Thursday, May 31, 2012

30 minute thursday's: tomato basil penne with garlic cheesy bread

I have been debating starting a menu plan/recipe series for awhile now, and after getting some encouragement from my Facebook fans and fine tuning the idea in today my head a bit, today is my first post in a series titled "30 Minute Thursday's".

Whether you work a 9 to 5 or stay home, "what's for dinner?" is a daily battle for us all.  Each week, I will be posting a quick and simple dinner plan, with photos and a step by step.  Hopefully these will give you ideas of quick weeknight meals you can make without a lot of time, ingredients or cash.  I'm excited to share some of my tried and true recipes with you and I'm even more excited to stretch my horizons a bit and find some new awesome recipes to make and post.

Ready to cook with me?  This week's recipe is Tomato Basil Penne with Garlic Cheesy Bread.

Ingredient List:

For the Pasta:
1 lb box of penne pasta {or 1 lb of whatever pasta you have on hand}
1 clamshell of cherry tomatoes
1 large package fresh basil
4 cloves of garlic
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Parmesan cheese {I prefer Parmigiano Regiano}

For the Cheesy Bread {you can double this recipe and use the whole loaf if you like}
1/2 loaf of fresh French bread
3/4 stick of butter {I use salted butter}
2 cloves of garlic
4 oz block of mozzarella cheese. {you don't need fresh mozzarella for this}


Start a big pot of water to boil and add a dash of olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking.
Rinse tomatoes in a colander, and add them to a large saute pan, with a generous pour of olive oil, 4 minced garlic cloves, and a teaspoon of kosher salt.  Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, add pasta to boiling water and cook as directed on package.
Rinse and Julienne cut the fresh basil.  The way to do this is to layer the leaves one on top of the other until you have a big stack, then roll them up into a little round log shape and use your sharpest knife to slice them into very thin rounds, making your cuts as small/close together as possible.  This will give you beautiful little ribbons and it will only take a minute or two.
Add 3/4 of the basil to the pan with the tomatoes and continue to cook until the tomatoes are softened and beginning to burst.  Check for flavor and add more garlic and salt as necessary.
Serve over hot pasta and top with remaining basil and freshly grated Parmesan.

And now on to the bread...

Garlic Cheesy Bread
The bread can be prepped and cooked while you have down time waiting for the tomatoes to cook.

Slice the bread long ways. 
Shred the cheese.  {Note: pre shredded cheese does not melt as well here}. 
Soften the butter in the micro for a few seconds and add the minced garlic, stirring together with a fork. {Note: save time by using a garlic press. the one I use is shown above}
Slather the garlic butter over the bread halves and top with the cheese.
Broil on high for approximately 3 minutes, checking it every minute or so.  Every broiler is different, you don't want it to get too brown.
Let cook a few minutes, cut into slices and serve!

{Serves 4.  Cost per serving: roughly $4.}

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

tuesday randomness via instagram

Tuesday is here!  {Like it or not...}

We had so much fun this past weekend.  It's always a struggle for me to re-join reality after times like that, but hopefully I'll find my motivation this morning at the bottom of an iced caramel latte.

Ready to take a peek into my week around here?

Last week I had the worst sore throat.  Cherry Garcia to the rescue.  I went to the store to pick up ice cream and nothing else.  People probably thought I was going through a breakup or something.

Sometimes mommy just wants a margarita.  And sometimes we are out of mix.  And sometimes mommy sends daddy to BevMo! at 8:30 at night to make remedy the situation.  The end.

Peonies!  Yay for fresh flowers from Trader Joes.

There is a local mom that makes these adorable owl pillows out of towels and shirts and they are so soft and cozy.  The boys were so excited about them! {If you are a local San Diegan, you can find them here}

Reid came home from school with this furry little friend.  We babysat him over the weekend.  "Tim the caterpillar".  I was terrified he was going to croak on our watch!

A giant flag at church last Sunday.  We listened to a Navy Seal speak and it was pretty powerful. 

Oh my goodness do I love this man.  Memorial Day was gorgeous and we clocked some beach time as a family.

Reid checking out the surfers.  The water was packed.

Grant getting wet and having fun getting splashed by the waves.

Hello beautiful beach cruiser.  I wish you were mine.

On Sunday Mark and I went for a gorgeous, romantic horseback ride in the country.  It was actually one of my birthday gifts from him. 

I laughed when I saw this sign.  Ummm, not so much...

Beautiful, right?!  I could totally be a country girl.  I could totally rock it.  Pioneer Woman, here I come!

