We did it! We’re homeowners and it’s pretty exciting… And scary… And rewarding… And every emotion that rushed through us as we signed our lives away. Haha So ready for all the headaches projects ahead!


penne in a creamy mushroom sauce


In 2013 I decided that I really wanted to start cooking more. So I started out with a few recipes and have continued to add more favorites to the list. My mom bought me a little cookbook, “Italian: 100 everyday recipes” from Bed Bath & Beyond, and this recipe has become one of my favorites to make… And eat!

Penne in a Creamy Mushroom Sauce

serves 4
1/4 cup butter
1 tbsp olive oil
6 shallots, sliced
6 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp all-purpose flour
2/3 cup heavy cream or panna da cucina
2 tbsp port
4 oz sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
12 oz dried penne
Salt and Pepper
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, to garnish

1 Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large heavy-bottom skillet. Add the shallots and cool over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes, or until softened. Add the mushrooms and cook over low heat for an additional 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, sprinkle flour and cook, for 1 minute.


2 Remove the skillet from the heat and gradually stir in the cream and port. Return to the heat, add the sun-dried tomatoes, grated nutmeg, and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes.



3 Meanwhile, bring a large heavy-bottom pan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, return to a boil, and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until tender but still firm to the bite. Drain the pasta well and add to the mushroom sauce. Cook for 3 minutes, the transfer to a warmed serving dish. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve immediately.



Tween Tears

nsync collageIt happened… for a brief 2 minutes I was brought to Tween Tears. You know, those youthful-i’m so excited tears brought on by extreme happiness. *nsync performed at this year’s VMAs – JC, Justin, Lance, Joey and Chris were onstage together again for the first time in almost 10 years. For those two minutes I was in a complete nostalgic moment. It was so good to see them together again even if it was just for that moment. It was perfect for every *nsync fan. I remembered the very website i created for my fandom (I’ve got to look for a screenshot of that) and the time we bumped into them at a rest stop after a concert. It was amazing to see them perform again. I figured this was a post worth writing about :)

Project Life at Michaels

I was so excited when I heard the news from Becky Higgins that some Project Life supplies would be available at Michael’s Arts and Crafts stores in June. Especially when it was also mentioned that the Kraft edition would be specially available. To add further to my excitement they were being stocked on shelves at my local stores on my birthday!

I headed out to the closest Michaels, but they were still in the middle of opening their shipment so the shelves were still empty. The unopened boxes were laying right on the floor next to the column. I was very tempted to rip the boxes open myself the get my hands on the new supplies. Haha.
Lucky for me we were having dinner later that day near another Michaels. I had to check there also. They were ready for me to stock up! I grabbed myself some lined 3×4 journaling cards, some grid 3×4 journaling cards, the Kraft edition, the Seasons mini kit, the Wedding mini kit and the Wellington mini kit. Happy birthday to me. :)

Salsa di Parmigiano

Yesterday I tried out a recipe for Salsa di Parmigiano by Michael Chiarello that I saw on the Nate Berkus show a while back. It looked simple enough and yummy for the tummy. So, yesterday I tried it for our summer BBQ.

Salsa di Parmigiano (parm dip)
Serves 16 – makes 3 1/2 cups

1/2 lb Parmesan cheese (not too dry)
1/2 lb Asiago cheese (not too dry)
2 tbs chopped scallions
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 or 2 tsps red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Remove rind from cheeses and cut into 1 in chunks
2. Pulse cheese in food processor until pea size.
3. Add scallions and garlic to cheese in a bowl.
4. Add oregano – rub between your fingers first to release its fragrance.
5. Add black pepper, red pepper flakes and olive oil.
6. Stir well. If still too dry add more olive oil 1/4 cup at a time.
7. Cover and let stand at room temperature at least 4 hours before serving.

We just served ours on Triskits and toasted French baguettes. You could also use it to toss with pasta or add to a warm sandwich. There is enough to last for a few days – if your guests don’t gobble it up the first sitting. Enjoy!

The Hunger Games Series

If you haven’t read this book series yet… you should!

I heard all the chatter surrounding these books by Suzanne Collins and it perked my interest, but I never picked up a copy.  Christmas came and I decided to put it on my wish list.  I was so glad I did.  The first day I started reading was also the day I finished the first book.  I literally couldn’t put it down.  I was captivated and drawn in with the story and the characters.  The plot is a little hard to explain, but it is set in North America sometime in the future.  Needless to say it didn’t take me long to devour the next two books!  I’m a little sad that I read them too fast.  I just couldn’t help myself.

The movie is coming out next month and I’m beyond excited to see Katniss, Gale and Peeta on the big screen.

” May the odds be ever in your favor! “