Simple Deliciousness: Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Veggies

chicken sausage pasta

C.Ono’s photo and pasta- make some!

I am a big fan of one plate meals that are easy to make and easy to keep in the fridge all week long. Sometimes I put these together because there are no other options in the fridge, and they end up making really good dishes. BONUS! I get to add them to my own little recipe stash. This is just a little bit of whole wheat pasta with chicken sausage and veggies.

  • I cup cooked whole wheat pasta.
  • 1/3 cup of grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • About 4 stalks of asparagus- measurements? No measurements here. Just estimate, and save the rest for another dish :-)
  • 3 oz of chicken sausage- I use Johnsonville Three Cheese Italian most often
  • 2 tbsp of feta- use your judgement here, folks!

The chicken sausage is pre-cooked so you can’t mess that up. Just slice this sausage up and toss it in the pan on medium heat with a little Pam or olive oil and brown it. You can put the sausage you don’t want to eat yet away, and pull that out for breakfasts,or other meals throughout the week.

Cook your pasta until al dente. I only cook about 1 or 2 cups at a time. Pasta is a calorie bomb for me, and if I have it, I will eat it, so I only cook what I need.

Because I am always pressed for time, I steamed my asparagus and the tomatoes in a steamer above the pasta pot, killing a few birds with one stone.

Drain and plate your pasta when ready, and spoon your chicken sausage and veggies on top, and sprinkle your feta overtop to taste. I always finish with some black pepper and a little seasalt and an extra sprinkle of Olive Oil over top.

Enjoy that meal like it’s your JAM.

That Time I Spent Too Much on Starbucks Food and Learned Something

I am a big proponent of packing a delicious lunch. It keeps me from spending goo gobs of money that, trust, I do not have, and it also indulges my childhood fancy. It gives me a chance to experiment with all the lunchbox delights my mom used to pack for me by growing them up a bit and making them healthier. The only thing I miss is how my mom would make a smiley face on my napkin for me, because she is the best mom ever. That almost made up for the fact that this woman would almost NEVER buy me some damn fruit snacks or put a Fruit by the Foot in my lunch.

I have never been that much of a sandwich girl. Only a peanut butter choke sandwich with jelly would make me happy because I am really finicky about the texture of lunch meat, the type of cheese on my sandwich, and the quality of the bread. In short, I am a sandwich snob. I would much rather make some sort of one plate meal at the beginning of the week, then divvy it up into containers for lunch. When I am feeling like an adult who is on top of her game, this works out. When I’m not, I forget my lunch, and for that matter, my breakfast, as well, and THAT is how I ended up spending $18 dollars at Starbucks one day.

WHAT?!!

I decided to treat myself to a Skinny Vanilla Latte and a Protein Box one morning last week. Ok, fine. Not so bad. I don’t do this very often, so I didn’t feel too bad about it. The latte was damn good, and the food was just what I wanted.

Protein Box

Then came lunch. After cursing myself for forgetting to pack anything, I went upstairs to the cafeteria. Because of the furlough, we are operating at half cap, and there wasn’t anything except made to order sandwhiches (!!!!), and some salty ass soup I refused to eat. The only option i was left with was a salad bar full of wilted God-knows what, some fruit, and cottage cheese. Reluctantly, I got a scoop of cottage cheese and a heap of pineapple and grapes, proud of myself for not marching my ass to McDonalds 2 blocks down.

BAD IDEA.

This was one of the grossest things I have ever ate. The cottage cheese had OBVIOUSLY taken on the flavor of whatever vegetables and meat it was stored with in the fridge. I felt really bad about being so wasteful, but this stuff was clearly no longer good.

Worst Lunch

I saved the fruit for later, but threw out the cheese and grabbed my wallet and headed to Starbucks again, where I bought yet another Bistro Box, this time with Chicken, Cucumber, Tomato, and Hummus.

bistrobox

I was pretty annoyed with myself for my lack of planning and extra spending, but not mad enough to overlook the fact that this Bistro Box was quite tasty! I could eat one of these all the time. But who has that kinda Starbucks money? I will just have to make my own. And that is just what I did.

The box consists of:

English Cucumbers cut into delightful little sticks

Grape tomatoes

2 little Chicken Breasts -sort of-I have no idea if those were actual breasts in that box

A little pita (I can do without it)

And a nice dollop of hummus

I got the ingredients, and prepped the veggies, which took all of five seconds.  And then I got started on the chicken.

chickenprep1

I always use a drizzle of Olive Oil on chicken. This particular kind is one that my mom brings me back from Puerto Rico, and we use it sparingly. If I run out before she brings me more, then I’m SOL. She WILL NOT share.

I also dust the chicken in Paprika, Black Pepper, Garlic Salt, and Adobo from Goya. People, if you have not cooked with Adobo before, then get it together. It’s a game changer.

Then I bake these bad boys for 40 minutes at 375. I always stab the heck out of the middle of the chicken to make sure its done, and also, because it lets the juices run free. Sounds gross, but I’m not trying to be.

