Cheesy Lasagna

Ohhhhhhh is this a good one for you! I am all about this lasagna. We have made it a couple times and it is the perfect thing to have hiding in your freezer for a rainy day or a quick dinner. You may look at the amount of time it takes to make it and hesitate, but never fear friends: those couple hours are very well worth the multiple dinners you can pull out of the freezer and reheat in a pinch. As you may have noticed in a recent post, Will has left  me for the next three weeks, to gallivant around England. However, being the thoughtful man he is, he wanted to prep me a bunch of dinners before he left, so I could focus my time on working on training with Otis instead of stressing about how it takes me a painfully long time to make dinner. This casserole was one of the things he made, after we had  a huge success with it a couple weeks prior. It hits the spot on the “warm, comfy homemade meal” front, but is loaded up with veggies so you don’t feel *too* bad about the entire bag of mozzarella being strewn across the noodles. The eggplant and mushrooms give it that classic lasagna feel, with the addition of bell pepper and zucchini, if you choose, to add a little more texture. It’s a great recipe to have in your arsenal and it’s worth taking a couple hours on a weekend to prep and stock up on!

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Friday calls for COOKIES! And you’re in luck because I don’t just have one cookie recipe for you today, but instead I have TWO!  Both these recipes are shared from extraordinarily famous bloggers, Smitten Kitchen and Sally’s Baking Addiction. Their cookbooks reside on my shelves and I admire their capacity as food bloggers so so so much. So when Deb from SK reposted her brownie cookies, I decided to have a little baking party for myself and whip up not only those, but a great SBA recipe too. I want to share the cookies with some (picky) friends, so I landed on Sally’s chocolate chip cookies because a) who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies and b) I realized I had never made them and that was an atrocity I could no longer bear. So I took a weekend and decided to make both! Saturday was spent prepping dough and chilling it and Sunday was a couple hours worth of rotating baking sheets and piles of fresh cookies coming out. I don’t really need to say much about either recipe because they’re both obviously fabulous. Sally’s chocolate chip cookies are probably my favorite recipe (I almost like them more than my own) and I recommend everyone just make them and keep them in the freezer. The brownie cookies were good – but like all recipes I’ve tried from SK, they didn’t wow me as much as I was hoping. But if you’re looking for something different and really really rich, then these are for you. Read on and enjoy!

DSC_0562It’s hard to believe that our first academic year at PLU is coming to an end! I have my final  concert tonight with the PLU concert band and it’s hard to believe that it’s one of the final concerts of the semester! It’s been a whirlwind of an academic and it’s still not quite done yet. With both of us acclimating to new jobs and a new city, the time has flown right by. And while I’m almost done until things ramp back up next fall, Will is not! He actually has yet another business trip coming up! Prepare yourselves to be jealous of this one…..he gets to spend three, yes THREE, weeks in England. Raise your hand if you’re jealous (raises hand). He’ll be working with PLU’s program at Oxford and also likely checking in on other partner programs in the UK and possibly Scotland. (Raises other hand for double jealousy). Unfortunately this was an end-of-budget year decision for his office, so I will not have the opportunity to join him on this trip, but it’s okay because we plan to go back together in the future anyways. He’ll just be working the entire time, right?! RIGHT?!?! He will in fact take a moment of fun to most likely go and visit White Hart Lane, historic home of Spurs, before it is totally demolished this summer, which will be bittersweet after such a phenomenal season from the team. So while I’m sure you, like me, pity the amount of work he’ll be doing, we can all find solace in his one planned excursion for himself. #pitypatrol #sorrynotsorry 

Tempeh Tikka MasalaI think I’ve been holding out on you. I don’t think I’ve shared ONE recipe yet from Vegan Richa, the most amazing Indian cookbook we’ve ever laid eyes on. She has a blog too, but we are just absolutely in love with her hard-copy, straightforward book of recipes. Ohmaigosh. It’s the absolute best. This Tempeh Tikka Masala is one of many we have made and I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to share with you! First of all, this recipe went over waaaaaaay better than the first time we attempted tempeh, and was a great substitute for chicken tikka masala, in my humble opinion. Will may disagree, but I found this wholly satisfying and a perfect go-to when I get a tikka masala craving. He can still eat his meat version of this dish and so can you! However, the spice combos that Richa creates are so authentic-tasting that you’ll want to swamp them out for any other tikka masala recipe. That can actually be said for all her recipes – we have yet to have a bust! So if you love Indian food, tikka masala or are curious about tempeh, this is the recipe for you!

