Lasagna!

This is one of my all time favorite recipes. I love making the sauce that goes with this lasagna because I'm constantly taste testing (it's the only way to make it perfect). The two key ingredients in the sauce are the sugar and the vinegar. I prefer my sauce a little tart so I always find myself adding extra vinegar. Ok... to the recipe!


Ingredients:
  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 medium sweet white onion, diced
  • 1 box dry lasagna noodles (I always make the whole box because so many break)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (you might not use it all)
  • 2  28 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 1  28 oz can stewed tomatoes
  • 1  6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 lb ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 lbs mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 lb freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • garlic powder
  • oregano
  • Italian spice
  • salt
  • garlic salt
  • fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • white wine vinegar
The cheese measurements don't need to be exact. It all depends on how you create your lasagna. Personally, I'm not a big ricotta fan but I ALWAYS use a ton of mozzarella. Also, since I'm always taste testing my sauce, I don't have exact spice measurements. This recipe makes a large amount of sauce... the extra is to pour over each slice of lasagna when you serve it.

Brown the ground beef in a skillet until cooked through.

Put some paper towels in a bowl. Using a slotted spoon, remove the beef and place it on top of the paper towels to drain the excess grease. 

Wipe the skillet clean and add the diced onion. Sauté for a few minutes over medium heat.

Add the browned beef back to the skillet and continue to cook for 5 more minutes.

Transfer the beef and onions to a large pot. Dice the stewed tomatoes. Add the diced stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste to the pot. Add about 1 tbsp. of oregano and 1 tbsp. of Italian spice mix. Chop the parsley and add it to the mix.

Now comes the taste testing! Add a pinch of garlic powder, a pinch of garlic salt, and a dash of white wine vinegar. Add the sugar a tablespoon at a time until the sauce reaches your desired sweetness. I could just sit and eat this sauce with a spoon... it's that good. Allow to simmer (and thicken) for about 30-45 minutes.

Cook the lasagna noodles according to the package. Like I said before, you only need 9-12 (depending on how many layers you do) but I make extra because they break. I like to add a little olive oil to the water to prevent them from sticking. Once they are al dente, drain them and keep them in a pan of cool water (also to prevent sticking).

Begin to cut your mozzarella and grate your parmesan. I also grate a little mozzarella for the top.

In a lasagna pan, spoon 1 cup of sauce into the bottom and spread it around. Apply a layer of 3 noodles. Add sauce on top of the noodles, then a layer of mozzarella slices. Add spoonfuls of ricotta and then sprinkle parmesan on top. Now begin your next layer (noodles first). It should look like this...

Repeat these steps 3 or 4 times (depending on the depth of your pan). Add sauce and grated mozzarella on top.

Tent the lasagna pan with aluminum foil. Don't let it touch the sauce or the cheese! Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.


Slice and serve with extra sauce on top! 

Adapted from this recipe.

And the winner is...


Congratulations, Angelene! I'll be emailing you shortly!

Inspiration: Calendar of the Month Club

This is the cutest thing I've seen in a while! Marketing agency, Curiosity, offers free monthly calendar downloads! Best part: they're 3D and ADORABLE! I'll definitely be downloading July's calendar. My desk at work could use a little sprucing up and I think this is just the thing...

photo via Poppytalk

These downloads have been available since January! I'm a little sad that I just found out about them, but... better late than never! Here is a look at previous month's calendars...


Download your own here!

P.S. I'm picking the giveaway winner tonight so enter now!

Last Chance!

I'm closing the 4th of July Giveaway tomorrow evening and announcing the winner shortly after!


Bright Idea: Organize Your Jewelry

I don't have a lot of jewelry, but I would love a new way to organize what I do have, rather than stuffing it all into a jewelry box. Here are a few interesting and unconventional ways I've found recently to store/display jewelry...

jewelry board. teacup/saucer organization.

Psst... I'm picking the winner of the 4th of July Giveaway tomorrow! Enter now!

Book of the Week: The Big-Ass Book of Crafts

This Book of the Week could also fall under the category of weekend finds. I bought The Big-Ass Book of Crafts this weekend when I found it on the sale rack for $10 at Urban Outfitters.


I'd been considering buying it online for a while but I'm really not a fan of buying a book like this without being able to look through it first. I glanced through this book and found a few new craft ideas that interested me. Here are three of my favorites...

This could easily be expanded upon. I like the idea of hanging paper dolls... maybe for a room divider or a mobile?

Baby head paperweight... creepy? Yes. Awesome? Yes.

Pillows reminiscent of the famous Roseanne blanket?! Yes, please!

I'll definitely be putting this book to use very soon.

Note: You only have two more days to enter the 4th of July Giveaway! Go for it!

