It has been a-whhhile since I’ve visited with y’all.
[Do you notice an accent??!?]
Yeah… I’m thinkin’ it has been about 4 months or so.
Well, all I can say is time flies when you’re having fun!
You knew I’d say that, didn’t you?
Here’s the [long and the] short of it!
- Get offered a job (after 5 grueling interviews!) with one of the most amazing, pioneering and premiere real estate firms in the nation, Krisstina Wise’s GoodLife Team, in Austin, Texas ~ check.
- Do a great BIG HAPPY DANCE ~ check.
- Pack up the Nevada house (sounds simple – SOOOO wasn’t) ~ check.
- Realize I had a ridiculous amount of c-r-a-p ~ check.
- Donate lots of said c-r-a-p ~ check. [Minus shoes, of course.]
- Do another great BIG HAPPY DANCE ~ check.
- Bribe a neighbor to help us drive (all our c-r-a-p) 1,750 miles to Round Rock, Texas. [Note – you cross the Texas stateline, and it feels like you’re almost home… You’re not, Texas is a gi-nor-mous state. Holy cow.] ~ check.
- Arrive at our awesome new house in Round Rock ~ check.
- HAPPY DANCE!
- Survive and thrive in the 8-week Bootcamp for work at the GoodLife Team ~ check.
- Another HAPPY DANCE!!
- Run off and get married to my soulmate and best friend in beautiful Aruba ~ check.
- Have a relaxing stateside reception (hosted by my amazing sister-in-law, Roxanne) at her home in Lake Conroe (near Houston) ~ check.
- Return to my lifelong passion, career and my amazing clients here in the Austin~Round Rock area ~ check.
- HAPPY DANCE!
- The rest of our lives…. Begin NOW. Yes!!!
So, as Jake and I embark on this awesome journey in life together, there’s one meal that we keep coming back to… The base of it started with this simple recipe that I came up with on a busy weeknight. The options are endless, and the ingredients are interchangeable ~ the sky’s the limit ~ just like life. :)
Enjoy, Friends, and check out our pictures from the last few months (following the recipe)!
* 3 Tbsp olive oil
* 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
* 1 lb hot Italian sausage, casings removed
* 1 (14 oz) can chipotle crushed or diced tomatoes
*1/2 jar of Prego Traditional spaghetti sauce
* 3 1/2 to 4 cups water
* 3/4 lb to 1 lb whole wheat penne pasta (or farfelle, or whatever you like)
* 1/4 to 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (start small)
* 1 tsp dried parsley
* 1/2 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces (optional, but it’s delicious and adds great color to the dish)
* Salt, to taste
* 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
* 1 cup shredded mozzarella (I don’t buy the pre-shredded because it contains more preservatives; I buy the block, then shred)
Heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the garlic (make sure the garlic doesn’t burn or turn brown – this will taint the dish). Allow the garlic to cook until fragrant and just-golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sausage and cook until browned, breaking them into bits as they cook. Drain the oil and return the sausage to the pan.
Add the tomatoes and Prego to the pan; mix. Add the water and pasta; mix. Increase heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a light boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the pasta is tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, dried parsley, asparagus and salt (to taste); mix well. Cook at a light simmer until the asparagus is bright green and just-tender, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Transfer to a large serving bowl and stir in basil. Ladle into bowls and top with mozzarella.
Note ~ this is a great “base” recipe that I play with constantly. It’s great for a crowd (easily doubled), and there are so many creative ways to switch in and out ingredients. Sometimes, I use chicken sausage with jalapeno, sometimes I add more red pepper flakes for a real zip (be careful – a little goes a long way), and fresh Parmesan is always a great switch-out for the mozza.