Here is a great recipe that is definitely nice and cozy for the colder months and also very simple and healthy.
As far as the lasagna noodles, brown noodles are preferred or to keep this healthy, try to find noodles with the least amount of preservatives.
And again, I don’t measure seasonings so do what you feel!
Veggie Turkey Lasagna
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 75 minutes
9 lasagna noodles cooked (brown preferred)
1 large zucchini sliced thin and wrap layered in paper towel (moisture is packed in these and will water down your food if not/mandolin works best)
Fresh spinach chopped
Portobello Mushrooms (1 package diced fine)
2 large green peppers diced
1 lb. ground turkey
15oz ricotta (part skim)
1 large can of tomatoes or 1 jar of low sodium pasta sauce
1 bag mozzarella cheese
Fresh cracked pepper
Red pepper flakes
Set oven to 350*
In a large skillet cook turkey, mushrooms and green peppers with a little olive oil.
Once turkey is cooked through, add your tomatoes with all of the seasonings above (as you prefer)
Bring to a boil then let simmer for about 5-10 minutes.
While this simmers, take your ricotta and egg, beat briefly till mixed.
Take a dish and put down a thin layer of sauce, then 3 noodles, some ricotta mixture, some mozzarella, line noodles with zucchini, add spinach then more sauce. Repeat until you can’t any longer! It should finish topped off with cheese.
Cover with foil and place on center rack and cook 40-50 minutes. (I like a crispy top so I wait for it to get brown.)
Let sit once completed about 15 minutes before serving. Feel free to top with fresh parm once removed from oven!
If you are wanting more dinner meal prep recipes like this one, check out this recipe here! —> Lean Burgers & Zucchini Chips
Introducing another brave soul in our Laugh Always Spotlight – Wrae Sanders. Sometimes a life changing event alters the rest of your life and you must have to learn to live with it. Please read on to read what happened with Wrae.
Late March, 2013. I was a mom of three, working full time as a mental health associate in a large mental health facility. I loved my job, but my marriage and home life were falling apart. My younger son had been diagnosed with ADHD and Autism two years earlier, but my husband hadn’t quite caught on to the diagnosis and the support that I needed. He was doing great with our son and other two kids, but me? Not so much. At that point, I wasn’t sleeping well. I wasn’t eating well, and I was constantly stressed out.
I started having bad headaches, and I just assumed they were due to being busy and not taking care of myself, but I kept going. One headache went big, however, and I couldn’t ignore it.
On March 30, 2013, I was at work, pulling in overtime. I was scheduled to work until 7 PM, instead of my usual 3 PM. I didn’t mind this. As I previously stated, I loved my job, and on that day, I was at a semi-outpatient unit away from the main facility. I’d had a bad headache all day, but as the day went by, it just got worse. At one point, my right arm started to feel funny and I couldn’t even hold onto the crayon I was coloring with. Weird. My vision was a bit blurry, and I was starting to get nauseated. At this point, I decided to go home. I called the scheduling secretary and told him I wasn’t feeling well and drove home. NOTE: If you even think you are having a stroke, please do NOT DRIVE! Please have someone drive you! Looking back, the nurse that I was working with felt terrible once she found out what had happened, but neither of us knew at the time, so I wasn’t mad at her. Even more ironic? The building I was in is literally within walking distance of a hospital.
I drove home and all I wanted was to go to bed and go to sleep, as I had done before with similar headaches. I got into bed and something happened. I couldn’t move my arm. NOTE: If you cannot move body parts, something is terribly wrong. Also, if you are showing signs of a stroke, DO NOT GO TO SLEEP!! This can end very badly. I started crying because I had no idea what was going on, and at that point, my husband, Matthew, called my mother. He was also a bit freaked out, and didn’t quite know what to do.
My mom took me to the hospital while Matthew stayed at home with the kids. She had to sign me in because I couldn’t write, and as soon as the staff realized what was going on, I was taken back into an exam room. My blood pressure was way out there- I’ll never forget the 200/110 reading and the look on the nurse’s face. I was immediately taken to get a CT scan. Within a half hour (if even that), it was determined that I was most likely having a stroke and needed to be taken downtown to a different facility. My mom left at that point, but I do remember telling her that if something happened and I didn’t make it, to tell my babies that I loved them. She is not a crier, but she cried as she left.
