Baked Spaghetti Squash Marinara

Happy Valentine’s Day week! Robert and I have tried a variety of Valentine’s Day traditions over the years, fancy dinners out, homemade dinners in and of course the memorable year I tried to make Robert’s favorite cheesecake from scratch in my ancient apartment oven which turned out decently tasty but horribly cracked and ugly. This year we will be volunteering at a charity gala for a local foundation that raises money for children with disabilities. The Heart Ball is a black tie affair with dinner, dancing and several auctions. I’m excited to help with such a worthy cause, and seeing my handsome husband in a tuxedo is always an added bonus Winking smile


If I was a good blogger I would have a heart shaped recipe to share with you right now…or at the very least something pink/chocolate/covered in sprinkles. Instead I have a yummy veggie centric dinner recipe that is not Valentine’s related in the slightest…although it is red so maybe I can get partial credit?

Mushrooms and Marinara Mixed

Meatballs melted cheese

This recipe can easily be made meat free and is delicious that way, but Robert prefers his with a little extra protein. I have done it with grilled chicken, sausage and even my favorite easy meatballs, which is how we have been enjoying it lately. If you aren’t of the carnivore variety, I suggest beefing up the extra vegetables, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant and onion would be a great combination. Like my zucchini noodles, this is another non-recipe type recipe. It is slightly more prep intensive but doesn’t require a spiralizer. So if you are in the neighborhood for a pasta substitute without purchasing any additional gadgets, this recipe may be the one for you.

Spaghetti Squash Top Off

Cut Open halves

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Slow Saturday Breakfast: Easy Cheesy Shortcut(s) Breakfast Casserole

Merry Christmas week! Is that a thing? Like a birthday week? If it isn’t then it should be because Christmas is a lot more fun than your birthday.

Christmas tree
Our tiny Christmas tree, space was tight this year!


I am officially on  Christmas break and let me tell you it is just as glorious at 27 as it was at 17, or 7 for that matter. I think I still believed in Santa at 7 so maybe that was slightly more fun. I KNOW I didn’t appreciate the power of sleeping in and naps at 7 though so on second thought, it’s just as good now.

Now that Christmas break has  begun, I’m finally getting into the Christmas spirit. It’s been a little tough this year for several reasons. For one thing, I’ve been sick and it’s been unseasonably warm and rainy…not ideal Christmas wellness or weather. For another (and this is probably the main reason) this is the first Christmas ever that I won’t have spent with my family. My mom tearfully reminded me of this on the phone a few days ago, that she won’t have either of her girls for Christmas this year Sad smile FYI moms, reminders of this sort are not terribly helpful in cheering your children who are far away for the holidays. Since our families do not live in the same place, Robert and I navigated new married people territory this year and had to choose holidays. My family got Thanksgiving, his family gets Christmas and next year we swap. For those who haven’t crossed that bridge yet, as easy as you think it will be, even if you’re a holiday grinch, it isn’t. Every family has their own unique traditions and holiday quirks and no matter how wonderful the traditions you step into (or start anew) are, they still aren’t yours. I adore my in-laws, and I’m really excited to experience their Christmas (especially because my niece and nephew still believe in Santa!) but I know part of me will still be nostalgic for the holidays of my past. I KNOW this is part of life and growing up yada yada, but if your WHOLE family lives in the same place, count yourself lucky! I will get to see my parents on Tuesday as they plan to stop through Hilton Head on their way to see my sweet grandparents, so that is a definite plus!

Cheese not pictured because…early


Looking forward to all the festivities of this coming week, and enjoying all the fun we had this weekend has finally put me in the spirit! Not only was Friday my last day of work for two weeks, but my grandparents surprised Robert and I with an overnight visit on Friday evening! They drove over ten hours round trip to literally just have dinner and spend the night with us, did I mention they are the best? We took them to dinner, drove around to see Christmas lights and then came home to give them their Christmas gift and enjoy a piece of my favorite cake that my sweet nana made.  An entire cake is pretty much the last thing I need right now with all the other holiday goodies I’ve been consuming but the fact she that she baked it and brought it just for me pretty much melts my heart.

My grandparent’s left around noon on Saturday and Robert and I quickly tidied the house and ran errands before his family holiday party. His mother’s side of the family gets together each year on the weekend before Christmas to enjoy dinner and a White Elephant gift exchange. It’s always a great time and this year was no exception! Robert’s cousin and her husband spent the night with us and Sunday morning we all reconvened once again for breakfast to see everyone off. I was tasked with providing the breakfast casserole, an oldie but always a goodie.

eggs Egg Pour

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Cheesy Green Chile Chicken and Cauliflower Rice Casserole

Ok so that recipe title is kind of a mouthful, right? I have subsequently added “recipe naming” to my list of things to work on. You’re welcome in advance. Another thing I’d like to work on, couponing. Extreme couponing = fascinating and bewildering. How people are able to buy 67 tubes of toothpaste, 35 packages of ramen and 10 jars of peanut butter and pay negative seventeen cents is beyond me. I can’t even remember to use my $5 off a purchase of $50 at Publix. I have literally had the same coupon floating around in my purse for 6 months and I only think about using it after I am in my car headed home from the grocery store. Saving money is apparently not really my thing.

I hope everyone had a happy Veterans Day! I am very thankful to all the men and women who have served and continue to serve our great country. I was also very thankful to have a day off from work because I spent it…..drumroll please……sick in bed. Womp. Not even a little bit as exciting or productive as my previous Tuesday off. Instead of checking a million things off of my to-do list, I spent most of the day in bed with Renly. Tough life right?


Despite the stuffy nose and headache part, it was actually nice to spend the day resting. I am always so quick to fill up “free time” that I usually forget the whole point of having a day off, to re-charge. Don’t get me wrong, it’s glorious to get things done (especially mid-week) but sometimes we really just need to put the brakes on. I’ve always thought getting a cold was your body’s way of telling you to slow down. Well that or my body’s way of telling me to stop letting the preschoolers I work with sneeze all over me.

So what I had hoped would be another busy Tuesday turned into a day of rest and puppy cuddles, and it was just what I needed. Thank you for slowing me down Veterans and sneezing preschoolers Smile

Another plus to a day at home (even a sick one) is that I had time to prepare a more prep intensive meal than usual. Although I say prep intensive, it was really pretty easy and only involved one extra appliance so don’t click away just yet! I found this yummy looking recipe on one of my favorite food blogs a few weeks ago. Yum right? I’m sure the recipe is absolutely delicious as is (all of hers are!) but I am weird and sometimes like to see how many non-vegetables I can replace with vegetables. Just normal things you would replace with vegetables like pasta, rice, alfredo sauce. What? Doesn’t everyone make alfredo sauce with cauliflower instead of cheese and cream? No? Ok, well just go with it. It may sound crazy, but it tastes delicious. And trust me, if my cheeseburger loving husband actually eats and likes these hidden veggie dishes then there’s a good chance you will too.

cauliflower cauliflower rice

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