Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Spaghetti Squash with Sausage, Spinach and Pesto

Spaghetti Squash with Sausage, Spinach and Pesto


Alright so I haven't sent out a recipe in a while and its because I have been using others people's recipes.  I ALWAYS give props to those recipes I make but this seems to be one I have been doing over and over the last few weeks.  I have had this on again off again relationship with spaghetti squash.  It was one of those things I FINALLY got it to taste good in, but it takes forever to cook in the oven.  
Recently (two months ago) I got a new job (HORRAY! see previous post) and so my cooking time has started to become MINIMAL, but I still am cooking just about everynight.  Also I wanted to get out of the spaghetti squash, meatballs and red sauce pattern and into something more satisfying.  So in our CSA share we had a Spaghetti Squash, pesto and some other stuff.  So I came up with an idea to try.  Another SUPER useful tool I have been using a lot of lately and I LOVE IT so much is my Instant Pot.  I have been using a lot of recipes from #nomnompaleo and #Pressureluckcooking.  Those two are where I am hanging out a lot lately.  SO to give credit where credit is due. I LOVE this super easy way to make spaghetti squash from Nom Nom Paleo (here).

So I took my Spaghetti Squash, cut it in half the short way and put it in the Instant Pot on the TRIVET with a cup of water.  I sealed it and pressed MANUAL and set it for 15 min,  of course it will take a few min to get to pressure. Sometimes I am in a hurray and do a quick release when the timer goes off. Today I let it go for a few min, did a quick release and took them out to cool down.


After they cooled I peeled them and you can see al the little strings.

WHILE the squash in cooking I cooked up some Mild Italian sausage in a pan, used a slotted spoon to take it out and put it on paper towels. Now I kept that grease and drippings in the pan to saute some greens I had lying around. I also set those aside when they were cooked.

                                         So after the sausage and the spinach are cooked I put the cooked squash in the pan and just break it up a bit. Spread it around 
the pan and make sure the strands are separated. This has been a mistake I have been making.  I kind of just throw it in the pan and notice it just sticks together. I then layered on the spinach and the sausage and made sure everything was all incorporated nicely.


After the mixing I added some homemade Pesto that Jeremy had whipped up (it's basil, walnuts, garlic, parm and olive oil).  It's really good and SMELLS SO GOOD after its all made.


Can't you just smell the basil! This is so yummy!  I give it all a good stir and the smells it makes are just wonderful.  It takes me less then and hour to do all of this!

YUM! Enjoy!

1 - 2lb (or more or less) Spaghetti Squash cut short way and scooped
1 container (it was about 1.5 cups) of Pesto (homemade is best, but store bought is fine)
1 lb of Mild Italian sausage 
2 cups of greens (spinach, kale, collard, mixure)
Olive oil 

Place the trivet on the bottom of the instant pot and add a cup or so of water and place the cut spaghetti squash on the trivet, set the instant pot to Manual 15 min. 
While the squash is cooking, in a pan over medium heat with Olive oil add the sausage and break it up.  I like to do little ball shapes but if you want bigger or small pieces do that.  Once the sausage is brown use a slotted spoon to put it on a paper towel lined plate.  In the same pan cook the green down and place in a bowl when finished. Once the squash has finished and is cooled and peeled ad it to the SAME pan and spread it out a little,  move it around, add the spinach and sausage.  Make sure its all in there and there aren't big clumps of spaghetti squash.  Mix in the pesto with the pan at low and give it a few good stirs. Add salt and pepper as needed! Enjoy!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

That time I quit my job with nothing lined up.

So here I am sitting at my computer contemplating what I was about to do. Do I do it? Do I wait any longer and let the agony of self take over and eat away at my brain any longer?  Is the stress worth the paycheck.  The answer should have been yes because I have a family, I have bills, I have a house.  I have the dream, two cars, two kids, an urbanish house, craft beer, and a career that up until the point a few months ago I thought was pretty kick ass.  Things started changing, I was still enjoying the folks I would see, I was still enjoying standing in front of a group of people and throwing out random dad jokes.  I mean I am a GOD DAMNED HILTON GOLD MEMBER!  Isn't this what the dream entails? Going to NYC and working with some super cool folks, using your skills to help kids and adults who are lacking a voice.  This was suppose to be fun, it was suppose to be meaningful work, but unfortunately I wasn't living to work. I was working to live. 
  So I had a bad review, I've had a bad couple weeks, I've had almost a bad year. I've been slowly suffering and some folks know but I can put on a good face.  I put on my pants and go to work, I drop the kids off at school and sit in traffic, hoping for a good consult, hoping to find a new lead, hoping.  That hope has been disappearing.  When I started the job my glass was always full and sometimes over flowing with joy. The joy of knowing this kid could communicate and I just helped with that, but over the years it has taken a lot more to fill my glass.  Lately most days and weeks my glass would barely have anything in it and I would say "I need to quit, I can't do this anymore, there is no joy left, people don't want to put in the work, they want it to be easy and done for them." Most days that was true.  In the last few months I would take a short vacation with my family and dread going back to work.  I would never say "WOW, I CAN NOT WAIT to see so and so." I would just hope and pray someone would cancel. That's how I felt. Now at 37 I sit here unemployed.  At my computer with no direction. What's next? 
   One direction TEACH! Yes I want to teach, I want to go back and sit with those kids, play on the floor, be silly and get kicked and scratched and bit and watch tiny steps equal big leaps.  I want to see a kid say his first word. I want to be a change in kids lives.  Do you know how hard that is? You need to go to the website, fill in the questionnaire and and hit submit, and then what? Wait, you wait until nothing happens because your brilliant application on the applitrack website goes no where.  A cyber dust bin or some administrators trash bin, why, WHO KNOWS!  My last five years have taught me that the folks who are really passionate about teaching aren't there.  The ones who have good grades are there.  The ones who got to pass on through because they didn't struggle in school.  The state gets to say WHO gets certified, understandable, BUT the hoops and loops and money to get there, the endless tests, the endless paperwork, for what, a piece of paper that says you can teach.  So here I am sitting at my computer wondering where my piece of paper is, I had it, in Maine, but CT doesn't care for those who went through other states process, you need to go through THEIR process. So I will start at the bottom, be the paraprofessional, make the small hourly wage for doing some dirty work, IF someone will LOOK AT MY GOD DAMN RESUME.  You have jobs posted, just tell me you're not hiring, FINE. So I'm frustrated.  SOMEONE OUT THERE HIRE ME!  For now I will be giving people a LYFT, keep a look out for the updates of the people who hire me...

Friday, August 25, 2017

...Still with the friends...

   So a few years ago I posted about making friends as an adult Here.  I re-read it after reading this piece from the Boston Globe about loneliness at the age of 40.  I posted the previous post three years ago.  I was a dad, married, nearly 34 and had only one child who was almost 2.  We were getting into routines in terms of daycare, and work and what not.  That year we decided to expand our family and the following year we added a second child and a little chaos.  I wouldn't give up my family for anything. I love my family, like my job and have a fairly good routine, but life is OKAY. Which stinks.  I sometimes wonder in envy of those that have an office to go to, or a school to go to where they see coworkers on a daily basis.  I had it at one point but gave it up for the glamorous work at home situation *noted sarcasm.* While it was great at the start, traveling around the area, always something new, meeting new people, conquering my fear of public speaking, etc; I miss the enjoyment of seeing some people everyday, catching up, venting, going out for drinks after work, playing on the softball team, things like that.  While I have made "friends" with my coworkers, it's hard to get together with them when we live so far from each other. With work and family taking up about 90% of my time I get very little time to find friends and I pose the question again.  How does an adult make friends?  We aren't part of a church, I'm not going to make friends at a bar, and my current friends (WHICH I LOVE) also have family and busy jobs so making time is one of those impossible things.  I do have a fairly regular wednesday night trivia night with friends which is fun, although our regular trivia spot closed...I MEAN COME ON. So we will have to find a new trivia spot, but once a week doesn't seem like enough time.
    Sometimes I wonder if it was the move that did it to me.  We left Maine for a few reasons but a big one was I kept seeing the same people over and over again. I would run into the same people at work that I went to high school with.  I knew I needed to get out, I was the country kid who needed to see the city.  I wanted to start over, start a new city life.  I realized NYC wasn't for me.  It was too much.  Too stimulating.  Then we moved to CT, the burbs, I mean I am sitting in Whole Foods, working and writing this blog and contemplating when I am going to be moving back to Maine where I will see the same people I work with and I went to High school with, but I will have routine. I will know people, I can get involved and immediately KNOW people.  I think that is what I need.  Well maybe soon...

