March 21, 2010


I'm never going to have time to write ever again!  Wow, what a week.  I'm loving my new job, but of course still just getting acquainted and learning lots of new things... and LOTS of new acronyms.  I really get a sense that there is going to be a lot for me to do, and plenty of opportunity for me to really make a difference.  Every night this week between 9:45 and 10 pm I was crawwwling towards the bed... pleeeeease just let me sleep!  I slept like a baby all week :)  Keep in mind that daylight savings was the day before I started my new schedule so for a few days there it felt like I was waking up at 5 am.  Anyway, it's just a matter of time before my body adjusts.

Because I can't blog regularly anymore, I'll just be packing a week-worth of random stories into one weekend post... at least until I can work out a better routine...

We went to a couple of March Madness parties Friday night.  At one of them, Michael (my roommate before Matt and I got married) and Bart (my neighbor) had smoked a whole pig.  Just a big ol' cooked pig strewn out on the table.  Just pull meat from wherever you want and throw it on a bun.  NC at it's finest.  So, apparently whenever you smoke a whole pig you have to give it a name.  This pigs name?... Hampson.  Yes, this is a play on my sweet black cats name, Sampson, whom Michael picks on like he's his little brother.  Poor kitty kitty.  I think deep down Michael really loves my kitties, but hides behind this aggressive attitude so that no one discovers the truth.

Matt and I got me a tennis racket this weekend and played a little on Saturday and Sunday.  On some level, I don't think we've ever had that much fun together.  And... I wasn't nearly as bad as I thought I'd be.  I even managed to make contact with the ball 4 times in a row!  Never mind the fact that I can't aim, my form stinks, and I either don't make it over the net or it goes flying over the top of the fence that surrounds the court... at least I make contact more often than not. :)

Well, in the cooking world, I think I finally mastered a really good cheese sauce!  I made it on Wednesday for a loaded mac and cheese and tonight for au gratin potatoes.

Cheeeeese Sauce
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

In a small sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter.  Whisk in the flour and let it cook for a minute or two after it's well blended.  Add pepper, just eyeball it.  Add a cup of milk (we used whole on Wed and skim tonight... it really doesn't matter) about 1/4 cup at a time.  Each time, whisk it until it is well blended. After all of the milk has been added and whisked smooth, let it just begin to simmer.  This might take turning the heat up just a hair.  Once it barely begins to just think about maybe trying to bubble (you get the idea?) go ahead and whisk in the cheese... no more than 1/2 cup at a time.  Add more pepper if you would like.

On Wednesday we added this to elbow noodles that we had cooked for 4 minutes, chopped red pepper, chopped broccoli, and half of a kielbasa chopped.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350 and 15 minutes at 425 (to brown the top).

Tonight we added it to 4 redskin potatoes that we sliced about 1/4 in thick.  We layered potatoes, cheese, potatoes, cheese, and so on, in a small casserole dish and baked it covered for 40 minutes at 375 and uncovered for 15 minutes at 425.  This would work fine with russets too, but you might need to cook them for an hour at 375 instead.  We used redskins, because it's what we had in the house.

I love the warm weather because grilling means you don't have to be creative in the kitchen for dinner to still be great.  Matt grilled pork that he seasoned with emeril's essence (we always keep some of this on hand) and zucchini seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  So good!

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