August 31, 2010


Here's the ingredient list if you're interested in adding this meal to your grocery shopping list.

1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 onion - chopped
minced garlic (I use a small amount of minced garlic from the jar)
parsley (I use a couple of shakes of dried parsley)
oregano (I use a couple of shakes of dried oregano)
salt and pepper (to taste)

1 can tomato sauce (15 oz)
1 can tomato paste (12 oz)
1 can crushed tomatoes (15 oz)

*Brown ground beef with spices and add chopped onions. Add the 3 cans of tomato products to the pan and simmer all together for about 1 hour.

1 carton cottage cheese
1 beaten egg
salt and pepper
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

*While that is cooking, mix together cottage cheese, egg, parmesan cheese and salt & pepper together and set aside. 9 cooked lasagna noodles
16 oz of mozzarella cheese (I use 2 8 oz bags)
* Cook lasagna noodles according to directions on box.

Then build your layers in 9 x 13 baking dish - start with 3 noodles, meat mix, cottage cheese mix, then mozzarella cheese. Repeat those steps and you'll end up with 3 layers ending with the mozzarella on top. Bake at 325 for 30-40 minutes.If you asked me my favorite meal, lasagna ranks pretty high up on the list. This recipe has become a favorite in our house and it's often made when we celebrate special occasions like anniversaries and birthdays. This recipe comes from JJ's Mom. One thing I like about this recipe is that it calls for cottage cheese instead of ricotta cheese, which is cool with me because I'm not a fan of ricotta. I usually serve this with garlic bread and salad and it makes for a great family dinner!

August 26, 2010

10K training run update

I've been participating in some more training runs to get ready for the 10K (6.2) mile run I have on September 18th. So far, so good. I'm currently running consistently 2 days a week and have been trying to get in one other day with some type of cross training - mostly walking, though it's a great week in Cincy for a bike ride - perhaps this will be how I spend my Friday afternoon!

The past several Saturday mornings I have been getting up at 7am to go to running group where we are running about 2 miles. The past 2 Saturdays I have stayed late and ran 2 extra miles, making my most recent weekend runs 4 miles. The first time I did extra miles I felt great. The weather in Cincy had been really really hot with temps in the mid 90s and high humidity, but luckily when it came time for my Saturday run, the weather had become more manageable and I pushed through the extra 2 miles by myself with my some good tunes on my iPod to keep me company. Then last weekend, a few of the girls in the group wanted to get some more miles too, so it was nice to have the company, even though two of them were kicking my butt and I was bringing up the rear!

So far this week I've run on Monday and Wednesday nights. Monday was a 3 mile run and it was great. I met up with one of the girls from the Hyde Park Blast training group and we ran through an awesome neighborhood where there were tons of other people out exercising. It was really great to see so many people out walking and running - families pushing kids in strollers, people out with their dogs, other groups of gals pounding the pavement - it's nice to be in a neighborhood where so many people care about being active.
I snapped this self portrait last night before the group run - kinda silly I know, but since I'm using the blog as my "online journal" I figured I'd show you all that I really am enjoying this new adventure and nothing says that more than a picture with a smile! Last night we ran 2 miles. We did a very familiar out and back route, which is where you run 1 mile out and turn around and run 1 mile back, but I have to say the best part about last nights group run was our impromptu girls night out! There's an English pub right next door to the running store and it just so happens that Wednesday's is also Ladies Night - Yay for us! It was a much needed gathering for many of us as life is giving us lemons and we are all trying to make lemonade out of things. A great night with some great gals - lots of laughs and a few cocktails, not bad for a Wednesday night if you ask me!

August 16, 2010

Roasted Butternut Squash


1 butternut squash - peeled and cubed

2 tablespoons honey

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon garlic & herb seasoning

3 tablespoons olive oil


* Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

* In a large bowl combine all ingredients and mix to coat the squash, marinate if time allows

* Place squash on a nonstick baking sheet or a baking sheet lined with foil, throw away marinade

* Bake until the squash is tender and brown about 20-25 minutes - make sure to flip the squash at the half way point.

The finished product...

We really enjoyed this summer side dish with our dinner the other night. JJ got a huge bag of fresh vegetables from his Dad's garden over the weekend and I wasn't really sure how to tackle the ol' butternut squash. I know we never had it growing up in my house and I'm not sure if I've ever eaten it out at a restaurant, but I was up for the challenge of figuring out a way to prepare this "new" vegetable. I fired up google and came up with this recipe from the food network. I did alter it slightly on the suggested seasoning and I also cut about 10 minutes off their suggested cooking time. (Click here for the original recipe.) JJ must have been impressed with my cooking abilities on this one because he told me like 15 times how this was "the best squash he's ever had and he wasn't even sure it was going to make it out of the bag" - which made laugh. Truth be told, if I would have been given a butternut squash a few years ago I probably wouldn't have even thought about cooking it, but my taste buds have changed and I'm enjoying being more adventurous in my cooking. So if you're in the mood for a really tasty summer side dish, give this one a try - I think you'll like it. Enjoy!

August 12, 2010

Lemon Blueberry Bread

I whipped up this delicious bread and I think it will be a big hit with JJ, who has been on a huge blueberry kick lately The recipe comes from the Joy of Baking website and it was very easy to follow. On the website you will find a extra step that calls for a glaze for the bread, I decided to skip this step, so that part of the recipe is not listed below.
Here's my take on the Lemon Blueberry Bread Loaf:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup granulated white sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

1/2 cup milk

1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter (or spray with a non stick vegetable spray) the bottom and sides of a loaf pan (9 x 5 x 3 inch).

