Thursday, January 27, 2011

On the Table: Super Cheesy (Healthy) Mac and Cheese

Welcome to my kitchen! I love to cook and adapt recipes, and I love to read cookbooks and food blogs, so I thought I would give it a go at combining the two. Where better to start than with everyone's favorite...

I love macaroni and cheese. Probably more than most people. Embarrassingly, I really love the boxed mac and cheese - I would eat a bowl of that good ol' blue box any day. However, as I have gotten older, and more experimental in the kitchen, I started to make my old boxed favorites from scratch, and I came across a mac and cheese recipe that I just thought would pass the test. When I tell you that I L-O-V-E-love this recipe, I mean it. It surpassed the box any day (and I never thought I would say that!). Plus, it has the added benefit of hidden veggies and protein, so...win-win!

Everyone has an "I don't eat vegetables" person in their life, and every vegetarian has an "Ew, tofu? That stuff is gross." often sitting at the table. And that's fine, everyone is entitled. However, I love to serve this to said company and prove them wrong. They don't even know they are eating (and loving) tofu and veggies!

Just for reference, the products that I use in my kitchen are just my preference and what we had around, your favorites will work too!

Healthy Mac and Cheese (Adapted from The Vegetarian Family Cookbook by Nava Atlas)

You will need:
  • 1 box of pasta (I used Barilla Plus, any shape of cut pasta will work, I used elbows)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, margarine or veg oil (I use Earth Balance)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 - 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 12-oz package of silken tofu
  • 14 oz of shredded cheddar cheese (I use fat free and it tastes delicious but many fewer calories - you can use full fat if you want. I have also used a combination of many other cheeses, such as smoked gouda and mozzarella, and they are all good - use your favorite!)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Welcome to my teeny tiny NYC kitchen!

All these delicious veggies in mac and cheese - who could imagine?

Step 1: Prep your veggies: Onion and garlic chopped, sweet potatoes heated in the microwave for 8 - 10 minutes until soft to the touch, split open and ready to be scooped out.

Step 2: Cook your pasta, according to the package (unless you're like me and you like it just past al dente...). When the pasta is cooked, drain and set aside.


Step 3: Add one tablespoon of margarine, the onion and the garlic into the pot. Saute over low heat until just cooked through.

Step 4: Turn off the heat. Add the sweet potatoes and silken tofu to the pot. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth and creamy.
If you don't have an immersion blender, don't worry, you can mash this with a spoon, or use egg beaters, it just may take a little bit longer.


Doesn't that look delicious already? We haven't even added the cheese! Make sure blend it really smooth!


Step 5: Add cheese and stir over low heat until all combined.


I just made this and my mouth is already watering. Seriously, how cheesy and amazing does that look? Make sure you stir in the cheese over low heat so it doesn't burn or separate.

Just one more demonstration of cheesy goodness!


Step 6: Dump in the drained pasta and combine with the cheese sauce


Make sure it is thoroughly combined.


Step 7: Serve and enjoy!
We love to sprinkle just a little truffle salt right on top in our bowls. Mmmm mmm good!

You will taste this and never know that it is loaded with vitamins and protein! I serve it along side a green vegetable and a salad and we all finish the meal with happy tummies.

Cut and paste this recipe to use in your own kitchen! (And please stop by to let me know how it goes).

Healthy Mac and Cheese (Adapted from The Vegetarian Family Cookbook by Nava Atlas)
Makes 12 servings (one hearty ladle), WeightWatchers 6 Points+ per serving

Ingredients:
  • 1 box of pasta (I used Barilla Plus, any shape of cut pasta will work, I used elbows)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, margarine or veg oil (I use Earth Balance)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 - 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 12-oz package of silken tofu
  • 14 oz of shredded cheddar cheese (I use fat free and it tastes delicious but many fewer calories - you can use full fat if you want. I have also used a combination of many other cheeses, such as smoked gouda and mozzarella, and they are all good - use your favorite!)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:
  • Step 1: Prep your veggies: Onion and garlic chopped, sweet potatoes heated in the microwave for 8 - 10 minutes until soft to the touch, split open and ready to be scooped out.

  • Step 2: Cook your pasta, according to the package (unless you're like me and you like it just past al dente...). When the pasta is cooked, drain and set aside.

  • Step 3: Add one tablespoon of margarine, the onion and the garlic into the pot. Saute over low heat until just cooked through.

  • Step 4: Turn off the heat. Add the sweet potatoes and silken tofu to the pot. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth and creamy.

