Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goals For The New Year

I'm not really big on making resolutions. Not that I'm perfect, far from it, but I do have some goals I'd like to stick with this year.

1) Go to the gym at least 5 days a week. This wouldn't normally be on the list, but this month (December) has been so hectic, I feel like I've gotten off of my normal schedule, and I really need to make the effort in January to get back to normal. Of course, with a launch in February, this might be difficult to really get back to "normal" until mid-March, but hey, that's why it's a goal, right?

2) Have more patience with people. Since moving out of the College Park area and into Northern Virginia, I've found that there are a lot of dumb people in the world. There are a lot more in the real world than there are on a college campus. I need to be more patient with people in general. Not everybody needs to have their driver's license revoked because they're going 45 mph in the slow lane. Not every large family in the grocery store is being purely evil when they block you and your cart from going through an aisle. Maybe they just don't know they're being very obtrusive.

3) Relax a bit more. I used to meditate regularly, and I'd like to get back to that. Maybe I'll do some yoga, or at least some gentle stretching, either in the morning or at night. I have a feeling that this goal might help with goal #2.

4) Post my pictures onto eHarmony and do something with it. I guess this is self-explanatory. I didn't find "the one" in college, but I'm more than ready to get back onto the dating scene.

5) Figure out why even after surgery in December, my hand still hurts--and either come to terms with the pain or finally make it all go away. This is my biggest goal, as right now, it frustrates me on a daily basis. I know I'm only 3.5 weeks post-op, and that I need to give it time, but at the same point, I'm finding things that hurt before surgery still hurt now, and maybe it's just because of the Ehlers-Danlos and I need to accept it. But at this point in my life, I'm already fairly limited in the things I can do, and if I can reduce further limitations, that would be wonderful.

6) Drink more tea and water. I've actually been doing this for the last 2 months or so, but I want to keep it up. The only times I seem to have soda now is when I'm drinking mixed drinks. I'd like to keep it that way, tea and water are better for me than soda. I doubt I'll be giving up my coffee, but after my 20 oz. cup in the morning, I think I can move to tea and water.

7) Take more photos. I have one camera that's my "in-between" step between a digital point-and-shoot and a DSLR, and I really should be shooting more than I am. Other than when I go out sailing, my camera is neglected more than it should be. I have thoughts on getting a LX3, and between that and my Olympus, I should be shooting more.

So that's that. If I remember, I'll try to post in early February and see how these things are going. :)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Another Baked Pasta Recipe

In my previous post, I alluded to a recipe I made tonight that turned out quite nicely. I had a half pound of pasta sitting around, and I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it. I thought about a pasta bake, but I wanted something a bit heartier. This is what I came up with:

Baked Pasta with Ricotta
1/2 lb pasta (elbows or cavatappi)
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 package mushrooms (I used a 4 oz pkg of mixed fancy mushrooms) -- not canned
15 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 of 15 oz. tub of ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozarella
basil (I used dried--if desired)
oregano (I used dried--if desired)
thyme (I used dried--if desired)
olive oil (for keeping noodles from sticking)
butter (for saute pan)

Preheat oven to 375 F. In large pot, cook pasta (remember to follow The Ten Commandments of Dry Pasta).
While pasta is cooking, saute mushrooms, onion, green pepper, and thinly sliced garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste, and some dried basil, thyme, and oregano if desired.
When pasta is cooked al dente, drain, then return to pot (off heat), drizzle a little olive oil into the pasta.
Add the tomato sauce and minced garlic to the noodles, stir so all noodles are coated.
Add the vegetable mixture to the noodles, stir so well combined.
Add the ricotta to the noodle and veggie mixture, stir so well combined.
(Note, at this point, you could eat this and have a great meal!)
Dump mixture into a 11"x7" pan and bake in preheated oven, covered, for 20-25 minutes.
Stir/redistribute pasta when it comes out, cover with shredded mozarella, and put back into oven for 10 minutes (until mozarella melts).
Serve. :) I've found that it's easier to cut if you let it cool a little bit.

Hope you enjoy! I know I did. ;)

Recipe Time: Generic Pasta Bake

I just cooked up a great baked pasta, and figured I'd share the recipe. Before I do, however, I figured I'd post my "original" baked pasta recipe, the one I use when I have a crowd to feed or when I need a ton of leftovers.

Generic Pasta Bake
1 lb. pasta such as penne, elbows, or fusili
1 24-26 oz. jar of sauce (the large size of Barilla, Prego, Classico, or whatever you like)
1 jar of water
2 cups of shredded cheese (Italian Mix or Mozarella)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In 9"x13" pan, combine UNCOOKED pasta, jar of sauce, and jar of water (use empty sauce jar, fill it up with water, and dump that in). Mix well so everything is coated and consistent.
Cover pan and bake for 30 minutes (35 if using whole wheat pasta).
Remove from oven, stir up contents, cover with cheese, and put back in oven to bake for another 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

If you want to add meat, brown up some ground turkey, chicken, or beef and drain it. Add the ground meat to the sauce and then add all that to the noodles and water.
You can also add onions, celery, green pepper, mushrooms, or whatever else you like. Saute it up, and add it to the sauce, before combining with the noodles.