Saturday, April 30, 2011

Denial Mac N Cheese

Last weekend I felt like a grown up. Mr. J and I are homebodies to the extreme.  We don't go out much with other couples.  OK maybe we are just antisocial.  That being said this past weekend we had a dinner date at a local restaurant with friends of ours.  As I was getting ready to go out, I put on some pants that didn't fit.  I don't mean oh I just need to suck in a  bit more to fit.  The button was a good inch from the hole. There was no way it was going to happen.  Not a good way to start out a night on the town.

I changed pants and went on my way.  That night for dinner we went to a pub.  Not the healthiest options but I got a bison burger cause well it is leaner than ground beef. 

Now you would think I would be a bit disturbed by this experience.  Believe me I was, I got up the next morning and ran 5.5 miles.  I guess that took care of my anxiety because the next night I decided to make Macaroni and Cheese.

Macaroni and Cheese
Adapted from Ina Garten

Kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1 pound small shells
1 quart milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyere, grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

I think I might have to go for another run!

Friday, April 29, 2011

5 Wedding Favorites

I don't know about you but I am pretty excited for the royal wedding. Yep, I admit it.  This week I have been glued to all of the TV specials and news stories.

To share in the excitement I thought I would post my top 5 wedding memories!


Our favors!  Mr. J's dad and grandpa's homemade maple syrup.

Flowers!  I love flowers.  I was so sad that I could only spend a few hours with them.  I made sure every last one of the centerpieces was taken to a good home.

The cake.  I loved everything about it.  The lobsters, the flavor, the decorations.  It was so DELICIOUS!  It was even featured in a magazine on Maine weddings.  I felt famous.

Friends and Family!  They helped make the day super special and exciting.

Lobsters!  Our food was so good!

Mr. J! How could I  leave him out of the equation!

I guess that was a bit more than 5.  I could probably add about 100 more. I loved everything about our wedding.  Mr. J and I had a great time planning and celebrating.  Thanks to those who helped make it happen and were there to join in the fun. 

Do you have great wedding photographs or stories?

Are you going to watch the royal wedding?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dreaming of vacation

I found this place. 

It is in Belize.

They make chocolate.

I wish I was there.

Must go soon!

Photos from Cottage Tree Lodge Facebook page

Cottage Tree Lodge

Feel free to send donations.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


This weekend I was in the mood for some cooking and baking.  

The table sat most of the weekend covered in cookbooks.   I really love looking through cookbooks.  I could spend hours flipping the pages.  Then I get hungry and have to EAT!

If you have read this blog for a while you know that Mr. J and I fight over some foods.  A big one lately is Enneteman's.  I think they are gross and super bad for your health. Mr. J loves them.  A few weeks ago after I argued all of the reason for why we should not buy any even if they were on sale.  I convinced him I could make one just as good, all homemade.  This weekend I had to prove my arguement.  Although the recipe might look intimidating it really is simple.  There are two distinct parts and then the topping. 

Homemade Dansish

Part I:
1 stick margarine
1 C shifted flour
2 Tbsp water

1. Cut margarine into flour until it is fine. Add water and beat until this forms a ball and leaves the side of the bowl.  This is very similar to pie crust.

2.  Take this ball and divide it in two parts.  Use a cookie sheet and press this mixture onto the cookie sheeet, making two sections 3 inches by 12 inches.  Make these two sections three inches apart on the sheet.

Part II:

1 stick margarine
1 C water
1 tsp vanilla
1 C shifted flour
3 eggs

This part is like cream puffs.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Put the margarine in a the water in a saucepan.  Bring it to a full boil on high heat.  When margarine is completely melted and boiling add the vanilla.  Remove pan from heat.

2.  Add all of the flour and beat until the mixture forms a ball.

3.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

4. Spread this mixture over the first mixture until completely covered and no edges are showing.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour.

Once done baking remove from oven.  While still warm you can top with a favorite flavor of jam and vanilla icing (see below for recipe).

Vanilla Icing:

2 C confectioners' sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients together and mixture. Ice the danish while still warm.

Mr. J decided it was worth the wait.  Does this mean no more Enneteman's debates?


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ham N Cheese Hot Pockets

This was not my brightest moment.

Thought this might be a good idea to use the leftover ham.  I had some munster cheese and a Pilsbury Cressant roll tube. 

Put them all together and what do you get?

Hot Pocket Ham and Cheese

This is an awful sad looking plate with nothing but orange.  Yes, I did have this for lunch.  It tasted good; I am still ashamed. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter dinner

Our tradition is ham.  It almost didn't happen this year since I didn't go shopping till Saturday.  There were no hams.  Thank goodness the nice grocery man brought a big cart out when I was frantically searching something else to cook in the meat department.

Yep, that is our ham.  That's it AFTER we got our dinner helping. 7.72 LBS to be precise.  We will be swimming in ham for the next few days.  Any leftover ideas?

I don't even like ham that much.  Oh my!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Getting in the mood for spring

Happy Easter!

I am not a huge candy fan.  I do like chocolate but Easter doesn't scream chocolate unless it is in the shape of a large bunny.  However the other day in the store I spotted some cute M&Ms and immediately I knew how to celebrate....Easter cookies!