I had a few drinks...

So I had 5 weeks of not drinking and then went on vacation.  I was going back and forth whether or not I was going to have drinks while on vacation in Provincetown.  I decided to have some drinks and see where I went.  See if I struggled, if I could stop myself, if I could in fact "reserve" having a drink for a special occasion and not go crazy when I did have some drinks.  See if I stayed under control and finally see how I felt during and after I was drinking.  We were on vacation for just four days.  I had drinks each night and felt fine.  I kept myself relatively under control (no excessive drinking) and I stuck with vodka and soda, one punch, some spiked seltzer and no beer (which I love).  I didn't feel great.  It was a self-serving experiment. Do I want to drink while I am away from my kids only?  Do I want to reserve drinking for holidays? Family events? parties?  I've done this before and then it just turned into I'll have drinks Wednesdays and Fridays and Saturdays...and Sundays. Sometimes a Monday here and there. It didn't turn out the way I wanted it.  Can I do it this time? I told myself the next time I would have a drink would be Christmas or Thanksgiving.  We will see.

We had a party at our house with the usual crowd of family and friends.  It is fun and I enjoy being around these people. The usual order of events is this we provide food and some sort of drink (I'll make a big Alcoholic Punch) and everyone will bring some other food and their drinks.  The party is usually around 4 or 5 and by 6 or 7 people are "happy."  This time I made pink lemonade.  We had vodka to add if you wanted to and folks brought their own booze. I am ready to make that part of our party, BYOB.  I am ready to not be responsible for other peoples drinking.  If they want to drink something other then water, seltzer, or juice, they can do that. I have friends who insist on having their friends favorite alcohol available. They think a good host always has their friends favorite alcohol available. Well I'm ready to not do that anymore. If you want something special you can bring it to a party.  My house is not your personal bar. If I offer you something you can say yes or no. As a guest of someone you can bring a bottle of wine, a six pack of beer, a bottle of vodka. Maybe you don't agree with me. That is fine, but just know when you come to my house I will now offer you seltzer, juice, water, milk, and whatever we happen to have in our cabinet.  I won't be going out of my way to get liquor.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

"I'm not a social drinker I'd say most of my drinking is work related"

This picture was included in a work related email. A work related email about wellness.  I know it's meant to be funny.  I understand the humor, but also for me the personal irony connected to it made it come at a perfect time in my reflections.  I am a social drinker, I drink when I'm at home with my family.  I drink when I'm at friend's houses. I drink camping, I drink at work (after hours when I'm "in-house" with my co-worker.) I drink with a large group of people when I am at a brewery. I enjoy the social aspect of drinking alcohol. That is starting to look like a downfall.  Why do I need to drink when I am with a large group of people.  I understand the social and historic reasons but why do I, ME, need to drink. This is what I have been reflecting on the past twoish weeks or so. I am examing my drinking daily.  I am doing that thing where you hold something that you haven't used in a while in your hand and say "does this give me pleasure"?  I have been doing that and I have been watching everyone else.  Waiting for the questions. Waiting for the "why aren't you drinking" questions. They are bound to come up but they are difficult questions to ask and to discuss.  I tried to have a conversation with someone about it and it just didn't go anywhere.  I am trying. 

"All is well. All is well indeed"

I emailed someone today to share with them what I am going through. I did it because they are someone who is also going through their own spiritual journey. They are doing their own searching and looking for their own path forward.  He responded with a small anecdote about a chat with his sister talking about how their mother was with them at that moment and "all is well."  

I know this ending my drinking is something I have to do and for some reason I have to do at THIS moment in my life. Something at THIS moment is trying to make everything well.  It could be many things, it could be MY father telling me "all is well." I sat with him this past weekend and meditated for a few min.  It was what was needed and gave me a good sense of being. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Keeping my drinking habit in check...or can I?

