Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Back to School

My minis started school today!  Like most moms, I have mixed emotions about this.  My minis, particularly the boys, were getting bored at home and missing their friends.  And I was starting to feel guilty for not doing one single educational activity all summer.  And my "to do once kids are back in school" list was becoming a book.  With chapters.  And, furthermore, I find, that as a family, we are happiest when we are on a routine that is filled with activities to keep all of us busy.  For those reasons, today is a happy day.  

However, am I the only adult that still feels like the beginning of the year starts on the first day of school, rather than on New Years Day?  Because today I definitely have the feeling of "really?  another year gone by so quickly?"  Everyone says it, but wow....I really can't believe how fast it goes and how grown up my minis are.  And then, as a mom, I can't help but question if I've done enough (or too much) over these past years to prepare my minis for the world out there.  Today, my sweet minis raced off for their classrooms, paused, came racing back to give me a quick squeeze, and then happily took off again.  And my heart was filled with joy, because in that moment I felt like my minis were healthy, confident, and secure kids that were ready to take on the world.  

Let's hope I feel that same way at pick-up this afternoon.

And, let's hope this girl makes it through the long, agonizing days without her playmates.

And let's hope I don't turn me into one of those people that schedules regular play dates for her dog.

Last night's dinner was a new recipe I was hoping to put into our rotation of quick and easy dinners.  Unfortunately, my minis have never been huge fans of mac and cheese, and this recipe didn't really change that.  They ate it, but they were much more interested in the green veggies on their plates, and I had to force coax them into eating the mac and cheese.  But, if you have mac and cheese lovers, I recommend you try it out.

Mac and Cheese

  • 2 cups large elbow Macaroni, uncooked (about 1/2 lb)
  • 2 cups low fat Milk (about 16 oz) , or more if needed  **if more milk is needed, additional 1/4 cup milk at a time for final cooking. **
  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt, plus additional for final season later
  • generous dash of Nutmeg
  • 1 cup Grated Cheese
  • black pepper to taste (optional)

1. Place raw elbow macaroni in colander and quickly rinse under water. Let drain.

2. In medium sauce pan (about 3.5 qt), add milk, raw elbow macaroni, salt, butter, mustard powder and nutmeg.
3. On medium heat, slowly bring milk/macaroni mixture to a simmer, stirring the macaroni frequently as it comes up to a simmer. This will separate macaroni and keep them from sticking together. DO NOT LEAVE THE STOVE! The milk mixture will come to a boil very quickly and leaving it unattended will leave a big mess on your stove stop.
4. Once mixture comes to a simmer, immediately turn down heat to LOW. Macaroni will slowly cook in the milk. Having your heat too high will evaporate the milk too quickly!
5. Continue to stir the mixture frequently so that macaroni will cook evenly and absorb milk evenly.
6. Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until milk has been fully absorbed.
**If macaroni is not cooked fully, add a little more milk or water  to mixture ( in small amounts) until macaroni is fully cooked. This will take about another 5 minutes.
7. When milk has evaporated, stir in grated cheese of your choice. Stir the  cheese evenly into the macaroni.
8. Turn off heat. Place lid on top of pan and cover for about 5 minutes. This rest period will allow macaroni to plump up and absorb any excess milk.
9. Take a final taste and add additional salt to taste. Before serving, stir one final time to mix everything together.
Serve immediately.

This recipe really got my attention because you cook the pasta in the milk.  

The pasta plumps up nicely in the milk.

Super creamy mac and cheese.

I served my mac and cheese with edamame, steamed broccoli, and a glass of green machine.  Not sure why I included so much green in this dinner.  Perhaps I want to be the mom of the kid that announces to the classroom on the first day of school, "Hey!  Guess what?  I just pooped green!"

And, if you want to look up while cooking your dinner and see this......

I recommend this playlist...Want U Back, She's So Mean, and Losing.