Heaven! Review of Chrissy Teigen’s Recipe for Mac & Cheese

I love cooking and experimenting in the kitchen.  Bread, meat, cakes, you name it I love to make it. There is one exception; there is one food that I dread the kids will ask for.

Mac and Cheese!!! 

I have a love/ hate relationship with Macaroni & Cheese.  I love to eat it, but I hate to make it.  I have tried numerous recipes, and I always feel like a failure.  It never works. It is always too runny or too dry; I can never make it just right. Until today…

Since it is quiet Saturday with no plans to keep us busy, I decided to try Chrissy Teigen’s recipe for her mac and cheese from her cookbook Cravings. Every review I read said it would be the best Mac & Cheese I have ever tried, and they didn’t lie!

It was a lot of work, and I made a few small changes to the recipe based on things I know I like about Mac & Cheese. I added 1/2 tsp of dry mustard and an 1/8 teaspoon of chili powder, plus I added a bit of parsley on top. Oh and I had to use macaroni noodles instead of shells. The recipe was easy to follow, and I had everything I needed in my fridge and pantry.  My fave part was the garlic breading on top. It is very addictive!

I encourage you to google this recipe down and try it for yourself. Here’s a picture of my attempt.

Mac and cheese

In the meantime, if you are in neighbourhood, drop by. I made enough to feed a couple of families.

Enjoy. Happy Cooking!

Kris

Don’t judge – Socks, socks and more socks

It is interesting how judgement pops up each day from other moms regardless of what is being discussed. Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine the judgement that I would feel during a discussion involving – of all things –  socks!!!

It is shocking, but, recently, I caught up on all of my laundry. I spent a couple of days washing clothes, all of our bedding and some odds and ends of the house. To be honest, I don’t know where it all comes from and there are many times when I think that I will never see past the pile that seems to continually regrow in our closets.

As most moms experience, there never seem to be enough hours in the day and we have to let a few things slides. One of the things that I let slide is matching and folding socks.  Each time I do laundry I just throw the socks in a big wicker basket. When you need a pair of socks, you just go to the bin and match your own pair.

This week, I knew it was time to tackle the dreaded sock bin.  After 2 hours and 170 pairs of socks, the matching was complete. I felt so proud. I love organizing the house and getting things perfect. I was so excited and wanted to share my pride with those around me.

Socks, socks and more socks .png

As I retold the story of success to my a family member you could  shock and disapproval across her face. “What do you mean,” she said. “You have a basket of socks that the kids just take from? You don’t match your socks after each load of laundry.”  I know she didn’t mean it, but the judgement oozed from her voice.  I mean this is a women who spends half of her free time ironing.  She irons everything!  She irons the bed sheets, her kitchen towels and her husband’s jeans. Of course, this would horrify her.  The thought of not finishing the laundry completely was a disgrace in her mind. She probably didn’t sleep for days as she continued to worry about my laundry chaos. I wonder what she would think of me letting the dishes air dry? Maybe, I better keep that to myself.

I told a few other moms about my socks and they laughed but all had the same reaction: “when was the last time you matched socks and why in the world do you have so many?”  Seriously, out of the all the things you should judge me for I guarantee this should be at the bottom of the list.

Moms – actually parents – have so much on their plates. We do what we need to in order to spend the time where we should.  Why in the world do we have to judge people?  Really, is your sock organization so fundamental to the joy in your life?

Let’s drop the judgement, and let’s support moms and dads in finding the little cheats that makes their lives simpler. It could be the socks, the dishes, the house cleaner, we all have little ways to make life a little less stressful. Embrace yours and ignore others.

As for me, I will never spend that much time matching socks again. I have promised myself that I will match socks each week as the loads of the laundry are folded and put away. Week one has been a success. Although, there is that problem about missing socks. My basket now seems to be full of socks with no matches.. Oh well, that is a story and a problem for another day.

Cheers!
Kris

PS – Feel free to share your home cheats below! I’d love to hear about them.

 

Niagara Falls: Reminds Us

Today, I took my brother and his wife, who are visiting from BC, to Niagara Falls. It was an absolutely perfect day to spend walking up and down the falls. Since it is winter, the normal crowds of tourists were not to be found.  As I starred at the beautiful wonder that is Niagara Falls, I couldn’t help but to think about how it relates to my own life. 

Our lives move at such a rapid pace and we all try to control the flow, but life is a powerful force. We need to stop fighting it and go with it.  Magical forces happen when we let it.  