This was the horse I rode.  Scarlet.  What a seriously gorgeous and sweet animal.

I had a meeting in this building last week.  I am terrified of elevators.  I didn't realize that the meeting was in a high rise.  I pulled up and my hands instantly started to sweat.  Ugh.  I really wish I wasn't scared of elevators.  It is so inconvenient. 

Sunset at the pier.  I love this place.

Pan roasted cherry tomatoes with basil and garlic.  The easiest thing ever.  I serve these all summer long.  Sometimes alongside fresh French bread as an appetizer, sometimes as a dinner side and sometimes over pasta with fresh parmesan. 

Want to make them?
Arrange cherry tomatoes in pan, in a single layer.
Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil.
Add 3 cloves minced garlic, sprinkle with kosher salt and julienned fresh basil leaves.
Roast in pan over medium low heat until tomatoes are softened and beginning to burst.
Add more fresh basil and serve!

I am off to a busy, busy day back in reality-ville.  Hope you all have a fantastic Tuesday!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

right now

It's been a few months since I've done a right now post.  It's like a little fill in diary.  Here is a little snap shot of right now for me...

right now I am...

watching...The Bachelorette.  I was super pumped to see Emily this season.  Last week Ryan was my favorite, but on Monday, that 7 page letter he had her read out loud totally weirded me out.  How can you have 7 pages of things to say to someone after knowing them a week?!  Now I have no idea who I'm rooting for.  He killed it for me.

reading...Sink Reflections by the FlyLady.  Again.  I need the reminder.  Again.

eating...Thai Chicken Pasta from Trader Joes.  It's ready to go in the cold, prepared salad section.  It's ridiculously good.  It's the perfect, light lunch.  And it keeps me full and gives me all the energy I need to make it to dinner.  And, it's something crazy inexpensive like $2.99.

drinking...a Red Bull Zero.  It's the first time I've tried it.  I think I prefer the regular sugar free ones.

wearing...jeans, t shirt, flip flops.  Jeans and a t-shirt = My Momiform {and the reason I don't do the What I Wore posts}.  Maybe I should start a What I Wore series...maybe then I would change it up a bit?
avoiding...picking up dog messes in the backyard.  Gross.

feeling...better.  My sore throat is almost gone {thank goodness!}

missing...running.  I went 30 for 30 in April and I have been a total slacker in May.  That needs to change.

thankful...that my house is in a state of mostly-clean.  It's just so much more peaceful. 

weather...gorgeous.  70's and sunny.  Windows are open, birds are chirping.  I love it.  

praying...that the "AC drip" our tenants emailed about doesn't prove to be a major problem.  Please, oh please, oh please... work on the backyard.  We haven't done much since we moved in and I need to clean out the toy box, plant a few things and maybe rearrange the seating so we can eat and play outside more this summer.

thinking...about my grandmother.  My parents moved her into an assisted-living facility this week.

dreaming...about a horseback ride this Sunday.  Just Mark and I.  I cannot wait. 

loving...later sunsets, warmer temperatures, stores full of beach towels and sundresses...Summer is right around the corner!

And you? What does your right now look like?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

what's in my bag

Lately around blog-land, I've seen several "what's in my bag" posts.  I think they are so fun.  I'm super nosy.  I love seeing what other people carry around in their purses.  Today, I thought I'd share mine. 

I switch bags a lot, but this is the one I have been using for the past few weeks.  Mark bought it for me several years ago as a total surprise, no-holiday-in-sight-kind-of-gift, which makes it even more special to me.

Here is what's in it:
1. Ray-Ban's
2. Highlighters and pens.  {Hello, nice to meet you.  I'm a type-A personality}
3. $10 cheapie sunglasses from Nordstrom's BP department.
4. iPhone {case from}
5. External iPhone charger.  Nothing annoys me more than running out of phone battery.
6. Aleve
7. Keys
8. Ricola {I have had an awful sore throat since last Friday}
9. LV Wallet.  A birthday gift from Mark, probably 5 years ago.  Times were tight and even though I had asked for this wallet at Christmastime, by the time my birthday rolled around in May, I had asked him not to spend the money, because we couldn't afford the splurge.  When I opened it on my birthday, I was like "how did you buy this?"  He had been putting away $20 a week and saving for it since Christmas.  It is a treasure to me. 
10. Peanut Butter Cliff Bar.  I am a bear when I'm hungry.  Having one of these in my purse at all times is more like a public service.
11. Trident, Sweet Mint.  I chew gum all day long and I won't chew anything else.  I'm like a gum snob/addict.
12. Coach prescription glasses. I mostly wear them for driving.  I need help with distance.  And when I say "distance", I mean more than 10 feet in front of me.  It's getting bad.

