Anna

Lilypie Fourth Birthday tickers

Baby #2

Lilypie Maternity tickers

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Food Nanny Fired Up Mac & Cheese

Now that Summer has arrived, I'm up to my elbows in family reunions.  It means quite a bit of baking and cooking for said occasions.  Since there are always going to be youngsters around that probably won't dig the coleslaw (not that I blame them) or five-bean salad, I decided to take it upon myself to come to the aid of those with a picky palette.  I've never gotten a complaint about this baked macaroni and cheese, only comments on how great it was.  In fact, my 5 year old nephew was asking me for the recipe.  This recipe will kick your boxed Mac and Cheese's trash.  For Realz.  You may think time is an issue, but the whole putting it together part (as long as all the ingredients have been previously measured) takes a little less than 20 minutes.

Here's what you need to put together this yummy dish:
  • 2 cups Elbow Macaroni
  • 4 tbsp Butter
  • 1/4 cup Flour
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/8 tsp Tabasco/Hot Sauce
  • 2 cups Cheddar Cheese
(Note:  The Cayenne and Tabasco Sauce add a little kick of flavor, but the amounts shown are the smallest amounts and don't make it too spicy.  For a more spicy flavor use 1/2 tsp. Cayenne and 1/4 tsp of Tabasco.  You can always up the amounts for more heat.  I'm a pansy and like my stuff mild.) 

For the Topping:
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 slices of Bread
  • 1/4 cup Butter
(Another Note:  The recipe says 2 or 3 slices of bread.  I like to push the limits so I go with 3 since I use the 9x13.)
    Start off by cooking the noodles as directed.

    Keep an eye on it and stir it every so often so it doesn't stick to the pot.
    While that's doing it's thang, melt the butter:

    Once it's fully melted, sprinkle in the flour:

    Mix it well so there are no clumps.

    Once it starts to bubble, add Milk and stir until thick.

    Then add the Salt, Cayenne, Worcestershire, and Tabasco.

    Stir together until well mixed.

    Take off of heat and add the cheeses.

    Put over low heat and mix until well blended and the cheese is fully melted.

    At this point if your noodles aren't already finished, they should be now and you should have drained them.

    Then add to the cheesy mixture.

    Mix it all together and then put in a baking pan in the size of your choice.  The recipe says 8x8, but I like more servings so I go with a 9x13.

    Now for the yummy crumb topping.  You can forgo this, but Ty and I discovered that we like it better with the topping.  It just adds a nice texture to the dish.

    Using a food processor, turn your slices of bread into a thousand itty-bitty pieces.  We like to call them crumbs.  (Looking at the picture it almost looks like the crumbs aren't in the container, but I swear on the limited amount of A/C I get in my apartment, it is.)

    Next, put the butter into a medium-sized bowl:

    Stick it in the microwave and let it melt.

    Toss in the bread crumbs.

    And mix together.  The picture doesn't do it justice, but if you're using a spoon, you'll notice a difference in the weight of the crumbs.

    Now add the cheese.

    Again with the mixing.

    Are you excited yet?!

    Oh you should be!  Now bring your Mac & Cheese and Bread Crumb topping together.

    I was thinking a little more like this.

    Sprinkle the top evenly.

    Place it in the oven at 350°F for 30-35 minutes.

    I don't have a picture of the finished product since I'll be baking it later on during the reunion.  That's sorta the beauty of this concoction.  Doesn't take long to make and you can save it for later when you want to bake it.  It even tastes good reheated.  Trust me.  I know.  If I ever need to make a meal where there are picky eaters, I'll be making this.

    Seriously though, if you want to be a big hit at the reunion, bring this guy.  It has not failed me yet. 

    Monday, July 19, 2010

    My Daily Plate

      Just in case you were wondering how I was doing with losing weight and my food diary blog, to date I've lost 8 lbs. Posting and showing the world what I'm eating has definitely helped.  I can get pretty self-conscious about what I eat and then posting a picture of it for all the world to see.  It's not always fun to show that I might have gone out to eat or that I ate another Robbins cookie, but I've made a commitment to myself and I'm sticking to it.

    A big help in choosing what I eat has been the site I use to count calories.

      When I first came upon the site, I wasn't really interested.  Instead, I started using Fitday.com, going off of a recommendation from Jenna of That Wife.  I liked it well enough for a little while, but it was frustrating that I had to keep entering in Custom Foods because it didn't have a database of brands and such.  For me it's important to be as specific as I can (of course allowing for a little lee-way).

