Tuesday, August 31, 2010


So honestly, this is one of my new favorite recipes and I just have to share it. My bff Kerry and her beautiful mom Gail have inspired many of my cooking adventures. When we moved at the beginning of the summer, they sent me off with a binder full of famous Comiskey family recipes. I had this once last summer and loved it. (I think it is originally from Bon Appetit magazine.)

Why I love it:
1. Zucchini is super cheap and plentiful at my farmers market
2. It uses the whole zucchini and doesn't waste anything
3. It is an awesome way to get my hub to eat veggies
4. Its cheap. And freaking good. Ok?

I always make a half recipe of this because there are only two of us. And Caleb won't eat leftovers. He takes lunchables, poptarts, yogurt, pretzels, and hershey bars for his lunch. Don't judge.

Here is what you need:
2 10 inch long zucchini (who measures their zucchini? just take some big ones)
4 Italian sausages
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (I used mozzarella this time because its what I had)
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (I used dried because I didn't have any fresh. Just use less.)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and peppa
A bit o' oil
1/4 cup Parm cheese (the real recipe says freshly grated. but they don't even have blocks of parm in my grocery store, ok? I just get it in the tub.)

Anyway, here it is, plus some cute pics so you can see the process. Because that is my favorite part of cooking.

First, take two extra large zucchinis and cut them in half lengthwise. Then hollow them out with a spoon, leaving the shell about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Chop up the pulp and use about two cups worth. (This is what the recipe says, I always just use whatever pulp I scooped out. Don't hate the pulp.)

I just used one zucchini, since I'm halving this recipe. I added the baby one so I can take the leftovers to work with me this week. Since I like leftovers and all.

Next, take 4 Italian sausages, remove their casings, and crumble them up in a skillet to cook up. When it starts rendering some fat, add the zucchini pulp, onion, and garlic, and cook it all up until there is no more pink in the sausage. Then turn down the heat and just let the extra moisture cook off while you are cooking your macaroni. (5 minutes, 1 cup. Just use the whole grain for this. Your picky husband won't even notice.)

This is smelling delish right about now...

Ok. So now make sure your oven turned on to 350. Drain off the fat from your sausage. Turn the heat off under your skillet and throw in everything else (mac, tomatoes, cheese, parsley, oregano, and S&P). Stir it up. Take a taste, just to make sure everything is good. Mmm...take another taste. Just cuz you are hungry.

Yeah baby.

Now you need to rub or brush some oil on the inside of your zuckes. Pile 'em up with the filling and place them in a shallow dish.  Add about 1/2 inch of hot water to the dish. Cover with foil and bake until the zucchini are tender when you poke them with a knife. This is about 30 minutes. After they are done, take them out, take off the foil, and preheat your broiler. Toss a little Parm cheese on them and throw them back in until the tops are brown and beautiful.

I forgot about mine under the broiler so they are a little extra brown. But still amazingly yummy.  My starved husband ate them right up after he got home.

So we have a good dinner. With plums for dessert, so not bad for you right? Just try this. This is summer goodness.

I'm off to fold some laundry and cook dinner like a good wife. Then work the next three days. *Dear Lord, please give me some good patients and lots of patience...*

Tune in next week for all our/my home improvement projects...We love you!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mullet Man

My husband has long brown hair. At least he did.

Look at those shiny locks.

The guys at his work have been bugging him to cut it. He said he would if they gave him enough money. Funny because they probably wouldn't give him money to cut his hair, right? Wrong. They wanted to cut it into a mullet. He said if they raised $200 then he would let them. Which would never happen right? Wrong.

The company has a fundraiser for cancer research going on. Caleb said if they raised $200 he would let them cut his hair into a mullet and donate the money to the fundraiser. (Sidenote: I hate when people say they are donating money to cancer or have a cancer fundraiser...really? You want to fund cancer? No, you don't. So don't say it like that.) Anyway, the guys at his work raised $250 for my sweet hubby to let them have at his hair. Awesome.

So Tuesday the district manager was in town. Like the big boss man. Yeah. He heard that they were doing the hair cutting for the company fundraiser and donated an extra $500 in Caleb's name. Nice.

I was prewarned but not prepared for the final result. Check it out!

This isn't even a mullet. I don't know what it is.

He has to wear it like this for one whole week. They call it "The Friar."

Seriously. This is my husband.

