Monday, October 22, 2012

Save Yo' Ass Slowcooker Spaghetti Sauce

A week ago, I would have told you the scariest thing on Earth was the damn trailer commercials for Sinister.

{I mean, WHAT. THE. FUCK. Y'ALL.  Those suckers have been keeping me awake for weeks.  And every time I block the images from my mind, another one pops up during a Real Housewives reunion, and - BAM! - I'm back to weighing the pros and cons of Getting Up Yet Possibly Being Slaughtered vs. Wetting the Bed whenever I wake up needing to pee in the middle of the night.}

But I'm here to tell you, there is truly nothing more terrifying than a very, very sick baby.

A couple of days after L was born, her bilirubin levels skyrocketed and she was admitted to the NICU.  After a somewhat dramatic delivery {yes, there's a birth story in me somewhere... perhaps I'll get it together prior to her first birthday}, I was just so relieved to have her healthy and in my arms... Then she became inconsolable and unnaturally yellow.  A bad case of jaundice is hardly life-threatening with proper care, but I distinctly remember those feelings of fear and helplessness as the nurses wheeled my teeny, tiny newborn out of my room.  

Fast-forward almost eight months... I'd like to think I'm generally more collected than that freshly-minted mama in the hospital, but, give me a 96 hour viral infection of an unknown yet absolutely beastly nature, and I'm the same blithering mess.  The only difference being now we're at home and there's no nurses to reassure you that things will be okay... no big red call button to push when the thermometer reads 104.2 at 3 a.m.  

I don't care how many issues you and He have to work out -- when you see those numbers pop up and your child won't eat or drink, you start talking to Jesus.  And you start talking, quick

I am absolutely enamored with this age, but I will breathe a little easier when L can tell me where it hurts.  Acting as your child's voice when you don't {and can't} have all the information just adds an entire new layer to the Sickness Stressball Cake...

Do you push for an emergency sick visit even though the nurse is sure it will pass in 24 hours? {yes}

Do you tell the kind, grandfatherly on-call doctor who exclaims "well, she doesn't look that sick!" that you think is Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease diagnosis is questionable? {not to his face}
Do you push for a second emergency sick visit? {yes}

Do you let your doctor put a catheter in your screaming baby to check for infection?  {no... and then, yes}

After 4 days of Terrible, someone is finally feeling Betterish!

It's definitely been a lesson in parental advocacy .. and one that left me more exhausted and frustrated than I've been since the sleep regression days.  But!  I am happy to report that L is back to 100% eight days later.  I am also happy to report our could-of-been-a-big-bummer weekend turned into a great one, thanks to GranJan -- who came barreling up 35 on Friday morning with bran muffins, Rudy's BBQ, and chicken curry in tow.  We now all have clean underpants, pedicured toes, and full bellies... And E and I even got to sneak away for a movie night {Argo, y'all -- really good stuff}. 

Given our past week, there wasn't much happening in my kitchen save for this easy spaghetti sauce that I barely managed to throw in the crockpot on Tuesday.  We ate on it in some form or fashion until through Friday... It was delicious, comforting, and rescued us from a week of takeout.  Make it when your proverbial frazzled ass needs some help with supper.  Or, ya know, when it's Tuesday. 

Slowcooker Spaghetti Sauce #wfd

Save Yo' Ass Slowcooker Spaghetti
slightly adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

- 1 lb. lean ground beef {I use 96%}
- 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 pounds tomatoes, roughly chopped then pulsed together {or 28oz can of crushed tomatoes}
- 8oz can tomato sauce
- 6oz can tomato paste
- 1 T. brown sugar
- 1 large bay leaf
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 t. dried oregano
- 2 t. dried basil
- 1 t. dried thyme
- 3/4 t. salt
- 1 t. red pepper flakes 

- 1 pound whole wheat spaghetti 
- 1 T. EVOO
- freshly grated Parmesan for serving

Brown beef with onion over medium-high heat until cooked through.  If you are using meat with a higher fat percentage, drain the mixture.  Add beef and onions to the crockpot along with the rest of the ingredients {through red pepper flakes}. Stir to combine, and cook for 5-6 hours on Low setting.  

Prepare pasta al dente according to the package directions, drain, and toss with EVOO so noodles don't stick together. Serve sauce atop pasta and garnish with Parmesan.  Serves 6-8. 


  1. found your blog recently and I LOVE IT. if you are ever in the market for a new BFF, i think we'd get along swimmingly. just sayin'. keep me in mind.

  2. You're already a much more steady mama than I am. A 104 degree fever in the middle of the night would have sent me straight to the pediatric ER in my jammies and crocs. Especially with a baby not willing to eat. In the light of day it's always easier for me to realize that the Tylenol will work in 20 minutes, that it's just a virus, that it'll pass. But those middle of the night scary moments make my rational mind completely disappear. Anyway, so glad she's feeling better! And what a lucky woman to have a mom willing to drop everything and bring good food and good company!

  3. Completely agree - it is one of the scariest things ever to have a baby that sick. Did it wind up being a UTI? We had a similar experience earlier this year & it was harrowing at best. So glad you're over the worst of it and L is feeling better!

    1. Official Diagnosis: Virus of Unknown Origin + Terrible Yeast Infection {just as an added bonus!}. The pedi figured the yeast infection coupled with my family history of reoccurring UTIs {it's like a curse} might = UTI, but no dice. I feel terrible they had to do the catheter to rule it out, but I'm so happy she won't remember it!

    2. Who even knew babies could get UTIs and yeast infections? Maybe I am just an idiot but it seems cruel & unusual. I told myself the same - at least she won't remember the catheter. I wish I could eternal sunshine it away too!

  4. I'm so sorry L has been so sick. What a stressful, crappy week for you all. Hurray for Moms of Moms who come to the rescue!
    I've had to make the midnight (I think it was actually 10 pm) shaking, crying, feeling-like-a-crazy-woman call to the on call pediatrician. I second-guessed myself all the way, but I'm glad I did it and I would do it again. Sick babies are scary and sad.

  5. Glad to hear L is feeling better and yes please to the birth story :)

  6. Ugh, the catheters are. the. worst. And, that's coming from a mother of a preemie who spent almost three weeks in the NICU. I swear I had more tears than she did because I KNOW how much it hurts. I've never gotten emotional of any sort when she's had vaccinations, but whoo, boy, that catheter was awful! And, then they had to do it again because they didn't get enough of a sample. I was a mean mama to those nurses.


happy little comments!