Saturday, February 26, 2011

Homemade Chili -- Take 2

Last night i decided i was going to try making baked beans again. I put a cup of dried beans on to soak and went to bed. This morning, i changed my mind, as women are apt to do,  and hauled out some hamburger to make chili. My last chili experiment ended up being good, but a bit bland and lacking in the spice department. With today's experiment, i was hoping to correct that. 

So i started with soaking the beans overnight, and then boiling them for an hour. I also cooked up a pound of hamburger. Into the crock-pot they went along with a tsp of jarred crushed garlic, a quarter of a green pepper and a chunk of red onion. For the sauce, i used about 3/4 jar of Newman's Own Marinara, left over from last week, a very small can of garlic tomato paste and a medium sized can of tomato sauce. I gave it a taste test and added about 1/4 cup of beer and chipotle BBQ sauce and about a Tbsp of HP steak sauce. These were all just dumps, so no true measurement. For kicks, i added about half a tsp of Mrs. Dash, a sprinkle of cayenne pepper and about a half tsp of crushed chillies. I gave it a stir and turned it on high, then went out and shoveled out the car (and called my big sister to come help me push it out of the ice). About 2 hours later, i turned it down to low, where i kept it for about 4 hours. 

To go with my chili, i decided to make another cornbread, it is a quick and easy recipe, since i did not have a lot of time it is perfect. My baby sister's wedding is 5 days away, today we had to go to the seamstresses to pickup our dresses. Thankfully, one of us decided to try it on, and the seamstress realized the inside layer of material was showing. It did not when she had them on her dress form. We ended up being there over an hour while she cut and hemmed two of the three dresses, thankfully the third was fine. 

So, with cornbread and chili made, i got an invite out to dinner. Two of the wedding party are flying in tonight from Atlanta, my sister decided to take them out to dinner after picking them up, and invited the rest of us along. So, my chili will wait until tomorrow and make great lunches for next week. I tried a bit, it has a really good kick! So of to dinner i go; tonight is also the bachelorette party (and the bachelor as well), so i will be out for that to! I dished up some chili for pictures, it looks great! 

And now i don't have to cook tomorrow! Have a good weekend, everyone! 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pretzel Dogs

I found this recipe yesterday afternoon while looking through my list of blogs that i follow.  It looked delicious and simple, and i wanted it for dinner, so 
I stole it from Can't Stop Baking. Unfortunately, i did not have time to make it last night, between phone calls and a meeting. So, i decided to hold off. Tonight, i still wanted to try it, and since i have nowhere to go, few groceries and they are calling for a huge snowstorm overnight (people panic, so  i am not going out to buy something for dinner), i decided to go for it.

Pretzel Dogs

1  package active dry yeast
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 + 1/8 teaspoons salt
1 + 1/2 cups warm water (110  F/45 C)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup bread flour (i used regular flour, as did the victim of my thievery)

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast, brown sugar and salt in 1 + 1/2 cups warm water. Stir in flour, and knead dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover, and let rise for one hour.

12 hot-dogs
2 cups hot water
2 tablespoons baking soda

Combine in an 8 inch square pan. After dough has risen, cut into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope and wrap around hot dog, tucking the end under. Dip into the baking soda solution and shake off excess water. Place on parchment covered cookie sheets, and let rise 15 to 20 minutes

1 egg
2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt

Brush with egg and sprinkle on salt. Bake at 450 F for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

I actually only made 2 hot-dogs, because what is one person going to do with a dozen? So, i made pretzels with the rest. I skipped the egg and salt step, i don't like to much salt and the egg is only for browning. I will not scare you with my scary looking pretzels. Let's just say i can not fold pretzels. They look like dough balls.

I was lazy and used my mixer to knead. It made a fair sized bunch of dough, you could probably stretch it into 2 dozen pretzels. I oiled the bowl and went away. One episode of NCIS later, i had oodles of dough that looked so neat & tidy, i didn't want to touch it. I wanted to throw it in the oven and make a perfect loaf!

So, now all i have to do is sit back and wait out the storm. And eat pretzels. I am still waiting on a few phone calls, trying to find a place to have my sister's rehearsal dinner next Wednesday. I think i left it a bit to late, because everyone seems to be booked up. Only one week until the wedding!! Have a good week, everyone!

