pink, my dear

a Midwestern, thirtysomething, working mama's blog about life, food, motherhood, Ulcerative Colitis, ostomy, and other things

As Great-Grandmother Libb says, "I like any color so long as it's pink."

Sunday, February 19, 2006


I'm going to try to learn how to play the banjo. I've started online and already learned to play the basic Earl Scruggs roll, as well as how to tune the thing. Also, I had to re-string the 5th string.

Wish me luck

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Damn Good Meatloaf

Try it and you'll agree.
Serves 6-8 people.

one pound ground beef
one pound ground pork (or you can use sausage)
one egg, slightly beaten
two tablespoons milk
a large handful of breadcrumbs or quick-cooking oatmeal
medium onion, diced
one clove of garlic, minced
one half-cup Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce, plus more for the top (trust me on this one)

Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl with your hands. Shape into a loaf on a broiler pan or place in a loaf pan. Add more barbecue sauce to the top (I like to squeeze it on in a clever design or phrase because condiment art is always in style). Bake in a preheated oven at 375 for about an hour, until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. Let it rest a few minutes before serving. Delicious with mashed potatoes.

Stuffed Shells

An all-time favorite recipe of mine. My aunt Sarah taught me how to make it right.
This will serve 8-10 people who, as long as they aren't vegan, will love you even more than they already do when you cook this for them.

one box large pasta shells
about two pounds ricotta cheese
three eggs
about one tablespoon Italian seasoning blend
salt and pepper to taste
two jars pasta sauce (or make your own)
four cups shredded mozzarella
two cups shredded provolone
one cup shredded parmiggiano reggiano
one pound Italian sausage (sweet or spicy), cooked and cut into bite-size pieces or crumbled*
sliced mushrooms, zucchini, onions, peppers, and garlic (saute with the sausage)

Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and drizzle with a little olive oil to keep shells from sticking (or listen to the directions on the box and set them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet). Mix ricotta, eggs, salt and pepper, and Italian seasoning. Add about half of each of the shredded cheeses. To assemble: spread a thin layer of pasta sauce on the bottom of a large baking dish. Fill shells with ricotta mixture using a spoon and place in a single layer in the baking dish (I usually have enough to fill a small baking dish as well). BE CAREFUL not to tear the pasta. Cover shells with pasta sauce (you might not use all of it) and the meat and veggies. Sprinkle liberally with the rest of the shredded cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about half an hour, until the mixture is bubbly and the cheese is melted, removing the foil for the last 10-15 minutes. Enjoy.

*duh, if you don't want meat in yours, omit it from the recipe.

Breakfast Strata

This is a great breakfast/brunch dish, based on a recipe from the Joy of Cooking. It's very adaptable, so use what you've got on hand. Sometimes I add sauteed vegetables like zucchini and mushrooms, or leave out the meat. I use whatever kind of bread I have, but crusty, day-old Italian or French breads work best. I love making this for guests, since the work is all done the night before and then you just toss it in the oven in the a.m.
Serves 10-12.

one loaf crusty bakery bread (I use baguette), sliced into about 20 slices
five eggs
two thirds cup of milk
one pound breakfast meat (crumbled sausage, diced ham, etc.)
about one cup diced onion or shallots
four to six cups shredded cheese(s): swiss, cheddar, gruyere, provolone, whatever you like
about 1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence seasoning

The night before: Cook the breakfast meat. Add the onions and saute until translucent. Butter a casserole dish and assemble one layer of bread slices. Add about half of the meat mixture in an even layer. Add a layer of cheese. Repeat the layers, ending with a layer of bread. Mix up the eggs and milk in a bowl with the herbs and beat slightly. Pour over the layered casserole. Top with a generous layer of cheese. Cover and put in the fridge over night, or for at least a couple of hours.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the strata uncovered for about an hour, until the mixture is bubbly and the cheese is melty and has a nice crust on top. Cut and serve.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Lofty Goals

Join me, won't you?
This is from Five on Friday (

1. What did you want to be when you grew up?
First female president of the United States. Not kidding. I went around telling everyone this. My grandma Annie was probably the only one who took me seriously. I may have even had a campaign platform.

2. Did you follow through? If not, what happened?
Well, no, so far I haven't been hired for that job. Instead, I got an English degree and started working at afterschool programs. I thought I wanted to be a teacher for a while. Now, I think I'm becoming a social worker.

3. Is your life turning out the way you thought it would when you were a kid? If not, is it better or worse?
In some ways, yes, my life is turning out how I thought it would. I've bought a house, I'm getting married to a wonderful man, and we will probably have a child in the next few years. Also, I'm still close to a lot of childhood friends (best friends forever, right?). And I've stuck to my guns when it comes to my morals and political views-- I started those young, I guess.

4. Paradoxes aside, if you could time-travel back to when you were 10 years old, what would you tell your 10-year-old self?
Chill out. It is OKAY to break the rules sometimes. And be nicer to your mother. And practice the piano more often. And, by the way, you're not fat or ugly-- you're a beautiful, normal, smarty-pants, KID! Take more risks and worry less.

5. Do you think the child you were, would like the adult you've become?
Yes. I would probably be disgusted by the fact that I smoked (but I don't anymore!) but I think I'd want to hang out with grown-up me. That's weird.

my and flickr