Gouda Macaroni and Cheese


My two weeks of Book Fair started yesterday. That means two weeks of no exercising. I see lots of juicing in my future. That and a lot of crock pot meals. Yesterday I think I made enough shredded chicken to last for 3 weeks.

I’ve only been allowed to make one kind of macaroni and cheese for the last 21 years because Johnny has the one he likes. But I love gouda and had some I needed to use up. He only complained a little.

8 oz Elbow Macaroni
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
2 Tablespoons Flour
2 cups Fat Free Milk
8 oz Gouda, Grated
1/8 teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon Pepper
1/8 tsp Paprika
2 Tablespoons Breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.

While pasta is cooking, in a large pan, melt butter. Add flour, whisk together until blended. Add the milk and continue whisking for about 10 minutes, on medium low heat, until the mixture begins to thicken. Whisk in the cheese until melted. Add in salt, pepper and paprika.

Add pasta and stir until combined.

Pour into baking dish or individual dishes.

In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and olive oil and mix together. Sprinkle over the pasta and bake 20 minutes.

Adapted from Emeril Lagasse

Servings: 6
Calories 362
Total Fat 15.8g
Total Carbohydrates 36.8g
Dietary Fiber 1.4g
Protein 17.7g
Nutrition Grade B-

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Steve Madden Tote Bseriana Handbag Purse Leopard

Roasted Tomatoes


I took the girls tiara shopping. Not because of our newly discovered Royal roots, but for the Daddy Daughter Dance this weekend. This year’s theme is The Royal Ball so Megan insisted they had to have tiaras. (and necklaces, earrings, gloves, shoes….)  I think we have it all covered now. I can’t imagine what Prom will be like.

A quick and easy side dish. Only 3 ingredients and 10 minutes to make.




2 Large Tomatoes, seeded and halved
2 Tablespoons Pesto
4 teaspoons Parmesan Cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Place tomato halves, cut sides up, in a non-stick muffin pan.

Top each with 1-1/2 teaspoons of pesto and 1 teaspoon of parmesan.

Bake for 10 minutes or until roasted.

Servings: 4
Calories 57
Total Fat 3.9g
Total Carbohydrates 4.1g
Dietary Fiber 1.2g
Nutrition Grade B+

Today’s Leopard Print Find: leopard-print vase
by The Macbeth Collection

New Year’s Day Black-Eyed Peas with Ham


Southern tradition is that the more beans and cabbage you eat on New Year’s Day, the more luck and money you will have in the coming year. Beans for luck and cabbage for money. There are a few other traditions, but these are the two we follow. Some people stick with the old tradition that you are supposed to cook a coin in your peas and the person who finds it gets extra luck. Personally, I don’t want a dime floating around in my food.

Here’s a quick New Year’s Eve recap….we had some family over and the girls each got to invite a friend (Emma and Torye). We did the New Year’s Eve jars. I’ll have to post more about that later.


We did a little Gangnam Style that was so intense it caused Cinderella to lose her slipper…


We had an overflowing bowl of poppers…


As usual, they worked on the video star app. This video featured a dropping ball and mustaches…


and a lot of Just Dance and Karaoke…


2 Tbs Olive Oil
1 cup Chopped Onions
2 Tbs Garlic, minced
2 Bay Leaves
1 sprig Fresh Thyme
1 Ham Hock
1 cup Ham, cut into small pieces
1 lb Dried Black-Eyed Peas, soaked in cold water overnight and rinsed well
4-1/4 quarts Chicken Stock
1 cup Cold Water
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper

In a medium stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic, bay leaves, thyme and ham. Add the black-eyed peas, chicken stock and water. Bring to a boil, partially cover and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 20 minutes, uncover and cook an additional 20 minutes, or until the peas are tender.

Adapted from Emeril Lagasse

Servings: 6
Calories 173
Total Fat 8.8g
Total Carbohydrates 15.8g
Dietary Fiber 3.2g
Protein 9.8g
Nutrition Grade B

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Isotoner Women’s Faux Fur Hat

Southern Style Green Beans

This weekend was one of my favorite times of the year. The Hallmark Holiday Open House. I can’t believe I almost forgot to go. I <3 my Gold Crown Card and my free gifts.

