first signs of winter

Yesterday it was quite a surprise to wake up to snow. Even if it was gone an hour later and replaced with cold rain, it’s still always exciting to get that first snow fall to signify that the holidays, ski season, Christmas music, delicious treats and comfort foods, and the need for hats and cozy mittens are just around the corner!!!
It’s my favorite-est time of the year!!!

I decided to take advantage of the icky weather to stay inside and try my hand in the kitchen by whipping up a spicy, cheesy, delicious baked ziti for He Who Shall Not Be Named and me. Thankfully, it’s a pretty hard recipe for even me to mess up and, trust me, I mess a lot of things up. (Once, I made homemade meatballs and replaced a 1/6th teaspoon of cinnamon with 6 tablespoons. Cinnamon french toast meatballs anyone? No, turns out, no one wants them.)

What should have taken about 45 minutes from prep to table, took closer to an hour and 45. But, despite a couple mishaps involving boiling water (no injuries resulted) and the realization I should have drained the sausage (sorry, arteries), I’d say it turned out pretty well:

Complete with some garlic bread, Pinot Grigio, and San Pellegrino garnished with, what else, but lime, to wash it all down . . . (best shot I could get, I was in a hurry to dig in):

And the meal was topped off with a slice of caramel apple cheesecake (yes, it was as amazing as it sounds).

(After inducing a food coma, we were happy campers and watched the movie The Adjustment Bureau . . . looking for something different to watch? Highly recommend it!)

So, I’d say my cooking adventure was a success and now I’m excited to try out other tasty dishes (and I know He Who Shall Not Be Named is excited, too, since he is the lucky participant).

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