Friday, September 28, 2012

favorite mac n' cheese recipe

I LOVE homemade mac n' cheese.  I love it the first day, and I love it even more as leftovers the next day.  Luckily, my hubby and daughter also love mac n' cheese.  It's easy and quick to make, and if you mix in some meat and vegetables you have a complete meal.  Plus, once you have the white sauce mastered, you can use it in chicken pot pie, as cheese sauce for cauliflower, Alfredo sauce and the list goes one.  So here's the recipe I use:

Yummy Mac n' Cheese 

2 cups uncooked macaroni (or other pasta)
1/4 c. butter or margarine
1/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 c. milk
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
10 oz. cheese (I sometimes use a mixture of cheeses but keep at least 50% cheddar)

Cook the pasta.  While it's cooking, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and start your white sauce.  Melt butter in a sauce pan over med-low, then sprinkle flour, salt and pepper and stir until it gets well incorporated and kind of bubbly and shiny.  Might take a couple minutes.  Then remove from heat and pour in your milk slowly while stirring.  (I like to take the chill off my milk in the microwave first so it cooks faster.)   Heat the milk to boiling on med-high, stirring often, then boil one minute while stirring constantly.  It should be thicker and delicious looking at this point.  Then remove from heat and stir in chopped up or shredded cheese and dry mustard.  Stir in drained pasta and any add-ins.  Pour into a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish and bake in the oven, uncovered, for about 30 minutes or until the top is bubbly.  The baking in the oven portion isn't necessary if you're really hungry right now, but it allows the pasta to soak up the cheese sauce and the top to get bubbly.  Be warned -- once you try this recipe you won't make boxed mac n' cheese ever again!

Mix it up with:
-different cheeses (pepper jack, mozzarella, feta)
-garlic or onion powder
-cubed or deli ham and broccoli
-other veggies (peas, sauteed bell peppers, spinach, squash)
-chicken, chili powder and salsa
-ground beef, bacon and a jar of diced tomatoes 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

make sumthin' sunday - shopping cart cover

(I made and wrote this a couple months ago, I just kept on forgetting to take a picture of it.  Oops!)

Shopping cart / High chair cover

This has been on my short list of projects ever since Fuzz got hand, foot and mouth disease after grocery shopping.  The month before that it was fifth disease!  I'm glad she's getting these diseases now while her immune system is working so well, but I could use a break.  Especially since my immune system is a little rundown from a year (plus the last trimester of pregnancy) without eight solid hours of sleep (update-I often get eight hours of sleep now, finally), and I keep catching everything she gets.  I thought I'd miss out on the fifth disease since I had it in first grade, but sadly, I was wrong.  Maybe protecting Fuzz from shopping carts and restaurant high chairs will help!

The finished product -- no smiles for the camera today!

I used a couple tutorials.  Mostly this one from sewing chick studio, but also this one from lil blue boo.  It's two layers of fabric -- corduroy next to the shopping cart for durability and fleece next to Fuzz for cushiness.  I also made the pockets out of the corduroy for contrast.  I really liked the fleece (from Joann's), and the corduroy has been in my stash for awhile (originally stolen from my mom's stash -- it's probably from the early '80s).  Don't worry, I'll still have enough of the corduroy to make these pants from Shwin & Shwin for Fuzz when she's a little older.

The cover does its job well, and is easily big enough for any cart.   It was a fast project and I think there would be room for a couple more leg holes if I wanted it to fit two kiddos like you can in those big Costco carts.  Of course, then I should probably get another kid and a Costco membership.  I'll get right on that.  I added a large elasticized pocket for toys and a smaller pocket for cheerios along with a couple loops out of bias tape for more toys. 

Both of the tutorials were good.  The only changes I made were bias tape around the leg holes because I didn't have any foldover elastic, and 1/2" elastic around the top (because that's what I had).  If I make another one for a shower gift, the only thing I would change is making the leg holes an inch or so shorter and the pockets shorter so they could be more functional.  As they are they sit on the handle, and I haven't taken the time to fix them.  Honestly, I probably won't. Oh well.  Fuzz can still get her hand into the snack pocket.  All things considered, I love it.  I spent less money on it than if I had bought one on sale, it's unique and should last awhile! 

What did you make lately?  This week I plan on tailoring some scrubs to fit me a little better, so nothing to write home about.  Have fun being creative this week!

Friday, September 21, 2012

first favorite friday

Fiona bra from Moving Comfort

So I found the space heater!  Yippee!  It's starting to get chilly at nights here and we currently don't have any kind of a heating system.  Yep.  No fun.  We have a fireplace waiting for a new cap, and we're getting bids to replace a broken oil furnace.  Oh, the joys of home ownership.  On to favorite Friday --

From the GIANT sports bra picture did you guess it?  One of my favorite products is my sports bra.  I was never very impressed by the sports bras you buy for fifteen or twenty bucks; and the slightly more expensive ones from Nike and Adidas just smash your boobs and make it hard to breath.  Then I read an article somewhere about the importance of a good sports bra because all that annoying and painful jiggling stretches the ligaments out and causes permanent saggage.  Scary stuff, I know.  I wish I would have read that article when I was playing sports in high school.  Moving Comfort was a recommended brand and REI had them in stock to try on, so off I went on a bra hunt.  I jumped and ran in place in the fitting room (yes, I felt silly) and the girls moved with me! And they stopped moving when the rest of me stopped!  Success!  I love this sports bra, I've bought several over the last few years, and will buy more.  You definitely want to try them on before buying and REI and Five Star Sports carries them in stock in the Eugene/Corvallis area.  I've noticed them in more and more stores though, so let me know if you find them elsewhere. 

A couple features I like:
-hook and eye closure in the back allows for the perfect fit
-straps adjust with velcro in the front allowing for easy adjustments on the go (and handy for breastfeeding)
-the fabric doesn't loosen up if you wear them a few times before washing them or over time
-they come in actual bra sizes (the website lists them in B-DD in most band sizes)

Keep in mind that my first one shrunk about an inch around the band when I dried it in the dryer, so now I line dry them.  I could buy a size bigger, but that might make me feel bad about my body.  That's the opposite of what I'm attempting with exercise.  

If you're happy with your current sports bra, then I'm sorry I took your time.  But if you're like I was and the pain caused by your untamed breasts is just one more reason to avoid jogging, then you might try this bra out.

That's all for now! 

I'm baaack...

It's been awhile!  I took a little break (okay, a really long break) from blogging because our family was a little busy.  Were you wondering what we've been up to?  (I hope not, that'd be a little weird.)  Well, Fuzz and I took a trip up to Washington to visit Gramma, Grandpa and lots more family.  There was a lot of water balloon throwing and squirt gun fun instigated by Gramma.  Fuzz had her first otter pop and took her first steps while we were there, too.  Then a couple weeks later we went up to Wallowa Lake for a family reunion.  The area is beautiful, and if you go, take the gondola ride up to the top of the mountain.  The views were awe-inspiring.
She did not care for otter pops!
The view from the top of the gondola ride.  Me, Fuzz, Brian and Gramma Bev

There were a couple of very tame bucks
Fuzz and her cousin celebrated their first birthdays!