My goal for Friday, on most weeks, is to leave the office before 2PM. Yesterday, we finally kicked ourselves out at 4:30. Which in case you were wondering, is very different than 2PM… At 2 I still have some mental capacity, 4:30 not so much. I did however manage to run two errands to Petsmart and Target and crossed two weekend projects off my list. You see, I spent yesterday morning putting together my grocery/errand list instead of writing. We have a wedding to go to and family coming into town this week, so I wanted to have a slightly relaxing weekend. After my two errands I came home and made an easy bolognese with whole-wheat linguine. I’d love to show you a picture, but remember a few sentences ago I mentioned mental capacity? Yep, we just ate while gazing at the news about General Petreaus… So no photos available. I did however, make the full recipe so we can defrost and enjoy (with 1/4 of the work) in a few weeks, I will try then to sneak some photos before it gets devoured.
Oh and that trip to Petsmart?? Cody got a new friend. He spent a good 45 minutes running around the house with the giraffe in his mouth. The hit every single room – it made me think he was giving his new friend a tour of his house. Anyways after dinner and some good play time Cody and Giraffe passed out.
I have talked before about home organization, and my desire to feel a bit more in control of the house and all the projects that go along with it. Well one way I have found to do that is with Fly Lady. Each month Fly Lady has a ‘Habit of the Month.’ This month is Menu Planning, which is apropos given the crazy meal-heavy season we are going in to. Last weekend while I was up before the sunrise I plotted out all of the meals and a general template for the snacks for the month of November. I sat down with my calendar and took into account our cooking schedule (to share the workload), our events schedule and any fun food holidays that were in November (i.e. today 11/10 is National Vanilla Cupcake Day). I really enjoy having things penciled in, and I will likely keep this habit going.
On Thursday I decided I would test out another cookie recipe from the Fine Cooking magazine my mom sent. I took out the butter and let it get good and soft, and figured I would decide later. It took me 37 minutes (I’m doing a time inventory so I have the exact minutes logged…) to decide! Thirty-seven minutes to decide the fate of eight tablespoons of butter. In those thirty-seven minutes I searched through 6 holiday cookie magazines and finally settled on some chocolate cut-out cookies. They are good, especially when dusted with powdered sugar or decorated with bits of royal icing.
Pasta with Easy Italian Meat Sauce
- 1 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 carrot, grated (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 large onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 1/2 pound whole-wheat linguine
- Grated Parmesan, for serving
- Heat butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium. Stir in carrot, onion, and garlic. Add ground beef, and cook until it turns from pink to brown, about 5 minutes.
- Add tomato paste, tomatoes and their liquid, crushing them with the potato masher. Stir in milk, bay leaf, thyme, nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, partially covered, 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook linguine until al dente according to package instructions, about 10 minutes. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking water; drain linguine, and return to the warm pot. Add meat sauce, and toss. Add pasta water as needed if the sauce seems dry. To serve, sprinkle with Parmesan.
Chocolate Cut Outs
- 2-1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
- 1/2 cup natural cocoa
- Pinch salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon brewed coffee, cooled
- Powdered sugar for dusting or royal icing
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Combine the flour, cocoa, and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter, applesauce, sugar, vanilla, and coffee until well blended. Add the flour mixture gradually and beat until well blended .
- Divide the dough and shape it into two flat disks; wrap one in plastic and place in the fridge while you work with the other.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll one disk 3/8 inch thick. Cut out shapes and set them 1 inch apart on baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough. Combine the scraps, chill them if they feel warm, and reroll.
- Bake 12 minutes, or until the cookies until the tops look dry and you see flaky layers when you break a cookie in half.
- Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Decorate the cooled cookies with royal icing or powdered sugar.