Monthly Archives: February 2011

Thunderstorm and Tornado Safety

When I was in undergrad, my friend and I had a tornado plan: Since our apartment was so close to the stadium, the spirit of Bear Bryant would keep the stadium safe and by extension our apartment. NOT the best plan.

With the spring weather period approaching, I thought we should discuss issues associated with severe thunderstorms and tornados so you can make an informed and APPROPRIATE severe weather plan.  Continue reading


Recipes-Pasta Bake

Now that your kitchen is fully stocked with the cooking essentials (Psst…if you don’t know what I’m talking about read this post on stocking your kitchen), we should talk recipes.  One of the staples of my cooking repertoire is the pasta bake. It’s like a cross between a pasta dish, a twice-baked potato, and gumbo!! If you are looking at me like I’m crazy, I’ll explain.  The base of the dish is pasta and marinara sauce.  The comparison to a twice-baked potato comes from the fact that you cook all the ingredients then combine them and bake them to subtly meld the flavors.  Finally, I call it a pasta gumbo because like a good Cajun gumbo you take the base ingredients of pasta and marinara, then throw whatever else you have or want into it. 

I like this recipe because it’s easy, cheap, and still tasty re-heated.  You can have a meat extravaganza or make it vegetarian.  You can prepare it the night before and you don’t have to measure anything!  Basically, it’s the Swiss Army Knife of my recipe book.

The following recipe should be taken like the Pirate Code as it’s really a set of guidelines that you are free to modify to suit your particular tastes. Bon appétit!

Must have:

  1. Pasta such as ziti, penne, rotini, etc. Don’t use spaghetti or fetuccine. It’s a disaster in a pasta bake.
  2. Marinara  Sauce of your choice

Optional Choices:

  1. Meat of your choice
  2. Vegetables of your Choice (I really like broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots)
  3. Onion
  4. Garlic
  5. Cheese
  6. Anything else you deem appropriate


  1. Boil water for pasta while chopping your vegetables. If you are using peppers or onions, you can slice, dice or julienne. Your choice.
  2. Cook your meat/sauté onions and garlic/steam vegetables while boiling pasta
  3. When done, dump everything into your mixing bowl and blend with the amount of pasta sauce you deem sufficient.
  4. Grease your casserole dish with oil or cooking spray. If you have neither, you don’t have to grease your casserole, just know cleaning will be a royal pain.
  5. Put in the oven on 350° for 30 minutes
  6. After 30 minutes pull out of the oven, top with cheese, put back in oven until cheese melts.
  7. Let cool for 15 minutes, then spoon and serve. Parmesan makes a great addition!

Not actually my pasta bake. I made one for photos for this post, but I was so hungry I forgot to take pictures when it came out of the oven!

For real cooking lessons watch this you tube video!

Winter Weather Safety

Our favorite part about winter weather--Frosty!

Snow! Since winter weather is such a rare occurrence in Alabama, we get excited about the potential for snowball fights, and forget that winter weather can be very dangerous.  While a winter storm can include snow, it also includes ice, black ice, and freezing temperatures.  By knowing the potential dangers and how to deal with them, you can have fun and stay safe. Continue reading

How to: Re-set a Breaker

This is an example of what a typical breaker box will look like.

For the first in our series of how-to, we are going to teach you how to re-set a breaker.

  1. Find the breaker box. If you don’t know where it is, call us and ask us.
  2. Determine if it is the GFI breaker or GFI receptacle. (Receptacles are located on the wall in all Windsor Hill bathrooms).
  3. If not, locate the switch that is in the off position (they will be labeled) or that is partially popped out of place.
  4. Put switch in off position then back in on position.
  5. This is an example of a typical GFI receptacle. The red button is the reset button.

    If that doesn’t work, then call us and report the problem. Please mention that you have reset the breaker, but ONLY IF, you have indeed done it.

That’s it! Now you know how to re-set that breaker and will be able to instantly fix those small  electrical problems.

*Our head of maintenance extraordinaire, Quinn Stephens,  will be consulting on the how-to posts, so you know you are getting quality information!