An Uncomplicated Life Blog: 2021

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

10 Minute Homemade Lasagna

 Use this super easy, throw together in 10 minutes lasagna recipe for weeknight meals


Well hey, it's been a damn hot minute since I've created a blog post! As in, I haven't done a non-sponsored, purely creative post in ummmmm a year and a half? I'm not self-centered enough to think you even noticed my absence; instead, I'll simply tell you that it's been a HELL of a year, that this blog was used in court to try to "prove" insults against me, so I was too scared to post regularly. And frankly, too drained to be creative. It was all I could do to get out of bed and care for my kids. Actually, that's a lie, I became gainfully employed teaching yoga, found and bought a house in the most competitive housing market in decades, fully furnished it from scratch (also no easy task with this nonsense supply chain shortage) and basically rebuilt my life from the ground up, but hey. Those are small details. You're here for the 10 minute homemade lasagna recipe, right? Well then, enough about me. Let's talk food.


As I mentioned, I started working again outside of the home. Yeah, this blog was my job when I was married - and it earned a decent income! - but I had to have a certain amount of consistent income, and depending on freelance writing and marketing was too volatile and scary with four kids. Back to work I went, this time teaching yoga, which is hands down the BEST JOB on the planet. Why I didn't do it sooner... Well, I'll never know. Anyway, that means I'm out of my home quite a bit. I used to make meals from scratch every night, but now I get home at 4pm with four hungry kids and there just isn't the time to cook like there used to be. So if you need a meal stat, this 10 minute homemade lasagna is for you.

Here's the key to how it's ready to bake in 10 minutes: I make my homemade bolognaise sauce in the CROCKPOT. Same exact recipe as the blog post, but instead of doing it on the stovetop for several hours (which requires stirring occasionally and adding water as needed - not a working parent friendly recipe) I add all the ingredients in RAW, except for the ground beef, which I brown on the stove, then cover it and turn it on. If it's cooking for 4-5 hours, cook it on high. If you're going to be gone/have the time to cook it for 8-10 hours, cook it on low. You'll come home to amazing pasta sauce! The good news is one batch of that is at LEAST two meals (this is serving the five of us, so if you're only feeding  two or three, it's going to be a ton of food).

You can throw all that in the crockpot and cook it the morning of, you can make it the weekend before, or you can do what I did and pull a batch from the freezer and defrost your sauce for the homemade lasagna. You can make this lasagna the morning of and throw it in the oven when you get home from work, you can make it and freeze it, and throw it in the oven when you need it (allow for extra baking time if you go that route) or you can throw it together after work and bake it immediately. I love a good, work-schedule-flexible recipe.


10 minute homemade lasagna recipe:
- Cheese mixture
  • 1 16oz container whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 a 8oz package mozzarella cheese, finely shredded
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper
- Bolognaise sauce recipe (half of the recipe will work for one medium sized lasagna)
- Ready to bake (no boil) lasagna noodles
- Remaining package of mozzarella cheese to top the lasagna

Directions:
- Mix the cheese mixture together with a spoon or spatula
- Have your bolognaise sauce fully ready, either defrosted or cooled to room temperature (slightly warm is ok, you just don't want it hot to cook/melt the cheese mixture) 


- In a large glass casserole pan, put a little of the tomato sauce down. Then layer a set of noodles to cover the pan


- Over the noodles, spread half the cheese mixture, trying to cover the edges well and ensuring an even distribution of cheese


- Over the cheese mixture, drop in spoonful's of  tomato sauce and spread with the back of the soon or a spatula 
- Add another layer of noodles, this time putting any "seams" on the other side of the pan (this helps hold the lasagna together after you cut it)



- Repeat these steps one more time. Add one more layer of noodles and top with sauce, then top that with the remaining mozzarella cheese. 



- Cover and put in the fridge if baking within 24 hours; cover with an airtight lid if freezing. 
- To bake, leave covered and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Then uncover and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until your cheese is slightly brown on the edges. I recommend baking it thawed, but if baking right out of the freezer, leave covered and bake for 55 minutes, then uncover and bake another 10-15 or until your cheesy edges are browned. 