Monday, February 21, 2011

M & M Cookies

Digging for some tea bags to fill my container that i keep in my desk at work, i found a bag of mini M&Ms. I know they have been there since before Christmas, i thought they must be lonely!! Bored out of my mind, because i am off work at three this week and it makes for a long evening, i decided to do some baking. I did a quick internet search and found this recipe on the M&Ms website.

M&M Cookies

1 cup butter, softened.
1/2 cup white sugar.
1/2 cup light brown sugar.
1 egg.
1 tsp vanilla.
2 cups flour.
1/2 tsp baking soda.
3/4 cup M&Ms.
3/4 cup walnuts (optional)

Cream butter and sugars. Add egg and vanilla, mix well. Sift together flour and soda, stir into sugar mixture. Fold in M&Ms and walnuts.
Drop by teaspoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet, bake at 350 F fro 10 to 13 minutes.

While warm, these cookies were soft and chewy. Now that they have cooled, they are still chewy, but also crunchy. They turned out delicious, not to sweet. I have to admit i used a bit more white than brown sugar. I scraped the jar, and only got the half cup measure about 3/4 full. I had not realized i had no back up, as i almost always do. I just filled the cup with a bit of white sugar. I also only needed one and a half cups flour, i figured no more would go in without making them dry; and only 1/2 cup M&Ms, they just seemed saturated, maybe because i used mini instead of regular.

It did not make much, only 27, but that is plenty for me. I am on my own this week, so they should last into the weekend. This is a delicious cookie, i think i may try it with plain chocolate chip sometime. It is definitely a keeper!

Have a good week, everyone!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Banana Oat Squares

It has been a crazy busy weekend, but since the squares i made last week did not turn out as well as i had hoped, i decided to make these for this afternoon's shower instead. This square is slightly healthier than the last few that i have taken from my square recipe book, and reminds me a lot of these cookies that i tried last Autumn.

Banana Oat Squares

6 Tbsp butter or hard margarine, softened.
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed.
1 large egg.
3/4 cup mashed banana (about 1 + 1/2 medium)
1/4 tsp salt.
2 cups quick cooking rolled oats.
1/3 cup chopped walnuts.

Beat butter and brown sugar in medium bowl. Add egg. Beat well. Add banana and salt, beat until well combined.
Add rolled oats and walnuts, stir until combined. Spread evenly in greased 8 X 8 inch pan. Bake at 350 F oven for about 55 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Let stand in pan on wire rack until cool. Cuts into 25 squares.

I took liberties with the recipe and drizzled dark chocolate over the cut squares. I also added about 1/8 tsp nutmeg, but i could not taste it; next time i will have to add more. The batter mixed up quickly, and easily spread into the pan; not a single fight to it! This is a great beginner recipe.

I sprayed the pan instead of greasing it, and all i had to do was flip it and the giant square popped right out. I checked it after 50 minutes, and it was getting crispy, so keep an eye on the oven after 45 minutes.

I had to cut when they were still a bit warm, i figured i they would cool faster with the air circulating since i only have a couple hours before i have to leave. The edges crumbled a bit, but nothing worth panicking over. I tried the crispy edges that i had chopped off and they are delicious!  I know these will be a healthy hit this afternoon! Hope everyone is having a good weekend!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Three Layer Slice

I've had a song stuck in my head all week, a country tune by Tim McGraw called "My Next 30 Years". Today, i stepped into the next 30 years. So, i booked the day off work, and did what i wanted. I baked, went on a couple shopping trips, bought something i have been wanting for a long time, and just have been having fun! It was also a gorgeous day, the warmest we have had this year; so i popped the windows and aired the house out!! Today's baking is for another wedding shower and another recipe from the square book my Mom gave me for Christmas.

Three Layer Slice.

Layer One

2 cups all purpose flour.
1/2 cup butter or hard margarine, softened.
3 Tbsp granulated sugar.
1/2 tsp salt.

Mix all 4 ingredients in medium bowl until crumbly. Press into ungreased 9 X 13 inch pan. Bake in 350 F oven for ten minutes.

Layer Two

3 Large egg yolks.
1 cup brown sugar, packed.
1 cup raisins or currents.
3/4 cup all purpose flour.
1/2 cup milk.
1/4 cup r hard margarine, softened.
1 Tbsp baking powder.
1 tsp vanilla extract.

