Thursday, January 8, 2015

Mac & Not Cheese

I know that I've definitely started blog posts like this in the past, but here it goes again: After Sarah and I took the plunge and decided to cut dairy out of our diet in addition to meat, one of the most sorely missed dishes still remains Mac & Cheese. And, by the way, I'm not talking about gourmet, oven-baked, fancy cheese, bread crumb, specialty mac 'n cheese. I mean Kraft. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. The Blue Box. The Cheesiest. That stuff was the best.

Fortunately, we've found a replacement on One Green Planet that is super delicious! This Mac & Not Cheese has an absolutely fantastic flavor, is nice and creamy, and oh so satisfying.

Here's what you need:
- 1 lb. elbow macaroni
- 1/2 cup butter (we use vegan Earth Balance)
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 3 cups non-dairy milk (we recommend almond milk!)
- 2 tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tbsp. agave nectar

Here's what you do:
- Cook the pasta according to the package. Drain and return to pot.
- While the pasta is cooking, in a medium sauce pan, melt your butter. Once it is melted, whisk in your flour to form a roux.
- Then, add in remaining ingredients except for the agave and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and simmer a few minutes to thicken. You want it to reach the consistency of a cheese sauce (and it will!) 
- After it thickens, stir in agave nectar and lemon juice.
- Pour it over your macaroni and mix to coat!

I'm so glad that we found a great substitute for one of our most-craved childhood comfort foods (and college comfort food... and post-college comfort food). This recipe makes a LOT, so feel free to cut in half unless you want leftovers!

Do you have any great mac 'n cheese substitutes? Share with us below!

Sarah & Nick

Monday, January 5, 2015

Marbled Clay Dishes

Laura of A Beautiful Mess has been cranking out some amazing projects over the past few months. I feel like everything she makes gets immediately added to my Need-to-Make list and these marbled clay ring dishes were no exception. If they look familiar to you it's probably because everyone and their sister has made them (seriously, they were ABM's most made DIY of 2014), but that didn't stop me from making them too!

These dishes are inexpensive, easy to make, and so, so beautiful. We actually made these on Christmas with my mom and it was really fun to see all of our different variations. Want to make some too?!

Here's what you need!
- Oven bake clay of various colors (we use Sculpey brand)
- Knife
- Rolling pin
- Large container to trace around (about 6" in diameter)
- Oven-safe bowls to bake in
- Gold Sharpie oil-based paint pen

Here's what you do!
- Pick out the colors you'd like to use for your dish and roll them out into 5-6" long snakes. We typically used 2 large white snakes, 1 small black snake, and 3 other colors.

- Twist all of your clay snakes together. Fold in half and twist again. Continue until your colors start to blend and you are satisfied with how they've combined.

- Roll the twisted clay into a ball and roll flat with your rolling pin until clay is about 1/4" thick. If you don't like the way the colors are marbled, feel free to re-roll into a ball and try again until you're happy with the look.

- Using your large container and knife, cut around the container to make your dish circle.
- Carefully place the clay circle in an oven-safe bowl and bake according to the directions on your clay packaging (our was 15 minutes at 275 degrees.) We ended up baking our dishes about 20 minutes.

- Remove bowls from oven and allow the dishes to cool completely inside the bowls. Using a knife, pop the clay dishes out of the bowls.
- Paint the edges of the clay dishes with your gold paint pen. We opted not to seal our dishes with a glaze, but you can add that step if you'd like to make them glossy.

Aren't these so pretty?! It's no wonder that they've been made so many times... those ABM gals really know what they're doing. Remember the clay hand dish of theirs we recreated? That one is holding the chalk on our chalkboard coffee table!

Little catch-all dishes like this are perfect for keeping around the house for loose change, keys, jewelry, etc. I have one in our kitchen right now so I have a safe place to keep my rings while I'm cooking and washing dishes. We know the holidays are over, but they also make great gifts! What will you use yours for?

Have a great week! (Back to work for us - blah.)

Sarah & Nick