Samples and Stirs

After a very long Monday, I did the only thing that is a sure fire way to melt away some of my stress.

I stirred something on the stovetop. Specifically, pasta sauce.

Cooking anything is typically therapeutic for me, but just stirring seems to be the most calming. Maybe because I don’t necessarily have to think about anything…I can just stand at the stove, in my jeans, tshirt, and bare feet, stirring my sauce and watching it bubble.

So that’s what I did.


I put some crushed tomatoes and some frozen cooked tomatoes from our garden last year in a pan with some garlic, salt, fresh parsley and basil, and a splash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.


With tomato season so close, I wanted something light and fresh on our pasta. I’m happy we already have some parsley and basil growing on the porch – they were the perfect addition to the sauce.


I had mine with some broccoli, and Nick had his with some meatballs I cooked for him.

After an easy dinner, I’m ready for a nice night of reading.

I got the books I ordered in the mail last week, and one of them is the next Coffeehouse Mystery in the series! I started it last night, and it’s as good as all the others. I’m ready to get in my pajamas and settle in with my book.

Sound like the perfect way to end a rainy Monday to me.

Oh yeah!

I tried a new bar today for my snack.


Kardea sent me some of their bars to sample, and I just got them over the weekend.

Kardea was founded by an avid cook and foodie, Rob Leighton, when he was diagnosed with high cholesterol in his late 40s.  With a professional background in the food manufacturing business, he wanted to create healthy foods that were tasty and enjoyable to eat.  His first products are gourmet wellness bars, which are unusually low calorie and more nutritious than most other energy or “nutrition” bars.  Each bar contains 7 grams each of fiber and protein, and 1 gram of heart healthy plant sterols, in only 150 calories.  They come in four flavors and have great texture, providing both chew and crunch. 


I tried the Cranberry Almond flavor today.


Delicious! It chewy and crunchy, all in one bar. The base texture was a little sticky,  but it had a great crunch throughout the bar from the almonds and oats.

I can’t wait to try the other flavors.


What do you do when you’re stressed?



  1. Can you tell me how you froze your tomatoes? I’m growing tomatoes for the first time this year and I know that I’ll have more than I can eat. I plan on sharing plenty but it’d also be a good idea to freeze … I didn’t even know that was possible!

    • Typically, Nick makes 2 tiny slits on the bottom of each tomato, drops them (whole) in boiling water for a minute and then takes them out and drops them immediately into ice water. Once they’ve cooled for a minute, you can peel them really easily.

      Then we just cook them down on the stove top, let them cool, and freeze in bags or containers!

  2. I like to cook when I’m stressed too! Nothing too complicated – just something simple and soothing! And I like your plan of pj’s and a book…might have to do the same!

  3. I totally agree, being barefoot in my kitchen, with some music on, cooking something always helps me to feel better. That or a good weight workout at the gym.

  4. I usually head to the kitchen…not to eat! But to bake! Well, of course there was some sampling after I baked those goodies. My other tactic is to go for a walk or jog. Always good to get some fresh air!

  5. Wow!
    I had a rainy busy monday too AND I made a homemade tomato sauce similar to yours tonight !
    Paired it with fresh egg spaghetti noodles though ;)

  6. I’m sorry you’re feeling stressed, but I’m glad you know that cooking often makes you feel better. I just wrote a whole post about learning how to relax! :) Typically, exercising makes me feel less stressed, but lately I’ve been doing more reading and cooking to mellow out. That sauce looks super tasty!

  7. I love to bake when I’m stressed. Either that or an easy run. Works every time!

  8. Um… I had the exact same thing for dinner, only I was a total slacker and I didn’t make my own sauce. It was totally weird opening up you blog and seeing my dinner!

  9. sorry you’re feeling stressed. when i am, i book a massage, or if funds are low that month, i take a hot bath. or both.

  10. I just posted about this today!! I definitely bake when I’m stressed or bummed out. Did it yesterday! :)

  11. Two words: Bubble. Bath.

  12. I cook, too! I started using baking as a way to procrastinate in high school, and I’ve done it ever since. It feels so productive to fulfill a simple task, and it helps to realize that you can accomplish other bigger things, too.

  13. I bake and clean when stressed. You can tell when it’s finals time because theres so many cookies and the house will never be cleaner. :P

  14. I usually plan and organize, it seems to calm me for some reason haha. I love the Kardea bars too, such a strong flavor.

  15. That is exactly what I made for dinner tonight (pasta w/ sauce and broc)! Too funny! :)

  16. That sauce looks amazing! I completely agree that stirring is therapeutic…which is why baking is my go to I suppose :). Cranberry Almond was my favorite of the bars. It had such great flavor and reminded me of a cookie dough my mom makes. Hope you had a relaxing evening! Best, Nora

  17. chewy*sticky*crunchy* im pretty sure u just described the makings for the best bar ever!

    ive heard such great things about those bars.

    xo <3

  18. stressed = reading and listening to piano music. or playing the piano if i have it around!

  19. I tried that bar years ago when it first came out but haven’t seen them since…I am dying to try more so glad to hear such a great review!

    The homemade pasta sauce looks great.

    When I am stressed I try to relax with my boy with a movie and cuddle or go for a walk with my pup!

  20. Nancy from Kardea here. Thanks for the great review and comments. :) You can find Kardea bars at health food stores (ask at your local Whole Whole Foods if you don’t see them on the shelf) — or they are available online from many vendors too. If you order from the Kardea site, we’d like to offer you a 15% discount, use code DISCOUNTS at checkout.

    Thanks again, and eat well!

  21. I always think heading to the kitchen is such a good stress reliever!! And I’ve never heard of those bars before, but I am always looking for new ones to add to my stash :-)

  22. I clean when I’m stressed. The scrubbing back and forth until something is clean and pretty even if it isn’t my life is stress reducing. I also run sometimes to just kind of run away from the stress.

  23. I love those Kardea bars!

    I love to go running if I’m stressed. It really allows all of my thoughts to be straightened out.

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