Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Not-So-Bad for you Mac & Cheese

I had a craving the other day for Mac & Cheese. But...not really a craving for the oodles of calories & fat included since I'm trying to revamp G & I's meals. I spent some quality time with Google, & came across this recipe. I wish I had written down from where, but I totally didn't. 

This mac & cheese is not-so-bad for you because obviously there are better things to eat - but as mac & cheese go, it has minimal "naughty" foods in it. There are only 6 oz of cheese in it! The Gorgonzola gives you a lot more "bang for your buck" so to speak - a big, bold flavor of cheese, but using a lot less cheese than if you used traditional cheddar. The original recipe also called for mozzarella cheese, but I left it out because I don't like it. We didn't even miss it. But don't leave out the bay leaf, it gives deceivingly great flavor!

1 tsp olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 tbsp flour
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 cup skim milk
1 bay leaf
2 oz (about 1/2 cup) Gorgonzola cheese
4 oz (about 3/4 cup)  Parmesan cheese - divided to 1/2 cup & 1/4 cup
1/4 tsp salt & pepper
8 oz (about 2 cup) wheat elbow macaroni
cooking spray
Panko bread crumbs for topping

1. Heat oil over medium heat, cook chopped onion for 8 minutes.
2. Add flour & garlic, cook for 1 minute. (It will look very dry - add more oil if needed)
3. Stir in milk & bay leaf and bring mixture to a boil. Stir constantly with a whisk & cook for 2 minutes or until thick.
4. Add cheeses (1/2 cup of parm) and salt & pepper, stir until melted. Take out the bay leaf.
5. Add cooked macaroni to cheese mixture, stir until evenly coated. Add to your prepared casserole dish, top with 1/4 cup parm cheese & a handful of panko bread crumbs. (I also topped with paprika, but mainly for prettiness).
6. Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes or until heated.

I wish I had thought to take a picture the other day when I made this, because this was a pretty dish. I made it with Parmesan Sage Pork Chops from allrecipes. A great compliment.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Welcome Miss Molly

My best friend since high school, Kristina, had her first baby girl the other day. I was beyond happy for her! I saw this idea on UCreate, and decided I just had to make one for her new baby girl. I added a monogram on the front for fun & extra cuteness.

It's like the 2nd cutest thing in the world. You're probably asking yourself what can be cuter than a ruffled butt onesie? Well, this baby obviously. Trust me, if you saw her you'd agree.

Chair Makeover

So I stumbled upon this beauty the other day at a local thrift store. What, beauty wouldn't be your choice word for it? Well, I thought this poor little chair had a little life left in it - just needed an uplift. So I bought it for $14!

So I'm pulling out of the parking lot, wondering what I'm going to do about a new cushion, when I see across the street a fabric store! One I didn't know our city even had! So I obviously went in & went straight to the clearance bin, and found some great blue-gray home decor fabric! 2 yards for $5! It was totally meant to be.

I brought the sad, tired chair home & sanded & spray painted it a pretty off white. Then I set out to remake the seat cushions. The foam inside the original cushions were surprisingly still foam-y, so I sprayed them with bleach to kill any germs that might have snuck through that fabulous mustard faux leather (I don't think the foam ever saw the light of day, but just in case?) and decided I would reuse them. Then I took apart the old cushion covers to make a pattern for my new covers. I then cut out the pieces to match.

I used off white piping to accent the seams. Below are a couple pictures of how I did it. It was pretty easy, I just sewed the piping inside of the seam, with the round piping part facing in towards the center of the cushion. You can also see that instead of a zipper, I used an overlap side. I am not brave enough to attempt zippers, yet.
The corners were a little tricky, but just sew slow and make sure you gather equally to make a neat corner.

And there! You're done with a pretty blue gray chair for only $19!

Perfect for our rental, where I don't want to spend a lot of $ furnishing a temporary space!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Avocado Yogurt Dip

Ok, so as part of a "diet renovation" in my house, I picked up some Greek Yogurt at the food store & decided I would try to substitute it into as many dishes as I could. It has a pretty close similarity in taste and texture to sour cream. I picked a tub of 0% Plain Chobani, which has a pretty pretty nutrition facts panel. You can't get that from a tub of sour cream!
So anyway, tonight I made some grilled chicken cobb salads for G & I. I made some Avocado Dressing to go with it. I made it pretty thick, & we discovered it would be a fabulous veggie dip for a party. There is a bit leftover that I'm already dreaming about for lunch tomorrow! Anyway, here's how I made it:

1 Avocado
3/4 Cup Greek Yogurt
2 tablespoon skim milk
1/8 cup finely chopped green onions
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic
1/8 tsp dried parsley
1/8 tsp cilantro
Season salt & Pepper to taste

I just threw it all in the blender & pureed! Don't let the list of ingredients scare you. I just used what I had on hand - could easily substitute herbs & seasonings, the vinegar, etc. to your taste! The moral of the story is that it makes for basically guilt free snacking, dining, eating. Yum, yum, yum!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Happy Sewing Month!

September is national sewing month! To celebrate a month of sewing, I have a few sewing projects I've been wanting to try out. Posts soon to follow, but first I'd like to pay homage to where my love of sewing began.

I'm fairly new to the sewing world myself, but I've always been a part of it. My mom is an excellent seamstress, and has always inspired me to create. She was always sewing me clothes, matching doll clothes, bedding, curtains, you name it - she can sew it. When I go to the store and see a curtain panel for $30, it's her voice in the back of my mind saying, "You could make that for half the cost!" It's great.

So when I moved away & could no longer just pop in to use her's, I decided that it was time for me to invest in a sewing machine of my own.  And so has begun my own sewing journey. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. And I love that it didn't with me!

Happy Sewing Month to all the seamstresses out there!