I purchased this little wristlet at the Coach outlet on my birthday trip to Palm Springs last year.

Here is what I keep in it:

1. M.A.C Studio Fix
2. Neutrogena Hand Cream
3. M.A.C Lip Gloss in Cultured
4. M.A.C Lip Gloss in Viva Glam, Special Edition
5. Travel Size Perfume, Viktor & Rolfe Flowerbomb
6. M.A.C Lip Stick in Gleam
7. M.A.C Lip Stick in Madame B.
8. Aveda Lip Saver
9. Murad Energizing Pomegranate Lip Therapy

There you go!  What do you keep in your bag??  Tell me in the comments!!  I would love to hear!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

tuesday randomness via instagram

It's time for Tuesday Instagram...

Some weeks I feel like I don't know whether I'm coming or going!!  Things can get so crazy, I just have to sit back and enjoy the ride and laugh at all the chaos!! 

Last week was one of those weeks. 

It was full, but it was happy.  Here are some of my favorite snaps from the week...

Post cut and color.  Hooray for cute hair on my birthday.  I am wearing a Forever 21 necklace, layered with my Cameron in this pic.  I wear my Cameron almost every day.  I love it.

This is my momiform.  Grey t-shirt and jeans.  I have about 12 grey t-shirts.  My trick for making a grey t-shirt look like a real outfit? Just keep adding more jewelry and make-up.  Ha!  And carry a cute handbag.  Always, always carry a cute handbag.

When I got home from my hair appointment, this bouquet of cabbage and hydrangeas was waiting for me.  Two of my faves.  Mark made sure that my birthday was extra special.  I was a very spoiled birthday girl.  Yay me!

A sweet friend gave me this gorgeous mug and I was totally in love and then I looked inside and saw a Peet's Coffee card in it!!  What?!  Double love.  I was so excited. 

Another friend left this plant and the sweetest card on my doorstep.  My mom already planted it in the front yard for me.  I love the idea of seeing it grow and remembering who gave it to me.  Super special.

Eating up some cupcakes {red velvet, of course}.  It makes me really happy to share special days with just the four of us.  The years are short.  And these are the years I get to keep them all to myself.  And I'm taking it.

Any guesses on what I wished for? ;)

And some other non-birthday randomness from my week:

How cute are these little earrings? 

Business cards in an old silver dish. 

Out shopping with my loves.  

Grant is happiest when he is working at the shop with Daddy.  Two peas in a pod.

This guy refused to nap unless he could wear Reid's underwear as pants.  I choose my battles.  I didn't choose this one.  He put them on and said, "Yeah.  These look good!"  Haha!

The boys adore my dad.  "Poppa". 

A sweet thank you from Reid's class.  It said "Mrs. Weigel"  Eek!!  That makes me feel old!!

Grant woke up with croup last Sunday and spent the day just feeling altogether punky.  As much as I want him to feel well, there is nothing as sweet as holding a sleeping baby.  It melts my heart to see him all curled up and sleeping against Mark.  And for the record, I was pretty jealous.  

He is feeling lots better now.

I hope you are having a great week!!

Monday, May 21, 2012


Manders, who said:

Hope Reid gives you lots of love and hugs today (I will remind him!)
The theme for this year is FREEDOM.
27 is about FREEDOM."



Sarah, who said:

"Happy birthday! I was to have this year be about faith...having faith instead of fear."



Deb, who said:

"Happy Birthday! My word for this year is thankful..I have soooo many things to be thankful for especially my 3 wonderful children!"


Congrats to all 3 of you!!  $75 to spend in the shop as you please!!  Please email me at to get your code and get shopping!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

so I have this dresser...

I scored this dresser on Craig's List for $125 almost a full year ago.  Hello unfinished project #427...

We have it in the upstairs loft, holding board games and blankets and magazines that I swear I'm still going to read.  It also does the job of concealing the mini-fridge that holds bottled water and cold beer for those times we are just too lazy to go downstairs.

Those two lamps on were a score from HomeGoods and Mark made me that chalkboard out of plywood and crown molding.  This may at some point become a family gallery wall?  I'm not really sure, but I do love that dresser and I think I am finally ready to paint it. 

My plan is to make it look something like this:

What do you guys think?  I promise I will share the finished project here as soon as it's done!

{PS...If you haven't yet, don't forget to enter yesterday's birthday giveaway!!}
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