Well, somehow I survived the five day work week. Everyone around me was coming down with the stomach bug, the flu, or a nasty cold. But somehow I have remained healthy – so far. Yes, I just knocked on wood.
I made a big culinary purchase this week – and I almost wonder if it is helping me stay healthy so far. Any guesses? Well, I finally bought a Vitamix. Thanks to an incredibly thoughtful birthday gift from my best friend (a generous gift card to Williams Sonoma) which really pushed me over the edge in making the purchase.
I love the Vitamix so far. I have gotten back into my spinach, blueberry and protein smoothies in the morning. I have even made a soup with the Vitamix and plan to make a lot more with it. Right now it is being used at least once a day.
One of my favorite features of the Vitamix is the self cleaning function. I’ll go more into that later.
The black bean and chick pea soup I made the first night was amazing. Here is what the final product looked like, with some really nice garnishes:
Mom and I both loved this soup, we garnished with scallions, hot sauce and Monterey Jack cheese.
This weekend was really fun. I had a friend over for lunch on Saturday. I made turkey sandwiches, and served carrot ginger soup (from East Side Market, I did not make it myself….) the soup was delicious! I guess the sandwiches I made weren’t that bad either…
The turkey sandwiches had (reduced sodium) Alpine Lace Swiss cheese, the turkey was nitrate & hormone free Applewood Farms turkey. I put hummus, dijon mustard, spinach, red onion and tomato on the sandwiches.
My friend and I drank a lot of tea, ate food, and researched our ancestry – it was quite a fun day.
On Sunday I did some recipe cataloging. (Yes, I had a super geek-tastic weekend!) and added some of my grandmother’s and mom’s famous (and very requested) recipes into my recipe app, along with some of my other all time favorite recipes:
Eventually I got motivated to head outside in the freakishly warm weather. I cannot stand this horribly warm weather. It is January in New England. It should not be 60 degrees. It is kind of gross. That is all I am going to say about it.
I rolled my eyes at the temperature, and headed to Whole Foods. I knew what I was making for dinner – crock pot lasagna. Have you ever heard of such a thing?? It is only something that recently appeared on my radar. I picked up the ingredients, got home and started “cooking”.
I found the recipe on one of my favorite blogs – Eat, Live, Run. I had to make a couple of changes to the recipe, but I definitely went with the basic idea. I cooked the frozen spinach in the microwave and squeezed out the excess liquid (there is SO much water in frozen spinach, ya know?)
I cut up chicken sausage while following the recipe on my iPad (an essential tool in my kitchen these days!)
I mixed the cheeses into the spinach. I put tomato sauce on the bottom of my crock pot and then put a layer of no boil lasagna noodles on top. Then I layered spinach on top:
I layered until I felt like I was finished. My crock pot is smaller than Jenna’s so I didn’t use as many noodles, and I used more sauce and sausage (to make up for not using as much ricotta, maybe? I used about half the ricotta the recipe called for because I’m not a fan – but I don’t mind a little bit when I’m making lasagna.) After I finished the layers, I put the lid on and let everything cook on low for 5 hours.
The kitchen smelled amazing while everything was cooking! I loved it. I also loved how I was pretty much finished in the kitchen, once I had cleaned everything up. I was so productive for the rest of the day and that made me very happy :)
This is what the crock pot looked like after five hours:
The lasagna stayed together a lot better than I thought it would. Except for the first piece (my piece, of course because I wanted everyone else to have a pretty piece) which was a little sloppy:
The rest of dinner was a spinach and strawberry salad and a piece of whole wheat baguette. Everyone loved the lasagna. Who knew it would be such a hit?
Somehow it is 9:30 on a Sunday night. I have no idea where the weekend went, of course. But I have to sign off for now and head for bed. I am exhausted and I have another five day work week ahead. See you soon!