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  • Jennifer Stewart

pure patience.


According to the Oxford Dictionary, the meaning of patience is: The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious. In an attempt to set an example of this, I am going to write about my husband. Who is, quite frankly, the most patient person I’ve ever met.

Patience. A word that may just be a word, but can set many things in motion. Faith. Peace of Mind. Clarity. Happiness. And Love. Over the last 365 days, my home has been under quite a bit of renovation. And when I say renovation, I mean a job that was supposed to be quite simple…. That turned into a beast of a transition. BEAST. We moved into this unique log cabin over 2 years ago in the rural part of the city/state. Without going into much detail, let’s just say that we encountered what most married couples do after 10 or even 20 years of marriage. We knew the first task at hand was our downstairs bathroom… and after my husband threw a hammer into the shower wall we discovered an unforgivable amount of black mold. This sped up our renovation project and what was once one room… turned into the entire downstairs floor. And then it turned it into redoing all the plumbing. And then it turned into redoing all of the electric. And then it turned into us restaining the entire inside of the cabin. A new hot water heater and a new washer and dryer… And then we added a baby room because well…. That also happened.

The best part of this story is that my husband, the patient one, did all of this by himself. He tore down all the walls. He read a book and taught himself how to redo all the plumbing in our home. He dug through a few mounds of poopy water to cut out the roots of a tree stuck in our pipes. He always told me he hated electric work… and yet, he taught himself how to rewire our entire home. He stayed up many nights late and sometimes he didn’t go to bed at all. Yes, there were a few fights… mostly because I wanted us to hire someone to finish it. He was tired. Stressed. But most of all, he was patient. The kind of patience that everyone should have or want to have.

I’m writing about him tonight because he deserves to be written about. The amount of time he has spent his last year working for his family...He’s sacrificed his job, his friends, and his livelihood to complete our home. And we’re almost there… just a few more finishing touches until it’s done.

My husband’s favorite food is lasagna… and my lasagna is the bomb. So here you go.

CLASSIC LASAGNA

By Me.

  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage

  • 1 pound lean ground beef

  • 1 large white onion, minced

  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 1 (28 ounce can) crushed tomatoes

  • 2 (6 ounce can) tomato paste

  • 1 (15 oz can) tomato sauce

  • 2 tablespoons white sugar

  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil

  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds

  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (divided)

  • 1 pound lasagna noodles

  • 30 ounces ricotta cheese

  • 1 large egg

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1 pound deli sliced mozzarella cheese

  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, add in ground sausage and ground beef. Use a spoon to break up the meat into small pieces. Add in onion and garlic and cook until meat is well browned, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar, fresh basil, fennel, oregano, ½ teaspoon salt, pepper, and ¼ cup chopped parsley. Pour in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and tomato sauce. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer 1-4 hours, stirring occasionally.

  2. Meanwhile, place lasagna noodles into the bottom of a pan. Pour hot tap water directly over the noodles, making sure the pasta is completely immersed in the water. Let them soak for 30 minutes, then drain and discard water.

  3. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining 2 tablespoons parsley, ½ teaspoon salt, and nutmeg. Refrigerate until ready to assemble lasagna.

  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a deep 9x13 pan.

  5. To assemble, spread about 1 cup of meat sauce in the bottom of the prepared pan. Place 4 noodles on top. Spread with ⅓ of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with ¼ of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1½ cups meat sauce over mozzarella, then sprinkle with ¼ cup parmesan cheese. Repeat layering two more times to create three complete layers. To finish, place a final layer of pasta, topped with another 1 cup of meat sauce to cover the pasta. Top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover loosely with aluminum foil.

  6. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes to allow cheese to brown. Serve hot.

I would like to pair this lasagna recipe with a little James Taylor. And I know that when my husband reads this, he will probably tell me that this song is really about something morbid or about his ex-wife, but alas, when I hear this I think of my husband walking our son around our newly renovated home… singing Copperline to him. Softly. Sweetly. Rocking him to sleep. With as much patience as a person could have. James Taylor is also a favorite in our house… it’s the perfect remedy for any long drawn out log cabin renovation.

I know it seems quite clique to say that I have the best husband. But I really do. I’ve searched the whole World for you… You continue to challenge me. With your grace. With your unconditional love for your family. And for your absolute patience. Thank you for your hard work this year and thank you for our beautiful home. When I look around, I know that there will always be a piece of you everywhere inside our little log cabin.


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