Thursday, August 7, 2008

the best macaroni & cheese i've ever made...

so it's been pretty fall-like the past few days around here. so i'm wanting fall-like foods. and i'm also wanting to cook dishes that will last a couple days - because heaven knows i don't feel like cooking every night.

so monday night i made chili. yum.

and last night i made macaroni & cheese. it...was...AWESOME. so i'm posting the recipe. i made lots of adjustments to the recipe i found on allrecipes.com, so here we go...

INGREDIENTS:
-1 lb. box elbows
-1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
-1 cup shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese
-1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
-1 cup shredded Muenster cheese
-8 oz. Velveeta, tiny cubes
-2 cups half & half
-1 stick of butter
-garlic powder
-salt & pepper
-Ritz crackers

1. Boil elbows to al dente. Mine took seven minutes. Rinse in cold water and return to cooking pot.
2. Combine all shredded cheeses in a mixing bowl. Mix well. Set aside 1/2-3/4 cup cheese for sprinkling on top.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 2 1/2 qt. casserole dish.
4. In medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat.
5. When butter is all melted, mix in the half & half and heat until steaming.
6. Stir in the Velveeta and stir continuously until completely melted.
7. Stir in shredded cheese and stir until all melted. Shake in some garlic powder (not too much) and season with salt & pepper.
8. Mix cheesy goodness with noodles, and pour all into the prepared casserole.
9. Sprinkle reserved shredded cheese evenly over the top. Crush up Ritz crackers (I think I used about half a sleeve) and sprinkle over top.
10. Bake in preheated oven until browned and bubbly, 25-30 minutes.
11. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

This stuff reheats really well - only takes 1:30 in my microwave. YUM. I'd say a batch this size could easily serve 8 - 10 people. ENJOY!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Anne Lamott on Beauty

"This culture's pursuit of beauty is a crazy, sick, losing game, for women, men, teenagers, and with the need to increase advertising revenues, now for pre-adolescents, too. We're starting to see more and more anorexic eight- and nine-year-olds. It's a game we cannot win. Every time we agree to play another round, and step out onto the court to try again, we've already lost. The only way to win is to stay off the court. No matter how much of our time is spent in pursuit of physical beauty, even to great success, the Mirror on the Wall will always say, "Snow White lives," and this is in fact a lie - Snow White is a fairy tale. Lies cannot nourish or protect you. Only freedom from fear, freedom from lies, can make us beautiful, and keep us safe. There is a line I try to live by, spoken at the end of each Vedanta service: "And may the free make others free.""

"I have a friend who has a big pancake face and feathery brown hair, with patches of scalp showing. She has peasanty potato features, and she's too tall, and totally inelegant. But she loves her life. She's chosen a life of prayer, service, and travel. She's always in a sort of infuriating state of wonder, of appreciating what is, instead of fretting about what she wishes she was. But she's great-looking - everyone thinks so - because of the expressions on her face and the way she looks at you.
She is radiant with spirituality and humor; she was dealt the same basic cards we all were, but somehow she could see that the cards were marked, so she put them down and refused to play. You can't win with marked cards. Refusing to play has left her with hands free to do what really matters to her, what her heart longs to do in thie life. Doing these things has made her beautiful."
-Anne Lamott, Grace (Eventually) - Thoughts on Faith

Thanks Anne.

Monday, August 4, 2008

+ my sister spontaneously came down for a visit saturday to sunday - i didn't know i needed sister time so badly
+ seeing a butterfly while driving around - it's like a quick reminder that not everything is mundane
+ driving on a road where the trees on either side meet in the middle above you - and the sun is shining perfectly, illuminating the happiest green arbor
+ making chili for dinner (because it was cheap and i knew it would last a couple days) and hubby really appreciating it
+ hearing Libby say "Lisa" but still call me "Ee-Aa" because that's how she rolls
+ playing with a new idea for a design
+ getting an email from a potential seller of my knitted goods
+ wearing new earrings
+ i totally ate a candy bar today - guilty indulgence
+ ordered a new cell phone last night - really hoping it works okay cause today i read "no returns accepted" - eek
+ The Wailin' Jennys make me so happy