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Oct 9, 2015

Crab Alfredo Pasta

Growing up, one of my favorite things to do with my grandmother was make meatballs.  She made the best homemade meatballs and whenever I'd be at her house after school and she'd be making them, I'd end up being the one to mix all of the ingredients together.  Of course, I think she was happy to have me there to do it, as it always involved getting messy and sinking your hands into inevitably cold ground beef and raw eggs, feeling the sticky gooeyness of the ingredients mixing together.  She was probably thrilled on the days where she didn't have to take that job!  

Between my grandmother's meatballs and her homemade sauce, I learned some of the basics of an Italian kitchen.  We ate pasta regularly and of course, can never have enough bread.  My grandmother's meatball recipe is one of those age-old family secrets...we've passed it down from generation to generation, and I'm sure I'll pass it on to my own kids one day (when I don't feel like getting my hands cold and messy and instead, coax them into mixing the meatball recipe up the old fashioned way!).  

What I think I love most about our family's kitchen, though, is that it's always been a place of gathering.  Whether it's a day of baking for the holidays, making a family-favorite meal, or even just sitting around a box of pizza, the kitchen is always a place of good conversation and community.  I've sat at my mom's kitchen island and chatted while she prepped dinner many times.  I can't count how many times I hung out and baked cookies (or made meatballs!) in my grandmother's kitchen as a teenager and gushed about boys or complained about school.  My aunt and I have made great memories in her kitchen as we've cooked and eaten together.  Food brings people together, and the act of cooking it is a bonding experience.  

As someone who comes from a beach-loving Italian family, the marriage of seafood and pasta is a dream come true.  A cheesy combination of Alfredo, crab, and light Angel Hair?  That's a match made in heave, if you ask me!  One of AJ's favorite pasta dishes is a shrimp pesto pasta, and I personally love anything with shellfish, so pasta for dinner is a no-brainer.  

We came up with this crab alfredo pasta concoction the other night and it was a big hit.  It was super easy to make and can be adapted with your favorite sauce, shellfish, and pasta!  

1 box of Angel Hair Pasta (we used 1/2 the box and had enough for 3-4 people)
A few clusters of frozen snow crab legs (we used two nice sized clusters)
2 tsp Italian seasoning
2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

HOW TO // 

Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in one pot, and 3-4 cups of water to a boil in another large pot with a steamer basket.  

When the 3 quarts of water are boiling, add in 1/2 of your box of Angel Hair (or other desired pasta - follow cooking directions on box), and boil for 4 minutes for tender pasta.  Strain and set aside.

When the 3-4 cups of water comes to a boil, rinse your frozen crab leg clusters to remove any ice and then place in a steamer basket over the boiling pot.  Cover and steam for 6-8 minutes.  (Crab legs should be already cooked, you are just heating them through.)  When the crab legs are warmed, remove the meat and set aside.

In a separate microwave-safe dish, heat 1/2-2/3rds of the jar of Ragu Alfredo Sauce in the microwave (this can also be done on the stovetop), stirring occasionally.  

Combine the pasta and sauce, season with Italian seasoning, garlic, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.  Top with crab meat and enjoy!  (Try adding a spoonful or two of Ragu Tomato & Basil sauce for an added kick!)

Ragu carries on the family tradition of Assunta Cantisano and her Italian heritage, and stems from an age-old family recipe.  They use farm-grown ingredients with no artificial flavors and no high fructose corn syrup, making it a great choice for your next family dinner!

Oct 8, 2015

The Golden Vlog // October

I'm so excited for this month's Golden Vlog because a) I missed September; b) there's a fun giveaway going on this month; and c) Faith has put together a really fun team of hosts for this link-up moving forward!  I've been given the opportunity to join Faith and this team to host the Golden Vlog each month, and I'm really pumped to get to know these girls better and plan out future prompts for this fun link-up!

It's always really cool to get to know your favorite bloggers and blogging friends via video, and the Golden Vlog is perfect for that!  If you haven't ever joined in, here's the scoop:  each month, our team will be putting together a theme and series of questions, which we'll announce as the date for the next link-up gets closer.  Sometimes the questions are silly and sometimes they're serious.  You film a short vlog of yourself answering the prompts, and then post and link-up with us!  The link-up goes live on the second Thursday of each month!

This month, we're going deep and talking about insecurity.  Watch the video to hear about one insecurity that I've struggled with.

Here are the Rules . . .
1. You must follow your hosts on at least ONE form of social media to linkup w/ us. 

2. We want to see your face! How many times you roll your eyes, and if you talk with your hands! So link up a post featuring your VLOG answering this months questions! Please link up a post not your blog's home page, and be sure there is a VLOG (video blog) featured! This is the Golden Vlog after all ;)

3. Add the button above or a text link to one of the hosts to help us promote this crazy thing!

4. Spread the love! go watch, listen, and comment on other blogs and make some new friends!

If you have any questions at all or want to be included on our monthly Golden Vlog Letter with next months questions just email lifewithmrsgandtheartist@gmail.com
*all links not featuring a vlog or this months questions will be removed!
And to kick off our new role as hosts, we're giving away a fun box from Sesame Gifts!  Sesame has these sweet gift boxes that you can order for yourself or send to a friend...and one lucky reader will get a box of their choice up to $35!
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An InLinkz Link-up

Want to join in with us and post the button on your blog/post?  Grab the HTML code below!

