Friday, January 21, 2011

today's post is brought to you by the letter 'P'

The Letter 'P'-
pumpkin penne pasta with pork sausage:

A few weeks ago one of my friends posted a link on facebook to a recipe for pasta with pumpkin sauce. i thought that it sounded like an interesting and potentially good way to use up the 2 cans of pumpkin that i had left over after the holidays...
but then i forgot about it... a few other things on my mind recently. ;) then, yesterday morning rachael ray made a very similar sounding dish on her show and it reminded me of the original recipe that i had read. i thought about it and realized that i had all of the ingredients, so dinner was done... almost.

rachael's recipe called for sausage, and although i didn't have sausage, i had ground pork, so i decided to make my own. it was SO simple, really cheap, and honestly, i think i like it better than the premixed sausage. plus, i was excited to use 2 ingredients that i had never used before but have had for quite a while- savory and marjoram.

pork sausage recipe:
1 lb. ground pork
1/2 t. salt
1 clove crushed garlic
2/3 t. marjoram
1/3 t. savory (summer savory)
1/2 t. sage
1/2 t. paprika
1/3 t. crushed red pepper (or more if you prefer hotter sausage)
2 t. brown sugar (my own addition since the recipe called for sweet italian sausage)
combine all ingredients. i used my kitchen aid mixer paired with my amazing rubber beater blade that my parents gave me for christmas last year-

(definitely one of my favorite things in the kitchen).

pumpkin penne pasta recipe:
this recipe is derived from rachael ray's recipe...
i just made a few minor changes according to what i had in my pantry.


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 pound homemade pork sausage
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
  • 1 t. dried sage
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
  • Coarse salt and black pepper
  • 1 pound penne rigate, cooked to al dente

  • Heat a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and brown the sausage in it. Transfer sausage to paper towel lined plate. Drain fat from skillet and return pan to the stove. Add the remaining tablespoon oil, and then the garlic and onion. Saute 3 to 5 minutes until the onions are tender.
  • Add bay leaf, sage, and 1 + 1/2 c. chicken stock to the pan. Simmer about 2 minutes. Add remaining stock and pumpkin and stir to combine, stirring sauce until it comes to a bubble. Return sausage to pan, reduce heat, and stir in cream. Season the sauce with the cinnamon and nutmeg, and salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer mixture 5 to 10 minutes to thicken sauce.
  • Return drained pasta to the pot you cooked it in. Remove the bay leaf from sauce and pour the sausage pumpkin sauce over pasta. Combine sauce and pasta and toss over low heat for 1 minute

The results were amazing!!! it smelled like thanksgiving dessert and tasted even better. definitely a new favorite in our kitchen!

can't wait for leftovers tonight!

i also made some of my favorite dinner rolls to go along with our pasta.

herbed dinner rolls-   
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 T. butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2 1/4 t. active dry yeast
  • 1/4 t. garlic powder
  • 1/2 t. dried basil
  • 1/2 t. dried oregano
  • 1/2 t. dried thyme
  • 1/2 t. dried rosemary, crushed
  • 3 1/4 c. bread flour
  • additional butter, melted
  • coarse salt, optional
  • combine all dry ingredients
  • add water, butter, and egg. mix with dough hook about 5 minutes. add more flour or water as needed.
  • turn dough onto lightly floured surface. divide into 16 portions. shape into balls. place 2" apart on greased baking sheet (or pizza stone). cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
  • bake at 375 degrees  for 12-15 minutes. brush with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse salt.

 topher likes to refer to these as 'biscuits'. they are definitely rolls, but whatever you call them, they are delicious!

 and i would highly recommend these 2 pampered chef products, which i use frequently:
1. my well seasoned large pizza stone

if you are interested, my friend roshena would be more than happy to help you with an order
all of their products are incredible!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

a happy little happening!

and while i am blogging, i thought that i should probably share some excitement of recent. on december 21st i got engaged to the most wonderful and perfect (for me) man that i can imagine. God has blessed me SO much!!!

here is the story:
it was a tuesday afternoon. we had planned to go ice skating and out for sushi since it was topher's "weekend" and it was almost my christmas vacation. i didn't call topher after i got off work like i always do, but i called my mom instead (little did i know that i caused him major anxiety because he was nervously awaiting my arrival at his house). i got to his house, and of course, always worrying about our schedule i immediately asked him if he had checked on the ice skating times. he told me that it was from 2-5 and acted kind of like he was ruling skating out because it was already almost 4:00. i thought that was plenty of time to skate, so i tried to rush him out the door. he acted a little strange and said, "well... don't be mad at me, but i knocked the tree over today when i was watering it. you might want to go out and check to make sure that none of the ornaments were broken". we both walked out to the livingroom. i looked at the tree, but didn't see anything broken. he told me to check the other side of the tree, but there might not be any broken. i started to walk around the tree and i noticed a new ornament. i thought that it was sweet that he had bought us a new ornament because i had just said that week that i wanted to get some more sentimental ornaments. then i looked closer at it. i saw that it said, "will" on it... i knew right then what was about to happen. i saw the other 3 ornaments, "you", "marry", & "me". 

he turned me around and he was down on one knee. he asked me to marry him and then i saw that sitting behind him on the shelf was our little 'elf on the shelf' holding a ring box!!!

he opened it up and then placed the most beautiful and perfect ring on my finger.

i cried and then i said "YES!" :)

and then we went on with our plans to go ice skating at the bilo center and to sushi dinner. 

 we tried a new sushi restaurant for dinner, sushi koji on main street, and it is our new favorite!

our sushi that evening was delicious! i can't wait to go back. 

it was the PERFECT night and i loved that he included my favorite things, christmas, elf, and sushi in the most adorable and sweet and perfect engagement ever!

i love christopher david collogan SO much and i can't wait to be his wife!!!

cake toppers

i do realize that it has been months since i last posted. not that i haven't thought about it, and not that i haven't been reminded numerous times to do so, but because i just never think about it when i do have the time... so, seeing as how i am currently enjoying my second consecutive snow day (which i might add, is legitimate unlike most south carolina snow days), i decided to post one of my most recent accomplishments... fingers crossed that topher doesn't decide to look at this, since he isn't allowed to see this project till april 2nd.

i started with a pair of "naked" peg dolls:

 i ordered these on etsy from my friend michelle's shop- "goosegreaseundone". i think that the set was something like $4.

after hours... actually, several days worth of hours trying to duplicate topher's suit, my dress, and the bouquet and boutonnier... here is the result (which i have to admit i am pretty proud of). 
i will give both front and back view.

 can't wait to see these two on top of our cake! only 81 more days!!!

if you like these and you're not up to the challenge of painting them yourself, michelle has an etsy shop called "goosegrease" where she makes custom dolls/cake toppers/cupcake toppers, etc. i think this set, which is customizable is $40. very cute!!!