Friday, May 24, 2013

Mangia Mamma's Seven Quick Takes


--- 1 ---
Work has been so strange this week~ not in a bad way, but just strange. I've started having Mondays and Tuesdays off while adult fencing league is going on which has been nice for me and helpful for David, who has taken over my Monday foil tactics class (remember, it's fencing, not how to make swans or other animals out of aluminum foil). My boss and I met Wednesday to work on curriculum which was exciting as it's been needing to be done for a while. I am used to teaching two to three classes a night which is what happened Wednesday, but last night I ended up having only one class- nice job, 5:30 Musketeer Class- show up. Usually this would be disappointing, but it was nice to be able to come home earlier than usual. We figured out it was mostly due to the end of the year school events which goes to prove our SCF youth fencers are terrific kids who are involved in some great stuff in their schools as well as being terrific fencers!
What the salle usually looks like

--- 2 ---
Most of the folks in Salem are wondering where Spring has gone, and I am right there with them. After having a few weeks of quite lovely weather, it feels like winter is back. Yesterday it was 50 degrees at noon. Besides the cold, it's been rainy all week. Yeah, I know Salem is in Oregon and Oregon is so green because of the rain, blah, blah, blah...Sorry, I feel better now. It is really green outside and as far as I know all of the crops in the Willamette Valley are still okay, including the strawberries and blueberries at my friend Annette's family farm- Fordyce Farms. So, I guess I shouldn't complain too much since the grass is green, our yard looks nice and 
the berries should be ready to pick soon!

--- 3 ---
A close up of the fabric
I used for my wrap
With the rain comes more time inside. With more time inside comes Pinterest ideas time. I spent yesterday baking for a few hours then made a wrap out of some ivory knit fabric I've had up in fabric storage. I think it'll be nice to wear to Mass instead of a jacket. I'm trying to use up my fabric stash before buying anything new (not to mention, I shouldn't be buying any), and this was project #1. I am planning on making some skirts next week which I'll be sure to share photos!
--- 4 ---
Tea at Ten is a tradition I learned from Table Talk- a book from Mary Beth Lagerborg and Mimi Wilson who wrote Once A Month Cooking. The concept involves family time in the evening a bit before everyone goes to bed usually with tea and perhaps goodies. We used to do it when the kids were younger in order for us to all unwind from our day and just hang out together. With Joshua home from school for a couple of months, we've started up the tradition again. Last night after a late dinner (we generally eat as soon as I get home from work, around 9:00), the kids got out the teacups and some brownies I had made yesterday for our "tea at ten". Along with the goodies, Joshua brought down his penny whistle for some family music time. We sang, talked, drank and ate for about an hour when it was time for family nighttime prayers. We all went to bed with the last strains of melodies in our heads while I pondered the joy my kids bring me and how our "tea at ten" is so valuable to all of us.
--- 5 ---
We have chosen as part of our being Catholic to not eat meat on Fridays as a sacrifice for us as part of remembering what Jesus did for us on the cross. With this being said, I have had a good time finding new meatless recipes to try. Tonight, however, we are doing a family favorite- mac and cheese. For a long time when the kids were little they would only want mac and cheese from a box- you know, the stuff with the "cheese powder". Finally, as they got a bit older they realized that homemade is better. I have a feeling that our time of watching Food Network might have had something to do with it. I've made lots of different recipes, from Rachael Ray's to Alton Brown's. While these were delicious, the recipe I go back 
to most of the time is good old fashioned macaroni and cheese. 
Here's a simple recipe for you to try: 
 Mangia Mamma's Mac and Cheese 
1 lb. dry pasta (I like using elbow macaroni or gemelli pasta)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup vegetable broth
4 cups shredded cheese, divided (this is where you can be creative- use what you have at home or try something new. for example: a mix of Gouda, Romano, Fontina and Cheddar)
Bring 2 quarts of water to boil in large pot. Add salt and pasta. Cook for 9-11 minutes, or until al dente. Drain. Melt butter in the pot; whisk in flour and spices to make roux; cook for 3 minutes. Add milk and broth. Continue to whisk until thick and bubbly, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off heat, stir in 3 cups cheese until melted. Add drained pasta (and optional flavoring ingredients, see notes) to sauce, and stir until everything is well combined over low heat. Stir to heat through, and thin with a little water if the sauce is too thick. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and place in 350 degree oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.

--- 6 ---

We usually start BBQ'ing this time of the year and 2013 won't be an exception. We will be at Mom and Dad's Sunday to celebrate May birthdays- Joshua's plus my sisters' Alicia and Holly are turned a year older this month. Hopefully the weather will be nice, but even if it's still rainy, we should have a nice time being with the extended family. I am bringing some kind of potato dish and dessert. Since it is the beginning of strawberry season and Joshua just happens to be working tomorrow, I think I'll try something with berries for dessert. Cheesy potatoes of some sort will most likely be on the menu too. I'll be sure to post photos and recipes after Sunday!

--- 7 ---
Memorial Day is Monday which means two things. 1)We, like so many people, have the day off, and 2) Oregon Wine Country open houses- hopefully the weather will be nice enough to go to a winery or two with the family for wine tasting with the older two and picnic with everybody. I really want to try a couple of wineries we haven't been to yet, but as Brian is the wine expert, I'll just be happy to try something new and be with the family. Hope your Memorial Day weekend is fun and relaxing! God bless!!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!
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