I have spent a lot of time feeling stressed lately. To which, I guess my response to myself is that is tax season so…what should I expect? (My mom said that is my dad’s answer to everything right now. “It’s tax season.”) I only work part time, but working part time through tax season while taking care of Evelyn full time and trying to do things like cook dinner and go to the grocery store is no joke. Some days I have dealt with this stress better than other days.
Other days, like last Wednesday, I don’t deal with this stress very well internally and I wake up the next day feeling sick…like weak and shaky and feverish. I was so worried about Thursday. I almost had Gerrit come home at lunch, because I felt like I could barely carry Evelyn up the stairs without immediately needing to sit down. I told Gerrit that morning that the monotony of taking care of Evelyn was starting to get to me a little bit. And to wake up facing that monotony by myself (because of snow and work we hadn’t had a day at home just ourselves in weeks and I felt out of practice) paired with not feeling well made me afraid of how I was going to end up at the end of the day.
When Evelyn’s morning nap came, I stole a tiny nap for myself and woke up feeling a bit better.
Then we spent the morning playing (she is trying so hard to pull up and stand against anything that is near her) and then we ate some lunch. Then is it was time for another little nap and I folded some clothes. Then we played some more, and tried on some spring clothes from her closet to see what fits now. We read some stories and she giggled all the way through Mr. Brown Can Moo Can You? And then I read something on the internet, a blog post, that made me realize how soon she’ll go to school. How quickly the next few years will go by and we’ll arrive at the doorstep of kindergarten. And I won’t have all day every day with her anymore.
These days can be so frustrating. But I fear I won’t be ready to give them up. I know we’ll transition into it with preschool and everything, and I have years to become emotionally prepared. But I hugged her and told her that I don’t even care. I don’t want any of my own time. I only want time with her. (Not actually true–there are so many things I do want time for. But in the moment it was.)
In honor of time efficiency (and a busy stressful season), here is a quick pasta dish we’ve been enjoying recently. It’s inspired by a couple of pasta dishes I saw in Dinner A Playbook, kind of a mash up between her pasta with peas and ricotta and her spaghetti with brussels and shallots. (Because I do not like peas, and shallots and brussels sprouts combined seems like it might be a little much for me). Instead we have my favorites parts of each…the ricotta and bacon from one dish and the brussels sprouts from another. It’s kind of like the chicken with brussels sprouts and bacon that I made so many times back in January, but with pasta which is both cheaper and quicker (exactly what I need in my weeknight meals right now).
To me the best thing about pasta dishes is how easy they can be and how perfect they are for a quick dinner on weeknights. This one is a bit indulgent with the bacon and cheese, but the brussels sprouts make up for that. You can cut the brussels sprouts however you like here; I like to thinly slice mine, but if you'd like to completely shred them that works, too.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 slices bacon
- 1/2 lb. short pasta (like penne or rigatoni)
- 2-3 tablespoons ricotta cheese
- 1 1/2 to 2 handfuls Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)
- Pour the olive oil into a large cast iron skillet or frying pan and place the bacon in it. Place over medium-high heat and cook until slightly crispy, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove the bacon and place on a paper towel lined plate to cool.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and and cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and place the pasta in a large bowl and stir in the ricotta, so that it melts into the pasta while it is still warm.
- If there was a lot of fat from the bacon, drain a bit of it (you want to keep at least 2-3 tablespoons). Place the brussels sprouts in the pan, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook them in the bacon fat until they are slightly browned, about 5-7 minutes.
- When the brussels sprouts are done, scrape them out of the pan and into the pasta. Crumble the bacon on top, add the parmesan cheese, and toss it all together. Serve warm, with more cheese grated over the top if you'd like.
adapted slightly from Dinner the Playbook