*Depending on climate and elevation, if may take longer or less time. A convection oven will take less time; a traditional oven will take longer. More humid climates will take longer; higher elevation will take longer. Isn't the world bizarre?!*

Enjoy! An amazing homemade, from scratch meal is completely at your fingertips even if you work full time outside of the home, even on a weeknight. A little prep work goes a long way! I made my crockpot bolognaise sauce before work (took me about 15 minutes to brown the beef and chop the veggies and dump it all in there) and then I made the lasagna in less than 10 minutes and set it in my fridge for after work. I get home around 4pm with my kids after school pick up, which is just the right amount of time to turn on the oven, give them a small snack, bake this, and have it ready and cooled to eat before 5:30. I know, early dinner, huh? Yeah, if my kids eat later than 5:30, they turn into monsters... But, we're also in bed by 7:30 and up by 6:30, so we living our best early lives over here. 

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Fast food and take out doesn't have to be your way of life! You can prepare delicious, nutritious and organic (or not... your call) meals during the week. You just have to take a little time to think it out before you grocery shop and prep in the morning. Add this 10 minute homemade lasagna to your recipe rotation for super easy, affordable, and yummy home cooked weeknight meals. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Unexpected Motivation After A Tarot Card Reading With California Psychics

This post is sponsored by California Psychics. All opinions are my own. 

I had been feeling a little stuck in my life recently. After a slew of massive life changes, I was questioning if I had made the right choices. Perfect time to reach out to my friends at California Psychics, right? They've always provided insight and shed light on a wide range of life changes. Instead of astrology, I decided to focus on a tarot card reading, as I had had two astrology charts read before and wanted to switch it up.

California Psychics has over 500 psychic advisors with various specialties, including dream analysis, tarot card, psychic mediums and more so I thought, hey, let's do this! In 2019 in New Orleans, some girlfriends and I went for tarot card readings, and it was shocking what she told me: she predicted my divorce. Of course, she didn't say divorce. She told me she saw MASSIVE change coming for me, and a new house. So, I was really interested to see what the psychic advisors could do over the phone, as typically you have to touch the tarot card deck and cut it to get a read.

I found Ivan who had great ratings and I had never spoken to a male psychic advisor before, so I chose him and jumped right into our reading.

Ivan laid out my cards and immediately said, "wow, your divorce was hell, wasn't it?" I mean, yeah it friggin was. I won't go into it on my blog, but if you know me... you know. It took twice as long as it should have and cost three times as much as it should have, all to arrive at the deal I offered at the outset. Not that it's easy for anyone, but I was particularly put through the wringer. 

Back to the reading. After seeing that, he said here's the good news: You're on the right path. He explained it as my queen of something card was in some sort of position and of course I can't remember all these details, but that the cards were showing I was on the up and up. He said I would have some residual stuff to work through to move past the divorce, but that my career was on track. In fact, he said yoga teaching was EXACTLY what I needed to be doing, and that I would soon meet, or have recently met, a woman who would help me in my business. That I was not going to be going back to a 9-5 fundraising job, but that I was a budding entrepreneur who would build a new career - and a lucrative one at that - out of teaching yoga and all the components that go with it. That was wonderful to hear!

He told me I was on the right path with buying my own home and getting that set up for my kids. Oddly, he said I was on the right path in my relationship too. I asked what he meant by that and he said, "You're smart to take it slow. You still have some processing to do from your divorce and it looks like he needs to work through things as well. I think you both are a good fit, but nobody is going ring shopping anytime soon."

Which is funny he should say that, because my boyfriend just bought his own home. We had several conversations about living situations (his lease is coming up) and what we wanted for us and (thankfully!) we both agreed that we should have our own places - not just for our own independence but for the sake of our kids. Both sets of our kids (he's has two sons the same age as mine) have been jerked around with our marriage “changes” and we couldn't be another source of change having significant impacts on them.

It was so refreshing to hear Ivan say all this and also so bizarre that he could pick that up simply by looking at cards for a few minutes. It was very settling. Even as an adult, having that level of reassurance of the enormous path shift my life has taken over the last 18 months was not only calming, it motivated me to get some projects done around the house.

I spent the next several days doing all those little things you put off when you move. For example, I had dumped all my shoes into garbage bags when I moved them out of my ex's house. And they had been sitting on my bedroom floor since May. Please tell me I'm not the only one who puts off house stuff like this for no other reason than that it's annoying...? Anyway, this was one of the projects I got motivated to finish after my call with Ivan. I built my shoe racks and got all the shoes out of the trash bags, off my floor, and nicely put away.

