During maternity leave this last time, whenever I started cleaning the house, Deaglan would stop what he was doing and look up in surprise.
“Mommy, who’s coming over?” he’d ask as if that’s the only time I ever cleaned.
I always explained to him that I was tidying up so we could have a neat place to play in. And when I was done, I’d intentionally ask him to describe how he felt when he looked around, hoping he’d associate good feelings with a clean house. I haven’t seen any dividends from my Pavlov-ian efforts but I still hold hope that someday it will pay off.
It’s the one area in which I’ve wished for just a hint of mental illness in myself, a trace of OCD. Before Jon and Kate became known for their divorce and public theatrics, I watched in awe, Kate’s organizational skills. I sat mesmerized while she worked through her day keeping to a tight schedule of never-ending meals, laundry and hair-braiding.
I’m not neat by nature.
We had some family over for lunch today. I cleaned for several hours in preparation. Yesterday I worked on the main floor and this morning after an extra large coffee I did the bedrooms and bathroom upstairs. You’d have thought I hadn’t cleaned in weeks. It’s the thing about having two small kids, a spick and span house can be turned on its ears within about ten minutes.
I’m not just telling you this to convince you that Shaune doesn’t do everything around here. I was exhausted and starving by the time he had this pasta on the table in time for lunch.
There were four of us snapping our fingers, making stupid faces and clapping to get these knuckleheads to cooperate for a picture with Gramma and Grampa.
Shaune's Sausage and Pepper Fusili
Tomato ragu (yields 5.5 liters)
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 small onions diced
8 cloves of garlic minced
Half cup of red wine vinegar
Half cup of sugar
1 bay leaf
2 cans of tomato paste
2 2.84 liter cans of plum tomatoes pureed
1 tablespoon of basil (optional)
Salt and pepper
Sweat onions and garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat, gently until translucent. Add sugar and the redwine vinegar. Add tomato paste and cook for three minutes. Add the tomato puree (Shaune's note: do not over-puree the tomatoes; you want it chunky but with no large chunks. Use an immersion blender if you have it, or food processor or regular blender - immersion blenders are cheap and the best way). Turn to low heat until the desired consistency is met. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add basil (optional) or minced hot chili for spicy ragu. For pizza sauce reduce to thicker consistency and add one teaspoon of ground fennel seed!
Sausage and pepper fusili
One package of mild or hot Italian sausage
Sliced green peppers and mushrooms (you can choose whatever vegetables your crew will eat)
Grill sausage and let cool, slice thinly on the bias.
Sautee peppers and mushrooms in one tablespoon of olive oil. Add grilled sausage and heat through. Add tomato ragu and toss with fusili.
Gramma brought a caesar salad and garlic bread, and Aunt Katie an apple crisp. Needless to say we didn't eat dinner tonight.