Steppin’ Out

I cheated last night. I feel guilty, dirty, and, surprisingly, good about it.

My clandestine affair began after I put the baby to bed at 7:15 p.m. I quickly changed out of my milk spattered yoga pants, spruced myself up (Mommy code: applied mascara and lip gloss), and tried to tame the butterflies in my stomach as I kissed my hubby and teenager goodbye. I proceeded to my car, took a long look at myself in the rear-view mirror, and gave myself the necessary pep talk to turn the ignition key. I knew what I was about to do.

I stepped out on my hairdresser. And she has no idea I broke the vows of our longtime exclusive relationship–yet (Mommy Dish note: she is unaware of my blog, so, don’t worry,  she won’t find out about it here).

Like all Mommies, I am completely booked 24/7. My absence–even for a few hours–requires a lot of forethought, preparation, and planning. I can’t simply escape when I feel like I am going to pull my over-processed roots out. My family is always taken care of before I even think about myself. It just goes with the Momager description, doesn’t it?

I have been quietly seething for awhile now. No, I am not passive aggressive, nor am I afraid of confrontation. My kid-packed schedule makes me inclined to live with lackluster results. And I am fiercely loyal, too. A one-two punch for complacency…until the major mess up right before Alex’s 1st Birthday party.

Here I am at Alex's party. I was forced to wear a headband to cover some of the orange, but you can clearly see a color clash regardless.

It’s much easier to change my hair color than my post-pregnancy pouch, so I pretty much color my hair every season. Winter welcomes rich, dark chocolaty brown tones, and spring begins the warm up to my annual summer blonde ambition tour. I went in to my stylist asking for a light brown with blonde highlights to make the usual transition. After four hours in her chair, I left with a tug-of-war between orange and brown hair. And that’s following the Elvis-like color I reluctantly sported all winter. I have complained (nicely–because I consider her a friend) for several months and wasted too many precious hours in her color correction chair. Now my 1st Birthday party pictures are tainted by my carrot top. Enough is enough.

I know I shouldn’t have cheated. I should be forthright and tell her why I have to dump her (my new colorist needs two appointments to correct my hot mess of hair), but the thought of it tears me up. How do you break up with a hairdresser you really like as a person and once liked as a stylist?

I prepared this week’s Rachipe (Rachael Ray recipe) in anticipation of my color correction (like I said, my family comes first). Stuffed shells are an easy make-ahead dish to pop in the oven before heading out the door to step out on your unsuspecting scissor spouse. You can trust me on this one–even though I am a cheater.

Stuffed Shells

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt water and add pasta. Cook shells 12 to 15 minutes, they should be softened but still undercooked at the center. Drain pasta and cool.

Combine ricotta, 1/2 of the diced mozzarella, a couple of handfuls of Parmigiano and 1/2 of the Asiago. Add parsley to the cheeses and stir to combine. Mommy Dish note: I often sneak some spinach in to the cheese mixture.

To a small saucepot over moderate heat add oil, garlic, and onions. Saute onions and garlic 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and season sauce with salt and pepper. Simmer sauce 5 minutes and stir in basil leaves.

Pour a little sauce into the bottom of a shallow medium sized casserole dish. Fill shells with rounded spoonfuls of cheese mixture and arrange them seam side down in a casserole dish or pan. Top shells with remaining sauce and remaining mozzarella and Asiago cheeses. Place shells in very hot oven or 8 inches from hot broiler and cook 6 to 8 minutes to melt cheeses and bubble sauce.

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