Yes, those are trash bags. Yes, my shoes are in them. Yes, they’re on my bedroom floor. Yes, they’ve been there for months. I had been meaning to tackle this project, but was simply unmotivated to do it.

But being reassured I was making the right choices and setting myself, my home, my kids’ lives and my career up for long-term success kick-started me into action. Time to build the shoe racks and ditch the trash bags!

Voila! Shoes are nicely organized and finally put away in one of my closets. Confirmation of my life path from my tarot card reading with Ivan motivated me into action. Who knew a tarot card reading could do that?!

Have you ever had a reading done? It's always a great conversation and I've learned something about myself, my children and my partner every time I've had one. Click over to California Psychics’ website and check out their wide range of psychics - they have them at all price ranges! And use CODE LIFE10 to get $10 added to your account after your first reading. I've found all the psychic advisors I’ve used to be enlightening, motivating, and interesting. Who knows, maybe you'll even tackle those lingering house projects after you speak with one just like I did. 

This post is sponsored by California Psychics. All opinions are my own.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Living Your Best 2021 Life With Astrology

I partnered with California Psychics to have my astrology chart read to provide some insight on how the rest of my 2021 will shape up


This post is sponsored by California Psychics. All opinions are my own.

We all know what 2020 was like... And 2021 started off weird too! While I've read my horoscope many times, I've never had a reading on my charts before. I've had a Tarot card reading done in 2019 (and that woman predicted some thangs, y'all! A year and a half after my reading, most of her predictions have indeed come true) and astrology has always fascinated me. When the opportunity came up to partner with California Psychics, I thought, yes! This will be a fun way to get some insight to how the rest of my 2021 will shape up using my zodiac sign - Libra, if you're wondering. She told me some interesting things! Hopefully, I'll end 2021 living my best life based off her astrology reading on me.


I've had a curiosity about astrology for a good while now. Back when I was in college, I knew someone who was REALLY into it. I remember the first time I met him, within the first five minutes he said to me, "Wow, you're a strong Libra, I can tell!" I thought it was fascinating that by talking to me for a few minutes and gaging the way I spoke and carried myself, he could tell my astrological sign.

As a yoga teacher, I follow a number of other yoga teachers on Instagram, some of whom are really into the zodiac themselves, and talk about it regularly. Honestly, a lot of it goes over my head - something about their moon's being in Venus with a Capricorn sun transitioning gets me lost fairly quickly. However, they're able to use that information to know when they should avoid certain people or do certain things to remained grounded and balanced, and that's what drives me to want to know more about it myself.



Fast forward to my reading with California Psychics. I spoke with Adrianna, as she had listed that she specialized in astrological chart reading. The process is seamless - you go to their website, create an account then browse their psychic advisors. When you find one who resonates with you, you click "talk" and they nearly immediately call you, or you can make an appointment. What I appreciated about this service is that you pre-book your time, so there's no going over a time limit; you spend the amount of money you agreed to and signed up for, there's no surprise charges and your call ends after your designated time amount. No manipulation into spending money you didn't want to spend here! And if you want to add more time, you can easily do that without having to disconnect and call back. They’re open 24/7, so it's flexible, adaptable and serves you at a cost that works for you.

 


Adrianna asked me my sign and gave me an overview of how I interact with others. Then she dove deeper and asked me my birthdate, the place of my birth and the time I was actually born. This is when things got interesting! She paused and said she knew that I was psychic too (I am - I haven't talked about it here but I've predicted several major life events and told friends about them in advance. Once they manifested, those friends wanted to know "how I knew that" to which I can only say that I felt them coming a long time ago... I can also see ghosts but this tangent is getting long enough as is. File that under stories for another time, friends) and that my son Otto is psychic too, which is why he and I get along so well. Since the day Otto was born, there's been something about him that has drawn me to him and we're incredibly close. Now I know why. Kid is a little chip off my block.

I also shared my partner's birthday and asked her thoughts on the longevity of my relationship with him. She told me that our Venuses are aligned and that's why we're so passionate and attracted to one another. She also said there was a Karmic connection, as though our souls were together in another life. Interesting, huh? It's not all butterflies and rainbows though; we both have exes that will try to throw a wrench in our relationship. She mentioned that if we can successfully navigate our exes as it relates to our relationship (and we both have children with these exes, so they're going to remain in our lives...) that our relationship will last, just as it's lasted in past lives. Nothing like a baby mama and baby dad to swoop in on your current relationship to try to wreck it, huh?! Yeah, definitely never predicted my life story to go like this, but here I am.