I noticed a while back that I wrote about sobriety and tried it. I think it lasted a month, maybe less.  I think it was one of those "I have a time goal and I am so looking forward to that FIRST drink."  So it has been two weeks since my last drink. It was a yummy double IPA, I love a good craft beer, but sometimes I love it too much. I hold out for good beer and turn into a beer snob.  One beer turns into two, turns into three, turns into "one more" and it doesn't end until I'm running for a train, or getting a text asking when I'm coming home. Those Sunday Bloody Mary's are one and another and another and so forth.  I'm admitting I am having trouble with that whole "everything is good in moderation" thing.  I don't think I can do it for drinking and I am learning the hard way. While away for the week for work I didn't have to drive, I was pretty much told where I had to be during the day and some evenings but other than that it's "on your own." So on your own can mean "awesome where's my drink!"  Well those days turned from one yummy easy to drink 6 pack to 2 yummy easy to drink high alcohol content 6 packs. I just read that one IPA can contain up to 200 calories.  So let's say one six pack is 1200 calories, and add a second one.  2400 freaking extra calories in a day where I have been snacking, eating not wonderful food and having maybe a 30- 40 min walking workout.  That can't be good right?  NO! So I came home with a new sense of self, I need to detox this chunky temple. I need to stop drinking, I set a date for a little over a month from my last drink. This time though was different.  I felt like I need to do more, I may have to stop completely. Let me tell you, I have seen people close to me go into detox, I have seen people go through rehab for drinking, it wasn't fun at the time watching that. Now it's my turn. These two weeks have honestly been hard and eye opening to say the least. I survived fourth of July and all the booze that is a part of that. I survived camping without having a drink. I went to P-Town where alcohol is almost part of every event, people drinking in cafes, beer gardens and while not legally, on the beach. Even Tea Dance which is a booze fueled dance party which has its own super sweet high alcohol punch (although I didn't go to that THIS time because I had the kids.) There are more and more events with drinks and I am ready to go, ready to have a good time with out the drinks. I can do this, for me, for my body, for my family. A few things I've noticed since my last drink: better sleep and easier time getting up early (while I still enjoy staying in bed I don't feel that YUCK that you feel after drinking), more energy for exercise (and I have done some too,) less hungry all the time.  I have changed my eating habits as well, for the better.  I know I need to eat more veggies, so I am trying to trick myself into that.  I don't "hurt" as much.  I was given a painful body I think and I know part of it is my extra weight I am trying to lose, but I think not drinking is helping.

I have also been more aware of other people's drinking habits which has helped me with my decision. I noticed when people were drunk before or drinking too much, but know its even more so. I'm not ready to say something, but soon. When I heard my father-in-law was told to stop drinking because of his heart that also became a wake up call. While my heart is healthy, one day it won't be so until then I am sticking to this.

A friend of mine has a little blog he talks about going all in on something for it to work and that is what one of our mutual friend's did. He went all in on being a vegan.  While it surprised me his reasons seem similar to mine, our fathers dies too young. Mine was an alcoholic and hid his drinking from us although not that well. While I don't hide my drinking I have drunk to excess and I am sure have hurt people, yelled, said nasty things and was probably a super obnoxious person. I want to be around for my kids and grand kids one day. I don't want the thing that killed my father to kill me so I need to check myself.  

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Cooking my way through Fatherhood

New idea for 2015:
Put together this nice cookbook I got for my birthday last year.

I have been typing up recipes on my other computer, iPad and occasionally iPhone for a little while now.  I just have to put some semblance to them and make something that looks good.  Also I need about 50 more recipes. I have a new idea though.  There are so many books out there that I have read and enjoyed but one of them that I enjoyed was a cookbook memoir.  Wouldn't that be neat?  I don't think I could put it together for another 10 years or so but if I start collecting stories and recipes now then I will have enough for something.  I thought of this title too Cooking my way through Fatherhood, but it really sounds more like a subtitle then anything.SO I have to think of a good title, and I am sure that will change.  In the meantime I will keep cooking for me and this near Threenager that has taken over my house and life.