Monday, April 16, 2012

What's for Dinner? Crock Pot Lasagna

This weekend I had a photo shoot late in the afternoon. I knew there was a chance that I may not be able to make it back in time for dinner, and wanted to have something ready to go for my husband and kiddo. I needed a quick and easy crockpot meal, that required zero additional steps once everything was in the pot. Of course, I turned to Pinterest, and found a bazillion pins for crock pot lasagna. I've seen this before and turned my nose up to it, because really, who the heck makes lasagna in a crock pot? But I was desperate, so I threw it together, crossed all my crossables, and fully intended to pick up a pizza on the way home.

It was awesome. In fact, I'll say it was the best lasagna I've ever had. (Sorry mom). Slow cookers are great because they can be convenient, but are also wonderful because they give food so much more flavor. I even forgot the ricotta cheese, and it was still awesome. (By the way, if you ever do that - just double the mozzarella, parmesan, and egg, and add a little sauce to the mix to keep it moist). It's a quick cook in the crock pot, so this isn't a leave it all day meal, but if you need something quick and easy and will be gone for a few hours, this rules.

Crock Pot Lasagna

Photo Credit - Kraft Foods

  • 1lb ground turkey or lean ground beef
  • 1 jar pasta sauce (about 2.75 cups)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1.75 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1.75 cups mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 6 lasagna noodles, uncooked
  • Brown meat in a large skillet and drain.
  • Stir in pasta sauce and water, warm slightly.
  • Mix ricotta, 1.5 cups mozzarella, 2 tbsp parmesan, egg, and parsley.
  • Spoon 1 cup of meat sauce into slow cooker.
  • Layer as follows - noodles (break to fit), cheese, sauce, noodles, cheese, sauce, noodles, sauce, cheese (or really, however you want to layer it). I topped it with more mozzarella and parmesan.
  • Cover with lid. 
  • Cook on low heat. This part will depend on your crock pot. The recipe calls for 4-6 hours, mine took about 3 hours.

Source: Kraft Foods

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Motherhood is Not a Competition

A few weeks ago I saw a quote on Pinterest. It read "Good moms have sticky floors, messy kitchens, laundry piles, dirty ovens, and happy kids." Looking around my house with floors that haven't seen a mop in weeks, stainless steel that hasn't seen love in months, and an overflowing laundry basket, I re-pinned it. It made me feel better.

This morning I popped onto Pinterest (dangerous when you're in a time crunch, by the way). And saw the same quote. The "pinner" had captioned it with "This quote really pisses me off! I have clean floors, folded laundry, toys put away, family fed, clean bathrooms (most days anyway...) Does that make me a bad mom, or just good at time management and organization????"

Before I go any further, I need to say that the pinner, and fellow commenters are good friends of mine. They will read this post. I have SO much respect for them, and this post is in no way aimed at them directly.

The hair on my back went up. My pinning friends are stay-at-home moms. My working mom defense went on full alert. I'm good at time management and organization. I also work two jobs, work 7 days a week, and on weekdays, work anywhere from 12-15 hours, with travel thrown in. We do this and still barely make ends meet. I work my ass off, and yes, I have dirty floors, and yes, I am a good mom.

I hopped in the shower, fuming quite a bit at what I'd just seen, and I realized, this whole thing, this whole quote, this whole competition between mothers, is just freaking ridiculous. Of COURSE the quote made my friends angry. I saw a bumper sticker a few weeks ago that said "People who work hard, vote Republican." Being a very hard working democrat, I wanted to drive the car off the road. It hurt my feelings. So for my SAHM friends, who also work very hard on raising their kids and keeping their homes, I can see how the quote would make them feel that their clean floors and folded laundry makes them poor mothers. For the record, it's not true.

Why are moms so competitive?? Is it because we are incredibly insecure? Or is it because we are crazy control freaks who feel like the entire world needs to agree with our every move as parents and wives? I've never ever met a mom who doesn't have a little snark in them about the way another mom parents. I think some of it is jealousy (most days I would give anything to be able to have the time to be with my kiddo all day and have a cleaner house), but I think a lot of it is that we need to believe that what we are doing is the best possible thing for our children.

Newsflash mommies - it is. You do what is best for YOUR children, and YOUR family. You do what you NEED to do for YOUR children and YOUR family.

So, moms of the world (myself included), get off your high horses. It doesn't matter if you stay at home, work, breastfeed, bottle feed, co-sleep, baby wear, cry it out, ferber, schedule naps, play outside, or wear freaking wool in the summer and hide in a cave with bears. Stop being so damn defensive. Be happy with your choices, and respect others' choices. You have nothing to prove to anyone but yourselves.

I've removed the dirty floors pin from my Pinterest page. I know my mom friends with clean floors, folded laundry and happy kiddos are just as good of a mom as those of us (SAHM and working moms) whose homes may not be so neat and tidy. In the end, it doesn't matter, and judging others for their parenting choices and housekeeping skills is just ridiculous. In the end, we all have one thing in common - we love our kids. Motherhood is such an incredible gift - embrace that you get to share this gift with other moms. It really would make this whole "mom world" much more enjoyable.