There were exactly approximately two rules in my house growing up. (Okay, maybe three if you count the ban on play-doh. But that was more of a lifestyle choice rather than a "rule". The result of which is that I currently have a huge box of play-doh. Sitting on my bookshelf. At 23 years old. Thanks mom.)
Rule #1 - No Simpsons. None. Ever. And then, when they came out - no Family Guy, Futurama, or South Park either. My mother had a very specific hatred for the lewd crude humor that these shows spewed forth. Sure, she would allow a five year old to watch Seinfeld and Frasier and Mad About You. But a satirical parody of a shockingly jaundiced "typical American family" in cartoon form? Absolutely not.
Ah but I know what you're thinking. "Sure Joanne, you didn't watch it as a child but I bet that as soon as you left for college, you binged and watched every episode on end back-to-back in a row one boring Tuesday night."
Um. Nope. I think from not watching it for so long, I have lost the ability to really get it. Can't teach an old dog new tricks. Or something like that. There was a window of opportunity. I missed it. I'm okay with it. Moving on.
Rule #2 - No blue box.
You know what I'm talking about. That box with those little noodles that turn out impossibly mushy every time and that eerily orange powder that probably turns your intestines fluorescent and would probably make for a very interesting colonoscopy.
They were also a no-go. It was homemade mac and cheese or the road in our house. Which was fine. Because my mom may not have been much of a cook. But her mac and cheese has yet to be matched.
Before you get all excited. This is not that mac and cheese. That mac and cheese, with its sauce that consists entirely of milk and American cheese (yes. You heard me right. American. Cheese. Who would have thought?) is reserved for my next 20 mile long run. I'll deserve it then.
However, after my 10 mile run this Saturday. I felt like I needed some kind of recompense and since dairy is oh so good for your muscles with its easily digestible proteins and all. I went with this. Macaroni and goat cheese with roasted red peppers. Another Bittman masterpiece.
This will not be the cheesiest mac and cheese of your life. But it will certainly be one of the most decadent. It has a very distinct Mediterranean flair with its mix-ins of basil and roasted bell peppers. The flavors of which distract from the richness of the sauce making it so that your taste buds can handle it and appreciate it without being overwhelmed. Delicious.
Today at Eat.Live.Be. we're talking about our favorite healthy habit that we've picked up along the way towards living a healthier life. And for me, it is doing away with all of the pre-packaged goods. Realizing that a calorie is not just a calorie. And doing it from scratch.
In college, when I was first trying to be healthier, I was all for the 100 calorie snack packs and frozen meals and all that jazz. As long as it fit into my daily calorie allowance, who cared what kind of synthetic and artificial compounds were in it. Right?
I should have remembered the lesson my mother tried to teach me by not allowing Kraft's into our house. And that is that homemade is always better. Even if it's not super good for you. It's always better. So the habit that I've picked up along the way is that, if I can make it from scratch - whether it be mac and cheese, pizza, hummus, Chinese food - then I do. And if I can't make it from scratch (cough Doritos cough)...then I probably shouldn't be eating it.
What is your favorite healthy habit that you've picked up along the way? Share it in the comments or write about it on your blog and link up here:
And be sure to check out the posts written by my fellow Eat.Live.Be.-ers!
- Sarah Caron - www.sarahscucinabella.com
- Cate O’Malley - www.sweetnicks.com
- Maris Callahan - www.ingoodtasteblog.net
- Chris Arpante - www.melecotte.com
- Faith - www.clickblogappetit.com/
- Kristen - www.dineanddish.net
- Emily - http://andersonfamilycrew.blogspot.com/
- Jenna - FireMom - http://stopdropandblog.com/
- Casey - http://www.thestarnesfam.com - e-mail
- Patsy - http://familyfriendsandfood.blogspot.com/
- Tri-Fit Mom - http://trifitmom.blogspot.com/
- Claire - http://cookiedoc.blogspot.com/
- Allison - http://sweetflours.blogspot.com/
- Jen - http://njepicurean.blogspot.com/
- Leslie - www.thehungryhousewife.com.
- Rivki Locker - http://www.healthyeatingforordinarypeople.com/
- Claudia - Journey of an Italian Cook
- Jennifer Schulz - http://lick-a-plate.blogspot.com/
- Sarah Rogers - http://sarahssweetcreations.blogspot.com
- Denise and Lenny - http://www.chezus.com
Baked Macaroni and Goat Cheese with Roasted Red Peppers
Serves 4-6, adapted from Bittman's How To Cook Everything Vegetarian
2 1/2 cups almond milk
1 lb pasta
3 tbsp "light" butter (butter made with olive oil)
3 tbsp AP flour
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
1 cup softened goat cheese
1/2 cup basil, chopped
2 roasted red peppers, chopped
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1. Preheat the oven to 400. Bring a large pot of water to a boil with it.
2. Heat the milk over medium-low heat. When small bubbles appear along the sides, about 5 minutes later, turn the heat off and let it stand.
3. Cook the pasta to the point where it is almost done, but you feel like it still needs another minute or so. Drain and rinse to stop the cooking. Place it in a bowl.
4. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add 3 tbsp butter. When it is foamy, add the flour and cook, stirring, until the mixture browns - about 5 minutes. Add about 1/4 cup milk to the hot flour mixture, stirring with a wire whisk all the while. As soon as the mixture becomes smooth, add a little more milk and continue to do so until all the milk is used up and the mixture is thick and smooth. Add the cheddar and stir.
5. Pour the sauce over the noodles. Toss in the goat cheese, bell peppers, and basil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn the pasta mixture into a 9x13 inch baking pan. Top with bread crumbs and bake until bubbling, about 15 minutes. Serve hot.
This is my submission to:
Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Ruth of Once Upon A Feast
Meatless Mondays hosted by Chaya of Sweet and Savory
Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays hosted by Rebecca Jean of Midnight Maniac
Tackling Bittman hosted by Alex of A Moderate Life
The Hearth and Soul Blog Hop