what do you do with italian turkey sausage?

So glad you asked. Why, let me tell you.

You make this incredible recipe!

First, a side note: For me, dinner is an (unfortunately) aggravating process in my daily routine. It happens right at the time of day when my 2-year-old loses her mind, my 6-month-old loses his ability to function independent of my hip, and my 28-year-old arrives home ready to "socialize." Plus, I'm tired, cranky, and hungry while I'm trying to fix it. So, quick and easy are my main considerations in recipe choice. However, I do appreciate good food, and my bank account (and my husband) appreciate inexpensive food. Healthy food is important to us too, but sometimes you just need buttery noodles. Hence, this dinner menu:

Noodles with Sausage, Sage, and Roasted Garlic AND Roasted Broccoli

First, the noodles: (UH-mazing)

- 1 package of egg noodles (we use Ronzoni Smart Taste, and they taste great, even without yolks :-) )
- 2 TBS butter, divided
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled, thinly sliced (okay, so this takes a little while, but it is SO worth it!)
- 2 TBS finely chopped fresh sage (it turns out okay without this, but the sage does add some nice flavor)
- 1 lb. sweet Italian turkey sausages, casings removed (I buy a package of 5 from Jennie-O, use 3, and save the other 2 for sausage sandwiches later in the week)
- 1/4 tsp dried crushed red pepper
- 1 cup grated Asiago cheese (anything you have on hand works; I use a shredded Italian blend to save time)

Cook pasta according to package directions and drain.
Meanwhile, melt 1 TBS of butter with the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add garlic slices and saute until light golden. Using slotted spoon, transfer garlic to bowl.
Increase heat to medium-high; add sage to same skillet and stir until beginning to crisp, about 10 seconds. Add sausage and saute until browned and crisp in spots, breaking up with fork, about 8 minutes.
Add pasta and remaining 1 TBS butter to skillet. Toss pasta with sausage mixture, add red pepper, and season to taste with salt and pepper (I usually omit the salt and pepper). Transfer to a large bowl (or leave it in the skillet if you want fewer dishes!) and top with crispy garlic and grated cheese.

Now, for the broccoli:

- 1 1/2 lbs. broccoli, stalks trimmed to 2 inches below crowns (I sometimes use frozen; if I use fresh, it usually ends up being 3 or 4 heads (?). You just need enough to cover your baking sheet once or twice)
- 3 TBS olive oil
- 1 cup grated Asiago cheese (once again, whatever you have or like is fine, and I use the shredded Italian variety. Also - pay attention here, you won't hear me say this EVER - I think less cheese is better in this recipe)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut each crown of broccoli into small pieces. Place broccoli in large bowl and toss with olive oil. Transfer broccoli to large rimmed baking sheet. Roast broccoli until crisp-tender and stalks begin to brown, about 25 minutes (watch carefully - the broccoli can go from good to burnt in no time!). Return broccoli to bowl and toss with cheese. Prepare to be amazed at how much broccoli you (and your kids, if applicable) can eat.

Recipes are adapted from the March 2008 issue of Bon Appetit.

step 3: give up on writing steps

There's no way I'm going to keep up with all the steps it'll take me to launch a business. Besides, I have lots of other interesting (well, at least to me) things to write about.

There. Now that that's all taken care of...


25th anniversary edition

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
You act like a 30-year-old,
And you're close in age to one, too!

Happy 25th, lil' bro!

step 2: dust off the sewing machine

Seeing as how I eventually want to sell handmade goods, I consider it in my best interest to learn to make um... handmade goods. So, that means dusting off the old sewing machine (my mom would be so proud).

Luckily, I've thought about this a lot. I mean a lot, a lot. I have piles and piles of fabric and stacks and stacks of patterns and books. That counts for something, right? Usually, the projects I buy supplies for are too advanced for my skill level, and nothing that would improve my skill level takes precedence over the other 89 things I have to do on a given day. So, the ol' machine has gotten dusty.

Well, thank goodness for Halloween. Having your little darling all decked out in a mommy-made creation for the big day is quite a motivator, and thankfully, the one-time use nature of said creation takes a lot of the pressure off. Turns out, Kate's Halloween costume this year was the perfect opportunity to bust out the sewing machine and give it a whirl.

Makeshift sewing setup in the living room. Not bad, eh?

Kate wanted to be Minnie Mouse (well Mickey, really, but as her style consultant, I advised Minnie). We have a Minnie Mouse doll that served as all the inspiration I needed, and luckily, MuMu (that's my mom) found the perfect Minnie fabric. I found perfect, EASY instructions for a skirt on Oliver + S . I added a big white button (an extra from an old coat, I think) to a $3.50 pink T-shirt I picked up. A black headband, fun foam and more of the fabric made perfect ears (the bow was ad-libbed and stuffed with tissues). More fun foam for shoe covers, and a little black paint on her nose finished it off.

Let's be honest - she'd be cute in anything!

Truth be told, the whole process took WAY longer than it should have. Regardless, we'll call it a success. The sewing machine still works, I can, in fact, sew a straight line, and now I know I can make a cute skirt for Kate if I ever get around to setting up the darn machine in the living room again!

Next step: learn to blog in a timely manner!

The original homemade Halloween costume: the pumpkin. Mom made it for me in '83, Hunter wore it in '85, Kate in '07, and now Jake in '09.
Happy Halloween!