It’s All Alright & White Lasagna

Fair warning, this is a long post. I have been trying to be positive lately. I feel like every time someone asks me a question, I respond with a negative answer. “How was your day today?” “Eh, it was okay.” I have so many things to be grateful for, so why do I complain so much?! I think everyone does this, though. I read an article today talking about the exact same thing so I decided to come up with a list of things I am grateful for, reason why I am lucky to be me, reasons to stop complaining. 

 

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First and foremost, my parents let me live rent free while I’m figuring out my life. I cannot even explain what a relief it is to not have a rent check to write every month.

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Speaking of my parents, they are amazing. They completely support me in everything I’m doing. “Mom, what if I don’t work this winter and just travel instead?” “Do it! You’re only young once!” When I do feel like complaining, they listen and tell me that everything will work out. When I think of some new crazy idea of what to do with my life, they go along with it. I am so lucky to have them.

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Seriously though, I am considering not working this winter, and that is a real option for me. Who gets to do that?? I actually have the ability to not work and just travel around the country (hopefully the world someday too, but I’ll start with America). I will hopefully have enough money saved and know enough people that will let me crash our their couch. I know there are a lot of people that don’t even have the option of going on one vacation a year. 

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I have money in the bank. Not a lot, but enough that I don’t worry about it. Maybe to some people it isn’t a lot, but I’m okay with it. I’ve actually never worried about money (thanks mom and dad for teaching me that! ‘Its just money”, they always say). I don’t worry about whether or not I can afford to eat out or take a long weekend to visit friends. When I feel like shopping, I can. I know my limits but I don’t let money get in the way of doing what I want to do.

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On the topic of money, I do not have outrageous student loans. As I said earlier, my parents are amazing, and they paid for my first two years. Plus, I went to a SUNY school and it wasn’t crazy expensive. While I do have some student loans, I know people who have waaaaay more than I do. 

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I have a college degree. I may not be using it, or want to go into that field anymore, but its still mine. I have accomplished something that not everyone can or will do and no one can take it away from me.

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I have a job and I actually like it. This is my sixth year there. Something brings me back every summer. Maybe its the fact that my co-works have turned into people who feel like family. Maybe its because I’ve made friends there that I actually talk to outside of work about things other than work. Maybe its because I get to be outside, on a boat all summer. Maybe its because I get to meet interesting people from all over the world. Maybe its because they let me take off anytime I want to travel. Maybe I should stop complaining about my job because there is a lot to like about it. 

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Did I mention my friends? I don’t get to see some of them nearly as much as I would like, but I can call them any time, day or night, and they will be there for me. We share some fantastic memories – from drunken college nights to vacations visiting each other now that we don’t live together. They have become the sisters that I never had. I cannot wait for the next chapter of our lives when they start to get married and have babies!

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So in the end, it’s all alright. Next time I want to complain about something I am just going to think of all the things I have to be grateful for.

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And now onto the food! I got out of work early today so I could cook at home alone. I made Creamy Artichoke Lasagna, a recipe from Kraft, for dinner tonight and got to get chicken marinated for tomorrow night. The original lasagna calls for chicken, but both times I’ve made this I left the chicken out.

Ingredients:

  • 1 14oz can artichokes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 8oz package shredded mozzarella 
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 8oz packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 12 lasagna noodles

Directions:

Cook lasagna noodles according to the package. Preheat the oven to 350. While noodles are cooking, chop artichokes and combine with tomatoes, half the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. In separate bowl, beat softened cream cheese until its even softer. Beat in milk and garlic power (carefully, the milk tends to fly everywhere). Mix half of the cream cheese mixture with the artichoke mixture. Spread half the the remained cream cheese mixture on the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Lay in 3 noodles. Spread on 1/3 of the artichoke mixture. Repeat layers two more times. Top with remaining noodles, then cream cheese mixture, then remaining mozzarella. Bake covered about 25 minutes.

I served the lasagna with grilled watermelon. If you haven’t tried grilled watermelon, you need to go try it right now. Its so easy to do, too. Cut a watermelon into thick slices like you would if you were just going to eat it plain. Then grill for a few minutes on each side. Just enough so there are grill marks but not so its burnt. Sprinkle with coarse salt. SO delicious!

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Happy Cooking!!

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