Friday, August 14, 2009

Awesomely Good Stuffed Shells

So we had stuffed shells for dinner tonite (or technically last night as it is the wee hours of the morning now) and they were so amazingly good, I thought I would share the recipe.


1 box Jumbo Shells (we used Barilla and this recipe is modified from the one on their box)
1 lb ground turkey
1T olive oil
1/2 medium onion - diced
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp No Salt Seasoning or Italian Seasoning (or any particular seasoning blend you prefer)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 small can mushrooms and liquid (or fresh ones if you have them on hand)
1 egg
8 0z. of Ricotta cheese
8 0z shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 C shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 large jar or can of pasta sauce of your preference (I use a 4 cheese spaghetti sauce)

Preheat oven to 350

Cook Jumbo Shells according to package directions. When they are done immerse them in cold water so they are cool and easy to work with.

Saute onion and garlic on medium high heat until onion is translucent. Add ground turkey and saute until almost completely brown. Add mushrooms and seasonings and saute until meat is done. Remove from heat and allow meat to cool. Do not drain any liquids from the pan.

Mix together egg, Ricotta and Parmesan cheeses. Add this to cooled meat mixture.

You can either use two casserole dishes and place the stuffed shells in a single layer in each (this is what I did), or you can use one 13x9 casserole dish and pile the stuffed shells on top of each other. Either way, spread just enough sauce to cover the bottom of the dish.

Spoon meat/cheese mixture into shells until they are full but not overflowing. You should have just enough meat/cheese mixture to fill the entire box of shells.

Pour remaining sauce evenly over the stuffed shells.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle the Mozzarella onto the top of the shells and put back in the over for 3-5 minutes or until cheese is just melted.

Cheat Sheet for the Guys (i.e., How To And How NOT To Get A Woman To Throw You A Bone)

Alright guys. Every now and then, one of us women will have a little sympathy on your plight of misunderstanding and throw you a bone. NO! Not THAT kind of a bone! It's a figure of speech. It means 'pay attention and you might learn some useful shit here.' ;-)

1. Woman Speak

Here is a guide to what a woman really means when she says things like "Fine" and "Nothing."

Keywords and their meanings:

"Fine": This word is used at the end of any argument that the woman feels she is right about but needs to shut you up. NEVER use fine to describe how a woman looks. This will cause you to have one of those arguments.

"Five minutes": This is half an hour. It is equivalent to the five minutes that your football game is going to last before you take out the trash, so it's an even trade.

"Nothing": This means something and you should be on your toes. "Nothing"is usually used to describe the feeling a woman has of wanting to turn you inside out, upside down, and backwards. "Nothing"usually signifies an argument that will last "Five Minutes" and end with the word "Fine."

"Go Ahead" (raised eyebrows): This is a dare. One that will result in a woman getting upset over "Nothing" and will end with the word "Fine."

"Go Ahead" (normal eyebrows): This means "I give up" or "do what you want because I don't care." You will get a raised eyebrow "Go ahead" in just a few minutes, followed by "Nothing" and "Fine" and she will talk to you in about "Five Minutes" when she cools off.

Loud Sigh: This is not actually a word, but is still often a verbal statement very misunderstood by men. A "Loud Sigh" means she thinks you are an idiot at that moment and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you over "Nothing."

Soft Sigh: Again, not a word, but a verbal statement. "Soft Sighs" are one of the few things that some men actually understand. She is content. Your best bet is to not move or breathe and she will stay content.

"Oh": This word followed by any statement is trouble. Example; "Oh, let me get that". Or, "Oh, I talked to him about what you were doing last night." If she says "Oh" before a statement, RUN, do not walk, to the nearest exit. She will tell you that she is "Fine" when she is done tossing your clothes out the window, but do not expect her to talk to you for at least 2 days. "Oh" as the lead to a sentence usually signifies that you are caught in a lie. Do not try to lie more to get out of it, or you will get raised eyebrows "Go ahead" followed by acts so unspeakable that we can't bring ourselves to write about them.

"That's Okay": This is one of the most dangerous statements that a woman can say to a man. "That's Okay" means that she wants to think long and hard before paying you retributions for what ever it is that you have done. "That's Okay" is often used with the word "Fine" and used in conjunction with a raised eyebrow "Go ahead." At some point in the near future when she has plotted and planned, you are going to be in some mighty big trouble.

"Please Do": This is not a statement, it is an offer. A woman is giving you the chance to come up with whatever excuse or reason you have for doing whatever it is that you have done. You have a fair chance to tell the truth, so be careful and you shouldn't get a "That's Okay."

"Thanks": A woman is thanking you. Do not faint; just say you're welcome.

"Thanks a lot": This is much different from "Thanks." A woman will say,"Thanks a lot" when she is really ticked off at you. It signifies that you have hurt her in some callous way, and will be followed by the "Loud Sigh." Be careful not to ask what is wrong after the "Loud Sigh," as she will only tell you "Nothing."

I hope this clears up any misunderstandings . . .

