Hey y’all. It’s been awhile. After two years of working on my book based on this blog; I’m excited to announce the book is finished. HOMEGROWN : Illustrated Bites from your Garden to your Table will be released mid-April! YAY! It was a long haul, but it’s finally done and I’m looking forward to sharing more soon. (You can check out some sneak peeks on my Instagram.) I’ve added an Illustrated Bites Book tab to the menu, so you can order yourself a copy. Tell your friends!
The last year was definitely a difficult one, and when you’re super busy it’s really hard to eat right and make meals at home. I found myself spending the whole day writing and drawing about cooking, but not actually doing it . When you eat out a lot, or just eat badly, it ends up dragging you down and making you sluggish. It’s hard to get stuff done with a pizza hangover.
Mason jar salads SAVED ME. I’m sure you’ve seen these by now (they’re all over Pinterest.) They’re a great solution for eating right with a busy schedule. You can make a weeks’ worth of lunches on Sunday, and then it’s just grab and go during the week. I’m a hungry person, and not exactly a “salad girl”, but these are amazing. Just be sure to load the salad up with plenty of protein, whole grains, and nuts to keep you from getting hungry by mid afternoon.
The last few months have been a whirlwind. I’ve recently started a big project that I’m really excited to share with you. Earlier this year I signed a book deal with Stewart, Tabori & Chang, to turn Illustrated Bites into a book! I’ve been delaying announcing the news, because for a long time it seemed too good to be true. Last week I turned in my first chapter, so it finally feels real. Now that the ball is rolling, I felt ready to tell y’all about it. The book is organized by season with four, five course meals that exemplify seasonal cooking. Like the blog, it will have illustrated recipes and how-tos, but it will have added emphasis on how to grow the produce yourself. The working title is Illustrated Bites, From Garden to Table, to be released spring 2015.
2015 still seems like an unrealistic future date, but it will be here before I know it. In the meantime, working on the book has totally consumed me. I’ve been trying hard to stay balanced, eat healthy, and get some exercise. To be honest though, all I want to do is eat comfort food and drink wine. This mac & cheese recipe is comfort incarnate. It’s rich, flavorful, warm, and nostalgic. Also, it’s pretty easy to make. The last time I brought this to a pot-luck everyone went nuts for it. If you’re looking for a crowd pleaser this Thanksgiving, I promise this one is a winner.
- 1 lb. macaroni pasta such as cavatappi
- 1 1/2 cups cream
- 1 cup milk
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 cup grated mild cheddar
- 1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 3 tablespoon Butter
- 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Boil and salt a large pot of water. Cook your pasta, until it’s super al dente. Your pasta box will have a recommend cooking time for al dente, just subtract a minute or two from that. Drain the pasta, rinse it with cold water, and set it aside.
- In a sauce pot, combine the cream and the milk. Add the bay leaves and gently warm, but don’t boil. Set it aside.
- In another sauce pot, melt the butter. When it’s foamy add the flour, and stir continuously until the mixture begins to brown. Remove the bay leaves from the half and half, and stir in about 1/4 of it into the flour and butter. Continue to stir, when the mixture is smooth, add a little more of the liquid. Continue to slowly add the half and half, until it’s all incorporated.
- Mix the gorgonzola and the cheddar into the sauce. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.
- Butter a 9x13in pan. Put in the pasta, and pour the sauce over the pasta. Toss in the parmesan cheese and sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top.
- Bake for 15-20 minute until it’s bubbling, and the breadcrumbs are brown. Serve hot!
Thank you so much for sticking with me these last few months. I know I’ve been a bit of an absentee blogger (and by absentee, I mean I haven’t posted in two months. Whoops!) BUT I’ve got a big project that I’m working on, and I think you guys will be excited to hear about it! (Hint, it starts with B, and rhymes with look.) Can’t wait to tell you more! As always, I appreciate you visiting my blog. Take care everyone, and I’ll be sharing more soon.