  • Step 5: Add cheese and stir over low heat until all combined. Make sure you stir in the cheese over low heat so it doesn't burn or separate.

  • Step 6: Dump in the drained pasta and combine with the cheese sauce. Make sure it is thoroughly combined.

  • Step 7: Serve and enjoy! We love to sprinkle just a little truffle salt right on top in our bowls.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Hey Bandwagon - Jumpin' On! Dialect Vlog!

I've been watching this "Dialect Vlog" going around, and decided that I definitely wanted to try it! I think vlogging is hilarious and dialect is something that has always interested me, so why not? I noticed after I finished that I think I answered one of the questions incorrectly, but hey, we're not being graded, right?

Enjoy!

video

Here are the words, if you want to follow along:

Aunt, Route, Wash, Oil, Theater, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, Ruin, Crayon, Toilet, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Spitting image, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Syrup, Pajamas, Caught

  • What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
  • What is the bug that when you touch it, it curls into a ball?
  • What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
  • What do you call gym shoes?
  • What do you say to address a group of people?
  • What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped
  • body and extremely long legs?
  • What do you call your grandparents?
  • What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry
  • groceries at the supermarket?
  • What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
  • What is the thing you change the TV channel with?
If you want to see even more, check out my fellow Bee at Ruffles and Truffles - Katie has a pretty comprehensive list going!

I think I like vlogging - once I can get over the funny feeling of talking to myself, I think I could really get into this.

What are words that other people have always commented that you say differently? Where can I find YOUR dialect vlog?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hello friends!

As I venture further from the world of weddings, and my former bloglife as Mrs. Hermit Crab at Weddingbee, I will make my new home on the blogosphere right here! I'll be sharing some of my adventures with food and friends, and trying to remember to take pictures along the way! I hope you'll join me :).

I thought I would kick off my new blog with results from my personal dna test, that I found over at The Handcrafted Life.

Here are my results:




I found out that I am an "advocating inventor." I actually find it strikingly familiar and generally right in line with how I see myself!



Here's what it means:

I am an Inventor
  • Your imagination, self-reliance, openness to new things, and appreciation for utility combine to make you an INVENTOR.
  • You have the confidence to make your visions into reality, and you are willing to consider many alternatives to get that done.
  • The full spectrum of possibilities in the world intrigues you—you're not limited by pre-conceived notions of how things should be.
  • Problem-solving is a specialty of yours, owing to your persistence, curiosity, and understanding of how things work.
  • Your vision allows you to identify what's missing from a given situation, and your creativity allows you to fill in the gaps.
  • Your awareness of how things function gives you the ability to come up with new uses for common objects.
  • It is more interesting for you to pursue excitement than it is to get caught up in a routine.
  • Although understanding details is not difficult for you, you specialize in seeing the bigger picture and don't get caught up in specifics.
  • You tend to more proactive than reactive—you don't just wait for things to come to you.
  • You're not afraid to let your emotions guide you, and you're generally considerate of others' feelings as well.
  • You have a strong sense of style and value your personal presentation - friends may even seek your style advice from time to time.
  • Generally, you believe that you control your life, and that external forces only play a limited role in determining what happens to you.
If I want to be different:
  • Try applying your creativity to more artistic arenas, and letting your imagination take less practical forms.

How I relate to others:
I am Advocating
  • Being social, empathic, and understanding makes you ADVOCATING.
  • Some people find being around others exhausting—but not you! You are energized by spending time with friends, and you are good at meeting new people.
  • One of the reasons you enjoy conversation as much as you do is that you often learn about yourself while talking things out with a friend; you realize things about your own beliefs while discussing them with others.
  • You have insight into what others are thinking and feeling. This ability allows you to be happy for others, and to commiserate when something has gone wrong for them.
  • You are highly compassionate, and being conscious of how things affect those close to you leaves you cautious about trusting others too hastily.
  • Despite these reservations, you are open-minded when it comes to your worldview; you don't look to impose your ways on others.
  • Your sensitivity towards others' plights contributes to an understanding—both intellectual and emotional—of many different perspectives.
  • As someone who understands the complexities of the world around you, you are reluctant to pass judgments.
If I want to be different:
  • While it's important to think about others, don't forget to take some time for yourself, and occassionally to put yourself first.
  • Take some time to spend with a few close friends; although it's difficult to find people to trust, it's worth the effort.
  • When you have great ideas, it can be hard to relinquish control, but it can also feel good to take the pressure off and enjoy someone else leading the way.

Take it for yourself
, and let me know what it generates for you!