Cooked Chicken

I then put all my goodies into a collapsible container, and after barely any effort, my lunch is ready to roll. I put the rest away in the fridge for me to pull together at night. I made enough chicken to last me for a few days, and I have more thane enough veggies and hummus prepped.

myownpb

Making my own lunch for the week cost less than what I stupidly paid for that ONE day.

And I will never be too lazy to plan my lunch out ever again.

I was disconnected for 5 days and I survived

5 days without TV or internet.

 

Torture.

Pure dread. Hellacious disconnect.

Words than ran through my head last Monday when I realized both our cable and internet went out at the same time.

image from infendo.com

image from infendo.com

My normal routine of coming home, eating dinner, and mindlessly tapping away at my laptop or iPad had been interrupted, and fear had set in. I pouted, whined, and bitched mercilessly at my husband while he sat on the phone with Comcast (the worst), and tried to troubleshoot our connection issues. It would be 11 pm before I gave up, annoyed that I couldn’t blog, browse Nordstrom’s website for shit I cannot afford, or work on any side projects.

The outage lasted 5 days and each day, it became more and more clear to me that I was exhausted, and a break from the outside world was exactly what I needed. I even got to do a few things around the house that would not have been possible had I my internet or cable been up and running.

I read a book. Sharp Objects, by Gillian Flynn.  I read it in one week. I haven’t read a book in one week since I was a child. I forgot how much I missed reading! That feeling of being engrossed in a book, of losing track of time, of fighting sleep because all you want to do is move on to the next chapter, so you keep pressing on.

I listened to music. Seriously, I really listened. In the past few years, my commute from Columbia to D.C. has become so hellacious that music is just a soundtrack for my road rage. Imagine a moody ballad by A Fine Frenzy taking second place to me screaming at the driver next to me for riding in my blind spot for MILES instead of speeding up or slowing down and just .let.me.over. for chrissakes!!!! Instead, I discovered that I really like the Black Keys, that I can’t stand Lana Del Rey’s voice for longer than one song, and that I still, and always will love Sia Furler. Erykah Badu will always speak to my heart, and Maxwell makes me fall in love every time I hear one of his records.

I talked to myself. I talked to myself a lot and decided that I don’t converse with myself as much as we should. All these minutes in the day are taken up by people, things, posts, comments, and interactions, and while I don’t mind them most the time, I realized that I didn’t know where I was for much of the day. My body is always there, going through the motions that propel us from day to day, but where was my head in all of this? It was nice to have a mostly quiet apartment, with less beeping, buzzing, or droning on from the TV. The sound of Louis and Talia snoring on the couch was background noise enough for cooking dinner, and having longer conversations and louder laughs with William was nice.

My service interruption caused me to miss the Premier of Scandal on Thursday but watching it on Friday felt like a nice reward after my half-connected week. It took a lot of drama with Comcast to get my cable fixed – at least 30 minutes of phone time per day, and then a few tweets in the evening from my phone. Hey, a few tweets are nothing when you are used to being attached to a device.  Maybe  I should do this more often?

Disclaimer: Comcast, that does not mean you can continue your crappy customer service and snip wires all up in around my apartment!

A Very Personal Post About Why I Blog

I know that there are a lot of blogs, and with that, obviously a lot of personal opinions, experiences, and everyday happenings that people want to share. People blog for many reasons; catharsis, the need to be heard; to develop a creative process- the reasons are endless. But one of the reasons why I have always loved blogging, and more importantly, writing, is the aspect of self discovery that takes place when people begin communicating with one another.

I am not talking about when some troll takes to the comments section of your blog to shit on everything you write and tell you how awful you are, but when there is truly a meaningful connection to the written/typed word. It becomes like a book, an article, a poem, or any other piece of literature that you admire or can relate to.

I have a lot of respect for the people who put their lives out on the interwebs for everyone to peck apart. As much as I fear being judged in person and online, I still feel like sharing some parts of me is important. It’s important for me to tell others how they have inspired me, to share stories of people who face great challenges, share wisdom, or make me feel like a million bucks with just their presence in my life. Writing has always been a way for me to stop being funny, bitchy, loud, and boisterous, and tell you what I am really feeling, to share what lies beneath all of that.

One thing that I have come to admire are the bloggers who write about their struggle with Depression. People judge depression, have strange notions of what it means, what people experience, and why we cannot snap out of it, while a few realize how truly stifling it is. For me, it hits home. This is such a personal topic for someone to write about, and it scares me to say, that I relate to many of their experiences I have struggled with it for many, many years.

:::::Phew. I said it.:::::

me2011

Me In Key West in 2011. I remember crying the entire way home, not wanting to deal with anything when I got back. It would be weeks before I didn’t cry every morning.

Sometimes when I am sitting on my couch, refusing to do anything but Netflix an entire series in one day while I eat my feelings, I remember that I am not the only person who is spending days, or even weeks, at a time like that. I get up, go to work, smile while I do my job and talk with friends, and push through what are terrible bouts of floating at the bottom. This, however routine it may be, is not easy for anyone- not for me, for my husband, or for those who I want to give my attention to, but simply cannot. And little by little, a few hours at a time, I start to pull myself out, and go on- after all, there are some things about life that are amazing, and they must not be ignored!

me genuinely happy

A genuine smile: How can anyone not feel happy with a big rubber duck?

