Editor’s Note: As our parenting section continues to expand its content, we want to give you a chance to get to know our writers on a more personal level as they share their insights on parenting, their lives before parenthood and much more. First up this week is Lauren Spagnoletti, who started her career as an actress in Hollywood and who you can follow on Twitter at @OneStopMom1 and read her articles here.
How did you get here, as a writer for PJ Media Parenting?
My journey in life wasn’t a predicted path—but writing has always been at the center of it. Even as a young kid, I can remember being a stickler for grammar and spelling. And now, as a cancer survivor and a new mom, parenting defines all that I do, including writing. I come from a long line of writers, although uniquely enough, my career began as an actress and producer in Los Angeles.
You were an actress first? What made you give up Hollywood?
When the pace of Hollywood became tiresome, my husband and I moved to the opposite coast. I went back to school, earned an MBA and decided I would become my own boss. Then, one short year later, I was expecting. I now have a real interest in connecting with other moms, through my writing and my business ideas.
Wait. So actress, producer, writer and now throw entrepreneur into the mix? Tell us about your ideas.
When I’m not writing professionally or working for Fordham in admissions—which, by the way is something else that keeps me busy – I’m drafting business plans. My latest being a meal service for moms that makes meal time easier and appeals to both foodie parents and picky kids.
We’d love to know how you’ve bridged the food divide and found dinner recipes that work for parents and kids. Can you share one of your recipes?
This recipe can work for kids anytime, and can be either lunch for mom and dad or a side dish at dinner. It’s a simple and delicious mac & cheese that parents can’t resist:
I prefer Acine de Pepe because the small noodles are easy for my son’s semi-toothless mouth, and they’re a fun little shape. But I sometimes use orzo as well. You can use any pasta that works for you and your family. You can also play around with the cheeses and veggies that you use—have fun with it. The recipe below serves 2 little people (or one little person for 2 meals).
½ cup of acine de pepe or orzo
¾ cup of finely chopped broccoli (or frozen peas if you prefer)
1/3 cup of cubed cheddar (I like Vermont Cabot cheddar, but most any cheese will do. For a smokier flavor, try Gouda)
¼ cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (I sometimes use Pecorino Romano, which is slightly sharper, as well)
1 tablespoon of plain yogurt
Salt to taste
Bring 1 3/4 cups of salted water to a boil.
Add acine de pepe to the water and stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
As the pasta begins to absorb the water (about 6-7 minutes), add the broccoli and stir. When the pasta and veggies are thick and have absorbed nearly all of the water, turn the heat to low and add the cubes of cheese, the grated cheese, and the yogurt. Stir until smooth and remove from heat.
Salt to taste and serve warm (Unlike his father, my son refuses to eat cold mac and cheese…)
What are the go-to blogs you follow regularly that are a must for other parents?
Neurotic Kitchen is amazing because it has delicious recipes that aren’t impossible to make
And its sister site, Neurotic Mom, is a life saver for moms looking for food options for kids: https://neurotic-mom.com/
Get to Know Lauren Better:
- I can’t live without: Coffee. It’s cliché but I cannot start my day without it.
- If I had one week and an endless budget, I’d escape with my family to: the Caribbean. We are ready for some warm weather, and it’d be fun to take my son into the ocean.
- The book I can’t put down right now is: Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year by Anne Lamott. It’s an unfiltered look into that crazy first year with a baby. A must-read for moms.
- One piece of advice I’d give my teenage self would be: Always have a plan. Life moves too fast without one.
- Parenting is: Redefining the plan you had for your heart. If you thought you loved before, you realize you knew nothing about it until you became a parent.
Lauren has an MBA with a concentration in Media Management and Communications. She loves her new role as a mom, and is enjoying writing about everything she discovers along the way – from recipes, to financial tips, to navigating the emotional insanity that is motherhood. She runs the site one-stop-mom.com and enjoys yoga, running half marathons and eating delicious food. She currently lives in New York City with her husband, Adam, their son Jacob, and dog, Parker.