If I Win the Mega Millions….

As of today, the Mega Million Lottery is estimated to be $640 MILLION!  In other words, one person can win over “half a billion dollars”.

Repeat after me “half a billion dollars!”

That is like Bill Gates kind-of-money.  What would I (or anyone else) do with all that money?  Hmmm, let me count the ways….

Of course, I would love to pay off my home mortgage and that of all my family members.

Of course, I would love to finally buy that beach front home to spend our summers in.

Of course, I would set aside money for college tuition for both my children and for all my nieces and nephews.

Of course, I would plan vacations to destinations all around the world for me and 50 of my nearest and dearest.

Of course, I would set aside a portion of the money for a rainy day and establish trust funds for the children.

And that is where I draw a blank.  What else would I do with half a billion dollars?

Oh yes, of course I would buy clothes and shoes and shoes and some more shoes.  And maybe, just maybe, I would give up my position at the office and dedicate myself to writing full-time!

And then what?

Oh yes, I think I know what I will do.   Once I have full filled all of the items above, I will donate the remaining amount to charity and give $100,000 away in increments of $1000 to anyone who leaves me a comment on this post.  In other words, the first 100 people to comment will receive $1000. In your comment, please indicate what you would do with your $1000.  And one entry per person please :-)

Hey…you never know.

There is Always Time for a Home Cooked Meal – On the Grill with the Grill-More Girls!!

Are you ready for warm weather and sunshine days?  Is gathering outdoors with family and friends over picnics and barbeques on your radar?  Well, with the delightful unseasonal weather we experienced in New Jersey last week, both The Harried Mom and I decided we would switch gears and trade our Crock Pots for the Backyard Grill.  Meet the Grill-More Girls!

Rest assured, however, that although we will be sharing our summer grilling recipes (summer salads and dips and deserts too!), we will still occasionally be using our Crock Pots too.  In fact, we have a special Italiano Crock Pot surprise scheduled for July…. think taste test.

I had intended to kick off the grilling season with one of my all time favorites – Nonna’s Sausage & Peppers Recipe – but my over organized mother beat me to it.  I will digress for a moment and introduce you to my mother.

Retired for almost five years, my mother is THE most domestically organized and disciplined individual I know.  She irons bed sheets and dish cloths, knows if pantry items have been moved from their intended spot and she is forever “planning” meals.  In a nutshell, she makes me look like a total slacker.  Two days per week, she and my father drive down from North Jersey and help me out with getting the children to and from school on the days when I am working in the office.  And each Sunday, prior to their Tuesday arrival, my mother plans what we will eat.  With the usual chaos of the work week, I gladly welcome the break from cooking.  So this past week, after I purchased the ingredients I needed to fix this delicious dish, my mother indicated she would be making ..surprise…Sausage & Peppers.   Considering she perfected this recipe, who am I to argue against having dinner made for me and the entire family!

So Tuesday afternoon, I came home from work to an impeccably set table (my mother insists on table cloths) and a Home Cooked Meal from my Mommy.  And for the duration of dinner, I didn’t mind being “mothered” because the taste of dinner drowned out all other “noises”.

Buon Appetitto!

Nonna’s Sausage & Peppers

Ingredients:

2 pounds of Lugana Sausage (I often buy the thin rope from the butcher)

3 white onions

3 red and yellow peppers and 6 baby potatoes

Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Take the Sausage and stab the entire rope with a fork and place it into a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes.

2. While the sausage cooks, chop the onion and peppers and place in a baking dish with 6 baby potatoes and drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Bake these for 30 minutes.

3. Once the sausage is cooked, you will notice the water will have discolored and a grey color foam will be floating atop.  Friends, that is fat and it’s terrible for you.  Remove the sausage from the pan and rinse it.

4. Fire up your grill and cook the sausage for another 10 minutes, 5 minutes each side.

5. Once complete, combine the sausage with the cooked onions and peppers and serve.

Served with a large Italian roll, this sandwich is heavenly!

Now it’s your turn.  Do you have a grilling recipe you would like to share, leave your recipe in the comment section of this post or link your recipe with our Mister Linky below!

Virtual Chit Chat on Goggle + Hangout . Won’t you Join us?

Join me for a Virtual Chit Chat, this Thursday, March 29th at 9pm on Google + Hangout.

What is becoming a fun and lively weekly Virtual Chit Chat, we will be discussing:  Working from Home – Oxymoron?  For those who already accomplish this feat (complete with conference calls taken from the calmness and darkness of a coat closet), what are tactics and practices that work for you?  For those of who you are contemplating this idea, what are some factors that are holding you back?   It is sure to be a Tebow-exciting conversation (I am sorry. I could not resist)

And of course, you do not need to be a Mommy to join in the conversation!

Everyone is welcome.

