Girl Versus Dough

one pot pasta with tomatoes + basil {giveaway}

pasta with tomatoes and basil in a bowl

(This giveaway is closed.)

We’ve got a one-pot winner of a dinner over here. Just an FYI.

These past couple of weeks have been kinda sorta insanely busy, to say the least. And it’s in these moments — when I’m so frazzled that I forget to brush my teeth or take off my slippers before leaving the house, yeeaahhh — that simple, easy-to-throw-together meals restore my sanity. Because 1) they’re food, and I like to eat and 2) I don’t have to think about dinner as another to-do on my list. Just put it in a pot/oven/microwave, let it cook, done and done. Time to fill my tummy.

Of course, oftentimes this means dinner comes from a thin box tucked in the back of the freezer containing a frozen disc of something that starts with a “p” and ends in “izza,” or from a box that’s been tucked away in the pantry for a year containing uncooked noodles and a powdery substance they call cheese… or a burrito. From Chipotle. With a generous heap of guac, thankyouverymuch.

And then there’s this one-pot pasta thing which, until recently, was only a good idea I’d heard about or saw pinned a bazillion times on Pinterest. Now, this one-pot pasta thing? It’s a great idea that I’ve (finally) put on our dinner table. And I have a feeling it’ll be back again and again when I need something healthy/my sanity to stay intact.

garlicky kale with fire-roasted tomatoes + cheesy brown rice farina “grits”

garlicky kale and grits

Note: Thank you all SO MUCH for your kind words and enthusiasm about my eCookbook news! I’m sorry I wasn’t able to respond to everyone individually but know that each and every comment means the world to me. If you haven’t joined the Facebook team yet, you still can!

Oof, that title is a mouthful.

And the recipe is, too. A delicious, delicious mouthful.

First things first: Have you ever tried farina? I grew up with the wheat cereal version from the blue and white box with the boy on the front who’s SUPER happy to be eating a bowl of it — which I assume can only be true if he added about a half-cup of sugar and a few dashes of cinnamon on top, as I did. It was the only way that stuff would taste good and not anything remotely like slop.

Maybe it’s because I wasn’t quite aware of its versatility as a youth or I got really, really overloaded on all the sugar (nahhhh, that can’t be it), but I haven’t had a bowl of farina in many moons. That is, until I was introduced to brown rice farina. And everything changed.

a super special announcement

Happy Valentine’s Day, friendlies! I hope today is filled with all the love and chocolate truffles.

I’m not here to tell you what to make or eat today, though. No, I already gave you a strong suggestion yesterday in the form of ice cream, and earlier this week in the form of doughnuts. Today I’m here to tell you about something else.

Something involving lots of tasty tastiness.

Something that has to do with bread.

And maybe some sugar (but also salt, for my savory-loving folks).

And lots of fun and easy baking.

Any ideas?

Gosh, the suspense is almost TOO MUCH. It makes me want another doughnut.

dark chocolate pistachio ice cream with candied bacon bits #GalentinesDayParty

dark chocolate pistachio ice cream

Much as I love my husband and our date nights, many of my favorite Valentine’s Days have been hanging out with the lady peeps instead of the gentlefolk — probably in pajamas with a chick flick and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s on the side (the only boys allowed).

This year, though, is going to be the best of them. And that’s all thanks to Galentine’s Day.

Oh, you’ve never heard of Galentine’s Day? It comes from one of my all-time favorite characters on television, and that is Miss Leslie Knope. Each year on February 13, Leslie and her gal pals get together and have a grand ole time over yummy food. Ergo, if Leslie were a real person, she’d be my BFF. She and I do share a serious love for waffles, after all. Kindred spirits.

So in celebration of all things love, food and friends, a group of blogger friends and I have come together for an online Galentine’s Day party. And let me tell you — if this party was happening in real life (which my tummy and I so, so wish it was), it would be the most delicious of parties in all the land.

strawberry-glazed vanilla bean doughnuts + a kitchenaid mixer giveaway

Full disclosure: I’m pretty meh about Valentine’s Day.

But when it comes to doughnuts, I’m all about the L.O.V.E.

How can you look at a doughnut — especially a pink-glazed one topped with sprinkles — and not have your heart skip a beat? It’s proof that love at first sight exists, in my opinion. My other opinion is that you need doughnuts in your life this Valentine’s Day. (I’m very opinionated about doughnuts, as you can tell.)

brown butter peanut butter crispy treats + a bake sale for Noah

Brown Butter Peanut Butter Crispy Treats

I consider myself to be a pretty healthy person: That is to say, I don’t have a chronic illness, I haven’t been seriously sick (as in, best buds with my bed for a few days) in a long time and I haven’t been hospitalized since I was a youth getting my tonsils taken out. I count my blessings for this every day — especially because I’m a total wimp when I have even the slightest cold.

My mom, on the other hand? She’s had all three things happen to her in the last month.

You see, my sweet mama, she has had a rough go of it on the medical side of things for the last decade or so. She’s had countless diagnoses of strange diseases, all manner of tests, several surgeries and yada yada yada — I could go on and on. It can take a serious toll on a family, emotionally and otherwise.

But my mom, she’s a fighter. I mean in some ways, yes, she’s exhausted — she’s pretty darn sick and tired of seeing the walls of a hospital — but she still has so much heart and fight in her. I’m constantly amazed by her dedication to being well again, to not give up, to keep going. I think a lot of it has to do with her stubborn personality (don’t even deny it, Mom) but I also think part of it comes from all the encouragement, love and support she receives from family and friends. And I think being so blessed to not have to struggle to pay medical expenses helps, too.

So when I read on my friend Steph’s blog about a little boy named Noah whose family discovered that his diagnosis of severe autism will unexpectedly cost them more than $1,000 immediately, and up to $30,000 a year for therapy, I knew this family needed two things: Financial support, and extreme love and encouragement from as many people as possible. You can read their full story here.