White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

What do you do when someone brings you back a bag of roasted macadamia nuts all the way from Hawaii? Well, I don’t know about you, but after staring at said bag sitting on the pantry shelf for over a month and trying to find the perfect recipe worthy of them…I finally break down and just make a batch of white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.

Just make a batch of cookies…only these are some Ah-mazingly good cookies. I don’t think I could buy another pack of break and bakes after these babies. Do your sweet tooth a favor and whip up a batch of these white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. Cookies are the best medicine. Who’s with me?

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and almond extracts. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in the macadamia nuts and white chocolate. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

Recipe Source: All Recipes

Classic Macaroni & Cheese

Macaroni & Cheese

What do you do when you find yourself with several unopened blocks of cheese after a party for your three-year-old? Work on perfecting your go-to homemade mac and cheese recipe of course! I think that I’ve finally done it! I’ve created our new favorite macaroni and cheese without processed cheese.

I think that I’ve finally done it! I’ve created our new favorite macaroni and cheese without processed cheese or any products full of mystery ingredients. I’m not usually a fan of cheese sauces that start with a roux, but this one came out smooth, creamy and perfectly cheesy.

This mac and cheese can be made entirely on the stovetop (if you’re in a hurry to get dinner on the table) and is absolutely delicious. I ended up topping the stovetop mac and cheese with a little extra shredded cheddar and panko breadcrumbs and baked it for 25-30 minutes to give it a little crunch and take it to the next level. You guys, I’m in love. Worth every calorie.

Now if only I could convince my picky toddler to eat any macaroni and cheese that doesn’t come in the long, skinny noodles ala Kraft.  Sigh… Crazy kid doesn’t know what he’s missing.

Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz small shell pasta (or pasta of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • freshly ground black pepper (to taste or as desired)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups freshly grated cheddar cheese*
  • 1/4 cup Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs

*  I strongly recommend shredding the cheese yourself from a block rather than using the pre-shredded cheese due to the coating that is usually present on the bagged shredded cheese.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  3. In medium-sized saucepan, melt butter with minced garlic over medium heat.
  4. Stir in flour, onion powder, and paprika. Cook for 3-5 minutes to form a roux. Add desired amount of salt and pepper.
  5. Slowly add milk, stirring until smooth and bubbly. Bring to a low boil and cook until the sauce begins to thicken.
  6. Stir in cheese in parts until is fully melted and smooth.
  7. Drain pasta. Pour cheese sauce over pasta and stir to combine.
  8. Top with panko bread crumbs.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Bringing Home Baby: Pantry Stock Up

Pantry Stock Up Before Baby

Nesting is absolutely in full force with this mama, and with only a month until baby sister makes her grand entrance into the world, I realized it was time to get everything in gear to make the transition as stress-free as possible. Our move from New England to the South took place within 3 weeks of our first born’s arrival, so we really didn’t even have the chance to prepare for what was coming. There was no nursery and our tiny freezer couldn’t have held more than a single freezer meal. This time around I have been determined to have things prepared in advance as much as possible.

I’ve already been working on freezer meals for a few weeks now and my mom is also planning to bring up a few more frozen dinners and sides from my favorite Texas grocery store when they come up for the birth. Currently, our freezer is stocked with Lasagna Roll-ups, Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli & Rice Casserole, Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas, and Beef Stroganoff along with an assortment of frozen veggies, waffles, and pancakes. I might just go ahead and do a separate post covering my freezer stock-up plan, Thank goodness I love making lists so much!

Aside from the freezer meals, I knew that we would need to make sure that our pantry would need to be stocked with all of our favorite basic cooking staples before baby. And even more important, we’re going to need lots of grab-and-go treats, convenience foods that we don’t buy quite as regularly and a ton of snacks to keep a certain toddler big brother happy. I’m hoping that all of this planning and effort pays off. I have a feeling that I’ll be so thankful to not have to put on real clothes and run to the store because we’re out of mac n cheese or have seemingly nothing to make for dinner because the shopping hasn’t happened in those first few weeks with our newborn.

So without further ado, here’s the list of all of the things I hope to have on hand in the pantry when baby girl arrives:

Snacks & Grab & Go 

  • a variety of granola bars, breakfast cookies, etc.
  • crackers
  • peanut butter filled pretzels
  • tortilla chips
  • popcorn
  • nuts

For the Toddler

  • juice
  • applesauce & Go-Go style pouches
  • granola bars
  • fruit snacks
  • raisins, dried fruit
  • crackers
  • potato chips
  • peanut butter
  • jelly
  • simply good jell-o (not sponsored, but I’ve felt much better about this new line of products vs. their original counterparts)
  • simply good pudding mix
  • pop tarts (probably will only have one box on hand for an emergency treat on an extra rough morning)

Cooking Staples

  • pasta
  • jar sauces (typically, we make our own marinara, etc. but it will be nice to have a faster option in those newborn days)
  • bbq sauce (to make our fav crockpot bbq chicken)
  • italian dressing (for a quick chicken marinade)
  • box mac & cheese
  • rice: white, brown, spanish
  • canned black beans
  • canned diced tomatoes
  • canned whole tomatoes (for homemade salsa)
  • rotel or diced tomatoes & green chiles (for homemade salsa)
  • canned crushed tomatoes (for homemade marinara)
  • tomato paste

Baking Supplies

  • flour
  • sugar: white, brown
  • chocolate chips — I never want to live in a house without chocolate chips
  • yeast
  • bisquick  (for pancakes, waffles, drop biscuits, etc.)
  • cornbread mixes (great for throwing together quickly to go with soup)

Extras

  • s’mores supplies: graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate