Saturday, July 18, 2009

Back on Track and Not Your Mama's Mac and Cheese

Dear Blog and Blog Friends,

Please accept my apology for the tragic neglect and lack of involvement I've given you all and myself over the past few months. I would love to give you the simple version and say "I told you I was a Foodie with Little Thyme" but I feel I owe you and me more than that. I'll try to be brief and still give you the full run down. I think the best way to tackle this pile is with bullet points just like I would a recipe. So here goes...

  • Lost my camera.
I don't know why but for some odd reason losing my camera really derailed me. I thought I could work through it until I found a new camera but half the fun of cooking is taking pictures. Strange??? I know you guys all get what I'm saying and take the same sick pleasure out of food pictures as I do.

  • Bake Sale
I joined the Sharing our Strengths Great American Bake Sale. With the help of family and friends we were able to pull off a couple of bake sales and raised more than 500 dollars towards feeding hungry children in the US.
  • Swimming
The end of Kindergarten marked the beginning of my son's love for competitive swimming and the rebirth of my own. I swam competitively for more than 15 years. I walked away from swimming because it's hard to build a life and still swim and run competitively. Running I can do no matter what state I live in or where I vacation and with little effort. With some pressure from a good friend and a six-year old boy, I entered the pool again. I competed in 4 meets and regionals. I walked away with 9 first place ribbons, 1 second place ribbon, 1 forth place ribbon, a bronze medal from regionals and a seat to swim in the Summer Games(state). More than anything I walked away with my love of swimming renewed. Anthony and I are looking for a club team to join so that we can continue to train and compete together. I do still have the problem with THYME! I'm looking for a way to make gym work-outs, swimming, running, blogging, mothering and being a friend, daughter and wife fit into the day.

  • Stitches, Ear Trouble and the loss of Noel.
Finally, we have had a set of stitches. It's true don't run around the pool or you will fall and bust your lip open. My children like to learn the hard way. I think they must get the hard head from their father.

Our 4 year-old was deaf at birth and we have been battling his ear structure ever since. He can't hear unless he has tubes to create an opening to his ear drum and his little body does not like to keep the tubes in. You guys may remember he had ear surgery a few months ago and already he is losing his hearing again. The good news is that we will stay on top of the issue and find a way to keep him hearing.

Our 12 year old greyhound Noel passed away after a long and mostly happy life. If you ever have an chance to know a greyhound, enjoy it. They are such sweet and gentle dogs. Their life on the track is hard and they are left with a life time of track related illnesses that they handle with such grace and elegance.
Noel is missed. I long to hear her toe nails tapping on the wood floors.

OK, now back to the blog. I have been following your blogs. I have read about all your vacations, puppy up dates, street work, new jobs and new recipes. I have made many of your recipe and have some new favorites too. I will get back to posting my monthly blogger finds to feature them. Thank you for your encouragement as I started back swimming. We are back on track! I even have a new camera.

I will leave you with a easy comfort food recipe. I've debated sharing this with you but if the big guys can do it so can Foodie with Little Thyme!

Not your Mama’s Mac and cheese

This is my Mama and my two-year old.

It’s seems to me that every cookbook and professional chef has a macaroni and cheese recipe. So I’m jumping on the bandwagon and my soapbox, and sharing my macaroni and cheese with you guys. I’ll go on record to say that as a child I never had Mac and cheese from a box and my kids have never had it either. I have never understood the mass appeal of boxed pasta. I cook macaroni and cheese using fresh ingredients in the same amount of time that it takes to cook the boxed kind. The great thing about making fresh/non-boxed is you can use and add all kinds of different ingredients with none of the additives and yucky stuff. You can use homemade pasta, fresh or frozen veggies and even leftover meats. The possibilities are endless.

Here is how I make Mac and cheese at our house.

Cook pasta in salted water until al dente.

Any pasta will work but I stick with the smaller pasta for the simple fact that the kids can feed themselves.

When the pasta is finished, drain the water from the pan but leave the pasta in the pan.

Return to the burner (burner on or off, it doesn’t matter), add milk, butter, cheese, salt and pepper to the hot pasta and stir until you have a nice smooth, creamy and cheesey macaroni and cheese.

The key to success is to have fun and get creative. OH! and use shredded or grated cheese. This whole meal takes 20 minutes and always turns out perfect. You can use any cheese and it’s always yummy. Come on people just say NO to the box!


Selba said...

It's so great to hear and see you back into blogging again, welcome back :)

Elra said...

Welcome back dear. I had no idea there were so many thing going on in your life, but I admire you for being strong and still be able to be grateful. Great to know that you are competing again, and congratulation! This is very impressive! A little secret of mine, I can't swim, lol.

Anyway, I wish you all the best, and thing will get better soon with your family, especially with your gorgeous looking son. Take care, and be well.

Claudia said...

A hearty welcome back and you have had a lot on your plate. We shall wait. I ahve an aging dog and children who have had medical issues and life can be trying - so it's wonderful to work it through and still reach out to the world when you can. Beautiful post!

JRD said...

Very good to see you back on!! Cass, Im very proud to see among all the happenings you find dome CASS time!
Hug those sweet kids. Love the picture of your mom and Frankie!! Fun times!!

And just for you, I'll try to think mac n cheese 'outside the box' and give it a try! :)

~J Due

Jenn@slim-shoppin said...

Good for you getting back to swimming!! And congrats on your finishes!

I think sometimes with having a family, working, etc... we put ourselves last. Why can't you do what you love and still raise kids! I say Go for it!! It will make you happier and your family will benefit too!

Juliana said...

Nice to see you back :-) Wow, you have so much going on...just have faith, eventually everything fall into their places. Your mac and cheese look yummie!

Cheryl said...

Oh my gosh how did I miss this. I am so sorry about your doggie, it truly sucks. Congrats on your swim medals, I am impressed. I had to deal with tubes in my ears most of my childhood, I hope they find another way for your baby.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your challenges and your strength. You inspire all of us and I am glad you could share it.

You should have continued strength to meet any challenges thrown your way and meet with victory.

Stacey Snacks said...

You have a busy life, nice to read about it, and I am so sorry about your dog Noel.
We just put our 20 yr old cat (our baby) Shasta down last weekend and I know how sad that is.
Pets are part of our families.
We really love them!
You have a wonderful family.
Have a great weekend!