For food bloggers, like Andie Mitchell, of Can You Stay for Dinner

For Ragini Nao, fashion blogger at A Curious Fancy

And for all of the people who try their best to communicate what that feels like to suffer some depression, with words or pictures, like Allie Brosh it takes some big balls. If it were not for people like them, I would not write. I would not blog. I’m happy that I do, in the hopes that someone who reads my blog will find a way to pull themselves up from that low, low, feeling, and find a way to release it.
I hate that anyone would ever have to know what it feels like to be in that place, but I hope that if they do, they find some way to express what is beneath the surface, as well.

Marie Takes on 30: One of My Favorite Responses

I wanted to share with you all one of my favorite responses to the Thirty Project questions. Marie and I went to graduate school together, and I have an incredible amount of respect for her. Not only is this lady one hell of a designer and writer, but she is also wonderfully witty, wise, and has excellent taste in beer (wins big points with me). She has always had a great energy to her, and I hope you find her amazingness here in her response!

After a few disclaimers (that were hilarious in nature), Marie recently sent me this bad ass list. It is definitely one of my favorite responses.  Continue reading

Cultivating Patience

Patience has never been my strong suit. My inability to wait for good things to come has gotten me into trouble (and ironically into awesome situations) more than anything else in life, and it really wasn’t until just a few years ago that I began learning my lesson. I love to see quick results, make spontaneous plans, and satisfy my whimsy. I’m not flaky, by any means, but my thoughts and ideas often rush into my head faster than I can execute them- I believe they sometimes call that putting the cart before the horse? Ugh. Who came up with that stupid saying?

Remind me not to live in the future.

Remind me not to live in the future.

Anyway, while in Yoga tonight, I set an intention for me to just BE THERE. My intention was to just be present in what I was doing right that moment. Not think about the yogi that I long to be, the weight I would love to see drop off, like, yesterday, or the classes I could take the rest of the week. I was just happy that  I got myself in the car, drove to The Still Point, and showed up.  I tried Vinyasa when I normally do the much gentler Hatha yoga, and I was happy that I finally can do my downward dog without stopping to rest my very strained wrists. In that moment, I was just was. That made me happy.

Toward the end of class, when my mind normally wanders to  meetings, tasks, bills, family, etc, the teacher blatantly ripped through my thoughts by saying that we need to be here in the room and mindful of what we are doing in that moment. Did that woman read my mind? Probably not, but she probably knows how hyper connected and over stimulated we are. I am sure she sees it in each of her classes.

Sometimes I don’t give myself enough credit for what I have achieved, or what I could achieve if I were only a bit more patient. It takes a lot of tumbles for someone like me to realize that all things are possible, but only in due time. Much of the sadness I have felt is because I have willed myself to be anywhere but where I currently am, and that way of thinking just.doesn’t. work. In fact, one can miss so much of their life living this way. In the same manner that people who live in the past do themselves a disservice, people can also miss YEARS by living too far in their future. Some days I just want to be  years away from today, dreams fully realized, day to day life here in Maryland behind me, but the fact of the matter is, wishing, wiling, wanting, and endlessly planning will not shave time off the present and bring me to it any quicker. I have to put in work.

Looking at everything I have going on, I have to say that things are good and I am very lucky to be living the life I have. Even when I acknowledge that things are not perfect, I am still luckier than many. I should really take time to enjoy it every day, and be present in all of the good stuff.

The Thirty Project: Ladies, Help Me Out!

I never began feeling my age until this year, my thirtieth year. Every year leading up to this, I always felt like I was perpetually stuck in the 8th or 9th grade, maybe 10th on a mature day. It wasn’t because I felt childish, shy, or any of the other things people associate with their childhood, but I just never felt like a grown up. I felt like a husky pre-teen masquerading through life in an adult world. I didn’t follow my heart on lots of things, and I questioned my own ideals constantly, and while I wouldn’t say I was easily influenced, I also don’t feel like I was confident in my choices. That is what I mean when I say I never felt my age.

2007

Me in 2007. Who is that girl?!

This year, something in me has shifted. I find myself saying “no” a lot, turning inward for answers, rather than seeking approval elsewhere, and asking myself what I really want. I have to say, since doing so, I’ve had a lot less inner conflict.

Me Just weeks ago

Me Just weeks ago, feels like me, but looks verrry different.

Another thing happened…People began giving me advice. Older women in my life remind me that I’m still young, and then offer me bits and pieces of wisdom that they wish someone had told them before they were thirty. Lessons learned too late, things they wish they would have done, and everything they wish they could tell their younger selves.

So I am curious…

What are some of the things people have told YOU? What are some conclusions that you have come to after the “ripe” age of 30? What things do you want to do, or wish you would have done before you turned 30, and why? 

Ladies, this is mostly for you! I’m definitely quite curious to hear any and all responses, anonymous or not. Simple or scandalous- it need only be honest.

Leave me a comment or contact me via facebook- I’m all ears and eyes!