I don’t remember the trip downtown and what happened after, because I finally fell asleep, but I woke up on the stroke unit a few hours later. It was Easter Sunday. The neurologists told me that I had, in fact, had a TIA (trans ischemic attack, otherwise known as a mini-stroke), and it had occurred due to a migraine. This happened because the pain from the migraine agitated a blood vessel in my brain and things went bad from there. It had occurred on the left side of my brain, which is why my right side had gone all out of whack.
I was only 30, so this made me the youngest patient on the unit at the time.
I stayed in the hospital a couple of days, had a slight bit of physical therapy and went home. I started seeing a neurologist. I was told then to start making changes in my life to eliminate stress, and I made a big one by changing my job- I found a regular unit to work on instead of being on a different one everyday. I went to my favorite unit, a unit for kids with autism and other developmental and behavioral disorders. I started taking care of myself more. I spend more time with my friends, kids and family. I started doing what made me happy. I learned to have all the fun I possibly can each day, because I almost lost the chance to do so. Every year on March 30, I do something fun to celebrate my life. I also take a lot less crap than I used to.
The neurologists at the hospital warned my husband and I that there would be changes, and some of them would not be fun. They did not lie. Over time, I realized exactly what they meant. I have had migraines since the stroke, a few that have been so bad that I have had to go to the ER. Thankfully, I have medications that prevent this. I have a speech problem called aphasia, which means I jumble my words sometimes, or I have problems finding the right words to say. I sometimes pause when I am doing this. It is incredibly frustrating, especially for someone that talks a lot! This gets worse during a migraine. I have learned to slow down and explain this issues to others when I need to. I have some slight issues with balance. My short-term memory has been affected. If I don’t write things down, I may not remember them. I have an app on my phone that I use to write things down to help me remember things. My kids remind me of things a lot.
I’ve learned to adjust to these things over the years. It can be hard, but it beats not being alive to tell the story.
Wrae is a mental health and parenting blogger in Louisville, KY. She is married and has three children, who are 12, 11 and 9. She has a BA in Clinical Psychology from Spalding University. When she is not writing, Wrae spends time with her family and friends, or is reading and/or listening to a true crime podcast. She also enjoys coloring in adult coloring books.
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Thank you for taking the time to read Wrae’s journey and how she lives her life after a traumatic event. If you have a story that you want to share, please connect with me and I would love to tell it!
If you want to read more stories like this, please head on over to the Laugh Always Spotlight Edition section or you can click on this recent post here – Over the Rainbow – Laugh Always Spotlight Edition
This next story on the spotlight edition is something that I know has personally affected a few that I know. It is so sad to see that this becoming more and more common but I applaud those that share their experience with this journey because it is such a private thing. I can not imagine this pain, as I have yet to experience pregnancy or motherhood. However, thank you to those brave women who show their true strength through this battle, no matter if you are privately battling or sharing your story through social media. Please read on for Ashley’s story about her journey that reveals her and her husband’s amazing strength and about her “rainbow” baby!
My husband and I have been married for 13 years, and before we ever got married we knew we wanted to be parents. We wanted to foster and adopt but more than anything we wanted to have children also. We spoke about how many we wanted, names we liked, and how we would raise them. Little did we know how hard making our dream come true was going to be.
We started trying about a year into our marriage. I can still remember my husband telling me he thought I was pregnant. I can still remember the feeling when we confirmed we were expecting. No matter what those memories and those feelings stay with me. Just like I can remember the morning I was laying in bed and my water broke. I was 22 weeks along and home by myself as my husband had already left for work. I remember the feeling of panic as I called my mom’s hospital room where she had been admitted a few days prior. She calmed me enough for me to reason call 911, put my feet up, and breathe. My husband met me at the hospital and was with me every step of the way. My water had broken so there was nothing the doctors to do to save our hopes and dreams. I sat and waited to deliver my son in a state of disbelief. It was surreal we had an ultrasound two days prior, and even waiting in the hospital our son had a heartbeat. I had contractions but nothing so serious as they kept me pretty medicated. I remember I coughed and I said to my husband there is something between my legs, and I remember him struggling not to cry because the heartbeat was gone. He called the nurse who came in and verified I had just coughed and given birth to our son who was deceased. We dressed him, held him for hours, and then had to say goodbye. That was just the start of years of our hearts breaking. My husband lost weight and in my despair, I didn’t even notice he wasn’t eating. My mom noticed and she was the one who gave us the strength when we had none left. There was also a nurse who worked at my OB office and she reached out and offered support. I don’t know if we would have made it without her. We tried again and 4 miscarriages later we were at the point of just giving up.