Who can say "No" to the green M&M?  Not me, she is my favorite.

Just looking at the fun colors makes me want Spring and dyed Easter eggs!

M&M cookies
makes 15

1 1/2 C flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 C M&Ms

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Shift dry ingredients together in bowl.

3. In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugars together until creamy.  When blended add vanilla.

4.  Add in egg and mix until combined.  Scrap down the sides of bowl. 

5. Add in M&Ms and fold in by hand.

6. Scoop Tbsp sized balls on to cookie sheet.  Bake for 15-17 minutes.  The cookies will just turn golden brown.

This made my day.  The weather also turned remarkably warm and sunny.  Mr. J and I enjoyed our cookies and went for a walk.

How did you spend Easter?

Is it FINALLY spring where you are?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

what hits the spot

i vote that there should be pizza night once a week.

we made the fabulous four

sausage (spicy chicken)
green pepper

garlic is a given

its our favorite
yes, we ate the whole thing

Friday, April 22, 2011

5 things you do NOT know about me…

First and foremost: HAPPY EARTH DAY! 

If you go to Starbucks today with your own travel mug you get free coffee.  All travel mugs will also be 20% off today.

1. I am really bad about doing laundry. I constantly do it because I don’t like the dirty clothes to get piled up. But because I am always doing it I never have enough for a true full load of darks, whites, etc. so I just mix and match in one load. I don’t see this as a problem at all as long as you use cold water. The act of putting the clothes into the washer or dryer is not bad but I HATE folding laundry. The time I get through folding a load I am so sick of laundry that it just stays in the basket for days. Then I start taking the clothes I am going to wear straight from the basket. The time the basket is about ½ empty it’s time for a new load of clothes to be done.

2. Mr. J does not like it when I do his laundry. He is very particular about what goes into what loads and what settings to use.

3. I have secretly always wanted to be a waitress. I think I would be really, really good at it. I love to eat out and do so frequently. Therefore I believe I know all of the key things to do to make customers happy. I am also super good at multi-tasking. Plus you are walking around all of the time so you must get good exercise in during a shift. The one problem I see is being hungry all of the time. I am super sensitive to smelling yummy foods. When I do smell something, I want to eat it. It would be hard for me not to steal people’s dishes.
4. I love to travel but I hate TO travel. I wish I could just teleport myself places for vacation. Then you could enjoy all of the good parts about vacation and seeing a new place without the hassle of delays or sitting in a car for long periods of time.

5. I love a good deal. Coupons are my favorite.  I get so happy when I can glance at my grocery receipt and see "you save $XX today".  I am not nearly as good as the people on TV who can buy $200 worth of groceries for $5 but routinely get two or three things a week that end up being 75% off between coupons and store discounts.  When I shop online I am always googling coupons or buying things from alternative sites where I get credit card points or cash back options.  Then I buy myself special treats...shhh don't tell Mr. J  It's fun and I feel so proud afterwards.!

This is one of my favorites!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

April FoodzieTasting Box!

I am happy and sad to announce the April Foodzie box has arrived.  This will be my last tasting box from my Valentine's gift from Mr. J. Maybe someone nice out there will start a new little subscription.  Anyway, the last 3 months, Mr. J and I have had quite a fun time getting each new box and sampling the delicious goodies inside. 

I love being able to try new things.

I love supporting small independent producers.

I love getting mail.

1. Ginger Snapdragon Cookies: Yum, they are soft, chewy, and gigantic.  What more could you ask for in a cookie?  By: Liz Lovely

2. Cinnamon Almond Granola: This stuff was good.  I love cinnamon.  However, I don't love that this little container was 3 serves, and each serving was 180 calories.  Yes, that is correct.  As I tried to only take 1/3 as a topping to my yogurt this morning I realized I was still eating more calories in less than 1Tbsp of granola than my whole 1 C of yogurt.
By: Fiona's Granola

3. Thousand Layer Spice Cake: The texture to this cake was kind of strange. Mr. J mentioned it reminded him of an eraser and that kind of ruined it for me.  The note said it would be perfect with tea and I agree 100%.  I like spice cake and I think if I got over the texture it would be a go-to treat with tea.
By: Euforia

4. Plantain Chips: I was kind of hoping for something a bit more salty.  The plantain flavor is very full though and they were a great snack with lunch for two days. 
By: Estrellita's Snacks

5. Horseradish Dill Mustard: Haven't tried this yet but I love mustard, the only condiment I really eat.  And I eat horseradish till my eyes water.  I cannot think of how this could be bad. I cannot wait to sample it.
Bye SchoolHouse Kitchen

6. Italian Butterhorn Cookies:  These were little butter cookies filled with sugar and a hint of cinnamon.  It was Mr. J's dream come true.  I think it was a bit cruel to only include 3.  Although it was a present for me I told Mr. J that we could always share.  Well, we each had one and then did a little arm wrestling to determine who would get the last one. Mr. J won. 
By: Cici's Italian Butterhorns

My favorite thing this month...Ginger Snapdragon Cookies!

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