Combine all ingredients in medium bowl. Pour over first layer. Bake 20 to 15 minutes or until set.

Layer Three

3 egg whites.
1 cup brown sugar, packed.
1 cup medium unsweetened coconut.
1 tsp vanilla extract.

Combine all ingredients in small bowl. Spread evenly over second layer. Bake about 15 minutes until golden. Let stand in pan on wire rack until completely cooled. Cuts into 58 squares.

The bottom two layers are a bit bland, but the top is delicious! Coco-nutty goodness :-) I had a bit of issues with  the middle layer, it was really brown on the edges but still uncooked in the middle. After cutting it, i ended up tossing a few squares from the center. I also had a hard time cutting it, they fell apart. I cut them large, i think they would crush if i tried making them any smaller. This is good, but not great, probably not one i would make again. It depends on how the ladies like it Sunday, i guess.

Another shower, another recipe, and the wedding is only two weeks away!! But almost everything is ready, here's to new futures, and the next 30 years!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

What a busy weekend, but it was so much fun!! Yesterday morning, my nephew and I took a spin out to my Parents' house to drop off and pick up some things. We had brought over night bags just in case, because it was supposed to snow. By late afternoon, the snow had cleared, but K wanted to stay for dinner. And then he asked to stay the night. Nanny and Grampie took us out to dinner at a little diner in the country, it was delicious; and then we slept over. Both yesterday afternoon and this morning, we got to go out and play in the snow. My parents live on an old farm, about 45 minutes west of Saint John and east of Fredericton. The snow piles up and make for wonderful sliding and climbing adventures!!

Tall banks, this is a four year old that is as tall as a typical six year old, at the short end of the retaining wall, shortly after this, he climbed onto the bank. It is nice to be light and be able to stand on top of the snow!

Deep snow around the old chicken coop. I had to use snowshoes to get this far. 

Coming out of a face plant in the snow...smiling!! I missed the picture of him in the snow, and of the thumbs up after! 

Icicles hanging off the eaves.

Late this morning, we came back to town, picked up Mommy and Daddy and went out to have a Birthday Dinner. We went to a place called Churchills Pub/steakhouse (two places in one), the food was fabulous!!! For dessert i had deep fried kiss, basically a kiss wrapped in ice cream, and deep fried then drizzled in caramel. Yummy!! Although i could not find the kiss. If you ever come to Saint John, i highly recommend this dining establishment! it is a little out of the way, but a fantastic find! After lunch, my friend and I went shopping while K went to the hockey game with his parents (Seadogs won, yay!!). I bought a shirt to wear for my Valentine's date tomorrow night, we are going to the Bourbon QuarterMagnolia Cafe (another two in one) for dinner. This is a very posh place; one of, if not the, fanciest place in Saint John. I recommend it, to. 

But back to my own food. In between a trip to the country, two meals out and a shopping trip, i completed two baking projects. Yesterday morning, I finally used up my Lemon Curd, I made some lemon tarts. I just used store bought tart shells, baked them and dumped the curd into them. I then baked them a few more minutes, just to be sure. Easy as mini pie and very good! 

Tonight i finished my Mini chocolate cheesecakes for Valentine's Day. The recipe called for a ganache to be made of 2 ounces of chocolate and 2 Tbsp of heavy cream melted together, but i didn't want to buy a container of cream just for that small amount. So i made an icing out of a Tbsp of cocoa, about 4 Tbsp of icing sugar and about 2 Tbsp of my strawberry sauce. It could have taken a lot more icing sugar, but usually when i have that problem, i end up making it to sweet. So i just dipped my mini cheesecakes into the icing and let them drip like a donut. All those nights spent baking donuts for Timmie's and Robin's did not go to waste!! On top, i put a cinnamon heart, and they are ready to go!

I got this plate while i was out. Only a dollar fifty at Michael's, a great deal! So now, my house is a mess because i have not had time to clean, i am super tired and it has been 5 hours since lunch and i will not need dinner. What to do with the rest of my weekend? Not the housework, i am procrastinating. Time to relax!

Hope everyone had a great weekend to, and Happy Valentine's Day!! 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

S'more Cookies

From the moment i saw these cookies on Taking on Magazines one Recipe at a Time , I knew i had to have them! I even added marshmallows to my grocery list that day so i would have them to make this. I was right, they taste as good as they look. They are not that difficult to make, either. Yummy!