DSC_0443Happy Monday folks! I hope everyone had as productive of a weekend as we did. Per usual, I spent most of my weekend involving cats! But we also managed to sprinkle in a good dose of concerts, friends and food this weekend too. It made for a particularly busy and exhausting couple of days, full of good people and good eats. Really good eats, actually. I look forward to sharing some of the things we made in the kitchen, in the future! Things like hash brown casserole and bourbon pecan chocolate chip cookies. You know, tasty, decadent, sinful foods. We saw an old friend (from grad school!), met new friends at a vegan potluck and celebrated the end of the Spurs season with our dear Spurs friends. We went to a choral/orchestra concert, a senior recital and a wind ensemble concert. I played with kittens and hung out with old cats. We cooked, we baked, we drank. All in all, a great weekend.

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Happy Friday friends! I hope you’re gearing up for a busy, fun weekend, like we are. We’ve been squeezing it all in recently, with the end of the academic year drawing to a close. I’ve been attending concerts and recitals most weekends and this one will be no exception! We’ve also been watching lots of soccer, as the BPL season comes to and end, and Will has been playing a lot as well. Plus, on top of all that, kitten season is nigh, so I have lots of adoption-related activities coming up at The Humane Society including a Kitten Shower tomorrow to garner interest in fostering kittens. On top of it all, we’ve been hosting lots of friends, now that we finally have a kitchen table that Will has completed! We had some friends from college over last weekend and are hosting our Spurs group after final games this Sunday. And then we’ve also been GOING to friends parties, including a Siete de Mayo party at Mandi and Billy’s house last weekend and are going to a Minimalist Baker-themed potluck tomorrow for a friends birthday. All the social activities!

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Oops, it’s past time to finish wrapping up our trip to Louisville, long after parts one and two have been posted! I’ll combine days three and four, since we lost some of our steam after the second day in a row spent eating. Have I mentioned yet that we consumed a lot of food? We consumed a lot of food while we were there. We also consumed a lot of bourbon, but I don’t see the harm in that!

 

IMG_4604Louiville, Day 2! After a long, food-filled first day in Louisville, we slept in suuuuuuuuper late on Friday. When we finally woke up, it was practically lunchtime so we decided to skip breakfast and go straight to lunch. After a couple cups of coffee at our AirBNB (and an epic battle with a weird Keurig machine), we wandered over to top attraction, Feast BBQ. Will had read about this place online and it had already come up and been suggested a couple times since our arrival, so clearly it was a must-eat. What was so great about Feast was that it’s a bit of a hipster place, meaning I had plenty of vegetarian options including none other than tofu BBQ! This was thrilling because it meant I could partake in the tasty BBQ flavors without having to just settle for sides (not that that’s typically a problem…)

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Greetings from Louisville, Kentucky! Well, sort of. Will and I took a mini-vacation to Louisville last week, prior to a work conference he had this week. We took a redeye flight out on a Wednesday night, arriving in Louisville mid-morning Thursday and we hit the ground running! Our plan was to eat and drink our way through this Southern town and reconnect with our tasty Southern roots. To say we succeeded is an understatement. We truly consumed so many beverages and so much food, that I’ll break this down by day, to share the photos and flavors of Louisville with y’all! I had fully intended to write this as we went, but we barely were in our AirBNB, since we were out enjoying the sights, sounds and flavors of LUHVUL.

DSC_0201We had the most epic weekend this past weekend. I got to check two things off my bucket list: see a Beatle perform live and meet an idol. On Friday, we drove down to Portland after work to see Paul McCartney perform. It was an unbelievable production, lasting 3 hours. Of course the music was incredible, but so was the artistry of the lighting, graphics, media, pyrotechnics, everything. It felt surreal to see an artist as influential as Paul perform and he was truly a gentleman and a real class act. He told stories, paid tribute to friends, performed a variety of songs from all stages of his career and genuinely seemed grateful to still be performing sold-out concerts worldwide. I can’t fully describe what an amazing experience it was to see him. Let’s just say I cried. A lot. It was overwhelming.