Tuesday, June 29, 2010

From the Garden to the Table: Fusilli with Spinach and Asiago Cheese

One of my favorite, EASY, summertime recipes calls for one pint of cherry tomatoes. I've been waiting for a big enough batch of them to ripen in the garden. And tonight we finally had enough. 

 The tomatoes in this bowl are a combination of regular red cherry tomatoes and my favorite Sungold yellow "cherry" tomatoes. The Sungolds turn a yellow-orange color when ripe, and they are unbelievably sweet.

Not only is this easy and yummy, but it's also vegetarian. AND....it's a recipe that the Big Ballerina will eat as is. No bowl of pasta with butter and cheese for her. That means she's eating spinach! Whoohooo! LB still wants hers plain, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time.

Are you ready? By the time you finish reading this post you could have already made it. It's that quick and simple. Here goes...
Fusilli with Spinach and Asiago Cheese
adapted from a Giada de Laurentis recipe


  • 1 pound fusilli pasta
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 (9-ounce) bag fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 16 ounces (1 pint) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup (about 3 1/2-ounces) grated Asiago
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

2. Meanwhile, warm olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Press the garlic cloves into the pan and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. 

3. Add the tomatoes and cook until they begin to soften and release their juices, about 2 minutes if they're nice and ripe.

4. Add the spinach and cook until it just begins to wilt, about 1 minute.

It should look like this...

5. Add the cooked pasta and toss. Add the cheeses, pepper, and if necessary, some of the pasta cooking liquid. (Since I use very ripe tomatoes and cook them until their juices release, I usually don't need any extra water.) Stir to combine.

 6. Transfer to bowls. If you're cheese lovers like we are, grate a bit of extra Pecorino Romano on top. Serve.

See? I told you it was EASY. Now go make it!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Silly Millie

I am happy to report that Millie is back. Safe and sound. Well, with the Little Ballerina as her owner, I'm not sure how safe she really is...
Watch out, Millie! That's a looonggg way down for your little body. 

I am actually pretty shocked that she reappeared as easily as she did. I googled how to find a lost hamster and we were ready to go get night vision equipment as one person suggested. Luckily, we didn't need to resort to such drastic measures. 

We simply put her cage out in the middle of the playroom with treats on the floor leading into it. But I don't even think that was necessary. The Little Ballerina kept checking the playroom every hour or so and late that night she screamed to us downstairs, "I found Millie!" 

"No Way!" we thought. But the Big Ballerina and I ran upstairs, and sure enough, Millie ran down from a toy box and hid under a raised bookcase. Quick on her feet, BB grabbed a treat from the cage on the floor, sat down blocking the bookcase, and coaxed her right out of hiding. Simple Simon.

After witnessing this, I'm very grateful that we went to the "Mom and Pop" pet shop to get these little guys instead of the pet superstore. The woman there would not let us buy certain hamsters because they weren't used to being handled yet. Smart lady.

So, now I just have to disinfect the guest bedroom before Grandma comes back next month. Which will be a lot easier than keeping LB from spilling the beans that Millie took a joyride among her things. Shhhh!

Saturday, June 26, 2010


My mom went back home on Tuesday. THANK GOD!

But it's not what you think.

Meet Max...

and Millie...
They are the ballerina's newest pets. We promised they could get hamsters when school got out. But then my mom came down for a visit and the adoption was put on hold. Because my mother is deathly afraid of all things rodent. 

Growing up we had a looonnnggg driveway. I remember finding my mother cowering at the end of that driveway one day because she spotted a mouse in the house. She waited there for probably an hour until my dad came home to. To...I don't know what. Set a trap maybe? He certainly didn't catch it himself. It amazes me that she has survived in that house for over 30 years because mice are a constant companion when you live in rural New York.

So, Max and Millie (who are both boys, by the way. I will not be taking care of any grandsters. thankyouverymuch.) hadn't been with us for more than 24 hours when Millie escaped. The Little Ballerina walked away from her for a minute while Millie was playing in "the obstacle course." And that was all it took. She was gone!

We tore the playroom apart. The playroom that doubles as a guest bedroom. The guest bedroom where Grandma sleeps when she visits. The Grandma who is deathly afraid of all things rodent.

We searched every nook and crannie of the playroom. But we could not find her him.

My mom went back home on Tuesday. THANK GOD!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Every Party Has a Pooper, That's Why They Invited Us

BSD and I like a good party. We like to have a few drinks. We like to laugh. We like to socialize. Just not for very long. Or with too many people.

It took us years to figure this out. I'm not sure why. It should have dawned on us years ago during our first few weeks of dating when we threw our first "keg party." We were so excited. We planned it all out. Invited the guests. Ran over BSD's mountain bike bringing home the keg. Threw back a couple of beers. Chit-chatted with the other revelers for a bit. And then we escaped to the bedroom where we hung out in bed talking for hours. Wondering WHEN the heck everyone would finally leave.