S'Mores Cookies.

1 + 1/2 cup flour.
1 cup graham crumbs.
1 tsp baking soda.
1/2 tsp salt.
1 cup butter.
3/4 cup sugar.
3/4 cup brown sugar.
1 tsp vanilla extract.
2 eggs.
1 cup chocolate chips.
1 + 1/2 cups marshmallows.

Cream sugars and butter. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. In separate bowl, mix crumbs, flour, soda and salt together. Add to sugar mixture, blending well. Add chocolate chips.
Drop teaspoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets. Bake at 375 F for 8 minutes, remove pans from oven and push a few mini marshmallows into each cookie. Return to oven for 2 to 3 minutes, or until fully cooked. Cool on racks.

The only change i made to the recipe was i used a dark chocolate bar instead of chips, only because i didn't realize i was out of chips and it is to late (and cold) to run to the store. I had bought 2 dark chocolate bars last week on sale for 1.99$, and have been trying to find a recipe for them. I thought this would be perfect, and i still have one left. It was nice to use my sharp knife i got at Christmas, it made light work of the chocolate. A far cry from when i was chopping chocolate for Truffles this time last year.

I found the batter a bit dense, i couldn't drop it, so i just rolled it into balls. I tried rolling a marshmallow into one cookie just to see how it would work; the cookie puffed quite a bit while cooking, otherwise it didn't make a difference, so i didn't bother doing it to the rest. I actually mixed these by hand, the first time in a long time! My mixer bowl is occupied in the refrigerator with pancake mix from last night.

This is my favorite picture, i shot it literally as i pulled them out of the oven. They looked so funny puffed up! I am sure i looked nutty standing there with an oven mitt on one hand and a camera in the other, but the picture had to be taken right away before they collapsed again.

This is an extremely delicious recipe, i urge you to try it. Soon. Better yet, now :-) They would make a great less messy campfire treat, or even treat for a pretend camping trip in the living room. Playing camp out might just take your mind of Winter!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

PB & J Pancakes

It's Pancake Day! Also known as Shrove Tuesday  or Mardi Gras!! When i was growing up, we would have pancakes for dinner only once a year. Strictly meat & potatoes folks, my Mom didn't serve breakfast for dinner very often. Usually, i crack a box of pancake mix, but this year i decided to try making them from scratch. I searched the vast internet and found two recipes i really liked, both from the Food Network; one from the American site, and the other from the Canadian site. There are two significant differences in the sites. American is .com, Canadian is .ca. The other difference is in the shows hosts. There are a few shows on the American channel that are not on the Canadian, and vice versa.

The recipe i found on the Canadian site was from one of my favorites, Chef Michael Smith. He is from PEI, which is almost right next door to my home, New Brunswick. I was planning on using that recipe, but changed my mind at the last minute to go with the American one i found, by someone named Sunny Anderson; a chief i have never heard of. I din't think she is on the Canadian Food Network since i could not find the recipe there (i went back to get the syrup part since i had not originally copied it).  Here is her recipe.

PB&J Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk, plus extra if needed to thin
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, melted
2 tablespoons oil
4 tablespoons butter
Blackberry Syrup, recipe follows

In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Slowly mix in egg, milk, peanut butter and oil until combined. Add a little extra milk if batter feels too thick. Let mixture sit 5 minutes. Melt 1 tablespoon butter on griddle and move around to coat entire griddle. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake on griddle to form 5-inch pancakes. The batter spreads as it cooks. Fill griddle without crowding pancakes. Flip when air pockets start to pop on the top and a quick peak on the underside reveals a golden pancake. Repeat with remaining butter and batter. Serve pancakes with Blackberry Syrup.


2 pints fresh blackberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 lemon, zested

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Lower heat to a simmer and cook until liquid is reduced to a syrupy consistency, about 10 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to break up blackberries as they cook. Strain syrup to remove seeds and serve warm.

And while typing that out, i just discovered a big mistake i made...i added the butter to the batter. I thought it was odd for a recipe to have both butter and oil. Oops. I actually dumped it into the melted peanut butter to cool it before adding it to the egg mixture. Well, i have to say they didn't stick while cooking (although i did spray the pan before the first one).

