Friday, August 28, 2015

Jenny's Lasagna

Hello, my friends.  It's been quite a while since I've been in the kitchen cooking from scratch.  Being pregnant is hard work!  The baby is now almost 3 weeks old, the garden is bursting with tomatoes, and I've gotten slowly back in the kitchen. Today, I'm sharing with you, my recipe for lasagna.

I made a small batch of homemade tomato sauce with bell peppers and pork to use up some tomatoes.  I used that for my lasagna sauce, but you can use jarred sauce from the store.  I normally use marinara in a jar, so use what works for you.

1 lb ground beef
2 eggs
1 15oz container part-skim ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (for mixing into filling)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons dried parsley
1 box lasagna noodles (I prefer American  Beauty's Oven-Ready)
1 28oz jar Marinara or Tomato-Garlic pasta sauce, or about 3 cups homemade sauce
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (for topping)
1/4 cup fresh Parmesan cheese

1. Brown the ground beef.  Drain fat.  Add the jar of sauce. Rinse the jar with the 1 1/2 cups water and add that to the beef.  Stir over low heat to warm.

2. Combine eggs, ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella, salt, pepper, and parsley. This will be the cheese filling. Set aside.

3. Use a 9x13 or slightly larger baking dish to assemble the lasagna.  Begin with about 1 cup of meat-sauce mixture spread over the bottom.

4. Add the first layer of lasagna noodles to cover the sauce, in a single layer with no overlaps. This should take 3 oven-ready noodles (or 5 noodles if you're using another brand that requires boiling).

5. Spread half of the cheese mixture over the dry noodles.

6. Add another cup of meat sauce mixture on top of the cheese layer.

7. Add a second layer of lasagna noodles to cover the meat sauce, in a single layer.

8. Spread the other half of the cheese mixture over the dry noodles.

9. Add another cup of meat sauce mixture on top of the cheese layer.

10.  Add a third layer of lasagna noodles to cover the meat sauce, in a single layer.

11. If there is any meat sauce left, spread it on top.

12. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan over everything.

13. Cover pan with foil. Bake for 40 minutes in a 350F preheated oven.

13 1/2. Or if you want to make this in advance, cover the uncooked lasagna with foil and place in fridge until you are ready to bake.  Place cold dish in a cold oven and then turn to 350F.  Let it bake about 45 minutes, keeping it covered.

14. Remove foil and bake another 10-15 minutes, or until browned to your liking.

15. Let lasagna rest 10 minutes before serving. It will hold up better when you cut slices. This is perfect with a salad and some Garlic Bread.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Your Bijoux Box August 2015

Hello again! I have good news!  The baby is here! That's why I'm late with posting about the August box.  It's taken me a good week to find a chance to sit at the computer, although I am typing this with a sleeping baby draped across my lap.

When the box of goodies came, the first thing on top was the description card. I loved the citrus fruit pattern right away. It was a good clue as to the theme of this products included this month.

First is the Roma Cuff Ring in gold with peachy-topaz colored crystals set in a row.  According to the description, this piece is a fair-trade item.  That's nice to know.

Next is the Helena Laurel Collar necklace. This was one of the items revealed in the sneak peek for August. I really liked it right away.  The golden tones with black crystal accents is really good together. It reminds me of monarch butterflies, a bit floaty, not too chunky or heavy. It's great for the transition to Fall.

Also, the coordinating Helena Studs were included. I love it when things match!

The Coral Dots Scarf was also included in the sneak peek. I'm a big fan of scarves right now.  This one is huge and lightweight, so really a great scarf for the end of summer.

Finally, I also took advantage of the Add-On sale and grabbed a Lulu Tennis Bracelet in Navy crystal set in silver. I wear a ton of blue, so this will round out a few things I have already living in the jewelry box.

Thanks for stopping by and see you again very soon!

P.S. For the sake of transparency, I paid for this subscription myself. It was in no way "free" or provided to me for some exchange of services. I just really liked the products and wanted to share my opinion.

Monday, July 27, 2015

PopSugar MustHave Box July 2015

Hello readers, I received another mystery box this month. I got the July box from PopSugar.

As usual, the description card was on top so I read through it to see what goodies lurked beneath the tissue paper.

First, there was this cute striped dopp bag by Henri Bendel. It was one of the products revealed in the sneak peek email blast. I thought it was going to be bigger, like a man's shaving bag, but it's not a bad size. When it's unzipped, it does open ALL the way. That is nice.

Second, and this was also revealed in one of the sneak peek email blasts, was Supergoop Defense Refresh Setting Mist.  I was excited just for getting a product I could see myself using. It was totally a bonus to see a product with SPF 50 because I NEED high-power SPF or I turn into a big red crab, literally.

Next, I grabbed the Yes to Blueberries Cleansing Facial Wipes. I've seen these before, but never bothered to buy them. I have abnormally sensitive skin and stupid allergies, so I will be testing these with caution. I've had bad reactions to other brands of facial cleansing wipes.

Then, I pulled out the Good Bean Fruit and No-Nut Bar.  I was all "Yay, a food item!" I don't particularly care that it's vegan or nut-free since those issues don't concern me. I took it to work and ate it for a snack the next day. It was OK, crunchy, a bit fruity, not enough chocolate if you asked me.  Also, there was a noticeable beany-ness from the chickpea content. I'm not used to that in a sweet item. It wasn't all that bad, but I would not go buy these bars unless I was desperate, or given one for free.

There was a tiny little card case by Sorial with a coupon tucked inside. It was cute, but not very useful. I'm not sure that I will be using the coupon. There are no products on their website that are calling me. Also, vegan leather doesn't excite me. It's just another name for overpriced man-made vinyl that will crack and flake.

Interestingly, there was a pack of Hallmark greeting cards.  I have a stash of greeting cards for every occasion, so these will be joining the other goods in my "correspondence basket."

Finally, I pulled out the PopDental portable toothbrush. Honestly, that's a silly name. All toothbrushes are portable! Anyway, it's electric (battery-powered) and sleek with it's brushed metal case. I'm still deciding if I want give it to one of the kids or try it myself. I'm pretty much sold on the sonic toothbrush I already have, so I'm leaning towards handing this to the kids.

Now, it's time for the brutal honesty. I've tried a few months-worth of PopSugar mystery boxes and I'm not going to be continuing the subscription. It's a little bit fun to get a surprise, but when the majority of the products somehow fall below my expectations, it's time to say goodbye. This will be my last PopSugar MustHave box. I've been looking for a food box or tea box to subscribe to, so keep watching for other products. I'm bound to order something while I'm sitting at home with a newborn.

P.S. For the sake of transparency, I paid for this subscription myself. It was in no way "free" or provided to me for some exchange of services. I just wanted to share my opinion.