Well, I basically blinked and my baby turned one. Guys, the time FLIES. It really, really does. I can’t believe I’m a year down into this mom-of-two thing. I may have a few more wrinkles and a backlog of eleventy billion hours of sleep I need to catch up on, but man — every day spent with my two girls is sweet (and sometimes sour, when one of them steals a toy from the other one or, heaven forbid, one is eating a banana and the other one isn’t and the one who isn’t eating a banana MUST HAVE THE BANANA NOW, but I digress).
From the last week of April through the first two weeks of May, three of the four of us have birthdays. Addy’s is April 27, mine is May 8 and Avery’s is May 9. So essentially, we just have one ridiculously long birthday celebration for almost a month, with lots of cake. It’s the best.
For Addy’s birthday this year, we had a small family party with some brunch food (guys — I just discovered that I really love quiche. Quiche is tasty! Will be having more quiche in my life) and this yellow cake with chocolate buttercream frosting — a classic birthday cake for a really special little lady. And a good time was had by all.
I mean, there it is. Secret is out. Mic is dropped. We are moving into an RV starting this summer and traveling the country full-time with our family. SURPRISE!
Let me back up. Let me back way, way, way up.
You may recall last January when I officially declared myself done with blogging. At that time, I was eleventy billion years pregnant, we had recently moved into a newly built house and I was burned out with a capital B. I needed a massive break from blogging and social media and the internet in general. But you know all of this. And you also know the when and why of my decision to come back to blogging in this space. It bears repeating that I missed it because I missed the community (you guys!) and the recipes. These are things in my life that fuel me, both literally and figuratively, and I find so much joy in the creative process of food blogging that I decided to bring Girl Versus Dough back to the present in a new, more true-to-me way.
But the rest of my life? It wasn’t feeling right. My husband, Elliott, and I had been doing a lot of reflecting in the last year on our life, how it had gotten to what it is now and whether we were happy. Short answer: We were not.
In my internet life, it may appear that I am always making new, creative meals for me and my family come breakfast, lunch or dinner. That I never eat the same thing twice. That I never eat a frozen burrito I found at the bottom of my freezer or the last five dino-shaped chicken nuggets from the giant bag I bought for my three-year-old’s dinners or the same, humble whole wheat toast with hurried swipes of peanut butter on top.
In my real life, I think you can guess what is actually true. And breakfast in our household is the worst culprit. That peanut butter toast? I eat it almost every. single. day. And if I don’t, I’m eating scrambled eggs. And that’s about as crazy as it gets when it comes to our breakfast routine.
Here’s why: Because I’m awfully sleepy in the morning. Maybe it’s just me? Maybe I’m the only one who stumbles down the stairs in the AM like Frankenstein’s bride, arms outstretched at the coffee maker willing it to make me coffee immediately? And then, no less than five minutes later, I’m slinging cereal and cutting fruit into itty-bitty pieces and trying to calm the usual morning chaos so I can please, please just have one little sip of coffee before this day starts and suddenly it’s 8 a.m. and the kitchen looks like it exploded and everyone else has eaten breakfast but me and that’s when my old reliable pal peanut butter toast makes its appearance.
It’s times like these when I am grateful for my friend Melissa, who saves the morning for me in the form of Not Your Mom’s Egg Casserole.
This pasta. This is last-meal kind of pasta. This is the kind of pasta you eat when you don’t just want any old variety of carbs and cheese — you want grown-up, legit, every-bite-is-a-flavor-explosion kind of pasta. This is it.
I happened upon this recipe for creamy rigatoni with sausage and fennel (oooo, even sounds fancy) about a month or so ago when I was tired of our run-of-the-mill spaghetti night. Don’t get me wrong — homegirl loves her classic old school marinara sauce and long noodles that wrap around a fork combo, with an extra sprinkling or five of grated Parmesan. I’m not above it. But sometimes it just doesn’t hit the pasta spot.
This pasta? With its creamy tomato sauce that hugs every bite of al dente rigatoni paired with sweet Italian sausage and hints of crunchy veg all topped with a waterfall of fresh-grated salty Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley? THIS pasta hits every spot, and then some.
It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Like, oh, almost a year. How are you? I missed you. It’s good to be here with you again.
So much has happened since we last chatted. I had a baby (another girl, named Adelaide (Addy) Scout, who is the sweetest little one you will ever meet and she’s already 10 months old and almost walking and what the heck why does time move so fast). We settled into a new home. I’ve been working for General Mills as a recipe development consultant and video storyboard artist (sounds fancy, but basically I draw pictures on an iPad of pretend food and try to make it look somewhat professional) part time, while also taking care of my littles. Avery, who is almost four years old (WHAT I KNOW), has been going to preschool twice a week and growing like a weed — but really. She’s in 5T clothes and she’s not even four years old yet. Anyone want all of the 3T clothes I bought that she never wore? Ugh.
Let’s see, what else… Elliott, my dear husband, has continued working as a physician assistant at an emergency room in the Twin Cities. It’s hard work and he’s often exhausted (and I’m often exhausted from working my job and taking care of small people all day long) so our hobbies these days include crashing on the couch to watch The Alienist and Silicon Valley re-runs and dreaming big dreams for our family. ← THAT is so very vague and elusive and I apologize for that, but I have to withhold details until we’re ready. But trust, I will share everything when the timing is right.