Monday, December 2, 2013

easiest mac'n'cheese

My girls LOVE mac'n'cheese!  I used to buy the boxed kind and would just ignore that nagging question in the back of my mind...."why is it SO unnaturally orange?!"  Then I bought the book Cook This, Not That, and there was a recipe for homemade mac'n'cheese.  I decided to give it a whirl, and besides an occasional box of bright orange mac'n'cheese, I haven't looked back!  

This mac'n'cheese is so easy you guys!  Not only is it much healthier than it's boxed cousin, but it also makes a ton more!  This recipe makes three full meals for my four mac'n'cheese loving girls!  If your kids are GIANT eaters, it might only last two meals, but still!  


1 lb whole wheat elbows or shells
3 Tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Boil pasta according to package directions.  Don't forget to salt the water that you boil the pasta in, it helps the noodles be tastier.  

While the pasta boils, melt butter in a medium saucepan.  Once the butter is melted, add the flour and cook for a couple of minutes.  Add salt.  Add milk and bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.  As the sauce boils, it will thicken.  Once it gets to the thickness you'd like, remove from heat and add the cheese and stir until completely melted.  

Drain pasta once it's cooked.  Put back in pasta pan and pour cheese sauce over the noodles.  Stir until every noodle is drenched in cheesy goodness.  Sprinkle a little extra cheese on top if you want, though this is optional! 


Sunday, December 1, 2013

free printable christmas subway art

Here is a sweet Christmas free printable for you!  Please only use for personal use and do not re-sell.  Click to enlarge!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

thanksgiving place settings

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I know everyone is busy making plans and preparing for the biggest meal of the year!  So here is a simple way to add a little beauty to your Thanksgiving table, do it yourself place settings. There are a couple ways to do them, either silverware holders like this:

Or place cards like this:

Both just require a few items that you probably already have around the house.  Easy peasy!

You need some twine (or ribbon), some Thanksgiving-ish paper, plain colored paper would work too, some white cardstock and some Thanksgiving printables.  Here is the free printable that I created for this project.  Feel free to use it for your own personal use (please do not sell or distribute as your own).

For the silverware holders, you simply make a little pouch with the white cardstock, I used double sided tape to secure it, but you could also use a hot glue gun, or sew it.  Then you tape on the Thanksgiving paper and then the printables.  I punched two holes in the top and tied a twine bow, just to make it a little more cute! =)

For the place cards, you do the same thing, except you flip it, so it makes a little tent.

So easy, but adds just a touch of special!  Have a blessed Thanksgiving!


Friday, November 22, 2013

healthy baked oatmeal

There are two things that I love to bake with.  Cinnamon.  And chocolate.  This recipe has both, so it's delish!

I love this recipe because it has no flour, just oats!  You can tweak the amount of sugar also, I used to do it with 1/4 cup of brown sugar, and it's just barely sweetened that way.  This time I used 1/2 cup of brown sugar and I'll probably always do it that way now.  It's just yummier, but not TOO yummy, if you know what I mean!


1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 cups oats (I like Old Fashioned, they're more hearty, but quick oats would work too)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I like mini)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x9 baking dish (or similar size).  Whisk applesauce and eggs.  Add cinnamon, salt, baking powder and vanilla and whisk together.  Mix in sugar.  Add oatmeal, then milk.  Mix well.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

chocolate-glazed pumpkin donuts

What is the perfect, chilly Fall morning breakfast you ask?

This was my first go at homemade donuts and they turned out just delicious!  I love making things that we normally store buy, and having it work out!  Not only are the ingredients all things that you already have in your pantry, but they're also BAKED which makes them *almost* healthy for you!  Haha! 

So with the coming of Fall, of course I've been pinning all sorts of pumpkin deliciousness!  And I just happened across this recipe for pumpkin donuts.....pumpkin donuts?!  Yes, pumpkin donuts!  Yum-o!!  

I made big ones like this:

And little adorable mini ones like this:

 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp cinnamon (you can just do one, but I'm a little cinnamon crazy)
1/2 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp ground clove
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate ships
1/2 cup half & half or heavy cream
2 Tbsp salted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray donut pan with cooking spray.  Blend together applesauce, eggs, sugars, pumpkin and vanilla.  Add in the dry ingredients.  Mix until smooth.  Now for the next part, I totally recommend doing it this way.  The batter is very thick and would be hard to spoon into your pan, especially if you're doing mini donuts.  So what you do is spoon the batter into a ziploc bag.  Then cut off the corner of the bag with scissors.  Now just squeeze your batter into your pans.  I did it this way and it was a BREEZE!   Bake for 9-11 minutes.

While the donuts are baking make your glaze.  Get out a small saucepan, add all the glaze ingredients and melt together.  You should have a shiny delicious pan of chocolate glaze.  Try not to eat it all before the donuts come out of the oven.  

Let the donuts cool when you take them out of the oven, if you're patient.  If you're not, ahem, at least wait until you can pick them up without burning your fingers, and dip the tops into the warm chocolate glaze.  Immediately sprinkle with toppings of your choice.  Devour.

Original recipe found here.