Thursday, October 30, 2014

Slow Cooker Meatballs

The days are getting shorter, the weather is getting nippy, and there's just something about this time of year that makes me want to snuggle up at home - and eat hearty food. It's only a matter of time before the Christmas music plays 24/7, and I run out of Pandora hours (think that's impossible? so did I, until my H exhausted my account a few years ago!).
Budget carefully.

Maybe it's the impending cold of winter or the musing that comes with the end of a year, but recently, I've been reflecting on all the wonderful and horrible uncertainties in life that are stark reality when you work in medicine. I've come to wonder: are we all on some sort of weird vacation-of-uncertain-duration on this Earth? And if so, are you making the most of your vacation time, whether that means doing nothing, or doing everything?

Slow Cooker Meatballs


1 lb ground beef (85% lean)

1/4 cup plain bread crumbs

1 egg

1/2 large white onion, finely chopped

1 tsp garlic

3 tbsp oregano (divided - 1 tbsp for the meatballs, 2 tbsp for the sauce)

1/4 cup parmesan cheese + additional for stirring into sauce

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp  pepper

One 28 oz can of crushed or whole tomatoes *

*Use 1 1/2 large cans if you want extra saucy meatballs


1. Combine all but the tomatoes and reserved oregano in a large bowl and mix until combined

2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Form meat into approximately 2 tbsp sized meatballs

3. Brown meatballs evenly in the saucepan

4. Add meatballs to slow cooker. Pour tomatoes + 2 tbsp oregano over the meatballs

5. Set slow cooker to low, cook for 8-10 hours

6. Stir in up to 1/4 cup parmesan cheese to taste; add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

In other news,
New sisters

A visit to the winery 

Mystic Seaport

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Our Favorite Pumpkin Pie

Since it's officially pumpkin pie season (for us, September through Thanksgiving, and not a day later), I think it's about time I share our favorite pumpkin pie. The season has gotten off to a slow start this year, so we're making up for lost time. And I mean really  moving. We've made this twice in the past two weeks, and each time, it's like....what pumpkin pie?? It's gone before you know it. Even then, I still manage to deplete our whipped cream supply before all the pie is gone. Whipped cream to pie ratio is always low, no matter how good the pie is. Eating whipped cream plain is so worth it, incredulous stares from hubby be damned. 

 I love, love love this pie because it only takes 5 minutes to put together. Pop it in the oven, and an hour later, there you have it: not-too-sweet, sweet, cinnamon-y and clove-y pumpkin pie. The whole room will smell like Fall, and you will want to rake leaves or something. I adapted the recipe from Cooking Light, cutting back on the sugar even further and upping the spice quotient. The pie is still subtly sweet, and going light on sugar helps the spices shine through more. Give this pie a whirl - I hope you love it as much as we do! 

Our Favorite Pumpkin Pie


one 15 oz. can plain pumpkin

one 12 oz can 2% evaporated milk

1/2 cup brown sugar (not packed)

2 large egg whites

1 large egg

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp salt

1 pre-made graham cracker crust


1. Preheat oven to 425F

2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir until thoroughly combined

3. Pour into graham cracker crust

4. Bake at 425F for 10 minutes

5. Reduce heat to 350F and bake for additional 40-50 minutes until pie is set and evenly browned 

6. Cool to room temperature & enjoy

I hope you enjoy this pie as much as we do. It's a repeat year after year for us. Let me know how it turns out for you.  As always, thanks for stopping by!


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Spinach Pappardelle with Chard & Italian Sausage

I'm back! We have been traveling the last couple of weekends - to NYC to catch up with a dear friend, and to Boston to celebrate my brother's engagement and to visit my Dad. In between, we've both been pretty consumed with work-related things: abstract deadlines, and thinking about what to do after I finish fellowship this year. It's getting real.  

I should also mention that we blazed through the 14 hour Roosevelt series on PBS - hands down, one of the best documentaries we've seen, and definitely partly to blame for long absence from here.  If you haven't seen the series, or don't even really have an interest in American history that much, watch it anyway. The upbringings and the various psychological hurdles that TR, FDR, and Eleanor had to face are worth it alone, purely from a humanistic aspect. One of my favorite quotes by TR (who essentially spent a lifetime outrunning childhood illness, "depressive tendencies" and awful twists of fate (he lost is mother and young wife on the same day): 

"Get action. Do things; be sane, don't fritter away your time; create, act, take a place wherever you are and be somebody; get action."

You can't beat that. 

We've also been busy planning our vacations for this year - starting with a visit to Zion and Bryce Canyon in November (in combination with Thanksgiving at home). Possibly Australia in March?? Lots and lots of planning - thankfully all for a good things. All of this has meant ultra simple meals (throwing canned salmon into a stir fry, slow cooker chicken galore....), and little energy to document the results. So instead, I'll go back in time a bit. This pappardelle dish is one I've been wanting to share for quite some time now. It popped into my head this morning when the Fall morning cold nipped me in the butt: Swiss chard, a classic winter vegetables. Our spinach pappardelle was a gift from my in-laws. You can probably find it in a lot of specialty pasta / olive oil stores, but if you can't, regular pappardelle should work just fine too. This recipe is so simple, so I'll just leave you with a loose outline here: 

Spinach Pappardelle with Chard & Italian Sausage
makes as much or as little as you like


Pappardelle (spinach or regular)

Italian sausage (a few links, depending on how much you want to make)

Small bunch of swiss chard, chopped

Olive oil

Parmigiano reggiano cheese


1. Heat a salted pot of water to a boil. Cook pappardelle according to instructions, until al dente. Drain and toss with olive oil.

2. While water is heating, broil or cook sausage until done (I think mine took 15 minutes stove top)

3. Remove sausage from pan and cut into bite sized pieces. Add a bit of olive oil to the pan, return to heat, and add chard. Cook until wilted

4.  Combine pappardelle, sausage, and chard. Top with a dusting of parmigiano and enjoy! 

Thanks for reading - I hope you're enjoying Fall so far!