Know-It-All Lasagna

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This awesome list of advice for college graduates (Congrats, New Grads! By the Way, You Don’t Know Anything) had me simultaneously laughing hysterically and nodding my head – yes, yes, yes! – non-stop.   Here’s what I’ve learned in the ‘real world:’


When I got my first job after college, I was so thrilled to be making $13 an hour – I remember thinking I was officially loaded – that I went to my favorite bar and picked up a round of shots and beers for a dozen of my closest friends.  Granted, $13 an hour is a nice amount of money, but I certainly wasn’t rich enough to be picking up bar tabs like I was a famous rapper, a fact which I discovered immediately after getting my first paycheck. 


Two years ago, I learned that if you don’t actually open mail from your car insurance company, you may not know they’ve dropped you from the plan.  In fact, you may drive around without insurance for three months before realizing what happened.  There’s junk mail, and then there’s boring-but-important mail.  Learn the difference. 


Don’t laugh at people who get sucked into pyramid scams by door-to-door salesmen.  It happens to the best of us.  One day, a really smooth sales duo will come to your door, and before you know it, you’ll be $75 poorer, holding only a gallon of super concentrated cleaning spray and wondering what the hell just happened.


I’m still trying to figure it all out, but at least I’ve learned not to pick up massive bar tabs, to always open adult-looking mail, and how to firmly say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”


I’ve also learned that almost any recipe is redeemed by a massive amount of cheese.  When in doubt, add cheese.



Zucchini and Squash No-Pasta Lasagna


Ingredients (serves four):


  • Two zucchini
  • Two yellow squash
  • 1/2 leek
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 15 ounce container of ricotta cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 a container of marinara sauce
  • 4 deli slices of Havarti cheese




  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease an 8 by 8 casserole dish.
  • Wash zucchini and squash and slice each one lengthwise.  Slices should be about 1/4 inch thick.
  • Slice leek into thin bits.
  • In a small bowl, combine egg, ricotta cheese, and salt and pepper.
  • Pour a bit of marinara sauce on the bottom of the casserole dish.  Lay out zucchini and squash slices.  Top with some of the leeks, ricotta cheese mixture, and more pasta sauce.  Repeat with another two layers of zucchini and squash slices, followed by leeks, ricotta cheese mixture, and sauce.
  • After laying down the third layer of zucchini and squash slices, pour remaining pasta sauce on top and top with four slices of cheese.
  • Bake for 45 minutes, remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes, and serve.


I may not know much, but I know this recipe is mighty tasty.


What real life advice would you give to college graduates?



  • Sarah May 17, 2012, 2:46 pm

    LISTEN first, then think, then talk.

  • Marjie May 17, 2012, 2:49 pm

    Bathrooms don’t clean themselves.
    Laundry doesn’t wash itself.
    Working 9-5 isn’t as glamorous as it looked while sitting through a Chemistry class!

    • Stephanie C May 17, 2012, 8:23 pm

      I agree 100% with your last statement. But I would give anything to do 9-5 instead of 8-4!

      • Mary May 17, 2012, 9:18 pm

        9-7 is even worse!

        • Julie D. May 18, 2012, 8:17 pm

          7-7 is even worse yet!

  • Natalie May 17, 2012, 2:50 pm

    That article is freaking hilarious! I love number 4:

    “Your responsibility as a privileged person is not to be a Republican.”


  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats May 17, 2012, 2:50 pm

    I’ve graduated college but went straight into law school, so I still don’t feel like I’ve entered the “adult world” yet!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat May 17, 2012, 2:54 pm

    Hehe that is fabulous advice! I too have been guilty of coming far too close to throwing out mail I assumed was junk. Luckily, no car insurance though! I suppose my advice might be to enjoy the ‘holiday’ you have between finishing school and starting work, because it’ll be the last real holiday freedom you’ll have until you retire!

  • Sana May 17, 2012, 2:56 pm

    I am terrified of the real world.

    • Anna D May 17, 2012, 9:10 pm

      You and me both, sister. I just faked a Southern accent on the phone with Comcast trying to get them to come a day earlier. How will I ever survive in the real world??
      Also, it worked- but maybe because I threatened to call DirectTV.