Also the district manager was so impressed that my husband would give his hair up for charity that he is sending Caleb and I on a weekend vacation to anywhere we want in the US courtesy of Kiewit. So yay for giving up your hair for  cancer research!

Just another day in the life of the Bakers in East Tennessee...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

How to Trap a Bat 101

This is just too funny not to share...

So last night we were eating dinner (grilled cheese, cuz we are gourmet) and getting ready for bed (because we go to bed at 8:30 like 5 year olds) and I saw a shadow of something flying around the living room. Of course I scream and duck behind Caleb. He doesn't see it and I scream "A bird! There's a bird in here!" He sees it and says calmly, "That's a bat." The bat flies around a little more than settles on the brick wall in our bedroom. So we are laughing and freaking out because...we have a BAT in our loft! Immediately we think of the Office episode where this is a bat in the office and Dwight traps it on Meredith's head with a trash bag. So Caleb goes to get a trash bag. *Side note: we grab the camera to document all this hilarious bat action and the batteries are dead. SAD!* 

The bat is hanging pretty high up on the bedroom wall. A trash bag is not going to work. Next plan: we see the open drum cases on the living room floor. HA! A drum case will definitely be big enough for our little bat friend. (We named him Victor) Plan B: put the drum case over the bat, slide the trash in between the bat and the wall, trapping him and encasing the whole contraption in the trash bag. So Caleb gets up on the bed and verrrrrry sloooooowly places the drum case over Victor. The bat is trapped! I get up on the step stool next to the bed to help with the trash bag. Ok so this is not working. So Caleb leaves me leaning precariously over the step stool with my arms stretched way up holding onto the drum case with Victor inside. (Victor has not yet moved) He comes back with a large piece of cardboard from one of our many boxes that I am still unpacking. He slowly slides it under the drumcase and Victor is forced off the wall. He starts screeching and screaming and flying around inside the drum case. But does not escape!! So my smart stud of a husband takes the drum case with the cardboard top down from the wall. We walk down our three flights of stairs and around the corner to the back ally to free Victor. I guess he had gotten used to the drum case because he didn't fly out right away. But after some coercing, he flew away, drum case intact and bat-poop free.

Don't worry, we did not get bit by Victor. I desperately wish we had some pictures. I did take a video on the ipod (since the video camera batteries ran out as well). 

Its a rainy morning here in Kingsport so I'm off to drink my coffee, catch up on Top Chef, and tell my landlords about our bat problem.

I love my life...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Summer in Tennessee

So, I decide to start a blog. Mostly because a. I love reading other people's, b. my bff Cara thinks it would be hilarious, c. I can share pictures and such with people not on facebook like my mom and grandma, and d. because life in Tennessee is funny and just needs to be documented!

We moved June 1st and the move didn't go so smoothly but fortunately we have people like Smilin' Billie to welcome us to Kingsport!

My 24th birthday...a little nonmonumental. I spent the actual day in orientation for my j.o.b. at Johnson City Medical Center! But had a fab weekend celebrating with the hubs at Stir Fry Cafe (YUM) and going shopping!

I made the trek up to Indiana to see my cousin Alex and his beautiful bride Emily tie the knot. My brother was a handsome groomsman.

My inlaws came out for the 4th of July and we watched fireworks from the roof and participated in the Kingsport festivities on the street below.

We also went down to Gattlenburg while they were here and met Smokey the Bear.

I am literally obsessed with the farmer's market. So much cheap, delish, local fruits, veggies, and beef just blocks away from me! We have expanded our palates this summer and I am proud to say my husband will eat the occasional vegetable. The man is also eating peaches like they are going out of style. 

Of course, we took a trip back to KC to meet our new favorite nephew George, courtsey of Zach and Audrey Baker.

We just love this guy. And his parents!

There was a quick overview of our summer. Don't worry, more pictures to come. I am starting to decorate the apartment and can't wait for it to come together!

We miss our friends and family a ton but have been super blessed here in the south. A few blessings:
1. I found and started a job within 3 weeks of being here. Its certainly not perfect but who can complain about finding a job that fast in this economy??
2. Target. Its beautiful, new, and only 10 minutes away. Not kidding, we thank the Lord for this all the time!
3. Our apartment. Probably the coolest place we will ever live. And the location is great. Gorgeous wood floors, high ceilings, roof access, and more. Amazing.
4. Stir Fry Cafe: half price sushi on Saturday nights! Holla!

More blogging to come! Now off to drink my coffee and catch up on Top Chef...mmmm.

I love you all!