Skillet Ziti*

In CategoryCooking, Navel Gazing

Last night, my son was peppering me with questions while I was making dinner. Why this? Why that? Why, Why, Why? It’s like being in the path of verbal machine gun.

Finally, I broke in and said, “WHY do you ask so many QUESTIONS?” and he goes, “Mom, the inside of my head is just full of question marks!”

Which I thought was very cute and probably accurate. He went on to say, “I want to know everything, just like YOU do, mom!”

My leaflet-dropping campaign is starting to bear fruit.

In other news, I have a recipe to share. It’s not a freezer recipe this time. It’s just a good old-fashioned, middle of the week dinner with like, three ingredients. Big and I were watching America’s Test Kitchen about a month ago and when he saw this, he wanted to try it immediately. We’ve been making it once a week, and even though it doesn’t come out of the freezer and get re-heated by Jim while I sit on the couch, it’s still dang easy. AND it only dirties one pan. I was scrambling to get down all the ingredients so this might not be entirely accurate, but this is how I make it and it’s yum.

Behold –

 Skillet Ziti

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 teaspoons garlic paste
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 28-ounce can water
  • 12 ounces dried tube pasta
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup milk (or cream)
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese

This recipe needs to be cooked in an oven-proof skillet that is at least 11″ in diameter.

Preheat oven to 425°

To a cold skillet, add oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook on medium about one minute, until fragrant. Then add tomatoes, 1 can of water, pasta, and salt. Turn heat up to high and bring to a simmer. Cover and reduce heat and continue to cook at a simmer.

Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is done. When the pasta is done, stir in milk and parmesan cheese. Top with mozzarella cheese. Transfer skillet to the oven and bake for 10 – 15 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and brown.

* Yet another super-lame Blog Post Title. It’s the middle of the night, I can’t waste all my Alone Time thinking of clever titles. Get off my back already. Jeez.

Google Reader Feature of Awesomeness

In CategoryNavel Gazing

I was linking around the internets the other day, as I am wont to do, and I came across this link to Oops, I Craft My Pants (which has to be one of the best blog names EVER).

When I switched to Google Reader, one feature I did not like was that I couldn’t see everyone’s blog designs. I like seeing the themes and the sidebars, and it helps me keep track of who is saying what. Sometimes I want to go back and find a post I read, but they all sort of run together in plain text and it’s hard. Plus, if I want to comment, I have to link over to the actual website and it’s kind of a hassle. And sometimes bloggers only show a paragraph of their posts on readers and I have to click over to read the whole thing. But mostly I don’t. Because I am just that lazy.

HOWEVER, with the Google Reader Feature of Awesomeness, I can see everything! I can see the whole post! I can comment on every blog without all that additional extra clicking! Follow the instructions at Oops, I Craft My Pants, and basically all you have to do is open Google Reader, go to Settings, then Goodies, scroll down to the Next>> button, copy that to your Favorites Bar or whatever is the equivalent in your browser, and you are set! Just click the Next button when it appears on your internet-linky-toolbar-thingamajig and it automatically brings up the next unread blog post in your reader – you see the actual post, the actual layout of the blog, AND you can access the comments section just as if you went directly to the blog itself!

I am probably being totally incoherant here, but Erika explains it all really well and has screen shots and all kinds of fancy-ness to help you out. And listen, if I can do it, anyone can do it. I don’t go out of my way to learn new stuff, yo.

Try it, you’ll like it.

On the other hand, maybe everyone in the universe knows about this and what we have here is the equivalent of me making a big announcement like, “you GUYS, GUESS WHAT? You can put music on this little thingy called an iPod! You should get one!”

In which my jaw literally dropped

In CategoryNavel Gazing

So last night we were sitting on the couch, innocently eating dinner and watching some teevee. As I went to fast-forward through a commercial, I was assaulted by this:

I mean seriously. Do these companies not have focus groups? Who is the pea-brain who thought, “Hey! Maxi-pads and mechanical bulls! Those things go together!” Was it a man? Was it a girl who maybe went out to a cowboy bar and had a little too much to drink? “Keeps you in the saddle?” Who wrote that?

Lookit. I’m a girl. I’ve been one my whole life. I’ve been experiencing Aunt Flo for . . . oh jeez, I think it’s been over 25 years.

(How can that be right? I should just delete that. Twenty-five years? That’s just obnoxious.)

ANYway, that is to say I am not unfamiliar with the Feminine Hygeine Product.


I do NOT want to see advertisements for this stuff! In fact, I don’t really want to think about the whole thing at all. Every month, I roll my eyes and go, “oh right. this again.”

And don’t even get me started on that pregnancy-test commercial with the gigantic stream of pee raining down on the space-ship sized test stick. That’s just wrong.

Look. Look at the wrongness:

Do they realize that we have giant, high-definition televisions now? I don’t really need to see a stream of pee that looks like it was poured out of a five-gallon Gatorade bucket at a football game to get the idea.

Some of those pitch meetings must have been freaking  hilarious – “well you see, what we have here is a tiny mechanical bull, see, and the maxi-pad is RIDING the bull, and well, we think it’s a winner.”

I have some stuff to say about that weird Quizno’s commercial with the three stuffed cats playing mariachi music, but I’ll save it for our next session.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks

In CategoryNavel Gazing

Today, the 4 Moms are inviting people to join them in talking about bedrooms. I LOVE looking at pictures of other people’s houses. I get every furniture and decorating catalog known to man, and my late-night fantasies often involve winning the lottery and redecorating my house to within an inch of it’s life (much to my husband’s disappointment). One of my favorite blogs is Catalog Living, and I recognize every single picture and could name the catalog it came from. I want to live in those pictures.

So I can’t resist the opportunity to join in this sort of bloggy activity. I have taken some pictures of the kids’ bedrooms, which are cute; and not the master bedroom, which isn’t. Plus also, I don’t know if I am strong enough to move the gigantic pile of laundry that inhabits our bed all the time.

Little’s Room – The color is not showing up very well, it’s actually the same green that’s in the shade, not yellow. And pink – lots and lots of pink.

Big’s Room – with a headboard I made myself so we could put his bed up against the built-in bookcase. Somewhere online I found construction bedding (there’s a cute comforter for when it’s not eighteen-thousand degrees) AND matching wallpaper decals, which are each individual pieces that I painstakingly put up, one by one.

So there you have it. Don’t think the rest of our house is as neat and coordinated at these rooms are – there’s a reason I am posting these pictures and not ones of the hovel I affectionally refer to as our bedroom.

I know these pictures are not great – our camera is crap. I have been lobbying for a new one, but Frugal Deb is a tough nut to crack.