This afternoon while i was on break, i wandered in the City Market and bought a pint of strawberries to chop into my pancakes. I changed my mind to this recipe because i decided i could use them instead of the blackberries. I was never wild about blackberries anyway. I only used one pint instead of two. At 2.99 a pint, it was going to have to be enough. Here is a picture of the Summery strawberries before i mashed them and added the sugar and water.

While the berries simmered, and i learned to watch them lest the simmer turn into a boil and climb the walls of the pan, i made the batter; and while the batter rested, i strained the berries. This recipe syncs itself perfectly so that you spend a minimal amount of time in the kitchen. I have plenty of syrup left over, and it is so pretty (hard to tell, i couldn't get a decent bright picture).

These pancakes turned out great!! I can't wait to make them again next time i have company for breakfast! They do not take many ingredients and they turned out light and fluffy!

Happy Mardi Gras!!

Edit: So apparently my calendar is playing a trick on me and has Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday noted both this month and next month...the actual date of pancake day turns out is next month. So, guess i get to do it all over again next month and try my second recipe!! Yummy!! 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Thank you: Stylish Blogger Award & still

I am still sick and therefore not been in the kitchen for three days, unless it has involved hot dogs, oatmeal, cold cereal or anything else that can be prepared in the microwave in 4 minutes or less. Not the healthiest diet, but i called the New Brunswick Nurse 811 hotline and discussed my fever and cold (apparently a fever is not uncommon with a children. Unusual but not unheard of in adults), i was told plenty of rest, liquids and monitoring the fever. And an Advil or two if necessary. I spent this afternoon on the couch with a blanket, book and a bowl of Pretzel M&Ms, only moving to refill my glass of water, take my temperature and check my emails every 45 minutes or so. I was very surprised and happy when i got an email saying a comment had been left on my Gnocci post, Ann over at Apples and Twinkies wanted to let me know she was passing on a Stylish Blogger Award. I want to say Thank you very much!!

Now, there are stipulations to accepting this award. Step one is i have to share seven facts about myself. Now, where to start?

1. I live in Canada and don't think i could ever move to another country, even though i hate the cold and snow. Canada has so many beautiful places, and the friendliest folks around!

2. My favorite characters are Happy Bunny and Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh.

3. I have a children's book written, and am working on finding an illustrator and then getting it published. I also have a tween novel half finished.

4. My favorite food is lasagna, my favorite treat, cookies.

5. I can't swim, even though i have had many lessons when i was a child. Thankfully, my parents never had to pay for those lessons that didn't take, as they were all through school programs.

6. Some of my favorite musicians are Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney, U2, and The Beatles.

7. I love frogs, they are so cute! I also love skulls. I have a small collection of both, and one of snow globes.

Stipulation number two is that I have to pick 15 blogs to share the Stylish Blogger Award with. I follow so many it was hard to choose!!  Here they are:

1. Moogie & Pap One of the first blogs i started following. Moogie has lots of great recipes!!
2. The Country Cook  A fairly new Blogger, everything looks so good!
3. Baking and Cooking: a Tale of Two Loves Serving up lots of old fashioned comfort food.
4. Making Memories...One Fun Thing after Another.  Has a lot of really cool crafts and recipes to keep the kids busy!
5. Treat & Trick Plenty of unique recipes
6. Betty Ray Blogs has a new feature, making recipes from magazines.
7. Pam's Midwest Kitchen Corner More comfort home cooked goodness!
8. Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker I've borrowed a few recipes from this blog, and they have all turned out great!
9. What's Cookin' in Mama Jan's Kitchen? I've only recently started following Mama Jan, and everything looks delicious!!
10. Hun...What's for Dinner? Another one i just recently started following, lots of real home cooked meals here!
11. Laws of the Kitchen Another i have been following since pretty much the beginning. Great fancier recipes here, that all look divine!
12. Cookies with Boys Cookies...need i say more? Plenty of other great recipes in between!
13. That Skinny Chick can Bake!!! I love the title, another i have been following forever and that i have borrowed a few great recipes from.
14. Munchkin Munchies Lots of recipes for sweet little finger foods.
15. Jenn's Food Journey More unique recipes to spice up the everyday.

Finally, stipulation number three is i have to tell the folks above that i want to give them this award. I will do that next. You can take the badge from above if you want to participate and post it on your blog.

