Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cheese Tortellini with Beans and Feta

In my quest to make your lives better, here is a recipe I recently made and enjoyed. I added zucchini, which I wouldn't do again, and I cooked the spinach when I added the beans to the pasta. I used canned tomatoes, because it's February and I live here. I think you could make the topping with pretty much any pasta. The original creators of this recipe are my mom's best friends over at Better Homes & Gardens (she already gets all their magazines, so in an effort to give them more money she got me and my sister subscriptions for Christmas).

9 oz. refrigerated cheese-filled spinach tortellini
15-oz. can cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large tomato, chopped
Ground black pepper
4 cups baby spinach

Cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain and return to pan.

Add drained beans, feta cheese, and olive oil to tortellini in saucepan. Cook over medium heat until beans are hot and cheese begins to melt, gently stirring occasionally. Add tomato; cook 1 minute more. Sprinkle black pepper.

Divide spinach among four dinner plates or shallow salad bowls. Top with tortellini mixture. Serves 4.

In other news, I correctly called 14 Oscar winners, and my new Lent project is the 100 push-up challenge. I am doing knee push-ups because I am a wuss, but either way it will tone my arms and core (closer to the sage dress, and also a good look in general).

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fat Tuesday and 41 More Days

So it occurs to me that Lent starts tomorrow. And though I'm not very religious, I like the idea of using the opportunity to give something up/do something good. I would like it to be something that would make me healthier (something that isn't giving up sweets - let's be realistic here) or something that results in an improved social condition (volunteering or otherwise giving something). Any ideas? I'm am thinking of seriously curbing my screentime, doing something like the 100 push-up challenge (challenge being the key word for me), or something like giving up pre-made lunches, but I'm open to suggestions. Help!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Oscar Picks

I actually saw a good percentage of the Oscar movies this year, although I see now that I have not seen many of the acting favorites. But since my Oscar companion insists in writing in Gran Torino for Best Director, I may win this thing!

Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire (I quite liked this movie)
Best Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog
Best Actor: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler (have not seen)
Best Actress: Kate Winslet, The Reader (have unfortunately not seen, but did not care for Doubt)
Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight (I will always love him)
Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona (have not seen, since apparently Netflix is only sending it to other people)
Foreign Language: Waltz with Bashir (dying to see, but I live here)
Documentary: Man on Wire (boyfriend picked this movie because it is confusing and has lots of music)
Original Screenplay: WALL-E
Adapted Screenplay: Slumdog
Art Direction: Dark Knight
Cinematography: Dark Knight
Costume Design: The Duchess (always go with the most over the top)
Score: Slumdog Millionaire (do people like Bollywood music?)
Song: Jai Ho, Slumdog (I do like a song and dance number)
Animated Film: WALL-E
Documentary Short: The Witness (I have nothing here)
Editing: Dark Knight
Makeup: Benjamin Button (again, over the top)
Animated Short: Presto
Live-Action Short: New Boy
Sound Editing: Dark Knight
Sound Mixing: Dark Knight
Visual Effects: Benjamin Button (did this movie make other people miss Brad Pitt circa Legends of the Fall as much as it did me?)

Monday, February 16, 2009

More Slllooowwwness

I've been working out pretty consistently for like a year. I have no willpower, so I'm not "dieting," but at least I've been working out.

And lately I feel like I see results. My gut is (slightly) smaller. I can make it through a class without wanting to die. I use slightly heavier weights than I used to. And I feel good.

So my brother is getting married at some point in the future ... like probably the fall. An I'd like to look goood for this wedding. I have a sage dress that I've had for a long time and seldom worn, because it does not look cute on me. And I want to be toned enough to wear the sage dress to the wedding. Even if I decide to get a new dress, I want to have the sage dress option.

So here we go. I think I need to lose like 20 pounds. In maybe six months. This may even require watching what I eat. Stay tuned ... if I get brave and can figure out how there may even be photos along the way.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


For Valentine's Day I got a card, some pictures of my nephew and $20 from my mom. (Yes, I am a terrible daughter, as I forgot to send her a card even though it's her anniversary.) She suggests I spend the money on a hair straightener -- I recently got a hair cut and mentioned that my stylist used a straightener and it looked good.

But after careful consideration, I have decided to go against her wishes. I don't really need a straightener to collect dust next to the curler, since I am really not someone who does my hair (I consider blow drying an achievement). And I am in need of new sheets -- bad need, as my current ones are in college-bachelor condition.

So that is how I spend my windfall. Expect me to be well-rested but with slightly wavy hair.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Love and Money

This weekend is Valentine's Day. I will be in St. Cloud with Boyfriend (who needs a better pseudonym). It will be our third Valentine's Day as a couple. We've both been careful about money lately, although I have a little now.

So now the dilemma is this: stay home or go out?

Stay home:
  • Cheap (pro)
  • We're both crowd avoiders, and VD on a weekend will equal many crowds (pro)
  • We can make a romantical dinner and play games and other things we enjoy (pro)
  • We've been home a lot lately (con)

Go out:

  • Crowded (con)
  • More expensive than home (at least somewhat con)
  • Would be fun to do something different (pro)

A friend is in an erotica poetry slam in the cities, which would be fun but involve much driving and expense. THere's always the double feature option, which I never hate. But really, I'd like to do something else ... I just don't know what it is. I don't need huge romance, but I like fun.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Sssssllllloooww But Sure

There's a move in my near future ... within the next year or so, I expect to be living with Boyfriend at his place. There are some things that need to be worked out first, but it will happen.

And I'm a packrat. I never buy things, but I never get rid of things either. TO that end, my apartment is full of things I've had since like junior high and barely looked at since. Many of these things have been through several moves. Why? I don't know.

So my newest goal and project is to get rid of these things. I packed a box for Goodwill today - dishes, a few clothes, a picture frame that claims to be 11x13 but isn't. Technically my goal for the next two weeks is to pack up one box. Now that it's check done, I intend to fill two more. And get them to my car and then to the second-hand store. I'm regularly held up on all these steps. So here goes nothing ... crap gone. It will make an eventual move easier, it will make it easier to clean, and it will make me less burdened by stuff.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Major Accomplishment

I've had the same job for five and a half years. And every in the year I have a review. I don't think this is uncommon. For those keeping track, this would be the fifth time I was reviewed in this job.

I may not be a great employe, but I am good. Above average in some areas, about average in others. So my reviews are good or better than good. And every year, I have gotten myself so freaked out and ended up in tears. Not because I was yelled at, disciplined or nearly fired. All the criticisms are fair, and there are a number of compliments. Because I got so tense or worried that I just bawled. The big ugly cry with the snot and the red face and then 20 minutes to pull myself together.

But not today! Today was my review, and it was fine and I was fine. Kept myself in check the whole time. I'm not sure what was different. I've been intentionally not overthinking it, so that probably helped. And this year we are in a raise pause, so really the consequences were not a factor (and I do realize a raise is not what a review is about).

Whatever the reason, I am proud of myself. It's a small thing, but it matters to me. And it probably made my boss more comfortable.