If you are interested in joining, you will need the following:

  • Google+ Account (and access to my circles)
  • Computer/Laptop with a camera and speakers
  • Glass of your favorite drink

Send me an email that includes your Google+ profile name so that I can invite you to the Hangout (deadline is 12pm on Thursday 3/29).

Parenthood is so much more rewarding when we have parents who can share in our excitement, sadness and everything in between. Don’t you agree?   See you Thursday!

When Too Busy is BAD

For those who follow my blog, you will notice that my fingers have been quiet since my last Thursday Crock Pot post.  Between office work, meetings, reading a terribly written trilogy, and social commitments – I haven’t had the time to sit at my newly decorated super-duper work station and just write.

At the expense of sounding like a whiny working mama, the past few days were busy personified….

Friday…Social Media meeting with some of the most creative minds in the Princeton area, two conference calls, one report, errands, hair salon appointment, reading crappy-but-addictive book from trilogy, pick up children from school, dinner, family time.

Saturday…..coffee, organize kids overnight bags, several chapters of crappy-but-addictive book from trilogy, amazing luncheon with the Girls Lunch Out, concoct way-too-strong Jello shots for a good friend’s party, finish up book two from crappy-but-addictive trilogy, 40th Birthday Party with some of the best crew around, return home way too late.

Sunday…wake up to a perfectly peaceful quiet home because my angelic in-laws took the children for an overnight and then …………….. I shot straight out of bed and felt ill – Saturday was my father’s birthday and we never called him.  My father, who would (and did) drive to the ends of the earth for both myself and my children never heard from us.  To say I felt horrible, would be an understatement.

And this is when Too Busy is just down right BAD.

I remorsefully called and of course my father was ever so gracious and understanding.  “No big-a deal-a,” he replied.  “I know you so busy.”   I had to choke back the tears and the growing lump in my throat.  “We celebrate next week Al Le Palme.”   We had planned to celebrate all of the March birthdays this coming Palm Sunday, but that still doesn’t warrant forgetting the phone call.

Later that morning after the children returned home and we were en route to celebrate a Christening, my children called their Nonno and sang their screeching rendition of Happy Birthday Cha- Cha- Cha.  You could hear the delight in my father’s voice as they spoke and it really only made my heart ache even more.

As I sat there in the car, I thought about how I schedule everything and try to be everything to everyone and everything.  Something is bound to fall through the cracks and sadly this time, it was the man who gave up everything for me.  My father is getting on in age and I should cherish not only him, the remaining elders in our family.

So in the days and weeks to come, I am going to make more of an effort to really prioritize and keep what matters most in perspective.  Life is too short not too.

There is Always Time for a Home Cooked Meal – Good Ole Chicken Soup

Perhaps it’s the unusually warm temperatures here in NJ or the fact that I swamped with work, but I never made it around to getting my Crock Pot out to make Cilantro Lime Chicken this week.  Instead, I have been de-frosting and enjoying meals I cooked over the relatively mild winter – one which is made best in a Crock Pot!  So I decided to put a new twist on Crock Pot Thursday this week.  The recipe I am sharing with you is not one I made this week, but one I made two months ago and has been feeding my family dinner and sometimes lunch when I am in a pinch.

Good Ole Chicken Soup is great anytime of the year.  The soup is so very hearty and filled with nutrients and simple goodness.  The recipe is easy to make and if you have one hour  to spare to prep and divide the meals into containers, the rewards are endless.

I recommend purchasing disposable Tupperware containers in three different sizes.  This allows you to use the container that best suits the amount of people you need to feed.  For example, I use the bigger container when I am feeding my family of four and use the smallest container when I need to feed just my children.

So to make this delicious Good Ole Chicken Soup you will need the following:

2 cups of bite sized carrots

2 cups of bite sized celery

2 cups of bite sized potatoes

2 pieces of chicken breast w/bone

1 small piece of parmesan cheese

2 quarts of water

1 bay leaf

Place all the veggies first and then add the chicken, cheese, water and bay leaf.  Cook on high for 4 hours.  Once complete, remove the chicken and shred.  Remove the cheese and either discard or taste a tiny piece.  It’s sinfully delicious, but very fattening.

Once the chicken is shredded, place it and the veggies in the various containers with the broth and let it cool down.  Once at room temperature, snap the lids on and place in the freezer.  If you have extra broth, place that in a jar and save it in your fridge for up to 10 days to use in various other dishes (great for smashed potatoes).

When you need a good, healthy meal in a pinch, reach into your freezer and defrost the soup in a pot.  Boil water for pasta and in less time it takes to heat canned soup, you have a delightful and rich Chicken Soup everyone will enjoy!

Buon Appetito!

So now it’s your turn!  Post your recipe on your blog and link with The Harried Mom and I or simply post your recipe in the comments section here on Facebook!