Friday, March 30, 2012

Macaroni & Cheese

Sometimes what you want, what you need, is comfort food. And the best comfort food of all in my opinion is homemade macaroni and cheese.  This recipe is adapted from my ”Light & Easy” Cookbook, but truthfully with what I’ve changed around, it’s probably more like “Fatty and a little Cumbersome” – but still, make this, you will love it.

Cook 8 oz (weighed before cooking) of macaroni pasta with a little salt in plenty of water. It will bake, so knock a few minutes off the cook time on the box. Get macaroni that has little grooves in it, I like Barilla.

While that cooks, mix all this in a big bowl:

1/2 C milk

3/4 C sour cream

1 C Cottage Cheese (Even if you aren’t a cottage cheese person, trust me, it goes all melty and good, is doesn’t end up tasting like cottage cheese, I promise!)

1 egg

1.5 T melted butter


1 t salt

1/2 t pepper

1 t dry mustard (no, you can’t skip this or sub out, it needs to be dry mustard. As in wait until you get some, it’s that important)


Grate some good sharp cheddar cheese. 2 cups. Put 1 C into the mix and set the other aside. Don’t use bagged preshredded cheese for this, or for anything. Just don’t do it. Once you get out of the bagged cheese habit you will never go back.


As soon as the pasta cooks, right away drain it and then put it into the bowl and mix it all in. Don’t let it sit in the drainer and cool off, you want the mixture to land on the hot pasta so it absorbs some of the goodness.

Butter your casserole or cast iron skillet & pour the whole thing in.

Top with the second cup of cheese.

In a glass measuring cup, melt another Tablespoon of butter. Then mix in 3/4 C of panko bread crumbs. You don’t skip this, you don’t make your own, you don’t use Italian. Panko. It has to be panko. Then add 1 t of paprika. Sprinkle this crunchy goodness over the top of the macaroni and cheese.


Cover with foil and bake at 400 for 30 minutes. Then take off the foil and broil for 3-4 minutes.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Cub Scouts Spring Camp Out

Jacob and I attended the Spring Cub Scout camp out last weekend at Camp Strake near Conroe, TX.  We arrived around 7 PM Friday night. It was a bit of a rush to get camp set up before it got dark.  I didn’t take any pictures that night.

Our October campout was during a burn ban, camping with a fire is definitely preferable. In the morning we had breakfast casserole . I learned a lot about cooking over coals and how to feed a large group cooking in ovens.


Jacob was a big fan.  This camp out we included a mess kit in the price of the camp out.  We had a wash station and everyone used real dishes, we did provide spoons and forks but other than that no plastic or paper goods. Yay, for being green.


After flag ceremony and breakfast the Tigers went for a hike.  There had been a number of copperheads around camp, so it was a great time to review safe hiking.  Given the large amounts of loud singing that take place on a hike, I think it was safe to say we scared most creepy crawlies away.

Notice there’s adults, Tiger scouts have to have an adult leader with them at all times, the joke is that BSA doesn’t stand for Babysitting of America. Adult leaders are called Akela (which means good leader).


It was so pretty at Camp Strake, the ponds were so still and filled with lily pads.


Jacob and his BFF Hunter.


Camp Strake has a big pirate ship that extends out over the water, it’s a great place to fish. The ponds were all bone dry just three months ago, so the fish were small and no one caught anything. Seven year olds don’t mind!



After the hike, and fishing off the pirate ship and hide and seek in the stockade, the guys did the obstacle course. Love the way they huddle! So cute.



After that we had a game of soccer over on the soccer fields. We went over all the rules so the guys could earn their soccer belt loops.


I would like to point out that all of the above took place before 11 in the morning!

Next we all went out on the water…Huck Finn Rafting!


See the gray log looking thing half in the water in the center of the picture  – that would be our first alligator of the day! It was a big one and we stayed well away.


I was grateful to be sitting down and not having to pole the raft. Thanks Terry (our Cubmaster and my mentor!)


After lunch and some rest back at camp, we headed over to the pavilion to do art and we built boats for a Reduce Reuse Recycle Regatta.

The art makes the THIRD belt loop earned that day! The kids really learned a lot and had a great time doing it.


Our ill fated boat.


Before the regatta Jacob and I took a long walk on our own, we went back to the pirate ship and saw another alligator, this one much closer, it was a baby one.




Regatta Time


The better boat turned out to be a small jet dry bottle.


We had WEBELOS who are graduating to Boy Scouts this year. The tradition is that the parents decorate the arrows, the colors you see are done by wrapping them with colored thread. These represent all the different accomplishments each boy has achieved during his time in Cub Scouts. 


One of my favorite shots of the weekend.


That evening there was a powerful ceremony to celebrate the boys bridging over to Scouts.

This picture came out crazy, but in a cool way so I’m posting it. This is the ceremonial fire where the Great Chief Akela tested each arrow for worthiness.


This is what Sunday morning church looks like on a camp out.


WEBELOS II packing up their own gear. They are fifth graders that completely set up and strike their own camp. Pretty cool. We also walked the entire camp site to pick up every last bit of trash and Leave No Trace.


“Mom, I want to live in the woods and eat chili forever…”



Dutch Oven Cobbler Recipe

Start coals and let them heat for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile dump 3 cans of pie filling, one box of cake mix and one can of sprite into a dutch oven.

Cover lid with coals and cook on top of coals for 30 minutes.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Random (Bella)

In January we all got new mattresses, with Bella moving out of her toddler bed to a full size.  Her room is smaller now as far as floor space, but very cozy with the slanted gables from the roof. Bella promised that if we moved her into a big bed that she would stay in bed at night. And true enough, from the first night we set it up, she has stayed in bed, all night every night. No more sleeping on the bottom of the stairs!


I put some amount of of effort into finding the right bedding. I wanted it to look soft and timeless and I really wanted it to match the curtains we already had.

If you look below the pillow is from the original crib/curtain set, so I was happy to find a quilt pattern that matched.


I like the way the light come in this front window. It’s the only north facing window in my house.



I just love her expressions in these pictures.


We ran into Bella’s friend Sophia at the park. These two have known each other since they were about one.


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