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Newport Crawfish Boiling Fun


ImageThis past weekend I was invited to a crawfish boil.  I’ve never been to a crawfish boil before, nor have I ever eaten crawfish, but I like shrimp and lobster, so I assumed I’d also like crawfish because they seem to be the mid-ground between the two.  My friend’s husband (<– still getting used to saying that) was the boiler.  From what I understand, you get the crawfish while they are still alive and have to take out any that are already dead.  Then you put the live crawfish into a pot with corn, potatoes, and bunch of spices and let the magic happen.  Once they are done, you just dump the whole pot onto a big table and digs in.  Take a look at the pics below to get a better idea of what happens here:

The Crawfish in their final moments of life.  Also known as “crawdads” or “mudbugs”.

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What it looks like on the table – SO DELICIOUS!!

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Mike with Lupe

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Friends hanging out:

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How you eat crawfish:  1. pinch 2. pull off “butt” 3. suck out delicousness…or if you are me, you can (very messily) take the meat out with your fingers and eat.

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Our cook, Doug, and his attack dog:

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Our host, Bryan – the Birthday Boy

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Just a bunch of UConn Alum watching our team win!  GO HUSKIES!!

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The aftermath:

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Casual Fridays With Paul


paul

The Original Paul

Over the past couple months I’ve been throwing the idea of getting a pet around.  I think I’m mature enough for this added responsibility and I finally landed on the perfect pet for me:  Paul.  Paul McNibbler, the hamster.  You see, I had a hamster once, Nibbles, who lived a long and happy life.  He had a number of hobbies:  nibbling his way out of his cage, filling his cheeks with 3 weeks’ worth of food, and of course getting loose in moving cars.  Anyways, I figured that Paul would be the ideal pet for me because it would really fit right into my lifestyle.  Being a solitary animal, I could leave him alone for hours, or day if needed, I could fit him just about anywhere, and best of all, he’s got an expiration date.  I’m 27 now, but by the time I’m 30, ready to buy a house and (god willing) have a family, I’ll be pet free.  BOOM. DONE.

paul in the ball

Paul making his rounds during a typical Casual Friday.

Oh, and the best part:  Casual Fridays With Paul.  CFWP is something that my team at work decided would probably be a great idea where Paul could come into the office on Fridays, dressed to the 9’s of course, and make his ‘rounds’ in his hamster ball.  You know, just ‘roll through’ to make sure everything is running smoothly.  Oh, and of course he would bring some office cheer.  Most likely, he would spice up the Friday afternoons when he unavoidably would get loose the office and we all would be on a rampant hamster hunt.

Anyways, I moved recently and have kind of backed away from the thought of any new responsibilities, which is ironic because I feel like it was as soon as I gave up on this dream, it just came true without me even trying. (Never give up on your dreams, kids!)  There was I sitting in my living room, watching the Wonder Years, and enjoying a pizza, when a baby opossum pops up in the middle of my living room.  WHAT?  SERIOUSLY?  Yes, this is serious, as serious as a heart attack, which, by the way, I almost had.

please note that this is not actually the opossum in my apartment, but he did look just like this little nugget

please note that this is not actually the opossum in my apartment, but he did look just like this little nugget

I called my land lord, who set up an appointment with animal control, and ran upstairs to my neighbor, who I have known for approximately 5 minutes and probably thinks I’m crazy to come down and assist in the situation.  Lucky for me, he was nice enough to come down and help me out with the situation.  Between the two of (and by “between the two of us” I mean my neighbor was on the front line in the living room, while I nervously stood behind the barrier in the kitchen) we were able to get the cutesy baby opossum out the door.

The little guy didn’t even get out the door and I already missed him.  A new paul was sitting there, given to me for free, and what do I do? I shoo him out the door.  What kind of a pet-mother am I?  I have thrown away the hopes of having a rodent-pet, I have thrown away the hope for Casual Fridays With Paul, and I have destroyed my confidence in myself as far as pet-owning goes.

As an aside:  no animals were hurt in the making of this story.  Paul was able to make it out alive, where he will be reunited with the rest of his opossum family, and after a thorough investigation of my apartment and the grounds around by the animal control guys, there were no more baby or mommy opossums found.

 Please stay tuned for a follow up story about all the lesser known facts about opossums – they are actually a lot more interesting than you may have thought.

 

 

 

 

Delicious and (mostly) Nutritious Baked Pene with Meat Sauce!


I found this recipe on pinterest and thought it was a good way to get some delicious pasta without going too overboard on my “diet”…yes I used it in quotes because it’s almost a joke at this point.  I actually cut the recipe in half, so if you want to try it out and have enough for more than 2 people, make sure you double all portions!

  • 1/2 pound ground turkey
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2  (24 ounce) jar pasta sauce (I used vodka sauce, but you can choose whatever is your favorite!)
  • 2 cups cooked penne (about 2-1/2 cups dry shells)
  • 1/4 cup fat free cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup low fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 cups low fat shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley

ingredients

Ok, now to the fun part – putting it all together!  Here’s what I did:

STEP 1:  In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook ground turkey, diced onion, and minced garlic until turkey has lost its pink color.  Once it’s done, you can drain any excess fat from the turkey and set aside.  Don’t worry about it getting cold because you’re going to bake it anyways.

meat and onions

STEP 2:  Add the entire jar of pasta sauce, stir.

STEP 3:  Cook penne according the package instructions, al dente preferred.

STEP 4:  After draining, add the pasta to the cooked turkey and sauce

meat and onions with pasta

STEP 5:  In a large mixing bowl combine cottage cheese, 1.5 cups mozzarella, ricotta, and herbs.

cheese mix

STEP 6:  In a 8″ x 8″  pan, add 1/2 turkey mixture (cooked turkey, marinara and cooked penne) and top with the cheese mixture.  You may need to use your fingers to distribute it because its pretty sticky.

pasta first layer

STEP 7: Top with remaining turkey/penne/sauce mixture and 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

 

pasta second la yer

STEP 8:  Bake at 375 degreesF for 30 minutes

STEP 9:  Enjoy!  I’m an idiot so I didnt take a picture of the final product…probably because by that time I was foaming at the mouth and ready to eat…but it was delicious!    This meal actually only has about 300 calories per serving and close to 20g of protein!  Not bad for a good, and filling, dinner!  Of course I added garlic bread and a glass (or 2) of wine with my meal, so my meal wasn’t healthy at all, but all I’m trying to say is that it could be healthy if you wanted it to be! Enjoy! 🙂

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