Sometimes I spend so much time trying to achieve perfection that I miss the experience. The power of the water as it heads over the falls is amazing.  There is no stopping it.  Even in the dead of winter, the water is unstoppable.  Yes, places of ice can form around it, but the flow is so powerful the falls continue.

This is like life.  We can stress. We can control, but things will happen.  Isn’t it better to go with the flow and enjoy the experience. 

Thanks Niagara for the reminder!

This Week’s Meal Plan

 

Like most moms, I am always looking to find ways to save money.  There aren’t a lot of areas that I can cut and control my month expenditures, but the easiest way I find to save is through weekly meal plans.

Weekly meal plans help me find the best deals and avoid eating out.  I have literally been saving tons of money just through a little bit of planning. We used to eat out or get take out twice a week and it was costing a fortune. Now, each week, I review the flyers, use coupons and my rebate apps and we make an adventure out of the planning.  The kids always help me plan out the week’s menu and help prepare each night’s dinner. If they have ownership over the ideas and execution, they won’t be begging you to go out.

I thought I would share this week’s plan with you:

Week 1 - Meal Plan

I’ll be sure to post photos from this week’s adventures in the kitchen.  In the meantime, feel free to share any great recipes, cost saving ideas and great deals with me in the comments section below.

Thanks for sharing!
Kris

 

 

Juggling – It isn’t just for clowns

My life revolves around juggling my career in public relations, being a good mom and wife, and trying to be a happy me.  It is a bit of roller coaster, and for the most part I love it.

As I gain more responsibility in my job and the role gets more demanding, it can be increasingly challenging to feel in control. There were nights were I would toss and turn thinking about how much stuff I had to do, what I hadn’t gotten done during the day and all of the ideas for the future. It was making my sleep time challenging to say the least, and let’s just say I love my sleep!

My favorite meme that I saw on Facebook says:
“I don’t have my ducks in a row. I have squirrels and they are going to a rave.”

This describes my life and what I have to react to each day.  I know (or I have finally figured out) that the only thing I can control is how I react to it all.  It was difficult, but I needed to stop the panic over the little things, so I could sleep a little better.  I have learned to tackle the juggling and the stress in a couple of ways.

#1 – When you feel stress hitting, take a moment to realign your mind.
There are so many ways to deal with this. I used to eat and grab coffee. The bowl of chocolate bars on my desk were easy, but short lived in helping cope with my stress. When a treat turns into a meal, you know you have a problem. The relief would only be short-term and I need to find a real solution.

Now the moment I feel overwhelmed, I walk.  When I worked from home that meant getting on the treadmill for five minutes. Now that I am back to working in an office, I do a quick lap around the office building.  Those few minutes of breathing, stepping away and getting your mind refocused, makes all the difference in the world. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise “pumps up endorphins”, and “improves your mood.  For me, I don’t always have 30 minutes to jump on the treadmill, but I do have two minutes to escape to get back into the grove. It is no longer about my chocolate fix, but a fix for my mind.

#2 – Get control with a list.  Check it once, check it twice, check it again.
Yes, I am a Taurus and a bit of a control freak, so this tip is right up my alley.  I love lists, but there is something rather powerful about having a list to help prioritize and focus.  It is one task at a time.
As my seven year old always reminds me, “how do you eat an elephant? Bite by bite!” A list allows you to break your priorities down and start attacking each one.  There is something empowering about checking one item off after another.  Trust me, you will feel amazing when you start to see the list disappear in front of your eyes.

If my list becomes too long, then I create a second list that I entitle “Bring Forward”.  It is my way of ensuring that nothing gets left behind. It also always me to proactively plan the rest of my week.  Once you see the big picture, you can understand how to prioritize and attack.

#3 – Deal with things as soon as you think of them.
An amazing women once gave me the best insight ever: “Bad news get worse with time.”  Isn’t that the truth? The minute we put our head in the sand, we are asking for whatever stress and disaster is around the corner. We think that we can avoid that terrible email or the nagging phone call, but the reality is we are dragging out the pain. Why not just rip the bandage off and get it over with. I can’t tell you how many times I have spent nights laying awake at 2:00 a.m. stressing about something that I avoided doing or ran out of time.  It is simple.  Deal with it – send the email, pick up the phone or knock on the door.  Once you deal with it, you can move on.  Your imagination is always going to be worse than reality.