      Eventually, I would stumble on a portion of the site every now and then and I was intrigued by their database of food and by how accurate it all was.  I finally decided to sign up and have really enjoyed each of its features.  

    Here's what I love about the site.

      Obviously the first thing is the database.  I love that it has such a wide range of brands and restaurants listed.  There are even off brands.  The more local things are the harder it is to find, however, but you'd have to expect that with any site.
      The bright yellow box that says "* VERIFIED *" means that it has been verified by either a user or site.  Even so, you want to make sure they have all the correct information.  I try to make sure that if something is outdated or I know it is correct, I take the time to share my verification.

    Here is what a day can look like in my food log:
      I like that I can separate each of the meals so I know just how many calories will go into a certain setting.  There is also the "Frequently Eaten" and "My Recipes" tabs that I like to use because it saves me time searching.

    If I wanted to see it all together I also have a food diary.  This shows more than one day at a time, but for screen shot purposes, it was condensed.

      I'm really enjoying the Intake Totals.  The Nutrient Goals is new, but is only available to the GOLD membership which costs money.  At some point this might be worth it, but for now, I'm good seeing the totals as they are.

    Since that day I had Red Lobster, and ended up pretty far over my calorie limit, I decided to get on the treadmill to work off some calories.
    This also has tabs that save time searching with "My Workouts", My Loops", and "What I Do Regularly".

    Looking up exercises is really simple, and again, they have a large database.

    Let's say I wanted to do some Calisthenics, I'd look up under "C".  There are two types, light or moderate and vigorous.  After reading the description I know that light or moderate is more like stretching exercises, so I choose vigorous.
    If I want to add this to my Fitness log, I hit the "I did this!" button and it asks me what day and for hour long.  You can also add in distance and heart rate for the appropriate exercises.

    One of my favorite fitness features is the Loops:
    You can track for cycling, running, or walking.

    Here's one that I've entered:
    Using Google Maps, you can map out the path or loop you take.  It will tell you how many miles and also keep track of the elevation.
    In the bottom right you'll see the Route Summary:
    You can adjust the speed and your weight to get the appropriate time and estimated calories.  There is also the ability to change to Metric, if you should feel so inclined.

    Now, you might be wondering how I figure out how I set my calorie limit.  Using the Calorie Calculator of course!
    I tell it my age, height, weight, goal of how many pounds a week I'd like to loose, and my lifestyle activity.  I hit " Save and Calculate " and it comes up with my calorie limit.

    When I go to MyPlate, I'll have my limit set in the right corner.  If ever I go over my calories, the line turns red.  I try to avoid that.
    I also am given a graph of how I'm doing today against the past week.
    Underneath that I have a place to track how much water I've had during the day.
    The last little graph it shows me is my Nutrient percentages for the day.  I could have done better on this day.

    Obviously, I'll want to track my weight.  Every week when I weigh-in, I enter in the amount and the graph changes.  Also, when I add my weight, the calorie calculator automatically adjusts my calorie limit to what my new goal is.

    I can also check my BMI:

    And I can keep track of my Body measurements for Chest, Waist, Neck, and Hips
    (To add measurements for other areas you must have a GOLD membership) :

    For each of these graphs, if you place the mouse arrow over a entry (dot) it will give the amount entered or calculated.

    My favorite, and the most tiring, thing is adding in recipes.  It can take awhile sometimes to add in recipes, but is so worth it in the end.

    When you are done adding all the ingredients and instructions, it brings up your recipe and tells you how many calories per servings (which you assign) and also gives the Nutritional information.

    Here's the one for Robbins Pizza Crust:
    Click on the link for the recipe
     

    The only thing that I don't like about the recipe section is they don't let you delete recipes.  You are able to go in and edit them, but I have two recipes that are the same on accident and now I can't delete one.  

    I've been trying to convince Ty that I really need to be cool and get an Iphone, but alas my efforts have gone on unsuccessfully.  If I did have one though (or a blackberry), there is also an app (Yeah, there's an app for that.) that can be used just like the website.

    Here's the link to the video that talks about it.  Scroll down to the bottom to see the video.

    They also have a section for Diabetics to keep track and stay healthy.
    There's more to this site that I haven't talked about, but I think I covered all the high points for me.  I really love this site.  It's helped me get to be 15 pounds lighter than last summer so I would say I've really benefited from it. 

    If you decide to take the plunge and join let me know!

    You can check out my profile on the site here.
    Check out my food diary blog to see how I fair in the weigh-in this week.
    Related Posts with Thumbnails