Again, i want to thank Ann from Apples and Twinkies for the award. It is my first award from the Blogging World. I have so much fun reading and sharing all the recipes. I should have a new recipe soon, if not tomorrow night than Tuesday for sure. It is Shrove Tuesday, also known as Pancake Day, and i have a new recipe to try!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

100th Post : Gnocci & Cheese

Happy 100th Post!! I never thought i would get here, especially last summer when i had slowed down for a bit, but i managed it! I am also happy that i got my New Year's Blog Resolution of doubling my readership this year. And in only a month!! I want to welcome the twelve new people who joined me last month, and the twelve people who joined me last year. I am so happy to have everyone here to share my kitchen catastrophes! I was originally going to post this tomorrow, but i have a cold and can't sleep, i have a fever so i called in sick for tomorrow in case it goes higher and i have to make a trip to the hospital. So, if i start randomly rambling and not making sense, give me a boot, would ya? And blame the fever. I am blissfully medicated and monitoring my temperature every half hour, so I will be OK, and I am also under orders to call my beau if i need to run up the hill. I can also can sleep all day tomorrow, hopefully. Now on to the rambling! :-)

So for my 100th post, i wanted to make something new, unique and a bit more difficult. A few weeks ago, this recipe popped up on a lot of blogs, part of French Fridays with Dorie. It has a slightly more fancy title: Gnocci a la Parisienne, but i changed it because i changed the recipe a bit. The rules of French Fridays with Dorie state you can not post the recipe, if someone wants it they have to buy the book. I am going to stick to that rule and just show you my process rather than the actual recipe. I want send a BIG thank you to the person who shared the recipe with me (she is on my favorites list, check them all out) even though she should not have. I know everyone here are friendly folk, but i am not going to advertise her name in case she gets shunned from the French Fridays with Dorie World (doubtful, but you never know). But THANK YOU!!

Step one is to make the pasta. It is a simple pasta consisting of water, flour, eggs and oodles of butter.

It is times like this that i love my kitchen aid mixer. I could not imagine having to mix the eggs into this dough by hand, it was very stiff both before and after each addition. My source stated she mixed them in by hand, and i applaud her, yikes!  To make the gnocci, you scoop little balls of the dough and dump them in boiling water. When they float, they are almost done. One more minute and fish them out. Here is my second batch starting to float.

 I got about 3 and a half potfuls and as per a suggestion, i used my cookie scooper to plop them into the water. After fishing them out, using the big spoon to the left, I drained them on paper towel. By this time, i was starting to worry about the recipe, as these puppies look odd. But, i nibbled one, a bit plain but good.

To the right is my phone perched on the very edge of the counter, after calling my beau and saying dinner would be half an hour. And i wonder why it is always hitting the floor (glad it is a sturdy phone, is all i can say)

So step two is the Bechamel, or the "what's that?" sauce. I have told my family, beau and a few work friends about what i was planning on making this, and each one has asked me that question upon seeing the word on the recipe. It is basically a white sauce made of milk, flour, salt, pepper to taste and oodles more butter. So why are these French ladies so skinny? All this rich butter! I had to cheat, i dumped it into a bowl and attacked it with my submersion blender, since the flour went all lumpy.

Just for kicks and flavour, i added a couple spoonfuls of the water  had boiled the pasta in. Change number one! :-)  Finally, you layer the sauce, pasta and some cheese into a dish and bake it for twenty minutes.

Change numbers two and three, i used a marble cheese instead of the suggested fancier (and more expensive) Conte, Gruyere or Emmantal (but i did use the Parmesan, i love that stuff). And i did not dot it with butter before baking it. No more butter!! :-)

So, here it is, i served it with a very non fancy garlic bread and we both liked it. My beau actually loved it and said i have to make it again. It was easy to make, but it was a lot of work because of so many steps. Next time, he helps :-) And my kitchen is a mess, again. But when he left to go back to work, i was given orders to sleep and worry about the dishes tomorrow (no worries there, i have no intentions of touching them tonight) . No sleep yet. I am going to head back to bed soon and hope this fever drops. It has not gotten any higher while i was typing, which is good. This made enough for 4, so we have leftovers for tomorrow. It was a very soothing dish, when i was eating the pasta lumps kind of gave me the impression of soft bread, like maybe bread pudding. Either way, i will be making this again!!

Happy 100th, and here's to 100 more!!