Monday, November 1, 2010

Lucky Seven

For seven years, I’ve felt like the Luckiest Girl in the World.

That’s because I’ve got The Husband.

He is totally my best friend and the love of my life.

God. This sounds like a Hallmark card.

Fitting, since today is our wedding anniversary. And all of the greeting cards I’ve perused in the past week to mark the occasion have been totally lame.

This year’s anniversary is particularly awesome because our baby is due for arrival any day now. And we have waited for him for what seems like an eternity.

Well, just about four years.

It’s funny how life works out sometimes. Back when Mark and I were engaged, we attended pre-Cana classes, as required by the Catholic church. During our classes we each confirmed that we wanted two children – preferably a boy and a girl. We decided we would have our first three years into the marriage. No. 2 would come a couple years later.

It’s safe to say that the plan was an epic fail. And despite our many years of crazy happiness and good times, our inability to have a baby brought us much stress and tears and worry and woe. But, we did learn that sometimes matters of life and love don’t work out based on a planned timetable.

No doubt, The Husband is going to make an amazing Daddy.

How do I know?

It’s evident each night when he talks to my belly and the biggest smile ever lights up his face. Or, when he practices his storybook reading skills while the bambino kicks me and I just laugh. Or when we patiently put together baby gear and install car seats whose instructions were written by crazy people. (No offense, if you write baby equipment manuals.) The signs of Awesome Daddy in Training are all over his face during my doctor’s appointments or when I’m folding freshly washed baby clothes or when he's planning for Junior's future finances.

And then there are those moments when I wake up in the middle of the night obsessing about having a happy and healthy baby. I toss and turn, then pace the house, peruse the Internets or play solitaire or clean a room or organize a pile of clutter. Inevitably, I will eat a bowl of cereal. Three hours later in an attempt to find sleep again, my jostling around sometimes will wake The Husband and he’ll hug me and say, “Don’t worry. Everything’s going to be OK.”

And with that, I can rest soundly.

I hope our baby inherits many of his Dad’s qualities: Gorgeous smile, charm, good humor, passion for life, patience, determination. Because, for reals, The Husband rocks.

And I really am the Luckiest Girl in the World. Happy anniversary, Baby Doll! You know I love you.

Today, I’m sharing with all of you one of The Husband’s hands down favorites: Gnocchi. I go by the Giada De Laurentiis recipe, but I do mix the dough with my Kitchenaid handmixer, rather than a fork as the recipe calls for.

I made gnocchi for The Husband a couple weeks ago. They were fab. Making homemade pasta is fun, and I envision my little boy helping me do this one day. Maybe they will be his fav, too.

I served the gnocchi with my Mean Marinara. For the recipe, please see below.


From “Everyday Pasta”
By Giada De Laaurentiis
Makes about 54 gnocchi

2 baking potatoes, such as russet (about 12 ounces each)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup all-purpose flour

Pierce the potatoes all over with a fork. Microwave the potatoes on high until tender, about 12 minutes. (You can also bake the potatoes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 50 minutes, or until tender. While the potatoes are still warm, cut them in half and scoop the flesh into a large bowl. Discard the skin. Using a fork, mash the potato well. Stir in the egg, salt and pepper. Sift the flour over the potato mixture and stir just until blended.

Scoop out a large spoonful of gnocchi dough.

Roll each scoop on the work surface into about a ½-inch-diameter rope.

Cut the dough into 1-inch pieces. Roll each piece of dough over a wooden paddle with ridges or over the tines or a fork to form grooves in the dough. Set the formed gnocchi on a baking sheet while you form the rest of the dough.

Working in two batches, cook the gnocchi in a large pot of boiling salted water until they have all risen to the surface, about 3 minutes. Scoop the gnocchi into a colander with a slotted spoon while you cook the second batch.

Serve gnocchi with your favorite sauce, warmed and top with grated cheese.

Please note: The Jersey Girl makes her dough using a KitchenAid handmixer, instead of a fork and spoon. The mixer leads to a smoother dough.  When rolling out the dough, lightly flour your surface so that the dough is easier to handle.

Mean Marinara

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion or half a medium/large onion, finely chopped
8 (yes 8) cloves of garlic, finely chopped
¾ tsp. red pepper flakes (you can cut back this)
1 can Cento pureed tomatoes (28. oz)
1 can Cento crushed tomatoes (28 oz.)
A little bit of water – probably half a cup
20 fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and onion. Sweat the garlic and onion for five minutes. They should be very fragrant.

Push the garlic and onion to one side of the pan and toast the red pepper flakes for a minute. Mix into the garlic and onion.

Add the pureed and crushed tomatoes. Use a little bit of water to rinse off the tomato on the sides of the cans and pour into pot. (We Italians don’t like to waste food!) The water should measure to a half cup.

Add salt and pepper to taste. I did 20 grinds of my pepper mill and a scant 1/4 tsp. salt.

Snip basil leaves into pot with cooking shears.

Turn your heat down to low. Simmer partially covered for 45 minutes. Make sure you stir every 5 to 10 minutes.

Enjoy now or tomorrow or freeze for later on in your life.


  1. You should never make a man tear up when he's on deadline. We've shared an amazing seven years, and I've definitely been the lucky one in this partnership. I love you so much, and I can't think of a greater blessing for Jersey Baby than to have a mommy like you. Happy anniversary!

  2. Very sweet, Mark. God blessed you both.

    Susan, is that your belly in the photo above?

  3. Have you checked out

  4. Hi Nanette! Yes, I checked out your blog. Love it. I never knew eggsalad was you until I saw on Facebook that you started your own blog. That is my belly above. Hope you are doing great! I stopped by the office in September, but you weren't there.