You Won’t be Single for Long Penné Vodka Recipe

Oh you guys are in for a treat!! It has been ages since I made this yummy dish, and it’s so comforting and elegant, and yet EASY!!  Rachel Ray coined it her, “You won’t be Single for Long Penne Vodka” and boy was she right on the money!  I made it for Joe back in 2008 and by 2009, we were engaged.  12 years later I’m still making it!  You can dress it up by adding shrimp, but honestly I love it just the way it is.  I made it for a date night in last Saturday night and it did not disappoint. Don’t skip the crusty bread!!

You will need:

1 can of crushed tomatoes

1 box of penne pasta

1/2 cup of heavy cream

1 cup of chicken stock

1 cup of vodka

1 shallot

(it also calls for garlic, but I don’t add)

fresh basil

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon of butter

Sauté your shallots in butter and oil.

Add your vodka and reduce.  Add chicken broth and crushed tomatoes.  Simmer.

Boil your pasta while it simmers and warm your crusty bread!!  Also, stir in your cream right before it’s time to add the pasta.  Stir in fresh basil.

If you can, let it sit for a bit so that the pasta can absorb the delicious sauce.

Even if you’re already taken, or have no desire to be wifed up, you should still make this comforting meal!  It is a great meal to make ahead of time and keep warm if you’ve got guests coming over too.   Add a side salad, grab some red vino and enjoy!

 

Original Recipe here.

Let me know if you try it!

Weekend Vibes

Friday was little man’s BIG 5 year birthday!! Both of us were able to go into his preschool class and help out.  They kept us busy!

He got to blow out the 5 year old candle as we sang happy birthday one last time…

After preschool we took Bradley to get his “Ham and Cheese Broissant” and Joe and I grabbed lunch downtown.  We then hit up Home Depot for a new rug & lamp!  With real fires, the logs can roll out and splatter ashes/pieces onto the rug and it ruined the old one.  I am trying to preserve this one by keeping an older rug on top!  I love the look of it.

We had to grab a new lamp too because the base of our old one shattered and was a mess every time I went to move it.  When I saw this one I got a little too excited, as there is a reading lamp!  Our high ceilings make it hard to keep it bright in the living room so this white is perfect!

When Brookie got home we then hit up good old Chuck E Cheese for some birthday fun!  We all had a ball playing games, eating pizza and drinking fountain drinks.  We need to do more outings like this in the Winter!

And before bed, I had “my baby is 5 cry”.  It happened with Brooke and I knew it was a matter of time, and I made him come over and snuggle with me a few minutes…how on earth has 5 years gone by so fast? So much has changed and I am so grateful to be your mommy Bradley boo!  You love playing video games, but you also love running around pretending you’re playing football.  You love curling up with Bailey on the couch and watching Bluey with your sister.  You’re my little buddy and I’m not quite sure what my life will be like when you go off to school full day.  I know it will be great for you, but goodness you keep me on my toes every day!  I love you so much baby boy.  You can be a complete goofball or super sensitive, serious and sweet.  You’re my little bubba-dooz.  I love you!

I am missing the kids as I drove out to my dad’s in a snowstorm to drop the kids off so they could watch them so Joe could have a colonoscopy done.  (that Crohn’s life) I was happy to make it home and put my feet on the ground because that drive was NOT FUN!

 

Saturday night I made a yummy dinner–an oldie but goodie! I’ll share the recipe this week.  Vodka Penné on a cold night is divine! We celebrated our “12 years” together anniversary by the fire and wrote down some dreams to be tucked away and opened again in 5 more years.

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I’ve been focusing on my workouts more (I need it more emotionally/mentally than physically I think!!) I love this quote.

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Sunday we took an old “Jenn and Joe Sunday drive” and checked on the two houses we are fixing up.  I’m so excited as both kitchens are super gorgeous!

This flooring is stunning!  I’ll share more in depth on the kitchen renovations in an upcoming blog.

I supported my friend Cathy as she is donating to the Ronald McDonald House.  I love giving and the beer bread and soup is such a tasty meal!  You can give too if you would like, Paypal Cathy at: cagallag235@gmail.com

And we ended our weekend with watching our boys win their game against the Packers!  Onto the Super Bowl we go!  I can’t wait to see them take on the KC Cheifs!

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!  As my 5 year old said, “He had a dream and it was that we be nice to everyone no matter what.”  Good advice little dude as I am always striving to be nice, no matter what.

Christmas Recap!

Christmas was so good this year!

Christmas eve we always spend at Joe’s Grandma’s house.  We have a nice dinner with aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.  The kids love going there!

 

 

Christmas morning Santa has come and all of the presents are stacked under the tree.

I just love our tree- the colored lights remind me so much of when I was a kid, it’s so fun to see all of my kids artwork too.

