Below are more wedding photos (thanks to John's aunt).
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Before I moved to New York in June, my sister and I were roommates for nearly 3 years. Before that, we attended the same college; and before that, we lived in the same house for 18 years. Needless to say, my sister Adrienne is my best friend in the whole world (with the exception of my husband). It has been nearly five months since we lived in the same city- the longest we've ever lived apart. I'm really quite attached to her.
This is me and my sister circa 1986.
She was such a good big sister (except for the time she told me that witches and elephants lived in our laundry room. I'm not sure how a five year old cooked up that story, but it caused lasting damage. I'm still terrified of elephants.).
Monday, October 26, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Last night I attempted my own version of a white lasagna. Borrowing from several recipes, I ended up with the most delicious white lasagna I have ever tasted. Not too wet, not too dry, with a delicate pesto flavor and a little kick from Italian sausage.
This picture doesn't really do the lasagna justice- I should have taken a photo of a sliced piece. Oh well, next time!
This lasagna contains spinach, zucchini, Italian sausage, and onion. However, you could substitute chicken and other vegetables. Next time, I think I'm going to try it with chicken and artichoke hearts...maybe even sun dried tomatoes.
Warning: this recipe is a little time consuming. I would recommend doubling it and making two batches at once, one for the freezer.
Here's what you need:
9x9 baking pan
1 package no boil lasagna noodles (If you're short on time, soften noodles in boiling water).
1 package fresh spinach
1/4 to 1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 tsp pesto
1 medium sized zucchini, sliced medium thin
1/2 medium sized white onion, chopped
3 Italian sausages (in casings)
1 tsp minced garlic
Shredded mozzarella cheese
3 cups milk
Splash of white whine
1 tsp (generous) pesto
1/8- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees
2. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Submerge spinach until just wilted (30 seconds), remove promptly and place in a bowl of cool water. Remove spinach from bowl, squeeze out excess water, and chop. Add to a small bowl with cottage cheese and 1 tsp pesto. Stir, lightly salt and pepper, and set aside.
3. In a frying pan, brown Italian sausage. Once cooked, remove and set aside to cool.
4. Saute onion and garlic in pan used to brown Italian sausage. When onion is semi-soft, add zucchini, a little bit of olive oil, and salt and pepper (or my favorite: Garlic Salt & Pepper seasoning). Saute until zucchini is fork-tender. Remove mixture and place in bowl.
5. Slice Italian sausage into thin disks. Return to frying pan and brown. This adds a nice flavor.
6. Meanwhile, begin making white sauce. Over medium heat, melt butter. Once butter is melted, add flour, whisking constantly until fully incorporated. Slowly add milk one cup at a time, until mixture is smooth. Turn heat up to medium high until mixture starts to boil. Continue whisking. Bring to a simmer, whisking frequently, until mixture reaches desired thickness (about 10 minutes). Add a splash of white white to thin sauce, if desired. Add plenty of salt and pepper, Parmesan, and pesto. Adjust seasonings as necessary.
7. Layer noodles, sauce, cottage cheese mixture, zucchini mixture, sausage, and shredded mozzarella in pan, finishing with a final layer of noodle, sauce, and cheese. Cover loosely with foil.
8. Bake in oven for 35 to 50 minutes, until bubbly. Remove foil for last 5 or 10 minutes. This will produce a nice golden, brown color on the top.
One of my favorite things about our new apartment is the view from the living room window. For some reason, right after I wake up each morning, I usually run to the living room window and look out. It's not that I'm expecting to see anything in particular, I just really enjoy the view. Two or three weeks ago, I was shocked to find a cruise ship obscuring our view of the Statue of Liberty.
I had no idea that cruise ships went up the Hudson River, but sure enough there was a cruise ship right outside our living room window.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
After our wedding festivities, John and I vacationed on Captiva Island in southwest Florida. Captiva Island is stunning area, just north of Sanibel Island. Captiva, with the exception of vacationers, is sparsely populated. Although the island barely has a grocery store, I'm happy to report that there was a Starbucks on our resort's property. My kind of place.
Our resort covered a 3 mile stretch of Captiva; vacationers ride trolleys to get from one end of the resort to the other. Our first evening, we ate at the resort's barbecue restaurant.
We ate ribs and shared a cream soda. After dinner, we took a walk down the road and visited one of Captiva's most famous (or strangest) establishments, the Bubble Room.
What exactly is the Bubble Room? Technically it's a restaurant, but it could pass for a garage sale. Words cannot describe the Bubble Room...You have to visit for yourself. We were simultaneously amused, interested, scared, and completely weirded out. One can spot the Bubble Room from 100 yards away, due to its rainbow colored paint and carousel horse lawn ornaments. The kitschy, 1950's lounge music playing through outdoor speakers lures you in... before you know it, you're transported to another universe...
Upon entering the Bubble Room, we were greeted by several full grown adults wearing scout uniforms. Weird, right? The weirdness continued...one wall was entirely covered with the creepiest Santa statuettes known to man.
Despite the weirdness, the Bubble Room serves up tasty pieces of cake. We purchased this piece of cake to go and ran as fast as we could back to our condo, far away from the Bubble Room.
Yum, cake in the safety of our condo- away from all the creepiness!
Most mornings we ate breakfast on our screened in porch, which had a nice view of the marina. Note the presence of John's two morning staples: orange juice and cereal. This man is easy to please.
Our second evening, we rode the trolley to the other side of the island for dinner.
The sunset was amazing.
The picture below is one of my favorites. It almost looks fake, doesn't it?
But it's not!
After our walk through the marina, we stumbled into the resort's candy store. We had so much fun filling our bag with eighteen different varieties of jelly beans and all sorts of things that are very bad for you.
So much fun, and all it cost was $2.50.
On the second to last full day of our trip, John suggested we take a little boat ride...
And do something a little dangerous...
Parasailing! Below, I'm starting to get a little nervous at the thought of floating at an altitude of 700 feet, secured only by a rope, harness, and parasail.
John kept his cool, though.
And here we go!
From our lofty perch, we were able to see all of Captiva Island. Below us we could see dolphins jumping in the water, and even a giant sea turtle. The view was amazing. Before we knew it, it was time to come back down.
Our trip was just wonderful, and before we knew it, it was time to come home.