Pop the Top! Plus: My Recipes: Butternut Squash Spaghetti

Yesterday had to have been one of the busiest days I've ever entertained in my life. I mean, I was on the go from before I got out of bed (my brain started churning the second my eyes fluttered open) till the very minute I finally decided to call it quits and fall back into my pillow. Just to impress you with my Energizer Bunny-like energy that I found stashed in a moving box was able to resort to, let me briefly walk you through my day: I started off by doing two loads of laundry, feeding and medicating my two old cats and answering work emails before I ever left the house, and was still at the tire store by 9am. It was exciting - I finally got new tires on my Avalanche! They are beautiful all terrain wheels and I love them. I also don't have to worry about my old over worn tires exploding while I'm burning up the highway miles... whew. From there, I made a stop for booze at Specs (but not to drink on the road, unfortunately), worked out at 24 Hour, bought some vitamins, grabbed a quick salad at Sonic, finished our Christmas shopping with stops at Hobby Lobby, Target (twice) and Walmart (also twice). I got photos developed at Walgreens, went to Academy for a few items, filled up with gas, picked up my husband's Christmas gift (a new Evo smartphone, he loves it!!!), dropped off dry cleaning, went to the bank, and made it home in time to prep dinner, help the husband get a big sago palm out of our backyard, chill some Champagne, finish wrapping all our gifts and eat dinner.

WHAT!?!?!? (That's you, amazed at my invincible-ness.)

Yeah, I'm awesome.

We wanted to mark the holiday season - as well as having a house at last - with a little bubbly, so we popped the top on some Champagne and sipped away while noshing down on a great pasta dinner. I made it with items in the fridge I needed to be rid of since we are leaving town soon. Here's the breakdown:

Whatever's in your fridge! Seriously...
Pasta (whole grain if you wanna be healthy)
Big jar of your favorite pasta sauce
Can of quartered artichokes
1 big ol' butternut squash, rid of the skin and chopped
1 medium purple onion, sliced
1 lb. ground beef (lean if you wanna be healthy)
1-2 cups of cherry tomatoes (halved)
Fresh sea salt & ground pepper
Parsley & Basil (dry is fine, but fresh also works)
Worcestershire sauce

While a large pot of salted water is coming to a boil, begin to brown your beef in a large saute pan. Can add a little EVOO if desired. Give it a good dousing of the Worcestershire sauce and grate on some salt and pepper.

While meat is browning, place butternut squash in a microwaveable steamer, or simply put in a glass bowl and cover tightly with saran wrap and poke a couple teeny holes. Microwave on high for 4-5 minutes, until soft.

When the beef is almost cooked through, add your onions and tomatoes and cook until softened. (Don't forget to add your pasta to the pot when water is ready!) Once the meat and veggies are ready, stir in your butternut squash and pasta sauce, season with a little more salt and pepper a liberal sprinkling of the parsley and basil. Let it heat thoroughly while you drain your pasta, then serve hearty bowls of your cozy dish!

I was so tired by the time I went to bed I probably couldn't have even told you what my name was. But the important part was that I got a lot done. Like all the gifts, and I felt very proud about each and every one of them. It's a good feeling to see all your thoughtful purchases wrapped and ready beneath the tree! (Here's hoping they just don't get squished on the way from Houston to Dallas...)

As you can partly tell, no Bell gift giving would be complete without penguin wrapping paper and gift bags. The husband does enjoy a comical penguin, as I mentioned about our tree ornaments here

Of course we didn't forget our two gorgeous labs either, and cannot wait to see them and bring them home with us once and for all at last!!!

It would have been nice to have an extra hand or two, but the four-legged critters chose to spend their time lounging nearby and occasionally bat at the ribbon or rafia when it was flailing around. (Their owner isn't the best bow-tier in the world and I may or may not have used my big toe as a placeholder once or twice....)

"You want me to do WHAT? I don't think so."

"I'm trying to get my beauty rest. Please go away."

Pre-holiday prep can be a brutal and exhausting process sometimes but, to quote Proverbs, "the desire accomplished is sweet to the soul." My soul is warm and full as we prepare to spend some time with family and friends, and I hope yours is too.

"The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, 
in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there..."

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