Appreciation Day

Today was staff appreciation day at work, which basically means they have some stuff going on at work AND we get 4 hours off in the middle of the day :) That usually includes lunch out and fun stuff.

Since it was such a good day, I’m just going to go through everything I appreciated about today:

– A lunch out with Nick and some friends (I forgot my camera!)

– Shopping with a friend from work and having a fun time with a lot of laughs

– More strawberries from the farmer’s market!


These are already washed, cut, and ready for breakfast tomorrow :)


– An awesome and easy dinner!


Totally unlike me, but I had nothing planned for dinner. I know what I’m making tomorrow, but I couldn’t even push that meal up a night because I’m waiting for some meat to thaw out.

I remembered that I had a half pound of Laura’s Ground Beef in the freezer so I set that out to thaw in some cold water while I got everything else ready.


I also found this Bertolli sauce Foodbuzz sent me through the Tastemaker Program a while ago.


The sauce itself is pretty thick and rich, so I only used a few tablespoons tonight.

I cooked an onion with some roasted red pepper and garlic and then added in the ground beef. After that was browned, some salt, pepper, parsley, basil, oregano, crushed tomatoes, and some of the Four Cheese Rosa sauce went in to simmer until the pasta was done.


Easy! I served mine over some steamed broccoli for a one-dish dinner. I love having meals all in one bowl – they’re so much more fun to eat this way!

– Nick and I bought our tomato plants yesterday!!!





They’re all heirloom varieties (not hybrids) AND the plants were started right over in Floyd, VA!


All ready and waiting to be planted :)


I’m ready for some ANTM, Top Chef Masters, and reading tonight.


If you haven’t voted today, you can click here!

What did YOU appreciate today?

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  1. Aw, appreciation day sounds so fun! I loove home grown tomatoes. I need to buy a plant and try to grow some on my balcony.

  2. Oh! We got a brandywine and a pineapple plant too! I’m excited for the heirloom varieties.

  3. Oh gardening… I need to acquire something to grow… it would make me feel a little more green. :)

    I appreciate the fact that I don’t have to work tomorrow and get a nice break in the middle of my work week!

    Have a good night of tv and reading!

  4. i appreciate my kitten, who was all about cuddling me today!

  5. I appreciated my healthy teeth that I don’t floss nearly enough!

  6. I love Floyd. Just saying.
    Sometimes simple, classic dinners are the best!
    Tonight I went to a potluck and got to play with a puppy and a three year old. Lots of kisses from both, a bite from the kid pretending to be the puppy. Pretty content and appreciative right now!

  7. Totally jealous of your tomato plants. I guess I could grow a windowsill garden, even though I live in an apt in NYC, but I think I will hold out for when I have an actual yard some day. I bet homegrown produce tastes twice as good!

  8. Those tomatoes all sound delicious! I can’t wait for local tomatoes AND strawberries! I appreciated kind words from readers on a rough day!

  9. I appreciate that I had made some foods ahead of time so I could just throw together dinner. Hunni and I took a 3 hour nap after work and didn’t have time to cook.

  10. Yep. Voted again!

    I am appreciative for my supportive bosses who want me to be successful, and my legs that carried me eight miles on a run that they didn’t really feel like going on!
    Oh and 100% for the sunshine and heat we are getting in MN right now!

  11. ive had my fair share of strawberries today; dont u just love them!!! mmmmm<3

    happy reading tonight:)

  12. I LOVE those beautiful little berries!

    Yesterday, I appreciated warm grains over cool greens :)

  13. Sometimes simple & last minute meals turn out rather impressive–this one sounds delish. Growing up, my mom would always whip together some last minute pasta dishes that have now become standard fam favs!

  14. I’m the compete opposite way, I have to plan out all of my meals. Especially dinners. I just get too excited to try new recipes.

  15. Hey Brandi:

    I tried a version of this recipe a few nights ago–I used whole wheat pasta and skipped the beef (I’m a vegetarian). It was wonderful! I also put it on a bed of broccoli, which was great because it actually got Eric eating some broccoli!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    -Cheri Lemieux Spiegel

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