Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"The Denial Twist"

Last Monday I came upon a realization. A decision. A fork in my road. I realized that if I really wanted to do the things I dreamed of doing, I was going to have to make a change. Struggle a little bit, and be bold. And that really the only thing standing in my way was me. Me. This idea was incredibly hard to swallow. In fact it was terrifying. So what did I do? I headed straight to the grocery store.

This very same Monday I suddenly got a craving for something not so high brow, it's a yellowy orange and comes in a little blue box. I just wanted a little taste but when I bent down to check on the prices I noticed there was really only a dime or two difference between big box and little, so big box jumped in my cart and followed me home. Until the next day... when I found myself thinking about those noodles again. Just how delicious they were and how nice it would be to have another taste. You know, just a little one. About seven days and four boxes later the boyfriend and I decided to head out to see a movie then have lunch at Panera. Lunch time rolls around and I ordered, you guessed it, just a little bowl of delicious cheesy noodles (again). And you know what? They were so good that on the way home I made a quick pit stop in at Kroger you know, just for one last box. From the outside it's pretty obvious that something weird was going on. I know how to actually cook now, something without actual food in it shouldn't hold such a power over my waking hours. And yet for some reason it did.

"It's really nothing" I told myself, "Just the good old wintertime spread" I joked with my mother "I'm perfectly happy so I know it's not stress! It's just soo delicious!" I heard myself lie but I had no idea what the trouble was.

All the while deep in my mind there was processing, mulling, learning to deal. Two more boxes of Kraft Dinner came and went and I had a conversation or two with my closest of besties, and suddenly things were slowly starting to take shape.

I looked at myself, I realized that I like many ladies before me I was absolutely strangled by the idea of my own success. Panicked by the prospect of failure and desperate to find an easy way to forget all about it and just go back to the complaining I was so comfortable with.

But today instead of running back to the box, I've taken a leap, I've signed my papers, made my very last (and real this time!) batch of mac and cheese, and officially signed up to start culinary school in 2012. Provided of course that the world doesn't end ( wouldn't that suck?!).

To all you smart girls out there who are munching on noodles and waiting to make a move, this is your sign.
Today is your day. Leap.

Carpe Diem Mac and Cheese
Adapted from  Smitten Kitchen

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more for water
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar cheese
2  cups (about 8 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 pound elbow macaroni
2 cups broccoli florets
Frozen tater tots 

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. 
2. Warm the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When the butter bubbles, add the flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.
3. While whisking, slowly pour in the hot milk a little at a time to keep mixture smooth. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick, 8 to 12 minutes.
4. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 1 3/4 cups cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 cups Parmesean  set the cheese sauce aside.
5. Cover a large pot of salted water, and bring to a boil.  Add the broccoli florets and the macaroni and Cook  for 5 minutes, then strain (the pasta will be underdone).Transfer to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir the macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.

6. Portion out the mixture into 6 ramekins (or mini pie plates). Sprinkle the remaining cheese and top with frozen tater tots in whatever design you like. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes . Transfer the dish to a wire rack for 5 minutes; serve.


  1. Yay for you! Seriously, as I've read your posts, I have wondered if you had already done culinary school -- so good for you for moving forward. You will be awesome! xoxo

  2. lovely mac and cheese - and great inspiration! Good for you and best of luck :)
    Mary x

  3. Great post, and the mac and cheese looks delicious. Good for you for taking the leap. It is inspiring to me as a 15 year old food blogger to see you going for it, and I wish you the best in your new adventure!

  4. BAM! I spent this whole post waiting with baited breath for you to say it! GO YOU! You're going to kick ass, even more than you do now. :)

  5. I'm as excited about your bold decision as you are. Congrats!!

  6. Thanks for all the lovely comments on my blog, i truly appreciate them :) Almost as much as all the lovely recipes on yours! <3

  7. Oh it looks SO YUM. Good luck for the course! x hivenn

  8. this looks lovely, I love the idea of tater tots on top of mac & cheese!


Tell me what you think, or just say hello. Your comments make my day!