Best homemade lasagna

I talked about this on the most recent episode of Friendlier, but I thought I should share it AND write it down, so that I remember it.

Ingredients
1 lb bulk sausage (I use Harris Teeter Sweet Italian Pork Sausage)
1 onion, chopped
2 jars of pasta sauce (I use one Harris Teeter Arrabiata and one Harris Teeter Garlic Lovers)
12 lasagna noodles (regular, not no-boil type)
16 oz Ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly grated black pepper
3+ cups of shredded cheese (I use a combo of mozzarella, asiago, provolone, parmesan, romano, and fontina that comes in a bag, but you can’t really go wrong here)

Directions
Brown/crumble the sausage and fry the chopped onion in a deep skillet (I do both at the same time; you can also add some chopped garlic if that’s your thing). Add both jars of pasta sauce to the onion/sausage, turn the heat way down, cover, and simmer for at least two hours, stirring occasionally.

When the sauce is nearly done simmering, bring a pot of salted (very salty) water to a boil. Add lasagna noodles and cook a minute or two less than specified on the noodle package (this should mean very al dente noodles). Drain water and lay out noodles on a silpat, parchment, or waxed paper, so they don’t stick to each other.

Preheat over to 350. Combine ricotta, eggs, half cup of parmesan, and some freshly ground black pepper and mix until uniform. Add a little sauce to the bottom of a 13×9 baking dish (just so the noodles won’t stick), then lay out 4 noodles side by side on top of the sauce. Distribute half the ricotta/eggs/cheese mixture onto the noodles (cover as evenly as possible), then add at third of your remaining sauce and spread out. Sprinkle a third of your cheese evenly on top of the sauce. Add another layer of noodles, followed by remaining ricotta/eggs/parm, more sauce, and more shredded cheese. Cover this cheese with the final four noodles, then cover the noodles with the remaining sauce, and cover with foil. Bake in preheated oven* for 45-60 minutes. Then uncover, top with remaining cheese, and bake another 30ish minutes.

*Your 13×9 will be very full, so it’s a good idea to put your lasagna pan on top of a cookie sheet or foil on the bottom of your oven to save a mess.

P.S. I realize this is only sort of homemade because I use sauce from a jar. Oh, well.

Plum at 12! months

Nearly always all fours crawls, unless she’s holding something, in which case she still chooses commando crawling

Has pulled up independently to a full stand at least twice and a half stand—where her legs are straight but her torso is still parallel to the ground—a whole bunch of times, and usually puts her feet down first when we’re setting her down

Can climb up and down a single short step like the the threshold of our door and the cat scratcher

Loves dancing (seated on the floor and in our arms) and invents new moves daily. The best by far is a head/torso wiggle.

Kind of fakes a laugh when she hears other people laughing both in real life and over Facetime/on podcasts

Mimics the cats’ meowing and sirens with a sort of high pitched “aaaahhh” sound

Mimics the dog’s barking with “hm hm”

Much more interested in crawling after us and the dog and cats than playing with toys

Always up for a book. Looks through them herself a lot each day, and also loves listening to us read. Current favorite: Ten, Nine, Eight

Loves most food, but really, really loved the carrot cake Vati (my dad) made for her birthday. Atta girl.

Plum at 11 months

Says cat (sounds like haT), all done (aw duh), and maybe shoe (sooh) and dog (daw). Still messes around with da, ma, and ba in various combinations.

Sits up in her bed, which sometimes might make it tricky to go back to sleep.

Claps, waves, and, when asked if she’s going to give her baby a kiss, brings dolls to her mouth for an open mouth “kiss.”

Almost always chooses the forward movement of commando crawling over rolling. Mid month,she went from pushing with just her right leg to using both much more symmetrically.

Sometimes all fours crawls. In prepping for all fours crawling, does a lot of spiderman stretching and rocking back to a seat.

Has started to reach up for things (the Christmas tree, coffee table, straps hanging off her high chair, etc.) sometimes from her knees.

Can sort of climb small obstacles like our legs and the cat scratcher.

Able to eat pieces of crackers and whole cheerios (these are the driest foods she’s tried).

Tried water in a sippy cup at the beach house we stayed at after Christmas and loved the cup (as opposed to the open cups and other sippy/straw cups she’d tried before). Luckily it was the cheap-o kind from the grocery store.

Enjoyed eating paper at Christmas time and loved the gifts—especially the books!

Kind of dances/bobs around to music or singing while sitting in her high chair/on the floor or while being held by us.

Kind of sings along with us when we sing and imitates other sounds that we make like coughing or emphatic talking.

Intention 2017

I was looking back, and I don’t think I wrote anything about my intention word for 2016. It was presence, which turned out to be absolutely perfect for the first year or so of parenting. I did my best to be present with all the changes that having a third human in our family brought to relationships and my concept of myself, and I’m thankful that I had this intention word to reflect on this past year.

For 2017, I’ve chosen the word thrive. I love the idea of continuing to be present with everything I experience, and I think thrive could be the next step in this mindful awareness and enjoyment of my life. I also want to continue to support Plum and Andrew to thrive, as I explore ways to feel and be more wholly myself. I’m still thinking through whether I want to take specific steps or implement particular practices to support the realization of this intention, but I’m sure everything will become more clear as the year unfolds.

P.S. Sarah & I talk all about intentions for the new year in this week’s episode of Friendlier, which came out today!

Plum at 10 months

Goes from horizontal to sitting up on her own! It is shocking and amazing to look down and see my baby sitting up when she wasn’t just a moment before.

Still rolls most places, but now combines rolling with army crawling. I love how much she hurries when she sees something she wants.

Claps all the time, even on command; loves songs that have clapping integrated like “If you’re happy and you know it.” She also does other gestures as part of that song: claps her feet and puts arms up overhead for “hooray.”

Waves, sometimes belatedly, but fairly consistently when asked whether she’d like to say bye-bye

Loves to repeat consonant sounds over and over: ba, ba, ba, na, na, na, da, da, da

Answers most things we say with one emphatic, “Da.”

Sometimes adds a “t” sound on the end of da, like “dat.”

Has two bottom teeth, and doesn’t mind when we brush them

Expert at pincer grasping everything, even slippery foods and tiny pieces of leaves and pet fur, which she then eats

Still eats everything. New this month: chicken noodle soup, turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing.

Often holds a piece of food up high out to one side and looks at it, then brings it to her mouth with a flourish

Laughs delightedly and often. Grins hugely when she sees family members, especially the pets.

Loves to interact with all people (at the fabric store, grocery store, etc.) and especially loves other babies.

I hold my phone as if to take a photo and she turns on the cheese immediately.

Can turn board book pages if I first lift the page up and then ask if she’d like to turn the page.

I have a podcast!

If you’re like me, you’re alternately watching Twitter, the TV, and the chocolate chip cookies you’re baking to combat your anxiety (ahem). Let me offer you what I hope is a fun alternative to election coverage: my new podcast.

Called Friendlier, it’s a collaboration with my dear friend, Sarah. Every episode, we’ll catch up on life lately, talk about what we’re reading and eating, and chat about something specific. In our first episode—released today!—that something is our college experiences.

We’ll release new episodes every other Tuesday. You can listen on our website, on iTunes, and soon on Stitcher (we hope). If you like what you hear, please subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts, and either way, we want to hear what you think!friendlierlogoitunes