This year it had a snowman platter, a small Peppermint Bark Yankee Candle, a coupon for buy 2 get 2 free on Yankee, a Christmas ornament, notepad and pen…all wrapped up in a cute little bag.

Southern Style Green Beans, the best green beans there are….

8 slices Bacon, diced
1 lb Fresh Green Beans, trimmed
4 cups Water
2 tsp Salt

Fry bacon until crisp. Add water, beans and salt. Bring to a boil. Turn down to low heat. Cook 6 to 8 hours. Add water as necessary.

Servings: 6
Calories 160
Fat 3.5g
Carbohydrates 5.8g
Dietary Fiber 2.6g
Nutrition Grade B

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Set of Leopard and Zebra,Handpainted Ceramic Light Bulb Dishes

Creamy Mashed Potatoes


Princess, my “fluffy” maltese, started her diet and workout routine yesterday. She wasn’t happy on either walk. Neither was I. Why can’t I have normal acting dogs?? I think she purposely went through every mud puddle she could find just to spite me.

So now, I get the joy of taking her to the groomer’s today. That is always such a fun little field trip. Hopefully we don’t embarrass ourselves too bad this time.

These definitely weren’t on her diet. She wasn’t happy with that either.

2 lb Potatoes, peeled and cubed
6.5 oz Boursin Light Garlic and Herbs Gourmet Shreadable Cheese
2/3 cup Half and Half
1/4 cup Butter
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper

Place potatoes in large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes. Drain and return to pan. Warm on stove for another minute. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In mixing bowl combine potatoes and remaining ingredients. Mix until smooth.

Spoon into a 2 quart baking dish.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Adapted from Southern Living

Servings: 8
Calories 236
Fat 16.2g
Total Carbohydrates 19.5g
Dietary Fiber 2.7g
Nutrition Grade C+

Today’s Leopard Find: Betsey Johnson Tights

Baked Zucchini and Squash

Have you ever almost sliced your finger off with a mandoline?? I don’t recommend it. I should know that I’m way too clumsy to not use the safety guard. Next time I think I’ll just stick with a knife. I think I scared the girls to death. There was lots of screaming and they checked on me every 30 minutes or so to make sure my finger was still there. So far, so good!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.Spray 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray.Mix together garlic, olive oil and dressing mix.Place squash and zucchini into a gallon sized ziploc bag and toss with seasonings.

Pour into baking dish and top with parmesan.Bake for 30 minutes.

1 squash, sliced
2 zucchini, sliced
2 tsp Garlic, minced
2 Tbs Olive Oil
2 tsp Italian Dressing seasoning mix
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray. Mix together garlic, olive oil and dressing mix. Place squash and zucchini into a gallon sized ziploc bag and toss with seasonings. Pour into baking dish and top with parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes.

Servings: 4
Calories: 142
Fat: 10.9g
Carbs: 6.4g
Fiber: 1.7g
Nutrition Grade: B+

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Splendid Leopard Print Leggings

Bacon Ranch Potatoes

IMG_0102This was the side that went with the meal that Taylor has declared “ah-mazing!” and she thinks should now be our special holiday meal for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. She said I should only need to make about 60 because everyone will need 2 and that I may need a few more potatoes than this to feed 30+ people. She puts a lot of thought into everything. Which is why watching the fabulous 2012 Summer Olympics with her is going to be a full time job. She is very concerned that I’m not recording every event. I tried explaining to her that you are just supposed to watch the main events and the highlights but she’s not buying that. She also warned me that this is really her first time to watch the olympics so she may have extra questions. :l Is that really possible??? Yes it is…We watched the opening ceremonies and she wanted to know why Betty White was on those dresses with the people on it (bless their hearts for having to wear those). I may have to bring in reinforcements. I couldn’t answer half her questions…Like why there were Abraham Lincoln’s everywhere and why were the doing those dances.  Megan’s only concern was for the USA’s outfits. She said apparently they need to start shopping in Dallas. But anyway…go team USA!!!!! and here are two of my favorite Olympic moments so far….

