Wherein she returns

Hi y’all!
I know, it’s hard to keep up with everything I post on here so just take it easy, okay? ūüôā I have had many posts swirling through my head in the past months but they never made it this far. The convenient thing about mental posts is that they don’t have to be edited or polished for viewers pleasure. I’m still trying to figure out the line between writing as a discipline and writing because I can’t help it. I took a creative writing class at Bible School one¬†year and our teacher told us never to write unless we can help it. I like that. Typically, when you just can’t stop yourself, you put out something that conveys passion and conviction about what you are thinking about. On the other hand, I think writing can be a good discipline.
¬†¬†¬†¬† Another reason why posting on something as public as the internet is challenging, is because we have no idea who, if anybody are reading the posts. There might be 3 of you, there might be 333 of you, blogger really doesn’t tell me all that.
But anyway, a friend of mine (hi, you!) told me over the weekend that she regularly checks my blog to see if there’s anything new up and after having disappointed her for 6 months, I figured now is the time to get current!
Today is my day off, meaning that today I am home. I love these days fervently and enjoy just puttering around the house by my lonesome and doing catch up work. I am often greatly inspired to cook while I am at home because I LOVE to cook. To me it’s a form of art, a way of expressing what I enjoy through food and spices and condiments. Today I made manicotti. I’ll show you how I did it but don’t expect a recipe because i’m a cook that doesn’t follow rules. I make mine up as I go. Cookbooks are my springboard for cooking but certainly not my rule book. Well, except for baking cookies and cake and all those other things that you have to follow instructions. Maybe tha’ts why I don’t enjoy baking….¬† I have to follow rules. So anyhow, here is my morning of manicotti….

I have two things to say at this point. Number one, I share a love for cooking¬†and especially cooking¬†Italian cuisine with my aunt Marylou. What I don’t share is her photography and¬†photo editing¬†skills. What you see in the above picture is a pound of sausage with some fresh mozzarella cheese, some spring onions, some basil and oregano and an egg. Well, you don’t see an egg, but it’s there. Just didn’t want you straining your eyes too¬†horribly looking for it. This dish could probably be made without it but it just felt like it should be in there. I don’t believe in predestination in any cases except this one.
Meanwhile I had some manicotti noodles cooking in water. (duh, what else?)

¬†This is the manicotti in case you needed a mental picture. I guess it’s manicotti even if you didn’t.

This is the pasta sauce of my choice. There are many options available so I say go with what looks good and sweeten it. A wee bit of sugar adds a pop and really pulls some of the flavors out. I’m really weird that way. I get it from my dad. He taught us how to sweeted Mexican restaurant salsas. They are really, so much better that way. Try it and see if you don’t like it better.

¬†I cooked the noodles a la dente and then stuffed¬†them with the sausage mixture. Pour the sauce over the noodles and bake for I don’t know, 45 minutes. I apologize about that brown pan in the above picture. It was the perfect size¬† for the noodles so I used it. I hold some fairly significant grudges against that dish. It takes me back to my childhood on school mornings. After awakening from peaceful slumbers, wafts of¬†baked oatmeal¬†would come floating back to my bedroom and you know, start my day off on¬†a bad note. It was always served in this brown dish and I’ve never quite forgiven it.
And here, la-deees and gentlemen, is the finished product. When the sausage was nearly cooked, I sprinkled fresh mozzarella cheese on top. I used fresh because we own a deli and it was readily available but I’m sure the pre-grated stuff would work too. I wanted fresh basil as a garnish but alas! All my basil sprigs are only 3 inches tall and I didn’t feel like aborting so young a life.

(the steam arising from the pasta in this picture sorta amuses me. It’s heading north east quite rapidly)
I enjoyed an Italian lettuce blend salad with homemade ranch dressing and cashews and more mozzarella cheese. And I ate manicotti. Like all afternoon. My family’s really not into Italian cuisine that much which means I probably¬†get the rest of it. Feel the pains of resignation as¬†I accept my plight.¬†
Anyway, hopefully this inspires you to explore the joys that are manicotti. You can do so many other things with it too. I think a spinach/ricotta cheese stuffing would be good too.
Now this is late and today wasn’t my day off. Yesterday was. So I’ll¬† just post and edit later ūüôā
See y’all!
Vicki