Thanks to one of my very favorite bloggers, Desiree at Macke Monologues for nominating me for the Sunshine Award and sending me this little Q&A! She’s one of my favorite bloggers, and I actually know her in real life! Once upon a time I lifeguarded at a pool back in Kansas that she managed at – and her husband is also a family friend! I still remember when they got engaged, and then married, and I have been a reader of her blog since Day 1! Their little boy is about a year older than Mitchell, so I am always checking out her blog to see what’s coming next. Apparently we both like M’s, and hopefully we’ll cross paths in Kansas sometime soon so Marcus Macke and Mitchell Martin can officially become friends! 🙂

1. For purely selfish reasons, what is your favorite go-to dinner dish? I’ve long since run out of new,easy, good recipes, and looking to add to our weekly staple rotation!

Lately, it’s a spicy sausage pasta dish, fondly named by my husband and brother as “hotdog casserole” because they know it drives me nuts. I found it on Pinterest here [you should probably just read their version – much more thorough and includes pictures!], but it’s now adopted into my memory as a go-to dish that can be done in about 25 minutes [including clean-up and a salad!] but looks like I put way more effort into than I really did. This is how I make it. 

Olive Oil
Frozen Chopped Onions (time savers)
Minced Garlic
Two long Sausage Links (the ones I use come in a pack near the hotdogs)
One Pound Rotini Pasta
Half Pint of Heavy Cream
Can of Rotel (Medium for a little kick, mild for less spice)
Can of Chicken Stock
Salt and Pepper
About 1/3 cup Spaghetti Sauce (it’s Ragu jars in our house)
About 2/3 cup Shredded Cheese of your choice

1. Sautee a handful of chopped onions in olive oil, along with some minced garlic. Right before they start to brown [about the time it takes to slice up the sausage links in bite-size pieces]. Then I throw those in there and continue to heat it until they’re brown. 

2. This is the best part. Everything stays in ONE pan and you don’t have to cook the pasta separately! Dump in the can of chicken stock, half pint of heavy cream, Rotel, and pound of pasta. Stir it up, throw a lid on, and let it boil/simmer until the pasta is cooked through. [Clean up, chop up a salad, stir every once in awhile, this dish is seriously low maintenance].

3. Once the pasta is done, I pour in about a third cup [or so] spaghetti sauce, salt and pepper to taste, shredded cheese [my husband likes a lot of cheese but however much you want], and let it cook on low/medium until the cheese is melted! 

I like to think it comes out more “polished” and deserving of a name better than “Hotdog Casserole,” but it’s now a running joke in our house, along with being one of the boys favorite dishes [including Mitchell!] Not to mention, there are always leftovers for days in our house. If you haven’t figured it out, I’m not really an “exact” measurer when it comes to cooking, but I’ve made this probably 20 times now and never messed it up – all the more reason to add it to your regular dinner menu! 

2. When someone asks for a book recommendation, what is the one book you always suggest?

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that since I finished graduate school last December I don’t think I’ve read any books that aren’t written by Nicholas Sparks. But my husband doesn’t stop reading, so especially if you’re interested in science fiction, you should probably just talk to him. 

3. Name a talent you have that others probably don’t know about.

I can lift weights. Pretty heavy ones. No Lauren Fisher here [shameless girl crush], but before Mitchell I had a 185 pound bench press [35 pounds over body weight], 352 pound deadlift [more than double body weight], 262 pound back squat, etc. I have my Level 1 CrossFit Trainer certificate, and I can’t wait to see some of these numbers again when I pop this baby out. I can thank my Dad and my husband for keeping me motivated to pick up heavy things. Oh, did I mention that Lauren Fisher is basically my hero? Not sure why I look happy here, because it was actually about 100 degrees and though that competition may have only lasted about five minutes, it was death by legs and arms. Note my dad bringing up lunges in the rear.

4. Sunsets or sunrises?

I’ve seen a lot of both of these this year with my photography, but I’ll go with sunsets because I like to sleep in. 

5. The best way to unwind after a long day is…

Sitting on the couch with my husband and my dogs, eating dinner, and watching Netflix. 
Preferably with brownies as a nightcap. 

6. Any guilty pleasures?

Should I just make a list? Dance Moms, Chicago Fire, Grey’s Anatomy, The Bachelor, Pretty Little Liars, Law & Order SVU if we’re talking TV. Taylor Swift if we’re talking music [no shocker there]. Baby clothes if we’re talking shopping. And checking out my husband in his uniform when he gets home from work :]

7. What is a character trait you hope people associate with you?

Godly? I just want my husband and son to see God’s grace in me and show them His love in the way that I live. They make me want to be a better person every day. 

8. Favorite words to live by?

I’m sure there are much more inspirational ones out there, but my Dad has been drilling the 7 P’s into me since I was about four years old. Prior proper planning prevents piss poor performance. 

9. If you could go to dinner with any one person (alive or deceased) who would it be, and what are two questions you would be sure to ask them?

I guess this is more than one person, but I would just go with a big family dinner. I pretty much moved out of my parents house when I was fifteen [boarding school] and I’m down to one grandparent left. I would love to have a big family dinner with my whole family [preferably with my Grandma’s mashed potatoes and my Nanny’s chocolate cream pie], and see everyone together again. Even just sitting down to dinner with my parents, brother, and husband never happens, so that would be the ideal dinner party. This was our last one about a year ago.

10. The last concert you attended that you insist others must see, too.

I used to go to concerts all. the. time. Specifically country concerts. But now I can’t even remember the last one I went to. But I have seen Taylor Swift in concert six times so we’ll just go with that. Is anyone else thrilled to death for her new single in three days?? Cause I am!

11. Your favorite blog post – be it yours, or a post written by someone else.

Last year, Steve was deployed to Afghanistan when we had our son Mitchell. He came home when he was three months old, and that day was one that I will treasure forever. So of course it was blog-worthy. And our photographer was a-ma-zing. Worth every single penny. I look at these pictures regularly because this will always be one of the best days of our lives. Still my most-read post. You can read it here 🙂

One thought on “Sunshine

  1. Your answers to these are all so good! The pasta dish is so similar to one we (by “we,” I mean, “I”) make all the time, too!
    It's safe to say I miss the days of going into the PD gym and looking at the WOD board to see what everyones times/weights/etc. were. You crushed so many of those workouts!!
    Chicago Fire? Grey's Anatomy? The Bachelor? Yep. Yep. Yep. Did you watch Bachelor in Paradise? If not, you should add it to the rotation the next time it airs. 🙂
    And, Steve's homecoming post – brought tears to my eyes then, and did again today!
    Thanks for joining in the fun.

    P.S. Yes, we really need to get the boys together the next time we're both home!!


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