Two of the USA men’s gymnasts decided that standing in front of the rings wasn’t very exciting so they spidermanned up the pole. Precious!
And the USA swim team doing my favorite…. Call Me Maybe
 4 Potatoes, sliced into thin circles
Olive Oil Spray
1 Tbs Old Bay Seasoning
1 Tbs Garlic Salt

2 Tbs Bacon Bits
4 Tbs Ranch Dressing
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray. Place potatoes on baking sheet and spray with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and seasoning. Cook for 20 minutes. Mix bacon and ranch together and drizzle on top (or dip if you have a family of dippers like I do)
Servings: 4
Calories: 223
Fat: 9g
Fiber: 4g
Today’s Leopard Find: Lucky Ballet Flats

Baked Parmesan Zucchini

I could eat these like french fries. However, the girls didn’t feel the same way. They don’t even like french fries. They managed to both choke down one. By the look on their face you would have thought I was making them eat a cricket crusted beetle. Which reminds me, I have parentally missed a few steps in making them more worldly….Megan showed me a picture…. I asked her “Do you know John Lennon is?” she said “no”. I said “he was a Beetle”. She asked “what kind?” I’ll have to work on that one. 2 Zucchini, sliced 4 Tablespoons Parmesan, shredded 1/2 Tablespoon McCormick Grill Mates Garlic & Onion Seasoning Olive Oil Spray Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Place zucchini on baking sheet. Spritz with olive oil, sprinkle with seasoning and top with cheese. Bake for 10 minutes. Servings: 4 Calories: 36 Fat: 2g Fiber: 1g Today’s Leopard Find: Satchel Bag …

Smashed New Potatoes

I’ve been trying to do a better job of not wasting food. We had leftover new potatoes from our short ribs dinner so I decided to smash them so I could bake them at the same time as the zucchini we were having with our chicken. Taylor only liked the skins, Megan only liked the white part. If I put them together I would have had ONE non-picky kid! Oh well…. we were close. The rest of us loved them. Bring salted water to a boil. Add in potatoes and cook until they are tender, about 25 minutes. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Drizzle olive oil onto a baking pan. Place potatoes on baking sheet, leaving room between each potato. Use a potato masher to gently press down each potato. Spray the tops of each crushed potato with more olive oil. Sprinkle potatoes with seasoning, salt, pepper and parmesan. Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown.Ingredients: 12 whole New Potatoes 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil 2 Tablespoons Parmesan Cheese, shredded McCormick Grill Mates Garlic & Onion Seasoning, to taste Kosher Salt, to taste Black Pepper, to taste Bring salted water to a boil. Add in potatoes and cook until they are tender, about 25 minutes. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Drizzle olive oil onto a baking pan. Place potatoes on baking sheet, leaving room between each potato. Use a potato masher to gently press down each potato. Spray the tops of each crushed potato with more olive oil. Sprinkle potatoes with seasoning, salt, pepper and parmesan. Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown. Servings: 12 Calories: 182 Fat: 4g Fiber: 4g Today’s Leopard Find: Yellow Box Juanita …

Baked Parmesan Fries


We have a neighborhood full of animals…birds, some bobcats, coyotes, a few squirrels….but mostly bunnies. Unfortunately half of them end up dead in my sister’s pool. So when she texted me today to tell the girls to come see some baby bunnies, Taylor flew down the street before I could even finish my sentence. One ended up in the pool while we were standing there. I did manage to pull it out safely! So we all voted and my hubby, or the Road Blocker as the girls call him (“because he says no to everything”) was out voted. So we brought the 4 we could catch down to my backyard to play with our baby bunnies (and entertain Princess & Lily)
4 Large Potatoes, washed and cut into 1/8′s
1/4 tsp Thyme
1/4 tsp Oregano
1/8 tsp Rosemary
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
2 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese, grated
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Preheat oven to 425.
Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.
Mix thyme, oregano, rosemary, garlic powder, Old Bay seasoning and parmesan cheese in a small bowl.
Place the potatoes into a gallon size freezer bag. Add olive oil and the parmesan cheese/spice mixture to the bag.
Seal the bag and shake until the potatoes are evenly coated.
Once thoroughly coated dump onto the prepared cookie sheet and spread in a single layer.
Bake 45 minutes or until tender and lightly golden brown, flipping once while cooking.
Servings: 8
Calories: 143
Fat: 1g
Fiber: 3g

Today’s Leopard Find: Toms – Womens Printed Burlap Wedge in Snow Leopard