We thought we would never be parents and then I was pregnant again. This time I was on bed rest. I remember each day being more stressful than the next and each milestone being approached with bated breath. When we went past 22 weeks we breathed and thought we made it. At 26 weeks I went to the ER and I told them something is wrong I can feel it. They assured me everything was fine. I went home that night and woke up the next morning covered in fluid because once again my water broke. We had just moved literally the day before so didn’t even have our house phone unpacked and for some reason, I could not figure out how to use my cell phone. I waddled over to a neighbor I had not even met and he and his children called 911, my husband, and my mom. Then this man who I did not know came and sat with me holding my hand until the paramedics arrived. I was taken in, given magnesium to stop the labor, and then a steroid that would rapidly develop my son’s lungs. I was then airlifted to a higher level hospital where they would give me more of this medicine over a course of 48 hours. Two days later as the doctor examined me he exclaimed I see a foot, and I was immediately prepped for surgery. We went in for c-section, and I remember lights surrounding me and the sound of a kitten. In my state, I did not realize that the kitten I heard was my son crying. My husband tells me that the doctors were frantically trying to intubate our son, but he fought it so bad one of the doctors noticed it was choking him rather than helping. They removed the tube and realized that my 26-week champ was breathing on his own. That’s when they calmed and put a CPAP on him. Apparently, my rainbow baby was stronger than even the doctors expected. Once I fully awakened from the medication and could move my legs I was allowed to go see him. When I saw him all I wanted to do was pick him up and hold him close but his skin was so thin to make sure we didn’t hurt him we could only touch the bottom of his foot or his palm of his hand.
I looked at my furry little 3-pound son and just knew he was mine and no matter what he and I were going to make it together. He was my rainbow baby. My miracle. My Aidan (little fire) Nathanial (Gift from God). We stayed in the NICU at Phoenix Children’s for 2 months but the miracle of all miracles he never required oxygen or surgery. The most he needed was a CPAP at room air levels. He did have apnea of prematurity but that was solved with what I dubbed his morning espresso since it was basically a caffeine shot. He had a feeding tube because at his age he was not old enough to know how to suck swallow and breathe.
Once he hit a month old we started teaching him how to nurse. He was a champ and quickly learned and after testing basically all of him and finding nothing wrong we were allowed to take our champion home.
From the start, he has been my heart. He has always been a fighter. He started so small but mighty in ways we didn’t even realize. So to all parents struggling through infertility or loss I say don’t give up and maybe your rainbow will come from someone else’s womb, or maybe it will come from your own but there is nothing more beautiful than holding your child after fearing you never would. There will be days that you feel your dream will never happen but hold onto your faith. To all NICU doctors and nurses, I say thank you because the love and care my family was shown is what carried us thru. I remember walking into my son’s room and a nurse was talking to him and loving him like he was her own. I stepped out quietly so as not to ruin the moment and when she was done I came back in ready to give him mama lovings. My son is 1tennow and is everything a mom could want in a son. There are times I look at him and I just know he is my rainbow baby, my light at the end of a dark time, my heart, my everything. #boymomdaze
I am a mom of four boys. Our youngest two are our bio kiddos and our oldest two are adopted. My husband and I are also foster parents and hope to have another child choose us as their forever family. The hubby and I have been married for 13 years and have had many ups and downs. Through prayer, faith in God, and the love of our family and friends we have overcome most obstacles and continue this walk of life. I am a pretty easy going person. I tell people all the time if there is something you want to know about me, ask because chances are I will tell you. I value honesty and integrity above all else. If I choose you as mine I will always have your back unless you do something to deserve me not doing so. I decided to blog because I was always posting things and had so many people say I should so I figured why not LOL.
Thank you for reading Ashley’s story. Make sure to connect with her if you can relate and to see pictures of her full family! If you have a story or journey you would like to share with the Laugh Always community, please contact me!
To read more stories like this, please head on over to the Laugh Always Spotlight Edition or click here – How I Live With Spina Bifida – Laugh Always Spotlight Edition
Until next time,