      • Caitlin May 18, 2012, 9:39 am

        I think that IS surviving in the real world right there 🙂

  • Christine @ BookishlyB May 17, 2012, 2:57 pm

    If you can’t find a job look into what nearby school districts require for substitute teaching and do it- most pay nearly $100 a day and it beats flipping burgers. You have no idea how many people I’ve told that to (I’m a teacher always in need a of a good, fun, young, tough sub)!

    • Stephanie C May 17, 2012, 8:35 pm

      I admire both you and (good quality) subs. Teachers are amazing. My MIL and SIL both do it and they hardly ever have free time due to all the crap they have to do!

  • Kristin May 17, 2012, 3:06 pm

    Love the article – so funny.

    My advice at age 27 and being in the “real world” since I was 22 (with a 2 year stint in grad school): Stop comparing yourself to everyone around you and do what is right for you! Maybe you always thought you’d be this and have that by some age… or suddenly everyone you know is buying homes, having babies, or quitting a job and moving to Europe for a year. I’ve realized that the more I compare myself to everyone around me, the more anxious and unhappy I feel. Once I stop and think about my own life, I realize how fantastic it truly is. Live in the moment and enjoy every second of it!

    • Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed May 17, 2012, 3:28 pm

      Love this! I’m so longing to be engaged (because all my friends around me are all getting married) but I am happy with where I’m at with my relationship and I just need to remember to enjoy it!

    • Erin May 17, 2012, 5:17 pm

      That is fantastic advice! I’m 25 and have been out of school for 2 years. Some of my friends have glamorous jobs where they’re traveling all the time or moving to great places or graduating with their masters and many are getting married. That’s great for them that they know what they want and are going after it, but for the rest of us, it’s okay to not know and to not have a 5 or 10 year plan. I always try to remind myself and others to not feel bad or unhappy about not knowing what you want, to enjoy the journey of figuring it out.

    • Hillary May 17, 2012, 5:40 pm

      Fantastic advice. I realized pretty quickly that I’m on my own timeline, not anybody else’s!

  • Annette@FitnessPerks May 17, 2012, 3:28 pm

    Nice –cheese is always a good thing 🙂

    I’d say : It is not necessarily easy to find a job in your field….so be patient!

  • Finding a skinnier me May 17, 2012, 3:34 pm

    Thank you for sharing that, it was great to get a good laugh in with my lunch!

    I am actually graduating college in less then 5 months, but I am an older graduate, as in late twenties. I am one of those poor unfortunate college students that has supported myself 100% through college.

    My advice is don’t put yourself more in debt, don’t get credit cards to supplement your income, live with what you have and make it work. You don’t want to end up nailing that great job eventually and then have crappy credit, so it takes you years to pay all that off before you can enjoy your money!

    • Caitlin May 18, 2012, 9:40 am

      Amen to the credit card statement.

  • Heidi May 17, 2012, 3:35 pm

    To all current/future college students: Take pride in your classes even if you think they don’t pertain to you or your future career. Your freshman year is just as important as your senior year and may be the deciding factor in whether or not you get into further education. For some majors, B’s aren’t good enough, only A’s will succeed. Take the extra time out of you morning, day, or night to look over the notes and read a few pages out of that thing they call a “text book”. One test, one essay, or one question could change your future!

  • Kendra @ My Full-Thyme Life May 17, 2012, 3:38 pm

    That list is hysterical!!! So glad you shared it! One piece of advice I’d give is, if you don’t have money to cover it, DON’T WRITE THAT CHECK. I definitely agree with the mail thing, too! I used to call it “scary mail” because I knew before opening it that it contained bad news.

  • Laura @ She Eats Well May 17, 2012, 3:47 pm

    Fun post! I would give new college grads the advice of….It’s okay to have a quarter-life crisis that goes on for a few years. Sometimes when you graduate from college, you have a fairly clear idea of the path you want to take and then when you begin to take it…you realize it isn’t for you. My advice would be don’t freak out too much (it’s ok!), and to try different things!

  • Laura is Undeterrable May 17, 2012, 4:12 pm

    Just because you have a degree and have a hot new job, treat everyone with respect. You never know what receptionist has more education than you and will eventually become your accountant. Bwahahahahaha!

  • Lexi @ You, Me, & A World to See May 17, 2012, 4:44 pm

    Love making lasagna with eggplant and zucchini strips!

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin May 17, 2012, 4:47 pm

    I’m not a college grad yet, so I’ll have to come back and look at the comments on this post in December!

  • Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction May 17, 2012, 5:22 pm

    Hahah! This made me chuckle! I would tell them that its ok if you don’t end up pursuing a job in what you majored in and try not to stress about it! The right job will come along and you will know when it’s the right one!

  • Hillary May 17, 2012, 5:41 pm

    My biggest shocker? Your salary is not even CLOSE to what you’ll take home weekly/bi weekly. Expect your final salary to be about HALF of the number you’re hired at and plan accordingly. Crappy, but realistic!

    • Caitlin May 18, 2012, 9:41 am

      Taxes = necessary but a bitch.

  • Shauna May 17, 2012, 5:57 pm

    As of yesterday I’m officially a college grad, so great timing on this post! I’m really enjoying all the comments people have left so far.

  • Jen May 17, 2012, 6:03 pm

    Thank you for the link to that list…it was the LOL I needed at the end of a long day!

  • Katie @ Soulshine and Sassafras May 17, 2012, 6:20 pm

    Hahaha omg yes. The second one, especially. It took me awhile to figure out that if I kept ignoring parking tickets, they wouldn’t go away… and that my cute, sad little girl face doesn’t work in the grown up world.

  • Army Amy* May 17, 2012, 6:23 pm

    My two cents: even though you are in the real world, some people still act like they are in high school. At my first job, people trash talked, back stabbed, and called each other names. (And they are teachers!)*

  • Irina @ Chocolatea Time May 17, 2012, 7:05 pm

    Great post! I graduated from college exactly one year ago and am just now finally starting to look back into those 4 years and realize what I wish I knew back then. I would say that I wish I strived more for “real-life” experiences such as internships, especially my first two years of college (I only had an internship the summer after junior yr). It wouldve helped smooth out the transition into the real world after graduation!

  • Jen May 17, 2012, 7:44 pm

    Why isn’t this kind of list a required college course? I’m toally being serious. I remember in high school, I had the option to take 10th grade “business math” or some other required math class. “Business math” turned out to be one of the few courses I remember almost 20 years after graduating (holy crap, now I feel old). Anyway, in business math we learned things like how to balance your cheque-book, amortization of loans (like mortgages), how to do your taxes (granted, from what I hear, that’s a lot easier here in Canada than it is in the US…) Anyway, I’ve always felt that this kind of course should be mandatory because it’s real life stuff that has a practical application from day one. And I totally think that this article (or something along the lines of it) should be a mandatory course for all college students because it’s so true to life. I remember graduating college and feeling like a job should just fall into my lap, because I graduated with honours and was OH-SO-SMART. Yah, that didn’t happen. I worked several crappy part time jobs and eventually landed a full time job that was semi-related to my field of study and then went from there. I used my money from that job to pay off the credit card/student loan debt that I racked up in school because I pretty much accepted any credit that was extended to me. Post-secondary education shouldn’t be 100% about learning “stuff” – there should totally be a few real life lessons thrown in there, too (so you actually get something for your money, lol).

  • Laura May 17, 2012, 8:52 pm

    I spotted James’ girl look a like on petfinder!

    • Caitlin May 18, 2012, 9:42 am

      i want her!!!!

      • JenATX May 18, 2012, 7:02 pm

        aw they look exactly the same!

  • Angela @ Health, Happiness and Harmony May 17, 2012, 11:22 pm

    I’ve made a lasagne using roasted eggplant but never zucchini. What a great idea!

  • Alex @ Raw Recovery May 17, 2012, 11:39 pm

    I’m scared to click on that link….I already know there isn’t a high demand for philosophy majors but I need some hope!

  • Amber K May 18, 2012, 2:09 pm

    That’s a great list! I agree with another commenter that said it should be required reading. A lot of people just don’t take the time to think of some of these!

  • Holly May 18, 2012, 4:57 pm

    1. Money doesn’t grow on trees.
    2. Pay off credit card bills monthly.
    3. Buy used cars. New cars deppreciate in value (so much!) as soon as you drive them off the lot. So not worth it!
    4. Enjoy your freedom while living responsibly. Life just gets more complicated (and more joy-filled) once children enter the picture.

  • Beth WA May 19, 2012, 11:35 am

    I have that same cleaner!! Ha ha.
    He got me when he sprayed it in his mouth after he cleaned my sidewalk.

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