June 28, 2014

jessica makes: one pot pasta

I've seen variations of the following recipe on Pinterest, in food magazines, and even had something like it growing up. One of my goals for this year (which I'm not being super successful at) was to cook more. I usually end up justifying NOT cooking because a. It's just me, b. I usually have access to the student cafeteria which is free and easy, and c. I'm really good at talking myself out of things.
I'm trying to make something new and easy each week so that I can enjoy the leftovers throughout the week and because I really enjoy the therapy of cooking. There's something very soothing about following a recipe, getting a little creative, and then enjoying the fruits of your labor. 
I'm all about quick and easy. Maybe one day I'll be more interested in laborious recipes that call for specialized skills and a wide array ingredients, but for now, I'm a big fan of easy, breezy, beautiful covergirl. 
Here's what you'll need:
32 oz Veggie Broth
1 (28 oz) Can of Diced Tomatos
Package of Pasta (I used fettucine)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil 
1 Med Onion
4 Cloves of Garlic
8 oz Frozen Chopped Spinach (not pictured because I decided to add it in last minute)
1/2 tbsp Dried Basil
1/2 tbsp Oregano
1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
Salt & Pepper 
Feta or Parmesan

Put the veggie broth and pasta in a large stockpot. I broke my fettucine in half to make stirring the pot/ingredients a little more manageable. Add the diced tomatos (juice and all!), olive oil, frozen spinach (if you're not a spinach fan, you could easily omit this and it wouldn't alter the taste or flavor), and spices.

Pull out your handy dandy knife that desperately needs replacing and slice up your onion & cloves of garlic. This is one time when thin is best, friends. Then, slice your onion halves in half so that you don't end up with onion rings in your pasta. I love onion rings, but they don't really go in this very Southern Italian meal. 

When everything is all added in, you'll be left with this beauty. Bring your pasta to a boil, making sure
that all of the ingredients are submerged in the broth/tomato mixture. Turn down the heat to medium, making sure it continues to boil, and stir it occasionally over the next 15-20 minutes. Don't stir it too often or your pasta will get mushy and that's just not acceptable. 

After everything is cooked thoroughly, stick your head right near the pot and breathe in that delicious garlicky, basil, tomatoey scent and enjoy your steam facial. Seriously. The scent is that is lingering in my apartment is reason enough to make this dish! It smells like Sunday evenings at my parents house. 

Garnish your generous serving of pasta with an equally generous serving of feta (or shaved parmesan if you have it on hand!) and serve with a side of Italian bread. I know you're not supposed to double up on carbs but how else are you supposed to sop up the heavenly juice left at the bottom of the bowl? It would be a sin to let it go to waste! If you end up making this, let me know what you think! It's going to be on heavy rotation here in the Novello household. 

June 21, 2014

little snapshots

Although it's summer, so technically I'm on a break from work, my days are still so busy! I really thought that summer would be a time of rest but I'm working 30-ish hours a week at a women and children's shelter (that's a post in and of itself which will be written soon-ish) and then I have class from 8-2 every Saturday morning. Sheesh. It is not super restful, but don't you worry your pretty little head, I'm still enjoying every moment of my summer. Because things have been sort of all over the place recently, I wanted to share little snapshots of what has been going on as of late. Follow along on instagram for joy and shenanigans. 

1. My dear friend Malinda left for Rwanda to spend the summer working with our church's sister parish. She was an intern in our universities counseling center this year and it was such a blessing to send my girls her way knowing that they would be so well cared for.

2. I will never tire of the view that welcomes me home to San Diego. Is there anything more beautiful than tall palm trees, a sun kissed sky, and feeling an ocean breeze on your face?

3. I grew up running concessions with my father so I was under the impression that I've had a snow cone before. Wrong. What I had previously consumed was shaved ice. They are not the same thing. This concoction BLEW MY MIND. The ice is so thin! It melts in your mouth! AND IT IS JUST ONE DOLLAR. I want one each and every day.

4. Poppa Bear turned 60 this week and we threw a co-party for him and my Aunt Mary. Marmee and I were responsible for decor and we wanted to play up the Italian card without putting cannolis, little David statues, and meatballs on each table. I made (and by made, I mean I painted them with chalkboard paint) these little pots, planted herbs in them, and wrote the names of each herb on the pot in Italian. I'm pretty pleased with them. I think it'll be a little project I recreate for my backyard. In case you were wondering, we also included cute little glass containers filled with corks and wine bottles with a picture of my dad and Mary on them. Super presh.