After we exchanged just us 4 Christmas morning, my family came over to enjoy some food and gifts.  We had quite the spread!

Smoked bacon wrapped scallops & shrimp—hubby does them so good!

Standard Cranberry muffins from the box, paying tribute to my grams.

My friend Amie recommended this simple (and amazing) appetizer!  It was Tieghan Gerard’s 3 Ingredient Blue Cheese Bites.  Even my sis who hates blue cheese said they were good! *warning, you’ll want to eat the entire thing yourself.

My step mom brought this delightful fruit, cream cheese & croissant bake! It was the perfect mix of sweet and decadent.

These were the biggest hit with –including the kids!! It calls for a bourbon but I just used maple syrup…  Maple Sausage Crescent Rolls

One of the coolest (thoughtful) gifts was from my sister Bri!  She saw me tag Joe on Facebook about this bubbly.  She totally got it for us!  We are hoping to sip it during the Super Bowl Win! #goniners

My sister and I.

I won a pair of these fun jammies from my girl Katie at Thrifty Cactus, aren’t they adorable?!

Last minute decision to spoil the stinky big dog Bailey…

The aftermath…

Little man and mama played some Nintendo in the basement.

It always goes by so quick, but I do enjoy the memories!

Currently 2020 Edition

Happy New Year!

I’m only a few weeks behind…

I’ve been busy (who hasn’t) and figured a quick little “what I’ve currently been up to” will catch everyone up and maybe help me feel more at ease.

Currently:

My word for 2020 is JOY.  I want to have fun and feel happy most days!  This means that I am not just rushing through the hamster wheel of life: work, kids, dogs, chores, cooking…but actually and intentionally enjoy what it is I am doing.  It’s helping me prioritize what matters most, what needs to get done and how I’m spending my time.  The other day I sat with Bradley and we played memory card games, started a puzzle and took a walk since it was a beautiful almost 50 degree day! What’s your word this year?

Reminding myself of this.

And this.

Kiddos-

I have an almost 5 year old (little bubs birthday is tomorrow!) And he’s been keeping me on my toes by getting sick with RSV–he had such a terrible cough and was wheezing he had to go on a steroid and use an inhaler.  Then just the other day he told me his mouth hurt and I looked inside, poor little guy has molars coming through!  He could barely eat last night as they were bleeding and so sore.  Lots of yogurts, puddings and soft foods for my dude.  GQ anyone?

And I officially have a 7 year old. This party princess had a blast at the party!  Nana gave her hair chalk and all of her friends were helping her!  She was my strong and healthy one, but I kept her home due to a slight fever and sore throat.  She was sad to miss school and dance, but her health is always most important.  I could tell when she got off the bus Tuesday just by looking at her sweet face she wasn’t well.  Her big baby blue eyes were sunken and bloodshot….and sure enough she was ill.

We threw them a party on Brooke’s actual birthday (post to come) and then watched the 49ers beat the Vikings in a playoff game!

It was a fun day and we made this one switch out of a purple shirt (Vikings colors) to a red for good luck.  It worked!

Renovating

We have two properties under construction, this one being ALMOST finished! It’s been fun (and stressful) and as per usual, I have learned a lot in the last few months about real estate.  The end result is really going to be stunning.  I am loving the darker floor with the white cabinets, lighter counter and I think it’s just a fresh and simple kitchen!  It’s giving me lots of #kitcheninspo that will be happening in another blog post for our new home.

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The simple subway tile with the light grout was just gorgeous!  I know this will be someone’s new home in no time.

Healthwise-

Stressed has been an understatement and I haven’t been truly taking care of myself the last two months or so.  Over Christmas I was experiencing terrible GERD pain and super inflamed anything I ate bothered me.  I went to my acupuncturist and within one treatment I felt relief.  The day before the kids’ party I sent an SOS text because my stomach was a mess again and she somehow squeezed me in.  You’re not supposed to have any redness near a needle, when you do it’s heat and it needs to be cleared.  Once again, I’ll create another post, but at 38 years young, I am in what is known as Perimenopause and my hormones are basically whacky.  I’ll keep up with my acu treatments and I’m taking some herbs…and really truly watching my stress.

 
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Workouts-

I have been doing some Yoga and Barre workouts, but my chiropractor even suggested I do some kickboxing/HIIT to release some of the frustration/pent up stress in my life so I will add that to my regimen too!

 Cooking-

I’m hoping to share some simple, fast and inexpensive recipes here soon!  This ham is a family favorite and you really can’t get any easier than throwing it in a pan real quick.

Watching-

Yup! I have actually forced myself to lay down on a couch or bed and just veg out.  I never do, so I figured with my stress being high, maybe it was good to just be blah for a bit.  I am almost through the 2nd season of this psycho show!  What keeps me hooked is that while he is indeed a very bad guy, he still on the other hand has normal and good tendencies.  It’s a mind trip for sure.  You is on Netflix.

