Mac&Cheese

I like my mac and cheese with a light, crunchy topping and a gooey, cheesy center.  I got this recipe from Ina Garten.  She is the queen of all foods decadent and easy so it was obvious that I went to her for this recipe.  Of course, I made a few Christine tweaks like using panko bread crumbs instead of regular bread crumbs.  This macaroni and cheese recipe will keep you warm and cozy during these cooler months.  




Ingredients:
1 lb. elbow macaroni or a curly pasta
1 quart salted water
1 stick of unsalted butter
1/2 cup of all purpose flower
3/4 quart whole milk
12 oz. of Gruyere cheese, grated
8 oz. of cheddar cheese, grated
black pepper
salt
nutmeg
1 cup of panko bread crumbs
2 Tbs. of unsalted butter

Pre heat the oven to 375 degrees Farenheight.  Bring to boil the salted water.  When it comes to a boil drop in the pasta for 12-13 minutes. Drain the pasta.

In a medium sauce pan, under medium heat, warm the milk until just before simmering.  In the same pot that the pasta was cooked in, melt the stick of butter under medium heat and add the flour.  Cook the flour for 3 minutes.   Slowly whisk in the warm milk.  Season the white sauce with some salt and pepper and the nutmeg.  Taste to liking.  Add the cheese and turn off the heat.  Add the pasta.  Mix and transfer to a large casserole dish.

In a small fry pan melt the 2 Tbs. of butter and add the bread crumbs.  Toss in the butter for a couple minutes then add the bread crumbs to the top of the casserole.  Bake for 30 minutes until it is bubbly. Enjoy!



Try mixing it up by adding bacon, ham, tomatoes, or even lobster to the dish.  Maybe even change up the cheese by adding a blue cheese to the mix.  I made this for Christmas and my dad told me to add some hot dogs to it.  Uhm, maybe next time dad... Anyway, I hope this recipe feeds your soul.

If you have any questions about this or other recipes please email me at feedmysoleblog@gmail.com.  I will gladly answer any questions.  Happy eatings!



A Black and White Christmas

I love decorating for the holidays.  It has been a tradition in my family to put up the tree on my birthday and I would spend my birthday as a kid decorating our tree.  I have been carrying on the tradition in my own home.  
In this post I take you into my home as I share a holiday feast with some of my close friends.  As you know I love to entertain.  Here are some of my easy holiday entertaining tips.

Keep your table top gorgeously simple.  Layer your plates for an easy transition between courses.  Once the appetizer course is done you'll just need to get rid of the top layer and you'll have a new, clean plate for the main course.  Here I used silver chargers underneath the dinner plate and the salad plate to complete the look.  Pair some wine glasses, utensils, and a napkin and you're all done!  I also used tea candles for a simple centerpiece.

Put out some pre-made or store bought tidbits on the coffee table for your early guests to munch on while you finalize everything for your party.  I like to put out some crackers and cheeses, veggies and dip, and some goodies that guests bring to the party.  Keep it simple.  You don't want to stress out in front of your guests.  My ultimate hosting tip is to buy things pre-made or to make things beforehand that reheat well the next day.  They don't have to know!


Decorate for the occasion.  Put ornaments inside glass vases and bowls, decorate your tree, and put up a wreath.  We kept with the black, white, and silver theme to create a sophisticated look.  I even made the feather wreath! Here's how:

You'll need:
1 large styrofoam ring
a feather boa
ornaments
a ribbon bow (I purchased it in bow form already but you can certainly make yours)
nylon string/fisherman's wire

Lie the styrofoam ring on a working surface.  Line the boa on top of the styrofoam  and wrap the nylon string around the two to keep them together.  Tie the sting to keep them secure.


Cut off or remove any sting or ribbon hooked onto the ornaments.  String 1-3 ornaments together with the nylon and tie around the feather wreath in various spots.  Cut off excess string after the knot.  Do the same for the bow but place the bow at 12 o' clock or 6 o'clock.

You can certainly use any color boa and ornaments you like.  Be creative!  I'd love to see some of your creations.  Send them to feedmysoleblog@gmail.com and I'll post them up.  Happy Holidays!

P.S. Check out my Peppermint Party from last year.  We refined the look of Candy Cane Lane.



It's The Most Wonderful Time

I personally like to get all my gift buying done online during the holidays.  This way I can avoid the crowded parking lots and malls and do, oh maybe, some the laundry at the same time =)

Here is the ultimate Feed My Sole Gift Guide for 2011!






for the hostess: Pier 1 sparkle ornaments - $3.50 - $3.95, Daisy Shoppe cherry full apron - $33.95, Crate&Barrel very merry plate - $7.95

I hope you guys got some good ideas for some great gifts.  What are some things that are on your "must list" for gift giving this holiday?


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