5. Isn't he the cutest? I am so lucky to be his. Also, he can wear his glasses on his forehead like that without them ever slipping down. I've never seen anything like that before. He's a magician.

6. I bought a car! HEYO! It's a sweet little silver Honda Civic. I love it. I am so excited to not spend an arm and a leg on gasoline! I've been driving a truck since 2009 and while it's been a great car, it's also cost me a fortune to keep moving. This little baby (Trixie Belden) gets great mileage per gallon and has an auxiliary port thing. I AM MOVING IN TO THIS CENTURY YA'LL! Also, I sent that picture to my mom and she said that my hand looked like "a penile code." Her words. Not mine. Sorry that my jeans are dark and my sweatshirt was black and that my hand is pasty white and it just so happened to be at "penile code" level. ALL AN ACCIDENT.

June 1, 2014

lets go to san diego, hey that's where all the kids go

This past week, I had the opportunity to travel to San Diego for a conference. This, to me, was the best case scenario. I'm getting to travel somewhere beautiful for a conference that also just happens to be the place I lived for twenty one years. My boss allowed me to book my ticket out a couple days early so that I could spend a little bit of time with my family before heading down south for our conference. 
I'm always grateful to go home. I don't think I appreciated how beautiful and special my hometown was until I was gone. I had lived there my entire life and was ready to spread my wings. I was ready to grow up, find a new place, and figure out who I was. I'm so blessed to be where I am now, I'm very content in Idaho, but man, the ocean? I can't believe that I saw that almost every single day. I just stared at it when I went to the beach with my sisters. I couldn't get over how vast and expansive it is. I surely was spoiled by that view and I'm glad to get to return to it several times a year.
One thing that's peculiar about returning "home" is that my real home, where I lay my head, is a different place than where I grew up. California definitely feels like home, but the type of home that you don't live in anymore. Maybe it's like seeing the house you grew up in, realizing it's not yours anymore, but cherishing the time that you spent in that place and being grateful to it for helping to raise you. I don't have a room in my parents house anymore. That's understandable. I haven't lived there for over five years, but it's weird to return to stay with them and be in the guest room. I am a guest within my own home. That's a strange place to be. 
None of what I've said so far is really what I intended to say in this post, I think I'm just processing through some things so bear with me. Let's get down to brass tactics, as my father would say. Can I just say that one thing I absolutely adore about my father is his ability to butcher the English language and colloquialisms? My mother is a logophile and it drives her absolutely bonkers that my father insists on saying things like "brass tactics" instead of brass tacks and "for all intensive purposes" instead of for all intents and purposes. It may drive her bonkers, but it absolutely tickles me. 
I'm just all over the board today, aren't I? I do really want to tell you all about my conference because it was absolutely fascinating, so I'm serious now, here we go. As most of you know, I'm a Resident Director at a private Christian liberal arts university in the Northwest. This past week, I had the opportunity to attend a conference specifically for the residential life professionals at our sister schools. Over 50 of us gathered at Point Loma to learn, worship, and grow together as continue to navigate our positions. 
The speaker that they brought in for the conference is an authority in the area of emerging adults (18-29 year olds). He lectured on that age group and their college experience, presence in the church, and what they are looking for in life. I think sometimes I feel so disconnected from that specific age group although I'm still in it. I am in a position of authority over 18-20 year olds, yet a lot of my struggles, questions, and growth is similar to theirs. 
After the lectures, we had the opportunity to gather in smaller family groups where we connected with the staff from other universities. I so appreciated the time to compare notes, verbally process the lectures, and exchange information. Our schools are all over the country, but so much of what we're doing is the same. We shared a lot of stories and it gave me a lot of peace to know that the issues I dealt with this year weren't entirely original. It's nice knowing that someone else out there can relate to your situation. 
I sometimes feel like people have a difficult time understanding what I do. My sister in law thinks I'm an RA and my grandmother is very concerned about me because I'm pretty sure she thinks that I'm unemployed. Sometimes when I try to explain that although I'm technically paid for 40 hours of work a week, my job is really 24/7, people can't grasp that. They have a difficult time understanding what that looks like. It was refreshing to be with a group of people who understand that entirely, who struggle with knowing when to shut their doors and turn their phones off, and who can identify with being a parent/older sibling/pastor/cop/counselor/etc to a 100+ students. 
I've heard that we might attend this conference every other year. I wish it was every year because I feel like I met so many wonderful people and it'd be a shame to not see them for a long time. I'm hopeful that the next university to hold is our sister school in Boston or Nashville. I could get behind a trip to either of those locations, for sure. 
Has anyone ever attended a conference for work or pleasure that they would absolutely recommend? 

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