I still don't know much about how moons and suns align and what everything means, but I did find my reading super interesting. Just from reading that, she knew many things about me, my family situation, what kind of marriage I had and my current relationship. She was kind, asked me questions but led the conversation, and her insight was great. I still have a few hurdles to get over before I live my best 2021 life, but I'm confident in the choices I've made for my life so far and am excited to move forward and rebuild my home life.

Interested in getting a reading done yourself? Head over the California Psychics website and book a reading! Use code life5 to get $5 added to your account after you purchase your first reading. It's super fun, unintimidating and enlightening. And if Astrology is not your thing, they also have Tarot readers, Numerology Psychics, Empaths, Psychic Mediums, Pet Psychics, Relationship Psychics and so much more.

California Psychics sponsored this post; all opinions are my own. 

Monday, January 11, 2021

DIY Valentine's Day Wreath

This DIY is easy to do and the materials are found at any craft store


Hey quarantiners, are you bored yet? Yeah, me too. We're not the quarantined here in Texas (praise be) but we still can't get out and about like we used to. Even with four kids, to save my sanity, I decided to start to invest some of my home time in to my major hobbies, which include wreath making (see this post and see this photo - a DIY on how to make a ribbon wreath and some photos of other wreaths I've made over the years) I decorated for Valentine's Day last year and intend to again. There's something satisfying about how girly and pink and red everything is when you're a mom of all boys that makes me absolutely love Valentine's Day decos - gimme hearts, pink, purple, red and white. It's surprisingly easy to make your own wreath, and the thing I love most about it is that you can customize it to fit your decor in your home. Here's how I made my own Valentine's Day inspired wreath.


Before I jump in, a shoutout is needed... I actually made this wreath for my boyfriend's apartment. He not only patiently waited for me to pick out all the supplies at Michael's Craft Store, he ran down to the maintenance guy to borrow a pair of wire cutters because the scissors he had wasn't cutting through some of the thicker wires of the silk roses I bought. What a guy! When I don't have a gag order on my personal life because of my active divorce hearing, I'll tell you everything this wonderful human has done for me, but until then, I'll simply mention that he loves holiday decorating as much as me and patiently assists my hobbies as I sit on his floor and furiously craft away. Don't worry, football is usually on for him. Tradeoffs, no?


Ok, back to wreath making. For any wreath, you need a base. I love to use natural material (think willow, grapevine, rattan, etc) because it's easy to weave your desired contents into the stick strands. Wire frames are great if you're using a decorative material that can be tied around the wire to secure it, but when you're working with garland, faux flowers or other materials that need to be wrapped, weaved or secured another way, natural wreath frames are the way to go. 

What you'll need:
Cut the roses from the long stems, leaving anywhere from an inch to three inches of stem attached to the flower so that you can weave it into your wreath frame. I also kept some of the green leaves, both on the flowers and then independent leaves to weave into the wreath frame as well. 



I chose white as the primary color for the wreath, so I started with a group of white flowers. Use your fingers to separate some of the wreath frame and insert the stem of the flower. Pull the flower towards the wreath frame until it's tight, then secure the stem on the back of the wreath by twisting it around other sections of the wreath frame. I alternated both colors and size of the blooms, occasionally using leaves instead of flowers, so the wreath looks balanced and "natural." Keep repeating the process until the wreath frame is hidden by flowers. The more flowers you add to your wreath, the easier it will be to secure the buds to the frame because the natural fibers of the frame will start to get full, and the more full it is, the tighter the flower stems will sit in the wreath, without having to secure them by twisting the stem wire in the back.

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Keep going until your wreath is nice and full. Sometimes you'll need to go back and take a flower or two out because it doesn't fit the pattern you start out with, or you end up with too much of one color or one kid of flower towards the end, but it's fairly easy to redistribute the flowers if that's the case. Don't worry about it being perfect off the bat, you can always change things around as you get going! What I love about DIY wreaths is that they're flexible, easy to make and customizable to what you want in them, the colors in your home, and your personal d├ęcor choices. Enjoy making this DIY Valentines Day Wreath - I know my kids love that we decorate for Valentine's, after all the sparkle of Christmas is packed away.