Tag Archives: tomato sauce

Aunt Doll’s Healthy Pigs-in-the-Blanket


In certain circles, my grandmother went by “Aunt Doll.” I always longed to call her Doll instead of Gram, but it didn’t feel right (with her being my gram and all). Aunt Doll is quite the woman – and known for many things. Large plates of Christmas Cookies. Cards on every occasion (sometimes with a $5 spot inside). But most importantly, Doll is known for her cabbage rolls, a.k.a. “pigs in the blanket.”

Tonight I channeled my inner doll and sought out to make a slightly-healthier version of her cabbage rolls. We have mounds of swiss chard in the garden, and I just received a delivery of ground beef from my grandparents’ farm. The herb garden is being severely neglected. No better time than the present to make my first-ever-batch of pigs-in-the-blanket, this time with a more locally-grown twist.

When I was young, I had no taste whatsoever for cabbage rolls. I turned my nose up at cabbage. Then, for a while, tomato sauce wrecked my existence (and still does, on slight occasion). But with age has come wisdom, and I’m excited to share that I thoroughly enjoyed my first batch in the privacy of my very own backyard.

So no, Aunt Doll didn’t make these. And this isn’t even her recipe. But she deserves the credit/namesake. That woman always made these look like a breeze. Try them for yourself, when you have time. You won’t be disappointed.

{Full Recipe}

A Little Help from my Friends

I’m not afraid to admit that in this world, I get by with a little help from my friends.

The garden is yielding zucchini in surplus. I’ve made zucchini bread, zucchini muffins – by the dozens. I’m honestly running out of people with whom I can give zucchini baked goods. Thankfully, my roommate’s sister brought about change in our kitchen by mentioning a new dish: zucchini lasagna. Replace noodles with veg, and you’re set. While my two best friends (featured above, very seriously), sliced and prepared, I didn’t do a damn thing. And for once, I felt fine.

There was a time when I couldn’t sit still. When the sight of someone else preparing dinner for me might have made me crazy. Years ago, I thought I had to do everything. Work, go to school, run half marathons, write stories, blog about my entire life, etc. etc. etc. and then make a delicious meal that was worth ooing and awwing over. There is no need for such madness when you have those special people in your life who volunteer to make your night a little easier.

I really could have done more to deserve this meal. But honestly, I deserve it just by being alive. I deserve it because my friends do nice things for me, and I do nice things for them. We are there for each other in a way just as close as family. So, will I eat a sauce-dripping, noodless vegetarian delight of a dish? You better believe it. And I got these guys to thank for it:

Friendly tip: You don’t have to do it all. Call upon a family member, a friend, your spouse, your neighbor. Whatever. People love to help. I think I, too often, forgot about that.


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