Creamy Gorgonzola Pasta

I don’t recall whether I made this recipe for New Recipe Tuesday or just for fun, but at some point, I made Creamy Gorgonzola Pasta Primavera.  Found in the Best of the Best Volume 9 Cookbook from Food and Wine, which reprinted from Supper at Richard’s Place, a cookbook by Richard Jones, it was one which I hope to add to the permanent collection.  It was a great way to add some more vegetables into my diet and it seems like one where different vegetables could be added based on what is in season at any given point.
My friend, K, is likely going to make this dish again in the near future, as she asked for the recipe a couple of times after I had made it.  I’m finally getting to put this up on the web site, so I hope you find it enjoyable as well.  The recipe calls for penne.  I used whole wheat penne from Trader Joe’s, because I love how it adds a little more nutty and fuller flavor.
I’ve had a lot of go-to pasta recipes in the past, like my favorite Baked Ziti (not-so-healthy version), and will likely post a few of my favorites on here without making them again soon, but thought you might want to enjoy this one for now.

Creamy Gorgonzola Pasta

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Spring is Here!

Spring has arrived.  It has arrived in a couple of ways here, but the way which I know it is undoubtedly spring is that my students have left for Spring Break.  Spring shows up and starts to demonstrate itself in a couple of ways.  First, it starts with the grass turning green, which it has.  Then, the cars don’t have frost on them in the mornings.  We’ve also had extremely warm weather (we bypassed spring and jumped to summer, and now have kind of returned to spring…).  Trees are getting leaves.  And every moment we are locked inside our offices seems like a chance for us to get outside.  Sunrise happens and sunset is later.  Easter is around the corner.
For folks working on college campuses, spring also means new forms of professional development through our national conferences, time to recognize students, hire students for next year, and start writing those end-of-year reports we know our supervisors will be wanting from us.  We start to hear about colleagues who are leaving and thinking about hiring people to replace them.  It’s a time of excitement and a time to begin focusing on what the future has to offer.  Where will the priorities be next year?
For those of us in school, it also means wrapping up those end-of-semester assignments, thinking about what summer will offer, and for me, thinking about the things I had assumed I’d do over the semester, but for which I have yet to make time.  Now, I’ll start to embrace this and explore those topics on which I’ve meant to spend time studying, narrowing down the dissertation topic, and moving forward.
Spring is a time for rebirth, new commitment, and trying new things.  I believe in spring cleaning for the house, the heart, and the mind.  Have you experienced a rebirth lately?  What signs of spring have you seen?

Starting a Garden…

Here in Iowa we’ve had a series of 80 degree days.  The week ahead is bound to cool down a bit, but it’s been a blast.  Every day, I have rushed home after work to enjoy some time outside as the weather has been mostly perfect for outdoor life.

With it being spring and my first spring in my apartment, I have been itching to make the place my own a bit more.  I’ve been searching pinterest for gardening tips and planning to be outside enjoying the weather.  For the past six years I have not been located in one place.  I have moved around, not had a yard where I’ve been for an entire summer, and explored a variety of different living situations.  This year, however, for the first time, I will be here from spring until fall and I have space for a garden!  So, I’ve opted to not do the garden share route and will instead do my own garden.

Back in January, I started looking through my two favorite seed catalogues — Burpee and Seed Saver Exchange.  I sent away for some seeds and was ready to plant.  Now that the weather is gorgeous (and I’m in a new growing zone from last time I planted seeds), it was time to get started.

Last weekend I planted several seeds in preparation for the garden to be.  I’ve got green beans, lettuce, peppers, strawberries, flowers, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and a variety of other things planted from seed.  I’m looking forward to seeing what comes of this.  I’ll be doing some in pots, some in my makeshift raised garden beds – semi tires.

Do you have gardening tips?  Things you always grow from seed?  Plants you always purchase?

Fish Fries, Lent, and Being Catholic

I’ve taken a little break from writing during the past month.  I have never had a February so busy as I did last month.  Rest assured, I’ve continued on with new recipe Tuesdays, baking, cooking, minimal amounts of crafting, and time with family.  February/early March brought a trip where my parents went to see my sister in Ohio, a chance for family togetherness with a baby shower for my cousin John and his wife, pledging for my students, and in the past couple of weeks, two new babies.  I’ve started spending more time with a few new friends as we’ve explored what the new pizza tastes like at the Lincoln Wine Bar, here in Mount Vernon.  It was at one of these gatherings that I was inspired to follow through on a couple of ideas I had previously had for blogging.

That being said, February also has brought on Lent.  I have been so blessed with many friends who have supported my religious beliefs, and also had friends who have demanded me to explain them.  I have had moments where I have embraced everything the church offers me in terms of faith, understanding, and a way of explanation.  I have also had times where I have felt extremely challenged by the patriarchy and ease of going through the motions, not sure where my belief landed.  Some reading may find this challenging, but I find it comforting to know that the way I have experienced my faith has challenged me throughout my life thus far and will likely challenge me in the future.  One should not interpret this as a disbelief in God or in Christ as my way of finding God.  Instead, it’s a testament to ways in which I care about my faith that I have questioned it.

Some pretty heavy topics on a blog generally meant to share highlights in my life, recipes I’ve tried, and the quilt recipes I try to recreate…yet, Lent often brings on a time of reflection.  On one of the Tuesday nights we were at the wine bar, my friends and I were discussing other places for us to get together on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday evening and one individual brought up fish fries.  This in turn reminded me of what had become a ritual the past two years with my colleagues in Central Minnesota.  On Friday nights throughout Lent, we would peruse the local fish fries to eat, drink, and be merry together.  Whether we were eating fish in Minneapolis, St. Cloud, or Albany, it was a group of 5-15 of us who would come together, partake in small town culture and rate the food, atmosphere, and different options.  There were moments of judgment, appreciation, laughter, and most importantly, community.

For me, the church has consistently brought me community.  When it isn’t feeling like home or I am struggling to cope with rulings, teachings, or the treatment of women, it’s the members of the community with whom I find comfort.  My friends who encourage a deep dialogue about faith, the theology courses in which I embark, and the reflective nature of Lent consistently bring me back into a deeper relationship with God.

It’s been tradition in the Church and in my family to give something up for Lent, or to do something that requires a giving of self/embracing a new practice to further grow in that relationship with God.  This year, I have chosen to give up processed food.  It has been a challenge.   I’ll write more about that soon.  And, I will blog again soon…I promise.

In the meantime, thank you for letting me process the first part of what my faith has meant to me.  I expect there will likely be follow-ups, especially as part of what Lent makes me think about is loss and this year has been one which has had many joys and many losses.  Today, however, when the temperature reached 80 degrees with a nice breeze, I pictured myself sitting on the edge of a lake, at a church, eating fish, and laughing with friends at a good old fashioned fish fry.