4th of July Giveaway! - CLOSED

The 4th of July is fast approaching! As a thank you to my readers, and to celebrate my favorite season, I've put together a very special red, white, and blue giveaway! One lucky reader will win ALL of these fantastic 4th of July inspired goodies!


So what exactly is in this 4th of July package?! Let's take a look...
  • vintage red, white, and blue necklace from Blue Butterfly Vintage
  • infant american darling headband from Sweet Nellie's Shop for the patriotic baby in your life
  • glittery red, white, and blue star door hanger
  • a dozen crazy straws for your summer drinks (only 3 are pictured)
  • three small american flags
  • red, white, and blue nail polish
  • hot dog/marshmallow skewers for your summer bbq
Here's a closer look at our two big ticket items...


To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment below (with a way to contact you). The winner will be chosen randomly and announced on Wednesday! One comment per reader please.

GOOD LUCK!

Pinterest Picks: Summer BBQ

My favorite season has finally arrived! I've been seeing a lot of summery photos popping up on Pinterest lately but it's the BBQ photos that really caught my eye... of course.

links clockwise from top left: one. two. three. four. five. six.

No-Knead Bread


This recipe is extremely simple and SO good. I highly recommend trying it!

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 5/8 cups water
In a large bowl combine flour, yeast, and salt. I, of course, bought the wrong yeast so I had to do a few conversions but it all worked out in the end. Also... I cannot stress the word large enough... this dough rises a lot! I felt like Lucy in the episode where she makes the giant loaf of bread.


Add the water and mix well. The dough will be very sticky.


This is how the dough should look when you're done mixing it...


Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it alone for about 12-18 hours. THIS is how it looked the next morning! The dough is ready when it's surface is dotted with bubbles.


Flour a work surface and place the dough on it. Sprinkle with a little more flour and fold it over a few times. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest for 15 minutes.


Using a little more flour, shape the dough into a ball (if you can... mine was too floppy). Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour. Put the dough on the towel and sprinkle with more flour. Cover it with another cotton towel and let it rest for 2 more hours.


When it is ready, the dough will be twice the size and will not spring back when you poke it. Heat your oven to 450 degrees and put a 6 to 8 quart heavy covered pot inside to warm up. When the oven is hot, take the pot out. DO NOT make the mistake of grabbing the lid without a pot holder once you take it out. Ya... I did that, dropped the lid, and broke the handle. Anyway... slide your hand under the towel and plop the dough into the pot. It will be messy because of all the flour. Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes, uncover and bake for another 15 to 30 minutes or until it is a nice light brown color.


TA DAAA! Let it cool a little and then break it open!

Recipe courtesy of bigBANG studio.

Summer's Here!

To commemorate the very first day of summer, I've decided to do one more post today... and I'm dedicating it to four of my all time favorite summer movies!


I'm going to have to say that Dazed and Confused is my all time favorite (year round)... with Wet Hot American Summer coming in at a close second. Tied for third are my two girly summer movies... A League of Their Own and Now & Then.

What are yours??

photo links clockwise from top left: one. two. three. four.

Bright Idea: Recycled Mason Jars

I seem to have a small obsession with mason jars... I don't know what it is about them. Recently I came across this photo of a mason jar soap dispenser and decided to find a few more interesting ways to reuse them...


Aren't those terrariums the coolest?!

Happy first day of SUMMER!

Weekend Finds

I used to post about my weekly swap meet finds but I haven't been going to the swap meet very much lately. When the weekend comes around, sleeping in just sounds so much nicer. I did manage to get my hands on a few great items this weekend at some local vintage shops.


I'm so in love with this gnome! He was only $5 and he's pretty big too. I just have to paint some white dots on the mushroom he's holding and he'll be perfect!


I also got myself a new wallet. Isn't it just the cutest thing you've ever seen? I love that little squirrel. 


Lastly, Father's Day was yesterday as I'm sure you all know, and my Dad is big on tikis. I got him this little guy for the backyard from Perpetual Kid. Best part... he's solar powered! At night a little orange light flickers just like a candle. 


Happy Monday!

Last Minute Father's Day Gifts

Father's Day is TOMORROW! You might recall a post I did around Mother's Day with some last minute gift ideas. Well, we can't forget about Dad. Here are some perfect gifts for your Pops... all available at Target!

3. Canon Powershot 4. BBQ cookbook 5. charcoal grill (unless your Dad is Hank Hill)

Shop of the Week: BeckyM


I'm so excited about this shop of the week! BeckyM caught my eye for two reasons... her great photos and her beautiful products! I love all things felt and felt food is no exception... it's so fun! Becky's felt food would make a great gift for a child or would be a cute addition to any table or kitchen. Here is a taste (get it?) of what Becky has up for sale right now...







If you love the idea behind Becky's products but have something else in mind, she also does custom orders! Check out the "sold" section of Becky's Flickr to see what else she can do!

Now go check out her shop!