Life w/ Mrs G & the Artist

Oct 6, 2015

Things My Dad Taught Me: Changing Your Oil Isn't That Hard!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DIYOilChange #CollectiveBias

My dad is an aircraft mechanic by trade, and that means that I've essentially never paid for car repairs.  He is the kind of guy who can fix anything and, well, he fixes everything.  He believes in taking care of things, and taking care of them well, and that means that our cars have always been on strict maintenance schedules.

Last year, when I bought the car I had had my heart set on for so long, a VW Jetta, it came with a pretty hefty oil change price tag.  Taking it somewhere to have my oil changed would mean shelling out over $80 for someone else to do what I knew I was capable of doing.  So I asked my dad one day to teach me how to change my oil, and he was happy to oblige.  (This is also the man who insisted I knew how to change my own tires, and I'm incredibly grateful for that, especially since I've had two nails in two different tires in the past 8 weeks!)

I'm pretty independent, and I pride myself in being able to take care of myself for the most part, so learning basic car maintenance has been a really empowering thing for me!  When AJ and I got a flat tire a few weeks ago, I was so proud that I knew exactly what to do!  (For the record, so did he, and he did 90% of the work....but I could have if I had needed to!)  While changing my own oil seems daunting, it is a skill that's good to have, especially in the event that I would ever be in a situation where it would be necessary.

As it turns out, changing your oil in your car on your own isn't rocket science.  Choosing the right oil takes a little bit of research (check your owner's manual for the specifics), some skill, and attention to safety.  AJ is a huge believer in using the best products to take care of your car so that it will run smoothly for a long time.  We chose Pennzoil's Platinum full synthetic motor oil for a few reasons.  It provides complete protection for your engine, and if you've ever owned a German car, you know that repairs aren't cheap, so it's important to us that we take good care of our VW!  We liked that Pennzoil Platinum helps keeps your pistons cleaner, delivers better fuel economy, helps protect from loss of power, and provides industry-leading protection from friction.  It's also backed by a warranty, which is important as well!

If you're changing your oil for the first time on your own, here are a few tips to help you get started:  

1 // Get guidance from a seasoned pro.  By "pro" I don't necessarily mean a mechanic, just someone who knows the ropes and can help guide you in the process!  Like I said, it does take some skill, so having someone around who knows what they're doing is helpful.

2 // Follow safety measures.  Wearing gloves and even goggles are great measures of protection for your skin while changing your oil.  Other basic safety measures that are important include putting something behind your tire to make sure it doesn't roll while you have your car jacked up!

3 // Consult the manual.  Make sure you check your owner's manual so that you get the right weight and grade for your vehicle.

4 // Keep it clean.  Changing your oil can be messy, so make sure you have paper towels or rags, a funnel, and maybe even an owl tarp or towel on hand in case of any spills!

5 // Don't skimp!  There are a lot of options out there for choosing your oil, but only top-of-the-line brands are worth it.  Remember that your engine will run so much better with better oil.  Go with Pennzoil Platinum for optimum engine protection and performance!

We were able to easily find the grade of oil we needed for our car at our local Walmart.  Look for the Pennzoil bottle and take advantage of Walmart's wide selection!

And for more info about changing your own oil, check out these 5 oil change tips!  


Oct 5, 2015

Gift Giving Made Easy with Sesame Gifts

It's really hard for me to believe that we've reached October already.  Last week, we gathered together all of the volunteers that keep our creative arts afloat at GT and spent some time appreciating them.  The theme of the evening?  Christmas.  I spend Wednesday evening putting together a little Christmas scene and I can't tell you how many people walked by me and commented on how it was "too soon" to think about it!  But when you work for a pretty large church, you start planning Christmas during summer, so it's never really too early.  

While I'm mostly excited that fall weather is starting to arrive and nowhere near ready to start thinking about Christmas lists myself, Thursdays meeting did make me think about gift giving.  We've had a lot to celebrate in my family lately...both my brother and I got married in the span of a month, AJ and his sister both graduated from college, my cousin and his wife are going to be having their first baby in November.  It's a season of celebration and it's been really fun to find thoughtful gifts for each person to celebrate their unique accomplishment or milestone.  

I've always loved giving gifts.  I was the kind of kid who would give my parents their Christmas gifts early because I just couldn't stand the anticipation of giving them whatever I had found or made for them.  And now, as an adult, I love trying to select the perfect gift for each person I love or sending gifts "just for so" as a surprise and a way to make someone's day a bit brighter.  I think the simple act of gift giving is a great way to show someone that they're on your mind and let's be honest:  who doesn't like receiving a surprise gift?

That's one of the reasons I love Sesame Gifts...they make it so easy to surprise someone that you love by simply choosing a gift box online or on your phone.  I decided to try out Sesame for myself to check it out before I relied on it to send a gift to someone else, and I'm so impressed.  From the packaging to the sweet little air plant and planter I received, to Sesame's thoughtful hand-picked and hand-packed gift sets and attention to detail, I can't wait to send some fun surprise boxes to friends!  

Sesame has graciously offered to gift a few Heavens to Betsy readers with a code for $15 off of a box!  Check out their website here and enter below! And right now, with Sesame's "Gift More, Get More" campaign, for every $100 you spend on Sesame gift boxes, you get an additional $20 in credit!  Check out Sesame on Instagram at @SesameGifts for weekly #SesameSunday giveaways!  

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