 Stress may always be a part of our life, but we can find little ways to avoid it becoming overwhelming. Don’t be afraid to try new approaches and find what works for you, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.  There is no need to be a super hero. We are all in it together.

 Stay strong and keep smiling!

 

Super Bowl Sunday

I am going to be totally honest and say that I am not a fan of football, but, once a year, I sit in front of the tv with the boys in my house and chow down on some delicious food and anxiously wait for the half time show.

I plaster a smile across my face and pretend like I know exactly what is going on and that I am having the time of my life. I don’t call it deception, I call it appreciation.  For those I love, I will join them in their love of all things sports (at least for one day).

This year, I let the boys decide the menu.  As 8 and 10 year old boys, they have strong opinions of what takes place in the kitchen.  Although, the rest of the year, we stick to my rule of there is only one banned food (I will explain that in future blogs), today, they get to plan the menu.

Here’s what they came up with.  I would say the proposed menu is very boring, but considering it probably reflects the majority of households on this day, who am I to judge?

Superbowl Menu 

  • Nachos covered in cheese with a side of salsa and sour cream
  • Baked wings (my secret is to bake them twice to turn them crispy and delicious.  I bake them on parchment paper or aluminum foil for 30 minutes and then I take them out and replace the foil or paper and put them back in the oven to bake again.  This gets rid of all of the grease and makes them super delicious! I do a quick dry rub first of paprika, italian season, garlic powder, brown sugar, salt, pepper and a touch of chili.  Once baking is complete I cover with any store bought BBQ sauce.
  • Hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls. ( don’t judge, we all have done it)
  • Focaccia bread – This time, I made a peach and tomato salsa to go on top. It is so easy and literally took less than five minutes. I cut up two peaches and three tomatoes and added grated onion, olive oil, garlic, garlic powder, parsley, chili powder and salt & pepper.  Let it sit for ten minutes and then pile it on top of the pre-baked bread.
  • Potato skins covered in cheese and bacon.

I have absolutely no photos to show as we were so focused on eating and the game, I forgot to take any. Oh well, there is always next year.

So although it is not my favorite thing to watch, the Superbowl is a great excuse to get cozy with the kids and enjoy some delicious comfort food.  Hope you enjoyed watching the game and seeing the best comeback of all time.

Congratulations Patriots! 

 

Breakfast: More than the Most Important Meal of the Day

I love breakfast!  Eggs, bacon, french toast, pancakes – there isn’t a breakfast I have met that I didn’t love.

On the weekends, there is nothing better than trying a new recipe and sitting around the table with family friends.

Unfortunately, I knew this weekend was going to be extremely busy and very exciting.  I had plans to take my cousin prom dress shopping. We wanted to get to the mall bright and early to start our hunt for the perfect dress.  (BTW: we found the absolute most perfect dress for her!) Back to breakfast. I knew we wouldn’t have time for a big breakfast, so I decided to see if there was anything I could make the night before.

After a quick google search, I had found my target  = Cinnamon Buns, but it had to be a recipe that I could make ahead of time and rise in the fridge. I found the most amazing recipe by Baker Bettie. The recipe is so easy and tastes delicious. Thanks Baker Bettie for the recipe, which will now be a staple in my household.  Here’s a link: http://bakerbettie.com/?s=cinnamon+buns. I made a couple of tiny modifications, including adding a bit more flour and adding a teaspoon of vanilla. I also basted the top of the cinnamon buns with butter before I bake them.

There is something so relaxing about making dough.  Rolling out dough helps get rid of all the week’s stress; it is always a big fight between me and my boys on who gets to knead and roll out the dough. Letting it rise is magical, and the smell from the cinnamon and sugar in this recipe is intoxicating!  All I needed to do was make the cinnamon buns last night, and let it rise for an hour this morning while I was getting ready.  After 30 minutes in the oven, the cinnamon buns were perfectly cooked and ready for the family.

The recipe definitely gave us our sugar kick for a day of shopping.  Be sure to check out the recipe and try it for yourself.

A tip for you: Run out of icing sugar?  After the cinnamon buns went in the oven, I realized that I didn’t have icing sugar for the frosting. I put half a cup of regular white sugar in the blender and turned it on for 10 seconds until the sugar was a fine dust. I added cream cheese and milk and  made perfect icing for the cinnamon buns.

Today was a reminder that breakfast doesn’t have to be difficult.  With a bit of prework, breakfast can be fast and delicious.

One word: heaven!

 

Thanks for sharing & karing!

~Kris