hi…

Dear Mom, I went to a party and I didn’t know anyone so I had a terrible time. I’m thinking about never going to a party again. What should I do?

Don’t be silly, of course you’re going to the next party that you get invited to. This time if you don’t know anyone find someone, ask them a question and then just listen. You probably won’t have to say another word because people love to talk, especially about themselves. Do that a few times and you’ll know a few new people by the time you leave the party

warm comfort food

almost time for warm comfort food…this is the easiest classic, make it, eat it, freeze it…

Baked Pasta with Spinach and Ricotta

Yield: Serves 8  Prep Time: 10 minutes  Cook Time: 35 minutes  Total Time: 45 minutes

ingredients:

12 ounces pasta ( mini shells are perfect)
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
1 clove garlic, minced
10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess liquid
Pinch of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
Salt and black pepper, to taste
4 cups marinara sauce (32 ounces)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (16 ounces)

directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside. Cook the pasta according to instructions for al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, parmesan, and egg. Stir until smooth. Add the garlic, spinach, nutmeg, dried basil, crushed red pepper, and salt and pepper.

3. Put half of the pasta into the prepared baking dish and top with half of the marinara sauce. Spoon the spinach ricotta mixture on top of the sauce in an even layer. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella cheese over the mixture. Cover with the remaining pasta and the remaining sauce. Top with the remaining mozzarella cheese.

6. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the mozzarella is melted and the edges are lightly browned. Serve warm.

you can prepare this dish one day ahead of time. Cover the pan with foil and place in the fridge until you are ready to cook. You can also freeze the leftovers. Place cooked pasta in freezer containers and freeze!

more really really  good recipes at www.twopeasandtheirpod.com

 happy birthday tomorrow to the Queen of the Universe!

warm up when it cools off

let the cold begin and get ready to get warm…you can take the easy way out and buy a bed buddy at Bed, Bath and Beyond or order from www.activeforever.com

OR   if you’re inside anyway looking for something to do- make a customized warmer and one for a friend…

  1. Make it Do Gift: Cozy Bed Warmers

    www.make-it-do.com/make-it/make-it-do-gift-cozy-bedwarmers/

 

g-e-t-t-i-n-g colder

some ideas about coldproofing your place while it’s still warm…winterizing is such a disgusting thought that we never do it until our fingers are frozen, but it’s not as bad if you do some prep before you need it…

  • fix your windows, make sure that they close completely! If you have old windows that are drafty, get clear heavy plastic and cut it into squares that are bigger than the window, and get a roll or two of heavy tape and tape the plastic to completely cover the windows. Get heavy curtains, they’ll cover the plastic on the windows so that you won’t have to look at it and they do a lot to keep the cold out and the heat in.  If the windows face East or South leave the curtains open during the day, but closed at night. It might not be beautiful but if you froze last winter, sometimes it’s better to feel good than to look good. I can’t believe that I said that…I hate being cold.
  • Dust and clean the vents and change the air filter. Cold also seeps through walls in an old place or a new place made out of  thin drywall. These are kind of drastic measures but you can move heavy furniture like bookshelves against exterior walls or hang or tack tapestries, thin bedspreads or Indian throws on the walls, get something colorful or create a theme and maybe it won’t look totally strange.
  • Close doors to rooms that are very chilly. A thick rug on the floor, cheap but thick towels rolled and placed on the window sills and at the bottom of doors also help a lot.
  • Easy fixes: wear thick socks and mittens inside (!), get a hot water bottle, heating pad, electric blanket, or buy or make a ‘bed buddy’ (to be explained soon), and start cooking and baking- or just turn on the oven for heat.You don’t have to leave it on, just heat it up, turn it off and open the door. It’s instant heat…

 

small appetite

Mom- I need advice, my friends always want to go out to expensive restaurants and I can’t afford it, but I don’t want to keep saying no whenever they ask me to go out, pretty soon they will stop asking. What should I do?

Do they eat lunch? It will cost half the price and a good late lunch is better than dinner…or go and order an appetizer, if they want to hang out with you they won’t care what you eat

what a mess

Hello Mom- I wish you were here, my place is such a mess that I don’t know where to start cleaning! Help

Dear Help- if it’s really that bad you’re lucky because you don’t have to decide where to start… just start anywhere

if you spend 10 or 15 minutes cleaning the kitchen every day it will save you 2 hours once a week. Do everything on the short cleaning list once a week and you’ll never be buried up to your neck in a mess…

1. change and wash linens (10 min)

2. clean the bathroom: mirror, shower, floor, toilet and sink (15 min)

3. do laundry: clothes and towels (10 min to put in washer, 5 min to put into dryer) (20 min to fold while watching tv)

4. dusting and floors: vacuum, mop or sweep and dust (about 30 min and turn up the music)

 

happy birthday to my excellent assistant!! 

healthy junk food

Fall starts Sunday and there are apples everywhere- I’m making candy apples, when in doubt- take something healthy and turn it into junk food! I’m so good at that…

enjoy…

ingredients

  • 2 cups white sugar

  • 1 cup light corn syrup

 

 

directions

  1. Lightly grease cookie sheets. Insert craft sticks into whole, stemmed apples.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine sugar, corn syrup and water. Heat to 300 to 310 degrees F or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms hard, brittle threads. Remove from heat and stir in food coloring.
  3. Holding apple by its stick, dip in syrup and remove and turn to coat evenly. Place on prepared sheets to harden. Refrigerate.

 

 

good looks

I don’t know who created this list of the best websites, so it may not be unbiased, but the list looks really good anyway…

The Best Websites on the Internet – MakeUseOf

www.makeuseof.com/pages/bestwebsites

it works

these are crazy but they work…

1. if you have a gardening tool or pair of scissors or something that was left outside for a long time and got very, very rusty try soaking it overnight in vinegar and salt then rinse it off and dry it- it will look shiny and new

2. toss the little silica packets that are inside the packages of almost everything into a bathroom drawer or linen closet shelf to absorb moisture

3.  silver polish takes off a thin layer of silver, so instead polish silver in an aluminum container by pouring boiling water mixed with baking soda over your silver and it works like magic!

4.  battery check- if you’re not sure if your batteries are still good, drop them on a table from about 6 inches above and if they bounce once and fall over they are good, if they keep bouncing they’re empty

5.  after brushing your teeth with whitening toothpaste leave the toothpaste on your teeth for a few minutes and it will keep working to whiten them some more

6. if you have a sticky sticker, tape or decal that’s really stuck on, heat it up with your hair dryer for a minute or 2 and peel it off easily

7.  you can have an ice cold drink fast- just wrap a wet paper towel around the bottle, put it in the freezer for 10 minutes and enjoy

8.  I have heard this more than once- eat marshmallows if you have a sore throat and you’ll feel better!?

9.  if your leather boots spring a leak- rub some vaseline on the seams, bake the boots for an hour at 300 degrees and they should be waterproof

10. little paper cuts hurt a lot- rub chap stick on them and the pain will stop

you can do it all

Mom, I have a liberal arts degree and I feel like I have to apologize for it every time someone asks me what kind of job I’m going to get with that degree. What should I say?

Tell them you can do anything you want to do! It means you are an eclectic person and can do whatever you set your mind to do. Many of the most successful people don’t have a degree in what they ultimately and very successfully wind up doing…go get ’em