2. The Hormone Guide

Every woman knows that there are certain days in the month when all a man has to do is open his mouth and he takes his life into his own hands! This is a handy guide that should be as common as a driver's license in the wallet of every husband, boyfriend, co-worker or significant other! Please memorize this. If you are caught using a cheat sheet, you will hear a "Loud Sigh" followed by "Thanks a lot" and "That's Okay."

About dinner:
DANGEROUS: What's for dinner?
SAFER: Can I help you with dinner?
SAFEST: Where would you like to go for dinner?
ULTRA SAFE: Here, have some wine.

About clothes:
DANGEROUS: Are you wearing THAT?
SAFER: Wow, you sure look good in brown!
SAFEST: WOW! Look at you!
ULTRA SAFE: Here, have some wine

About money:
DANGEROUS: What are you so worked up about?
SAFER: Could we be overreacting?
SAFEST: Here's my paycheck.
ULTRA SAFE: Here, have some wine.

About food — dieting:
DANGEROUS: Should you be eating that?
SAFER: You know, there are a lot of apples left.
SAFEST: Can I get you a piece of chocolate with that?
ULTRA SAFE: Here, have some wine.

About her day:
DANGEROUS: What did you DO all day?
SAFER: I hope you didn't over-do it today.
SAFEST: I've always loved you in that robe!
ULTRA SAFE: Here, have some wine.

Take these guidelines to heart, follow them carefully, and she may just throw you a bone. YES, THAT kind. ;-)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Acknowledge and Move On

Since my last post I've continued to do a lot of thinking about forgiveness. I thought I was making significant progress towards forgiving, but then I started thinking that maybe I wasn't because, well, I was still thinking about it wasn't I? Then, I read a blog post that had me look at this from a different perspective: (

So, instead of looking to forgive a past wrong, which requires you to first blame, you acknowledge the event and then release it. Ohhhh, man! Can it really be that simple? Yes, actually, it can.

I don't like playing the 'blame game.' It annoys me to no end and I find it very petty and immature. At the same time, I find that I just as easily get caught up in the inclination to want someone to blame. It's so ingrained into our psyche! Until I read the above mentioned blog, I had completely forgotten one of my favorite sayings: 'Acknowledge and move on!' I had acknowledged, but I had not moved on. I was well into the blame game; being angry and blaming each and every person who had any potential for responsibility in the matter, myself included.

As adults we have a tendency to dwell on things. We continually mull them over and cling to them as if our lives depend on it. Guess what? Our lives DON'T depend on it. In fact, I think we often hold ourselves back when we dwell and cling to past hurts and injustices -- the death of a loved one, hurtful things said or done by others toward us, injustice in the world, criminals who go unpushined, etc. Even so, releasing these past hurts is easier said than done.

So, I've been contemplating my own inability to forgive for over a month now. The problem I have discovered about forgiveness goes sort of like this:

First, you try to forgive, but then anger flares up and petulantly says "Fuck That! Why do I have to forgive? Why do I need to be the bigger person? They don't deserve my forgiveness. How do you forgive someone who has done the unforgivable, anyway?" (Setting aside for another day the deeper philosophy of everyone deserving forgiveness and what that means when you consider that we are all one.)

So, you take the next step - if I feel the person is not worthy of being forgiven, then my problem is no longer about forgiving someone else. OK, so then, what, it must be about forgiving myself? Because that's where forgiveness starts, right? Everything starts with yourself. OK, fine, I'm down with that - if I'm playing the blame game, then I have blamed myself to some degree. So, I'll start there. OK, um, I'll forgive myself. *Thinking deeply on how to do that.* But, again, here comes anger: "What the -? FUCK THAT! I didn't do anything wrong. Forgive myself for WHAT?! This isn't my fault!" Hmmm, back to the blame game, aren't we? If I am not to blame? Then why do I feel somehow responsible? Clearly, this isn't working.

Well, shit then. If forgiveness isn't the way and blame doesn't help, then what can be done to resolve the situation? How do we let it go? Anger certainly isn't helping. It only keeps the pain and hurt around like some sort of badge of self-righteousness. What's left to end the suffering?

Release. What else can there be? Release it. Let it go. It does not serve you well to hold on to it.

It's so amazing in it's simplicity:


Acknowledge and move on.

What happened has happened. It cannot be undone. It cannot be fixed. Why dwell? It is what it is. It cannot be changed. But it can be released. And you can change your relationship to it. So that's what I've decided to do. I can't seem to find a way to "forgive," so I'm just gonna bypass that altogether, release it and let it go. I've acknowledged, now is my time to move on.

As I am writing this, @Eckhart_Tolle says via Twitter: "Wherever you are, be there totally. If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally."

So there it is, yeah? I can't change it. I won't accept it. So I remove myself from the situation the only way I can: by releasing it. I'm ready to let it go. I'm glad to have finally found the way to do so.

To all those who have Tweeted, blogged or commented somewhere in cyberspace in such a way as to help me finally find peace with this, I send you much love and heartfelt thanks. By being you and expressing yourself in a way that can be found and heard by others is a wonderful gift. I hope that I, too, can do the same for others.


Oh, and anger wants it to be known that it doesn't agree with "forgiveness" or "releasing" and it stands by it's earlier assessment of "Fuck That!" But what can you do? That's how anger is and that's how anger will always be . . . acknowledge and move on.