whatever wednesday: magazines, headstands & bloggernapping

Remember when I was featured in West Shore Live Well earlier this fall? I just noticed that their website has been updated and you can now view the article online. You can read it on their site – the article is on page 30.

Remember when I told you about the OBA December CLE Blogger Holiday Party & Cookie Swap? It’s coming up this Monday night so make sure to RSVP ASAP! I’ll be breaking out the old standby for the swap – Eat Live Run’s lazy girl’s chocolate chip blondies. More info to come to those attending on the location details!!

Remember when we all flipped over the Whole Foods Parking Lot YouTube video? I’m now freaking out over this diddy by the same group. It’s only better that it’s yoga related.

Remember when I was all cranky about pigeon pose? I’m now obsessing over headstand. I want to spend all day on my head. According to Yoga Journal, it “calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression”. And as this site puts it, “Headstand can be scary; it literally turns your world upside down.” And since I’ve felt like life was picked up and shook hard over the last few months, it’s not nearly as scary as say quitting your job or admitting all your weaknesses to the world.

Speaking of Yoga Journal: I just got a year’s subscription of the magazine on amazon.com for $5. That’s a yogi FTW.

Remember when I tried to talk Katie into not moving away? It didn’t work and I’m not dealing well with it. If it’s wrong to kidnap adorable pregnant ladies, I don’t want to be right.

What’s on your mind this Wednesday?

two Italians walk into a kitchen: lasagna with my brother

I did an average amount of cooking this past week, but it all started off with a very non-traditional Thanksgiving dish. The Sunday before the holiday, my brother asked if I could help him make something for his monthly company potluck. I didn’t hesitate to say yes, but was surprised when he told me he wanted to make lasagna. That’s quite the dish to a 20 something male to roll out to his coworkers. We made plans to meet the next day, but I quickly realized something:

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I jokingly tell people that my family isn’t really that Italian. My grandparents didn’t speak the language, although we knew what our last name translated to. There was never a pot of marinara sauce simmering on the stove. We never had had the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. My Slovak mother was the one that made the pizzelles at Christmas times. But I knew we had pasta in our blood and that Drew and I could easily handle this culinary challenge.

While I hadn’t had a traditional lasagna under my belt, I’ve made enough pasta dishes and bakes to figure we could handle it. One of these being the Cheesy Lasagna Rolls with Spinach and Ricotta from Whole Foods that my family enjoyed last year. While I knew the basics of what I needed, I went to my Bible of Mama LaVecchia recipes for some help:

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God bless my mother, but she’s gotta stop leaving ingredients out of her ingredients listing – this wasn’t the first time I discovered something in the instructions what wasn’t listed in the needed ingredients!! I’m sure this is her way of keeping some things secret.

I ran to Marc’s before our meet up for all the necessary ingredients:

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Yes, I bought jarred marinara sauce. Sorry, I’m not sorry.

Once in the kitchen, I got my brother working on browning the ground beef and the hot Italian sausage:

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I got working on the cheese filling, made with Ricotta cheese, parsley, salt, sugar, pepper and our missing ingredient: egg.

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My mom’s recipe isn’t shy with the cheese, so I also sliced up the ball of mozzarella cheese:

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My dad was trying to talk us into those no-cook noodles, but Drew and I both agreed to take the extra step of using traditional noodles:

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Once all our layering items were prepped, Drew got to constructing his first pan of lasagna:

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Surprise, surprise: somebody wanted to help…

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We had exact instructions on how to layer the dish: sauce, noodles, meat, shredded cheese, noodles, sauce, cheese mixture, mozzarella cheese slices, noodles, sauce, meat, shredded cheese, noodles, sauce. We were doing well… until we ran out of sauce.

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“No worries” I thought, as my very Italian father was always fully stocked with at least two back up jars of marinara sauce. EXCEPT for on the day his children were making a lasagna big enough to serve an entire army. That’s what I get for using jarred sauce. Drew made a super quick grocery store run and we were done before we could say “Giant Eagle”.

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We covered it up and threw it in the over for an hour at 350 degrees.

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Since he was planning to take it to work the following day, Drew finished off the cooking process the following morning: popping it in the oven that morning for about 20 minutes uncovered to give the top layer a nice golden touch.

I waited patiently on Tuesday, hoping to get some feedback from my bother’s coworkers. After the lunch hour was definitely over, I shot him a quick text to eventually receive the response I hoped for:

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See, maybe us two Italians aren’t so non-Italian after all!

LONG STORY SHORT: Sure it wasn’t an crazy epic dish that we made that day, but my brother and I still felt pretty accomplished by the end of Monday afternoon. Drew got a lot of great feedback from his coworkers, and even he felt it was as good as any of the lasagnas that my mom had made over the years. But what I got out of it was a joy of watching my brother jump right into the process. Like a patient bricklayer (gosh, where does he get that from), he carefully placed each element to construct something he could be proud to share with his beloved coworkers. And for me, I was just happy to share my joy of food with my brother on a random afternoon during a week where we should have been prepping a turkey and baking pumpkin pies. And again, I’m thankful for that.

thankful thursday: thanksgiving day traditions anew

Since it’s been another interesting year for me, I can’t help to be thankful for many things this day. But the holidays always make me think of family and this year it’s hard not to think of who’s not around this Thanksgiving day. But before I got to down in that thought process, I read Melissa’s post at Live, Love & Run about how this Thanksgiving is different for her. Through her post, I realized as your life changes those traditions you hold dear also morph.  I’ve already adapted some of my usual Thanksgiving traditions, and I’m looking forward to these things – many of which I did last year:

…I’m thankful for this blog – to start my day with the best way I know how to communicate my thoughts. Thank goodness for the written word in all its forms.

…I’m thankful for 90 minute hot vinyasa flow at Nishkama Yoga this morning – or what I lovingly call Turkey Tadasana. The best spot to cultivate my gratitude is always on my mat.

…I’m thankful to be watching The National Dog Show while prepping my Thanksgiving meal offerings. Forget the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Watching hundred of pups prance about is much more my style.

…I’m thankful to be providing the veggies at my dad’s feast. I’ll be making my favorite Whole Foods green bean with shallots dish and my maple sweet potato gratin, as well as the obligatory side of corn. Don’t worry – Dad’s got the mashed potatoes covered.

…I’m thankful my father’s down for a 1:00PM feasting time. Means we get to enjoy leftovers the same day we first enjoy them!

…I’m thankful for a quiet Thanksgiving meal: me, my dad, my brother, my husband and the VP of Fuzz. A simple menu of turkey, ham (it’s a LaVecchia holiday get together after all), stuffing, veggies, rolls and pumpkin pie are all we need.

…I’m thankful for NFL football and Pinterest: the football for the boys, and Pinterest for me: I’ve got tons of recipes to pin via Punchfork on how to use up that leftover turkey.

…I’m thankful to spend the late afternoon visiting my father-in-law on the other side of town when we have sprung from our afternoon turkey coma.

…and I’m thankful to be able to come home at the end of the day – to a warm, safe environment that is allowing me to focus on what I want out of this crazy life. So much opportunity is abound – and I’m ready to seize each and every option that I see fit.

A peaceful Thanksgiving filled with food, fitness and family – those sounds like traditions that will always be a part of this holiday for me.

From the entire PIP family, we wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving!

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