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until softened. Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture (in three additions) and milk (in two additions) alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Mix only until combined. Gently fold in the blueberries.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 55 to 65 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Ta-Dah - now I think a slice of this bread would be a great way to start your day - Enjoy!

August 11, 2010

Air Force 10K Run

I registered for my first 10k (6.2) mile run. I'm still kinda surprised that I actually followed through and signed my self up for it. My running buddies have been staying committed to their training and I've kinda slacked off for a week or two and I can totally tell - they are kicking my butt - they are running 3 and 1 intervals and I'm barley able to breath! But, sometimes it's a good kick in the butt that we need to get us motivated to push ourselves on to bigger things, even if they are intimidating. So, after a poor effort at a run last night, I've decided to re-commitment myself to myself. It's time to get back on the wagon, sick to a training schedule & get ready for my next run. This seems to be what gets me moving - signing up for a run, paying the registration fee and setting a schedule that will help me stay on track to complete my goal.

So, here I go again - I'll be posting updates about my training runs here on the blog. Some of you might not want to hear about these, so no pressure on reading those posts as they come over the next few weeks, just skip on past them! Posting about my feelings on the training runs helps me stay committed to everything and keeping this "online" journal helps me follow through on meeting my goal.

September 18th - that's the date for the Air Force 10k Run - so the countdown is on and I say bring it!

August 10, 2010

Lexi's 3rd annual walk

I had a great time at the Alexis Black walk for SLOS awareness in Barboursville, WV this past weekend. About 125 people gathered together for the walk and many shared their stories on how Smith Lemli Opitz has played a role in their life. My friends Mandy and Jason put on an awesome walk that so many families enjoyed and it was truly evident by the smiles beaming on all the faces throughout the day. Enjoy some of these pictures.

Crowds gathering at the registration tent:
Mandy, Lexi and Jason:
Lexi with her SLOS friends
(L to R: Lexi, Spencer, Kamryn, Carson, Riley and Cody)

Some of the SLOS families who travelled to WV for the walk:
Lexi loving the swing set after the walk:
There is still time to contribute a donation to the SLOS foundation through Lexi's website if that's something that interests you. Thanks for your time and check back soon for some of the video I took during the walk!

August 09, 2010

Tudor's Biscuit World

"Start your day the homemade way" - that's the slogan for Tudor's Biscuit World - a West Virginia chain restaurant that specializes in homemade buttermilk biscuits. Tudor's serves up breakfast sandwiches and plate lunch specials to the locals and it's seems to be a favorite spot among many visitors too. While visiting some friends this past weekend, a Saturday morning breakfast run was made to the biscuit world. No doubt these people know how to do biscuits. The biscuits are huge and looked delicious. Tudor's offers many varieties of biscuit sandwiches. Ham and Cheese, Sausage Egg & Cheese, Plain Buttered Biscuit with Jelly - those all sounds pretty typical of local fast food chains serving up breakfast treats that are easy to eat with one hand. However, Tudor's has taken their game of breakfast "sammies" to a whole new level...enter The Mountaineer. A homemade buttermilk biscuit, egg, cheese, hash brown, and country ham - all in one very tall, artery clogging sandwich. I think most people who consume this beast will need to eat with two hands, the thing is that big!
In my research for this blog post, I did find it interesting that no where on Tudor's website is any nutrition information listed. Normally, restaurants list the calories that go along with the menu items - now these listings might be in the very fine print - which most people won't notice, but those looking for the info know where to find it. I was also surprised to learn that this point was actually the talk of the town in WV earlier this year when a proposed calorie count bill failed that would have required all chain restaurants to list caloric figures for their menu items. A version of the bill did pass into law, but there it was amended made to take smaller chains, like Tudor's, out of the bill.

Here's a report from the West Virginia Public Broadcasting channel that gives some more detail about the bill and how lawmakers actually ate free samples of Tudor's biscuits while they were discussing the bill.

I'm really not that surprised that Tudor's Biscuit World does not publicly post the nutritional information for their food. My guess is that anyone eating at a Tudor's breakfast biscuit sandwich *and* slurping down a large Sweet Tea to go along with it really isn't interested in knowing that they are probably consuming an entire day's worth of calories in one meal. But that's just a guess...

August 05, 2010

Lexi's Walk Weekend

This weekend is the 3rd annual Alexis Black walk for Smith Lemli Opitz awareness. If you are a long time reader of Cincy Spin then you probably remember when I introduced you to Lexi in 2008 and told you a little bit about her genetic condition. Click here if you'd like to read that post.

The short version of her story for new blog readers is that Lexi (who is the daughter of my best friend from high school) was born with a condition called Smith Lemli Opitz (SLO). SLO babies are unable to make the right amounts of cholesterol, which is essential nutrient in cell development in our bodies. The range of developmental problems ranges from mild to very severe. I am happy to report that Lexi is developing extremely well and is one of the happiest 3 year old kids you'll ever meet!
If you would like to learn more about ways to support research for SLO families then I encourage you to visit Lexi's fundraising site. Thanks for taking a few minutes to learn about where I'll be spending my upcoming weekend celebrating life's blessings!