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Rachel

Easy Homemade Mac and Cheese

Photo courtesy of macaroniandcheesecake.com

Good ole fashioned boxed mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food, but in recent years I discovered that the made-from-scratch version is not only tastier, but dare I say, easier, to make than the boxed.  Okay, maybe not easier, but its definitely not harder, I promise.  With just three ingredients–milk, shredded cheese and noodles–you’ve got a wholesome, hearty meal in minutes flat.  Just keep a bag of shredded cheddar cheese in the fridge and plenty of dry noodles in the cabinet (I use whatever I have on hand, penne, elbow noodles, pasta shells or sometimes egg noodles), and a batch of hot, homemade, creamy mac and cheese is always just fifteen minutes away.  Of course we still keep a few boxes of the instant stuff around for emergency situations, but the “real cheese” version, as we call it in our family, is always a crowd-pleaser.

But, with the help of this pinteresting find, homemade mac and cheese just got even easier.  The secret twist?  Boil the noodles in the milk!  No need to strain the noodles.  The milk makes a nice warm, creamy base so that the shredded cheese instantly melts when added to the noodles.  We  just whipped up a batch of it for dinner and were not disappointed.  The added surprise of a little dijon mustard in this recipe is the icing on top.  I even made it with whole grain noodles and my kids didn’t even notice.

Below is the recipe, but be sure to head over the Macaroni and Cheesecake for the original post.  I’ve adapted it a little according to my experience with it.  I found that it didn’t take a full twenty minutes for the noodles to cook, and I didn’t let it sit for five minutes before serving–whoever suggested that didn’t have five “starving” boys breathing down their necks ready to eat! (:  Also, I borrowed their photography (been feeling a little lazy lately about pulling out my camera), so all credit for the beautiful picture above goes to my original source.  Enjoy!

Revolutionary Mac & Cheese
Adapted from: Macaroni and Cheesecake

Ingredients:
2 cups dried pasta
2 cups milk
1 cup loosely packed shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dijon mustard

Directions:

In a small saucepan, add pasta and milk.  Bring to simmer, then reduce heat to low and cook until the pasta is tender, stirring frequently and ensuring milk does not boil.

Turn heat off, add cheese, salt and mustard and stir to combine.

Printable Version for your oilcloth mini binder below:



Rachel

Easy Peasy Homemade Ice Cream

It’s been fairly quiet around Tidy Tangle lately.  Since my last post on making skirts from old t-shirts using a sewing method called shirring, I’ve contracted shirring fever.  Yes, I’m in my sewing room these days shirring up anything I can get my hands on.  I love to shirr!

But, it seems cruel to wait till I recover from shirring fever to share with you this fun, pinteresting find–homemade ice cream that doesn’t require rock salt, an ice cream maker, or hand churning.  Yes, it’s true!  And, it works!  I was as skeptical about this recipe as I was about converting a t-shirt to a skirt, but the boys and I tried it and loved it!

With only two basic ingredients, whipping cream and sweetened condensed milk, and whatever add-ins you want, you can now have your homemade ice cream and eat it too.  I didn’t get any pictures of our first batch of ice cream, even if I tried, I couldn’t take pictures as beautiful as the ones at Kevin and Amanda’s website.  So, I borrowed their pictures to get your taste buds revved up and ready to try this recipe yourself.

Here’s the recipe (I renamed it, btw, this name seems more fitting!):

Easy Peasy Homemade Ice Cream

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • whatever add-ins you want (we did 1 cup of crushed mint oreo cookies)
Whip the whipping cream on high until stiff peeks form.  In a separate bowl, mix the condensed milk with your add-ins.  Fold the whipping cream into the condensed milk mixture and stir till combined.  Then, put in the freezer for at least six hours and it’s ready to serve!

We used a container just like this one, it was the perfect size

This is one of the easiest recipes you’ll ever make, I promise, at least try it once!  And, include your kids on the process, they’ll love it.  My boys are already thinking of different flavors they want to try next.  The hardest part is waiting the six hours for it to freeze.  I caught my boys peeking in the freezer many times, checking on it’s progress.  I had to convince them the more they opened the freezer, the longer it would take to freeze–that seemed to work.

For many different flavor ideas, visit Kevin and Amanda’s post.  Some of the suggestions they offer are Cinnamon Bun, Nutella, Krispy Kreme Doughnut, and Hazelnut Mocha Fudge Swirl!  And, their recipes are all printable–woo hoo!  I will say, they are highly promoting the Eagle Brand condensed milk on their site, but we used generic brand with no difference in results.  So, feel free to use whatever brand you want, I conclude.

Be sure to let us know if you make some, and share your flavor varieties with us!




Rachel

Cinnamon Rolls from Canned Biscuits

Written by
Mar 12, 2012 | Pinteresting Finds | Tags: , ,

AT has been out of town and I decided to step outside of the Sunday morning box yesterday and make some cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  Inspired by a Pinteresting find, I tried this recipe, compliments of The Jones Way, which uses canned biscuits for making warm, gooey cinnamon rolls.  If I was feeling really Pioneer Woman-ish, I’d go all out and try her recipe, which is truly from scratch.  That’s inspiring and all, and looks sinfully delish, but I can’t quite muster up the energy to go through that many steps.  Maybe someday after a full pot of coffee and a really, really good night’s sleep, I’ll find that pioneer woman within, but for now, I’m sticking with the canned biscuit recipe.  They took me all of ten minutes to prepare, and were met with praises from all five of my boys, and as the pictures can attest, they all but licked the platter clean.  So, if I make them again when AT is in town, I might need to break into a third can of biscuits.  Follow the link to her recipe to try and Bon Appetit!

