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I have some of my best ideas while in the shower! Unfortunately for you, I can’t bring a laptop in the shower with me and, therefore, a lot of my brilliant ideas for this blog never make it out of the bathroom. By the time I am able to sit down in front of the computer and start writing I’ve either lost my inspiration or find it difficult to stay focused and entertaining. So, I have come to the conclusion that not all of my entries are going to be pure gold (most of them will, but not all of them).

Tonight is one of those nights. I’m writing more out of sense of obligation, having gone more than a week without a new written entry, than out of a sense of true inspiration. Don’t get me wrong, the recipe I am sharing today is one of my favorite quick and easy meals! It isn’t the recipe that is lacking; it is my ability to be witty and charming. So going along with the idea of this meal, I’m going to make this entry short and sweet!

My mom shared this recipe with me a while back and I have used it countless times as a quick meal for those nights when I just don’t have the time to be original. Ha! I’m sensing a theme! I don’t know if there is a name to this recipe or not, maybe I should have asked my mom before writing about it. For tonight, I will call it “Yummy Pasta Bake”.

Goes great with a garden salad!

This “Yummy Pasta Bake” is so easy, it can hardly be called cooking and that is why I LOVE IT! All you need is a package of pasta (penne, macaroni, shells, whatever), a jar of your favorite pasta sauce (I stock up when it’s on sale, so I never use the same one), a half pound of ground beef or turkey (I’ve used both and they are both delicious), and as much shredded mozzarella cheese as you want! After cooking the pasta and the meat separately, throw everything but the cheese in a 9X11 casserole dish and mix it up real good. Top it with your mozzarella cheese and throw in your preheated oven (400°F) for about 20-30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.

Viola! Done. My favorite part about this dish is that I always have leftovers! I like to freeze single-serving sized portions for an even easier meal on the run, for those days when we just don’t have time cook. Just throw it in the microwave and you have a delicious homemade meal in minutes!



Don’t you hate it when you lock your keys in your car?! So annoying! You stand outside your vehicle, staring at the keys that would be within reach if not for that irritating glass window in the way! Grrrrrr! I know you all can relate, don’t act like it’s never happened to you. I’ve done it, more times than I would like to admit, and it never gets any less irritating. Yet somehow, it’s just a little more amusing when you are not the one responsible for the incident. Sorry, Eddie!

Yesterday evening, at around 6:30pm, I was sitting comfortably at home with my puppy when I received a phone call from Eddie. “Um, I locked myself out of the car,” he said with a chuckle. I laughed, he had to be joking! Right?! No, no he wasn’t. He actually locked himself out of his car when he stopped to make a deposit at the bank. So, it was “Jean to the Rescue!!” Or so I thought.

Eddie told me where to find the 2 spare keys to our cars and, not knowing which one was which, I grabbed both and headed out to meet him. He wasn’t that far away from home, it wouldn’t take long to get there and get back. Easy! I am SO glad we have those spare keys! Oh, but no…it didn’t turn out to be that easy. Neither of the 2 keys I found were a key to his car. So, it was on to Plan B.

Eddie had noticed A BMW service shop right across the way from where he was stranded. So, I stayed in my car, watching out for Eddie’s car which was parked “in the Red”, while he ran over to see if there was anyone there who could help us out. Of course, the first guy he spoke to was really nice and willing to help out, but he had to ask someone else to get the tools. Well, this second guy was “willing to help” too, for only $150. What?! Unable, and unwilling, to pay that amount of money to get into our car, Eddie kindly declined his offer and walked away. And that’s how we get to Plan C.

I headed back home with the instructions to look in a different drawer for the spare key and bring it back or, if I still couldn’t find it, to come back with a hanger and the tool box. The key was STILL nowhere to be found, so off I went, again, this time with tools in hand.

Eddie in action

To make this long story short, let’s fast forward about an hour. Eddie’s phone had already died after watching YouTube videos about “how to break into your car”, the sun was long gone and it was getting darker, we were both freezing and shivering because of the cold night breeze, and we were not any closer to getting into our car. A friend (who shall remain nameless for their own protection) had offered early on in this adventure to call their “auto club” service (which shall also remain nameless) to help get us out of this mess. Only now willing to admit defeat, Eddie finally agreed we should take him up on this generous offer. It only took said “service” about 10 minutes to arrive and less than a minute to open our car door. The guy didn’t even ask to see our “membership card”, so our friend who was on his way to meet us with the card was able to stay home instead.

So, with a little help from our friends and a $5 tip to the driver (because this was all the cash we had on hand at the moment), we were finally able to get done what could have been done hours before!  Oy vey!

Total savings on this adventure: $145

Total cost: $5 and 2 hours of my life that I can’t get back.

Was it worth it? Hell yes!

As we both climbed into our separate cars to finally head home, we quickly realized the adventure was not quite over. Now, my car wouldn’t start!! The battery had died after leaving the hazard lights on the whole time. *sigh* Lucky for us, it wasn’t anything a quick jumpstart couldn’t fix!

Sometimes, all you can do is laugh!!




My mom would be so proud (or maybe just totally irritated, I can’t decide which)! As a kid, I was one of the pickiest eaters ON THE PLANET!! Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, because I did eat, but it is closer to the truth than I would like to admit. I didn’t like sauces or condiments of any kind. No mayo, no mustard, no ketchup, no ranch dressing…gross! I ate my hot dogs plain, my cheeseburgers plain, my salads DRY, and I preferred my veggies raw and crispy. There were so many things I “didn’t like” and never wanted to try, I must have been a real pain in the “you-know-what”!

This carried on way too long into my young adulthood. I would like to say that I am completely recovered now and have reached a point in my life where I will try anything, but this is still not quite the case (I still prefer my hot dogs plain and don’t even talk to me about ketchup or mustard). HOWEVER, I have jumped a lot of hurtles in this battle with food and my eating habits have become much more mature (if I do say so myself).  Well…at least I can say I am more willing to try new things!

It has really only been in the last year or so that I have made the biggest strides conquering my food fears and I think it is directly related to my own adventures in the kitchen. The more I explore and take risks in my own kitchen, the more adventurous I become in other peoples kitchens. That and just the feeling of not wanting to be RUDE!

There are countless things my mom made when we were growing up that I would never touch. Recipes I wrote off as “things I didn’t like” and therefore never ate. Most of these dinners I hadn’t even tried in the first place but, once I got it into my head that I didn’t like them, it was over before it ever started. So when I tell her that I made Stuffed Pepper last night for dinner, she may freak out a little bit! I would never eat her Stuffed Peppers and to this day I don’t even know how she makes them! But Eddie came home with like 10 bell peppers the other day and I was trying to find a way to use them all before they go bad. So I thought, “What the heck?”


I didn’t really use or follow any recipe, I just worked with what I had and what I thought would taste good.  So here’s what I did. I cooked some couscous (another thing I never ate until recently) and then in another pan I fried up some turkey sausage, diced tomatillos, and crushed red peppers. I then mixed the couscous with the sausage mixture in a bowl and added half a can of yellow corn and half a can of some jalapeño black beans. I took my cored and halved bell peppers and placed a chunk of mozzarella cheese in the bottom before spooning my mixture into them. I placed the newly stuffed peppers in an oven pan before filling them to overflowing and sprinkling them with shredded cheddar cheese, oregano, salt, and pepper. Lastly, I slid them in the oven and cooked them at 400˚F for about 25 minutes.

They were delicious and so filling! One half of a large pepper was more than enough for dinner and it’s a good thing too because I had 2 unexpected, but very handsome, extra mouths to feed. Good food and good friends, two of my favorite things!


jeans appearances

April 2012
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