This little movie was an Amazon Prime movie and I loved it! It was funny and truly a good reminder how people in our life don’t always know what is best for us.  Only we truly know what it is we need, we just need to distance ourselves a bit and figure it out.

Reading-

I received this advanced reader copy in the mail and I am excited to see where it goes! I am only a few pages in…I look forward to reading it this weekend.

Enjoying-

The sunset was stunning last night. While my view of it is not perfect, it’s nice to actually see the colors in the Winter since Summer the trees are all filled in.

Breathing-

Life is hard, but you are strong.  Remember to breathe in the calm air and exhale the stress and anxiety.  Life is what we make of it, cheesy but true.   I made myself put on some lipstick and where some cute clothes, because all I have been living in are sweats and leggings—nothing wrong with that but it feels good to get dressed up and feel pretty!

What are you currently up to?

Christmas Questions

Happy Friday and just 5 more days until the big guy comes down the chimney! I saw these fun questions over at Danielle’s blog, Sparkles & Lattes so I thought it would be a fun thing to share.  If you haven’t checked out her blog, do so! She’s got some great posts on Amazon Finds and overall life happenings.  It’s always a joy to look through her posts!

I’ve got a busy day going into the classrooms and enjoying the magic of a Pre-K holiday performance and a first grade holiday craft.  Super grateful I grabbed a BOGO at Starbs yesterday!  I enjoyed a chai yesterday and scored a Matcha Green tea for today.

1. Candy canes. Yes or no? Yes! I love them.  I prefer the standard red and white mint, but my family seems to like the fruity flavored colored ones.  I just had one yesterday!

2. Christmas morning early riser or sleep in? Joe and I get up around 6 am (or earlier) every day anyway, and I swear we are more excited than the kids Christmas morning! Joe loves building a huge fire in the fire place and we play Christmas music, I sip tea and we wait for the kids to come out!

3. Do you shop on Black Friday? Yes or no?  Not in the stores. I did find some deals online, but I have zero desire to brave the crowds.  Plus I’d need to hire a sitter so as not to drag the kids out with me, since Joe works.

4. Christmas trees up in November? Nope.  We are “Team Turkey” and really enjoy all things Thanksgiving, and then the first weekend in December we’ll get our lovely tree.

5. Do you get holiday ideas from Pinterest? Yes or no? I do! I found some yummy eats I’m going to try for Christmas {like this Cheesy Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole} and even over Christmas break I’d like to cook a bit more.  I love browsing but never put the “Pinterest Pressure” on myself to be perfect.
6. Christmas glam or ugly sweater? Depends on my mood, I have done both!! We got silly sweaters a few years ago and we also just like dressing a little nice some years.
This is Joe’s Ugly sweater he wears! He loves it.

7. Stocking stuffers: wrapped or unwrapped?Santa always wrapped ours in tissue paper and we opened them FIRST before we did presents.  Then I met Joe.  He grew up with things wrapped and opened them LAST after gifts.  It’s still an adjustment for me after all these years!
8. Tradtional or modern Christmas songs?I adore Christmas music so I enjoy both, but man the nostalgia that comes with the classics really tug at my heart strings! SO many beautiful memories growing up on High Street in our cozy little home, my two sisters and parents.  I also think a lot about my Grandparents at this time and the words of Christmas songs really have so much meaning the older you get.  My absolute favorite Christmas song is, “Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”  The part where they sing,
Through the years we all will be together
If the fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now
gets me every time.  Maybe it’s because as I age I realize how nothing is forever and that these are all just pockets of memories and moments that will last for as long as we do.   I love getting together with friends and family and enjoying this time of year, and hope that I’m making my children’s childhood as magical as mine was.
9. Fruitcake? Yes or no?Ya know, I’m not sure if I’ve ever even tried?! I’m more about the cookies!
10. Is your Christmas shopping finished? Yes or no? Almost!  I still have a few people I want to actually get out and look in stores for, but I have had a wonky two weeks and not a ton of time. I’m hoping this weekend to finish up and WRAP!!!
11. Is there snow in December where you live?There is right now!! We’ve had a lot of snow already this month, but the weather forecast looks like it will melt it all before Christmas.  I do love a White Christmas, but I could go for some warmer temp!
12. Classic show: A Charlie Brown Christmas or Rudolph?I have to say that whenever I try to watch anything Charlie Brown, I can’t take the negativity! He’s so ‘womp womp’!  So Rudolph all the way.  Bradley loves the movie so much he’s been known to watch it Summer, Spring, Fall and Winter.
I’d love to read your responses!! Comment below on a few or tag me if you share on social media.  Remember, don’t get your tinsel in a tangle!! Enjoy friends!
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