has to be spent doing something purposeful and enjoyable, otherwise you’ll wake up at 80 and wonder why you never had any fun.

As many others did, I spent a lot of time reading the many articles on Jobs churned out by American media in the wake of his passing. This, combined with my recent penchant for all things motivational, has really helped me take a critical look at my life and my career. I couldn’t love my company ANY more dearly, and I love every day I spend in the presence of my colleagues and company-mates. BUT. As much as I love the company, my current position doesn’t leave me with any lingering passion or any true feelings of having helped someone while I was at work. It doesn’t make me want to roll out of bed as soon as the alarm goes off and rush out the door with gusto. I WANT a job like that. I want to love my work life as much as I love my home life.

People who know me know where my passion lies, and which field has always had my heart and my interest. There are definitely pros and cons to entering the work force at a young(er) age than those who go straight to a four-year university after high school. I feel that my postponement of a degree has given me ample time to build a career and a network, and I have years of excellent work history and references. It’s also saved me from wasting time on tuition when, truth be told, I had no idea what I wanted to do in life. The drawback, however, is that now that I know what I want, I sometimes feel like I’m too old to put in more than four years at a university. As another pro, my babylove is already 6, so she’s old enough to understand if mommy has to go to school, too. But, as a con, my babylove is 6, so we should be making awesome and messy memories of things other than homework. The REAL thing of it is this, though: Do I want babylove to see that you can make your dreams happen at ANY age, or do I want her to settle for mediocrity because she feels like her time has passed?

So, here I am, 26 and about to LEAP! I have years of experience encouraging me and reminding me that I’ve survived every leap I’ve ever made, so I guess being an adult isn’t so bad. However, I must digress at this point because anyone who knows me also knows that I can’t be serious and insightful for this long. It’s making me itch… so for the time being, I would like to switch back to lovely topics such as skin care, or maybe tattoos. You know how I roll. Get ready to switch gears, and I’ll get you a lighter-hearted post in a jiffy!