I love this tutorial to sew this Monster Hooded Towel Tutorial. What a great baby shower present.
Here’s a free tutorial to make a Lego Brick Crochet Scarf. Great gift potential.
Here’s my recipe for real macaroni and cheese. I call it real because it has no bread crumbs, no peas, no ham, and certainly no powdered dairy substances in it. It’s just cheese, elbow macaroni noodles, milk, butter, flour, salt, and pepper. It’s the ultimate in comfort food and perfect for fall. No kid will turn it down.
Much of the time when you get macaroni and cheese in a restaurant–even in a nice restaurant–you end up with an orange-colored puddle at the bottom of your bowl. That’s because of one of two thing: 1. the restaurant was cheap and didn’t use enough cheese or 2. they didn’t let the sauce thicken before putting it in the macaroni.
That’s a shame. Macaroni and cheese is all about texture. You want the crust on top, the cheesy/creamy sauce below, and the noodles balancing everything out. To insure the last point, I buy the large-sized macaroni noodles. They seem to hold the cheese better and are more satisfying to eat.
Now for the million dollar question: what kind of cheese? In this recipe, I use cheddar, jack, and mozzarella, but there are lots of combinations you can go with. For example, if you want to go fancy, try mozzarella, Gruyère, and a touch of Gouda. Or add in some Parmesan or Edam or even goat cheese. In fact, any cheese that melts will work, but I wouldn’t put in more than three at a time. More than that and the flavors tend to get a little muddled.
Real Macaroni and Cheese
(serves 3-4 people)
3 1/2 c cheese, broken down like so: 1 1/4 c cheddar, 1 1/4 c jack, 1 cup mozzarella
2 c large elbow macaroni
2 c milk
3 Tbs butter
3 Tbs flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Put on a pot of salted, boiling water and cook the pasta until done, about 10 minutes. Drain and transfer the pasta to a casserole dish.
Grate the cheese. Next, melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir until it thickens into a paste-like substance. Pour about half a cup of milk into the flour/butter and stir until that thickens. Repeat until you have added the entire 2 cups of milk. Add the salt and pepper and taste.
Next, add all but 1/2 cup of the cheese to the sauce. Slowly stir until the cheese has melted. If you have done this right, the sauce will almost have the consistency of Velveeta (but it won’t taste like it!). If it is watery, simply let it sit on the stove for a moment or two, stirring until it thickens. Taste the sauce. If you want to eat the whole thing right then, it is ready.
Pour the sauce over the macaroni and cheese. With a spoon, gently stir so that the cheese distributes around the noodles. If it still looks watery, you can add a little grated cheese to absorb the extra moisture. Finally, top the whole thing with the remaining half cup of cheese for the crust.
Stick the macaroni and cheese in the oven and let cook 30-35 minutes. Next, put the oven on broil and let the macaroni and cheese sit for about 5 minutes more. Make sure to keep an eye on it. When the top starts to get golden brown, it’s done.
Remove from the oven. Let sit 7-10 minutes. This last step is important for the cheese to congeal and the crust to form, so don’t skip it. And, as always, enjoy!
Here’s some fun after-school Halloween-themed snacks that are easy to make (more or less) and healthy too.
Bat Bites: Grape “bats” with black tortilla chip “wings” perched above cheese cubes.
Monster Sandwiches: Round sandwich bread, olive eyes, and cheese teeth.
Spider Deviled Eggs: Deviled eggs with olive “spiders” on top.
Apple Mouths: Slice apples, hold them together with peanut butter, and add marshmallows for the teeth.
Tangerine Pumpkins and Banana Ghosts: Tangerines with celery stems make good pumpkins and banana ghosts with chocolate chips for eyes.
Awhile ago, I found the above bureau in a dumpster. Someone had decided to get rid of it, and instead of selling it or donating it, they decided it should end up at the dump instead.
There was nothing wrong with it, and I happened to need a bureau, so we brought it home, cleaned it up, and used it in our bedroom. Use number 1.
Not long after that, I refinished the bureau. In fact, it was the first thing I ever refinished, which means that not only did I gain a bureau from this dumpster dive, I learned a new skill. (I kind of did a crappy job, to be honest, but this is how you learn, right?) Use number 2.
We used the bureau for four years, then we upgraded our bedroom set and no longer needed it. But my husband needed something to hold his tools, so we moved the bureau to the garage and loaded it up. Use number 3.
Then last August, someone gave my husband a nifty cabinet for tool storage, so we decided to get rid of the bureau. I put an ad on Craigslist and we sold it that same day for cold hard cash. Use number 4.
So to recap: we got the bureau for free and used it for six years. During that time, it had four separate uses that benefited us, not the least of which is that we came out of the endeavor with a profit!
Compare that to people who buy furniture for high prices and then throw it out when they are done with it. This is frugality in action, don’t you think?
If you have a similar story, please share!
Happy October! To get you in the mood for the season, here’s Halloween Decoration Round-Up:
That one is just brilliant.
So cute! A DIY Cardboard Camper Playhouse. All it takes is a big box, paint, and duct tape.
I love apples! They are so versatile. Here are a few apple recipes to consider:
Apple Walnut Tart with Maple Custard. It looks gorgeous, at least.
Who knew making paper lanterns was so easy? It just takes paper, scissors, tape, and a flameless candle or other low-energy light source like LED lights. Check out this video to learn how.