Luckily, our friends understand this about us. They still invite us to their big shindigs. But they know we won't stay very long. They know we'll get there early. Schmooze with those we care about. Be the first in line for the food. And then, once the party starts to fill out, we'll bolt.

Sometimes we take off and see a movie together. Sometimes we go out for dessert. Usually, we just come home, snuggle up in bed, and watch TV together. Saying over and over to each other how happy we are that we're not still standing at the party making small talk with people we barely know.

I'd like to say it's an age thing, but we've been playing this same scene since we were in our 20's. No, it's just who we are. We'd rather just hang with a small group of good friends. Intimate gatherings where everyone is part of the conversation is much more our style. We'll hang out all night playing poker, but a neighborhood bash sends us running for the covers.

Tonight our good friends are hosting an all-out neighborhood kegger. There is no catered buffet table to hold our attention. There may even be people we don't know. The party starts in three minutes. Want to place bets on how long we'll last?

Friday, June 18, 2010

School's Out

Big Ballerina:    No more pencils                      
                         No more books
                         (But, I'm really going to miss Mrs. S. She's such a nice teacher. This is sad!)

Little Ballerina: No more teacher's dirty looks!  

Big Ballerina:    School's out for summer
                         (But, I can't wait for next year. We got our belts today for Safety Patrol. 
                         Next year is going to be the best year ever!)

Little Ballerina: SCHOOL'S OUT FOREVER!
                          (Don't ever sign me up for school again!)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


My mom is here for a visit. It's her first visit down here since we lost my dad in February. And it's strange. 

One minute it's great. The next it's terrible. There are times where I'm frustrated with her and then I feel guilty. Really guilty. 

I haven't been on the computer. I haven't blogged. I feel disconnected. I don't like it. 

I'm still that middle schooler. I don't want to let my mom in. I don't want her to know what I'm doing. I don't want her to judge me. I like my independence. I like my privacy. 

I want to share things with her. I want to make her happy. I just don't know how. We've been dancing this same dance for years. I don't think we can change. We don't have any other moves. The floor is worn. The grooves are too deep.

I've been feeling this tug-of-war for the past few weeks. The ballerinas, LB's teacher, BSD, and my mom are on one end of the rope, all needing attention. I'm on the other end pulling with all my might just to keep myself from drowning emotionally.

It will get better. In two days, LB's teacher will drop the rope. In another week, my mom's grip will loosen too. And then, I hope to get back to this blogging gig. Because if there's one thing I've learned, it makes me happy. And keeps me sane.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ten on Ten: June

I learned about the Ten on Ten project from my uber-cool bloggy friend, Amy, at LuckyNumber13 last month.  I couldn't wait for the 10th to arrive this month so I could play along. Of course, life got in the way and I couldn't get into it as much as I had hoped. But, I did it. That's what counts. I'm already excited for the next 10th to see if there's any improvement.

So, here's a day in my life. A picture taken every hour for ten hours on the tenth of June.

Getting the ballerinas ready for school.


Morning walk.

New yard art.

Reward for a "green" day...

made even more special because Grandma is here for a visit.

Chillin' in the backyard.

Beer Butt Chicken on the grill with veggies from the garden.

Unwinding after dinner with a favorite beverage.

Clean ladybug toes ready for bed.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I'll Take a Big Gulp and Her Sunglasses

I have really been hating on the white sunglasses revival. When I see them all I can think of is scrunchies, Charlie's Angels and black rubber bracelets a la Madonna. The middle school girls in our area seem to be really embracing this trend. And it makes my eyes bleed.

But, today as I was getting my Big Gulp, I spied a woman rocking a pair. And she looked fab. Because you know 7-Eleven is where all the fashionistas hang out.

This woman wasn't wearing the Risky Business white Wayfarers that Drew and Fergie found at the bottom of their old high school backpacks.

No. She was wearing a large, round, 60's retro pair. Something like these...

And along with these cool vintage sunnies, she had on a French inspired striped tank over a plain white tank...

 with a pair of slim navy capris ...

Her hair was white to match her glasses. Teased and wild. Statement-making.

She left a lasting impression on me.  A 60's Brigitte Bardot impression.
Now that's a look that deserves to be brought back to life. The white Wayfarers? Somebody pleeeease, send them back to the 80's where they belong.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"Uncle Jimmy"

I don't have any real brothers, but Jimmy has been my friend since we were eight years old. We grew up down the street from each other, and spent countless hours riding bikes, swinging and playing "Name That Tune." The yearly carnival sponsored by the local volunteer fire department was always the highlight of our summers growing up in New York. 

Jimmy now works for the same company as BSD, and when he's in town we get to rehash all the old memories. This past weekend we headed out to the local Strawberry Festival. There was a pie-eating contest, pig races and what else? 

Carnival rides. 

The Big Ballerina loves carnival rides. 

The Little Ballerina would much rather play the carnival games.
Luckily, "Uncle Jimmy" was with us...

And he was more than happy...

 to do both.

Just like the good ole days.