I think in life that we always find that certain someone that changes the way we look at things. They change the way we do things. Frankly, they change our entire existence at times. Then sometimes, they scare the crap out of us with how much they know our heart. That’s my friend Sara. I met her in 2004 at our then workplace. Wherever she advanced in the company, I seemed to follow her lead (minus the management part). She was the perfect example of what hard work and dedication looked like in the job place.
Sara and I moved to our final department together in 2009. We shared intimate moments from our lives outside of the workplace as well as gathered inspiration to get through the day at times. She left the workplace first, and then I followed suit. We both took leaps of faith with leaving the security of one job to another. She, to be a wonderful stay at home Mom to her beautiful girls. Myself, to pursue a career path closer to my passion with food.
Sometimes we go through life not knowing what to expect in our next chapter of life. But, it is times like that when it is so reassuring to know you have someone in your corner. See, Sara moved about 4 hours away a few weeks ago. Up until her moving time, we gathered a few last times for a few “last meals”. Sara makes the best tuna salad, lasagna, and was holding back on these amazing stuffed shells that she makes. I enjoyed our meals and conversations together immensely. They always seemed to come at the right time. I am also thankful that she is a great friend of mine that loves food as much as I do and is always willing to open up her kitchen to me! —- The last meal, when we had the stuffed shells, Sara’s daughter was so excited to give me a gift she had picked out for me. They had a bible for me. Not just any bible, but a pink bible. Sara had given me explicit instructions to read a certain book in the bible for the situations I have been going through lately, and I know she was making sure I had absolutely no excuses not to read it. Sara and her husband have moved through life with leaps of faith. With every leap she takes, she spreads the love of God as well. This was just another example of her inspiration to others.
In that…she is the perfect example of God’s love everyday, and that is something I hope to follow in her footsteps with as well.
Happy Birthday to my amazingly beautiful friend, Sara. I love you.
She’s made an appearance on TheOnyxPlate.com before, and you can find that recipe for her easy Lasagna at this link here. We normally paired our meals with a good salad, bread, and a tasty dessert. Of course by tasty dessert I only mean brownies or Peach Cobbler. *smile*
Below is the recipe for our “last meal” while she was in town…her Stuffed Shells.
Sara’s Stuffed Shells
12 oz pack of jumbo pasta shells
2 – 15 oz cartons of Ricotta Cheese
2 cups shredded Mozz cheese
1.5 cups grated Parmesan Cheese (I’ve used both grated and shredded before; both work)
2 tbsp dried parsley (or 1/2 cup fresh–I’ve never had fresh on hand, so I always use dried)
1/2 tsp salt (I also add about 1 tbsp basil and 3/4 tsp oregano–or roughly 1.5 additional tbsp of a mixed italian seasoning when I don’t have the specific herbs on hand)
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
Preheat oven to 350. Cook jumbo shells according to package directions. Drain and let cool. Mix eggs in separate large bowl. Add Ricotta, Mozzarella, parmesan (directions say to add 3/4 cup and using reserves for top–I’ve been adding all it lately in the mix and then sprinkling extra some on top), and all the seasonings/salt. Spoon the cheese mix into each shell. Spread some spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a greased 9×13 baking dish. Arrange shells in dish. Top with spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle with parm cheese and mozz. Bake for 25-30 min or until heated through. ENJOY!!!!