Ready to go in oven

Out of the oven and ready to serve

This is what the platter looked like on our way out the door to church, I guess it was a hit!




Rachel

Hand-painted Christmas Ornament

So this is the last you’ll hear from me before New Years.  It’s been a busy season of Etsy sales, which I just wrapped up with a final shipment of six orders today.  My husband and boys learned how to make due without me a lot over the last couple weeks, but it was well worth all the effort.  Thank you to all my wonderful Etsy customers, it was wonderful to finish out my year with such a bang!

In the midst of the chaos, the boys and I stole this Pinterest idea last week to make some teacher’s and grandparent’s gifts.  I’ve learned that people actually do read my blog, which means when I post this stuff before Christmas, it’s not a surprise for their intended recipients any longer–but I make the sacrifice to offer you these last-minute ideas before Christmas is upon us, because they wouldn’t be much use after. (:

So, I will offer another before and after picture here, in the spirit of my Candy Cane Flops that I posted about last week.  Of course, our hand-painted ornaments didn’t turn out nearly as beautiful as these, but they were fun to make anyway, and if life is more about the process than the product, then this project fits the bill.

So, here’s the idea we were trying to recreate:

Handmade Painted Ornaments

Here was our version:

We bought a pack of clear, glass ornaments from a craft store (pretty sure you can find them at Walmart too) and I let the boys pick out a selection of acrylic paints.

Then, we opened up the top of the ornaments and started squeezing the paints inside, letting it run down the sides of the ornaments (to reiterate, on the inside of the glass, not the outside).

Not a great picture above (hard to focus on something clear), but you get the idea.  Then, we started shaking, rattling and rolling, trying not to break the glass.  I didn’t let my four-year-old participate because of how delicate of a process it is, but my 5-11 year olds did.  It was a bit of a slow process, we found it was helpful to tap on the glass, roll the ornament around in our hand, and add more paint a little at a time till all the gaps were filled in.

This was one of my favorites, achieved with a lot of tapping against the palm of our hands

The best part of all of this was that the paint was inside the ornament through the whole thing, so there was not a lot of clean up involved–that’s my kind of kid-friendly art project!

Here is a link to another post with directions on doing this, though she didn’t do it with kids, so the process turned out a little different for us.

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas, I look forward to time with friends and family reflecting on the birth of our risen Lord and Savior.  See you next year!




Rachel

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

I have a new food group now and it’s called Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie.  I have one nearly every day, as long as I can get to the ripened bananas before one of my hungry boys does.  Naturally, I found this recipe on Pinterest, it’s the perfect blend of sweetness, without being too sweet (I don’t have a big sweet tooth), and still considerably healthy.  I will include the recipe in this post.  She calls it a “shake,” but I prefer the word smoothie as I attribute shakes to anything with ice cream in it, this has no ice cream and is very healthy.

What could be a more perfect way to enjoy a shake than in a Coca-Cola glass with a big, striped straw.  I have no idea where this glass came from, it just showed up in my cabinets last week.  As for the straw…my boys love drinking their smoothies with a straw, but it’s hard to find big ones that can handle thick liquids.  So, I purchased some of those giant Pixy Sticks when I stumbled upon them at a local grocer, let the boys savor their sweetness, then cut the empty straws to the right length.  They also came in handy for this photo I made of my oilcloth insulated koozies (:

Banana Peanut Butter Shake (copied from Lunch Box Bunch with my own slight alterations)
serves 1-2

1 1/2 cups very ripe banana slices
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/3 cup good peanut butter, room temperature – it should be soft and spoonable
1/4 cup+ soy milk (or any kind of milk)
optional: cinnamon (I haven’t tried this but it sounds yummy)
swirl in: 1 Tbsp peanut butter when pouring




Rachel

Rainy Day Activities

Great rainy day activities from Pinterest

Some fun rainy day activities made with household ingredients

Okay, so I mentioned in a recent post that I recently discovered Pinterest.  I was a skeptic at first, and ignored several people’s recommendations to try it, but soon gave in and am glad I did.  I’m amazed at the wealth of ideas and resources for grabs in one convenient place, and how easy it is to “pin” ideas of your own.

Today we are being affected by Tropical Storm Lee, and the entire day here has been a deluge.  We are grateful for the rain, as we just came out of our driest month in history, and it gave me a great opportunity to try some of the ideas I’ve pinned to my Things to Try board with the kids.  I’ve tried five or six different ideas posted to this board and have had mixed, though mostly positive, results.  So, I thought I’d mention a few of the successes here.

One benefit I’ve already gained from the ideas I’ve found on Pinterest is that I’ve learned a list of essential rainy day ingredients to have on hand, listed here:

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