Friday, October 28, 2011

I'm a Little Spider

...watch me spin.
If you'll be my dinner,
I'll let you come in.
Then I'll build my web
to hold you tight,
And gobble you up in one big bite!

I'm not the biggest Halloween fan [shocker] mostly because I'm a bit of a scaredy cat. But I do LOVE themed holiday parties.

It has become an annual tradition with my fiance that we carve pumpkins each Halloween. It wouldn't be complete without candy and alcohol! 
This year we will be joined by my future in-laws, brother in-law, and his girlfriend. 

The more the merrier!

To be festive, I volunteered to make Halloween decorated cupcakes. 

[carrot cake cupcakes with a cream cheese frosting]

[goodie bags filled with treats]

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

On Top of Spaghetti...

all covered with cheese...

Nothing says spaghetti like a crisp fall day- imagine the aroma of stewed tomatoes with a hint of Italian spices lingering in the house. 

I had a craving for this comfort food and refused to settle for store bought sauce or a microwaveable inspired dish at a restaurant. 
On a whim, I decided to run to the grocery store to grab the essentials. 

Since the sauce needs a good hour to simmer and I'm impatient, I used a dutch oven to speed up the cooking process. 

For the health conscious, I used ground turkey and substituted regular spaghetti noodles with a whole wheat option.


Now all you need is a glass of red wine to complete the meal!


1 lb of ground beef or turkey
2 (6oz) cans of tomato paste
1 (28oz) can of crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups of water
2 tbsp. sugar, to taste
2 tbsp. dried oregano, to taste
2 tbsp. dried basil, to taste
2 tbsp. dried parsley flakes, to taste
salt and pepper to taste
4 cloves of garlic, minced or garlic powder to taste
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped or onion powder (optional)
package of mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (optional)
1 lb of pasta of choice
parmesan cheese (optional)
fresh parsley (optional)

In a large skillet over medium high heat add the ground meat and cook until brown. Drain if using beef, then set aside.
Heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a large skillet on high heat. Add onions if using and saute 2 minutes before adding the mushrooms and garlic if using. Cook for another 2 minutes.
Combine meat, onions, and mushrooms in a large pot. Add the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, water, and seasonings. Stir together. Bring to a boil on medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 1 hour, covered. 
(For a more liquid-y based sauce, add more water. For a thicker based sauce add less water)
Boil a pot of salted water 30 minutes before serving. Cook pasta 8-10 minutes for al dente.
Top with parsley and shaved parmesan cheese before serving (optional).