Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ravioli Lasagna

Lasagna is one of my favorite Italian dishes to eat but one of my least favorite to fix.  It isn't hard to make, but it is so time consuming to make from scratch.  So to save time, I used to just buy Stouffer's :-)  While that doesn't take hardly anytime to prepare, it takes a very long time to bake from frozen and is way to much food for just my husband and me.  The solution?

Enter.....Ravioli Lasagna

I created this combo a couple of weeks ago and let me tell you, it's SO delicious and SUPER easy!  The great thing too is that you can change the flavors by using a different sauce or choosing a different filling for the ravioli (like Spinach and Ricotta Cheese).  You can also leave out the meatballs and substitute vegetables if you prefer.  But here's the combination of flavors that my husband and I love....

Ravioli Lasagna
Servings:  4
1 pkg (9 oz) - Italian Sausage Ravioli
1/2 jar - Parmesan and Romano Spaghetti Sauce
1 cup - shredded Mozzarella cheese (Whole Milk is the best but Part Skim works too :-)
6-7 beef and pork meatballs, fully cooked and cut in half or quarters
1) Combine sauce and meatballs in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until meatballs are heated through.  If meatballs are frozen, thaw slightly before heating with sauce.
2) While sauce is heating, cook pasta according to directions on package (be sure to salt your water); drain.
3) In a small round or square baking/casserole dish, spread a small amount of sauce (1/4 cup) on the bottom of the dish.  Add 4-5 pillows of ravioli, 6 meatball halves (or 12 quarters) and a thin layer of sauce followed by 1/2 cup of cheese.  Repeat layers using the remaining ravioli, meatballs, sauce and cheese (Note: Make sure all of the ravioli is completely covered by sauce so it won't dry out in the oven).

4) Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until cheese has completely melted.
5) Use a spatula or large serving spoon to scoop out portions.  Enjoy!

*Freeze remaining meatballs and use in other recipes or save for the next time you make this dish

Up Next:

**Favorite NEW Products - July-Dec 2014

Saturday, January 24, 2015

2015 Pantone Color of the Year: Marsala


Marsala is a naturally robust and earthy wine-red. Instead of leaning purple or blue, this color has a slightly cool brown undertone (not orange) which makes it a more neutral color that will flatter most any skin tone and work with many other colors.

The versatility of this shade allows it to work with deep chocolate brown and burnt copper tones but also pairs beautifully with more spring inspired hues like pink and gray....

Now, before I go any further, I'm sure many of you are wondering who Pantone is and why they get to decide "the color of the year"?

According to their website, 
"Pantone LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of X-Rite, Incorporated, is the world-renowned authority on color and provider of color systems and leading technology for the selection and accurate communication of color across a variety of industries. The PANTONE® name is known worldwide as the standard language for color communication from designer to manufacturer to retailer to customer."

As you can see, Pantone influences everything including makeup, clothing, accessories and even interior design.  Some of the most recent colors were Radiant Orchid (2014), Emerald (2013) and Tangerine Tango (2012).  Each year, I am always excited to see what the new "color of the year" is going to be, hoping that it will be a color that I actually like because we will be seeing a LOT of that color.

This year, I'm thrilled with the color choice!  I think Marsala is a beautiful color and I can see myself easily working this in to my fashion and beauty routine.  In fact, I went through my beauty stash to see what I already owned that might fall into the Marsala color category and here are the items I felt matched the description the closest... 
All of these products vary slightly in hue and finish, but I think they fit quite well in the Marsala Color Family.

1. Idyllic Paint Pot by MAC Cosmetics - beautiful cream eyeshadow worn alone or as a base
2. Here Kitty by bareMinerals - gorgeous deep hue (see a swatch and review here)
3. Bitten by Makeup Geek - Matte eyeshadow that looks beautiful in the crease or outer V
4. Country Girl by Makeup Geek - Matte with a hint of shimmer particles throughout; slightly more brown than Bitten.
5. C346 - Strike-A-Pose-Rose Wet 'n' Wild Mega Glo Luminating Powder - Not only is this very inexpensive but it's a great, highly pigmented blush and highlighter quad. You can wear each shade alone or mix with any or all of the other shades. This allows you to customize that "Marsala" shade to make it suit your skin tone.
Lip Glosses:
6. Maverick Marvelous Moxie by bareMinerals - Highly pigmented and has a more rosy tan hue
7. Viva Glam VI by MAC Cosmetics - Sheer and sparkly, this gloss is a way to include that Marsala hue in a more subtle way.
8. Berry 100% Natural Lipgloss by bareMinerals - Fairly pigmented, cream gloss (no shimmer)
9. Rouge Pretty Amazing Lipcolor by bareMinerals - Super pigmented, liquid lipstick that will cover your lips in a rich, Marsala hue.
Lipsticks and Lip Butter:
10. 1995 by Gerard Cosmetics - Matte, very pigmented lipstick. It has a nice neutral undertone that leans a little more brown making it a very wearable shade.  Just be sure to put on some lip balm before applying as it can be a little drying on the lips.
11. Pink Truffle Lip Butter by Revlon - A great rosy tan color that is somewhat sheer but can be built up to nearly the pigmentation of a lipstick. The formula is really moisturizing and leaves a slightly glossy finish.
12. Viva Glam V by MAC Cosmetics - One of my favorites because it has a more sheer, shimmery finish that makes it a super wearable color and works with even a dark, smoky eye.
13. N9 by Make Up For Ever - If you are a Sephora Beauty Insider last year, you probably received this as part of your free birthday gift.  While it does have a slightly warmer tone, I think it still fits in the Marsala color scheme.
I hope you found that helpful and perhaps gave you some ideas of how to incorporate the 2015 Color of the Year into your beauty routine.

Up next.....
**Ravioli Lasagna
**2014 Favorite NEW Products - July - December

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Rediger Extreme Treehouse Tour

Last November, I traveled back east to visit my brother and his family.  It was such a great visit....lots of delicious food, fun and good old fashioned southern hospitality.

One of the highlights of my visit was getting to spend a night in my nephew's treehouse.  Now, this isn't your average, run-of-the-mill treehouse....it's an EXTREME treehouse.  What makes it "extreme"?  Well, for starters, it has bunk beds, electricity, a flat screen TV and a kitchenette with running water!  

My brother designed and built the treehouse in four-and-a-half months.  I was just blown away at his talent!  He took tons of pictures, but I begged him to do a video tour because it's really hard to comprehend the magnitude of such a project through a picture.  Well, since he has even less "spare time" than I do, I decided to bring my camera with me on the trip, have him shoot the video, and then I would take it home to edit.  Now that the busyness of the holidays is done, I finally had time to sit down and put a video together.

Of course, no video is complete without a little music.  I was in a bit of a quandary trying to decide what piece of music to use when it suddenly came to me.....the song that three of my piano students have begged me to teach them.  So, I sat down at my Roland digital piano and recorded this rendition....see if you can recognize the tune :-)  The music begins partway into the video so keep your speakers on and enjoy!

Click the picture or link below to start our tour....