WIAW: White Cheddar Mac & Cheese

Dear Readers,

It has been six weeks since my last WIAW post and these are my confessions.  HA!  Kidding.  But really…  It feels like I’m sitting down in a confessional since it has been over a month since I’ve joined Jenn’s delicious link-up.

I could remind you about how busy life currently is, but that would be redundant and I’m sure that others are equally as {or even more} busy.  But really…  Life is crazy, in the best possible way.  Teaching, conferences and meetings before/after-school, tutoring, working at the running store, running, getting ready for a fabulously fun bachelorette weekend, doctor’s appointments, yada yada yada.  I’ll save those rambles for another time because today it’s all about the food.

Salty, sweet, chewy, crunchy, doughy, fluffy, I don’t discriminate.  But I do get cravings and hankerings for things that I just have to have and couldn’t live another minute without.  

Breakfasts lately have been pancakes, but bagels are a close second.  I’ve eaten enough tuna fish to sustain a small country.  Trader Joe’s needs to sell their Sweet Apple Chicken Sausages in larger packages, five is just not enough.  I ate a whole bag of frozen peas after working at the running store {and yes, I had already eaten dinner}.  Wegmans real crab sushi rolls and organic soups are my favorite to get when Ryan and I go on weekend lunch dates.  I forgot how tasty doughy, white carbs are #wheatbrainturnedwhite.  And how delicious Annie’s White Cheddar Mac & Cheese is.  Actually, anything cheesy sounds absolutely divine.  PB&J will forever steal my heart.  And all days that end with ice cream are good days!

Now, onto yesterday’s eats…

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Breakfast:  It’s much easier for me to remember to take my vitamins when they’re gummies.  Two mini plain bagels topped with TJ’s creamy peanut butter + St. Dalfour Four Fruits Preserves with a side of {unpictured} frozen berries.

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Mid-Morning Snack:  School was delayed due to Monday’s snow, so on my way in I stopped by Starbucks.  A handful of dates and a grande Coffee Light Frappuccino minus the frapp base, plus a banana.  It has a mild coffee taste with a hint of banana.  The only thing that could make it better would chocolate.

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Lunch:  An apple, {unpictured peas and carrots}, PB&J sandwich on potato bread {current favorite bread!}, and  TJ’s honey pretzels.  More white carbs, swoon.  Oh, and a Diet Hansen’s because I had a stomach ache.  I suppose I do now have one confession to share since I was supposed to have given up candy and soda for Lent…

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Afternoon Snack {unpictured}:  In the car on the way to my chiropractor appointment, I ate a banana and a Luna Bar.  I used to eat a Luna Bar almost every day a few years ago and I seem to be getting back into the habit.  Hate to admit it, but Quest Bars aren’t doing it for me anymore.

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Dinner:  I’ll never forget when my momma first bought a box of Annie’s White Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese back when I was in high school.  I was bummed.  Bummed because I was so used to the traditional blue box…  But oh my, I quickly realized that there was more than silly shaped coated in orange cheese and I’ll never go back.  

For dinner I sautéed mushrooms with salt + pepper, added a handful of frozen peas, and poured a little jarred marina sauce into the pan.  While that was cooking, I cooked a box of Annie’s Whole Wheat Shells & White Cheddar {according to the directions} and warmed up a few frozen turkey meatballs from TJ’s.  The mushrooms and peas made a great base for the mac & cheese + meatballs, plus {salted} sliced tomatoes.  Definitely worth remaking again and again!

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Dessert:  A generous scoop of Stonyfield’s Gotta Have Vanilla frozen yogurt with a few animal crackers + grapes.  Strange combo but it hit the spot.

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P.S.  Check back tomorrow for a recipe for PB&J Energy Bites!  They’re no-bake and gluten-free!

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Question:  What food{s} have you been craving?

Question:  What’s the strangest combo you’ve recently enjoyed?

— Allison

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Thinking Out Loud: OMG Tuna Fish Salad

1.  It seems like every time my local barista memorizes my drink order, it’s time for us to move.  I love walking up to the counter and having my drink already made, waiting for me.

2.  Speaking of coffee – are all people that work at coffee shops called baristas or is that just at Starbucks?

3.  This week my students are so happy because I added CHARMS candies to the prize box.  They describe them as a mix between Light Sabers {aka Life Savers} and Starburst.  The red ones are supposedly the best, the white are the worst.

4.  At 7AM on Saturday morning I’ll be anxiously waiting at the starting line of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon – my first half marathon of 2014!  I still haven’t written my race recap of the Reston 10 Miler…

5.  For Lent I gave up candy and soda, specifically gum and Diet Hansen’s {Cherry Vanilla Crème}.  I’m addicted.  I was going strong until Tuesday when I decided to make an exception for dark chocolate because, well, it’s basically a health food.  Read more about why including dark chocolate in your daily diet can actually be beneficial here.

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6.  I’ve outlined three posts this week a – a recap of the Reston 10 Miler, a weekend recap for MIMM, and a handful of food pictures for WIAW…  But they’re still just drafts because I either fell asleep asleep with my computer on my lap or had to run out the door to a meeting before school and I didn’t have time to finish later.  Hopefully I step-up my game next week.

7.  I’ve had a serious hankering for tuna fish this week.  I packed it for lunch on Monday, again on Tuesday, made a tuna melt for dinner Tuesday night, and made another wrap for lunch yesterday.  All because I learned a little secret…  Tuna fish + hummus is a life changing combo.  With every bite I repeatedly said {to myself} “OMG.  This is so good!  OMG!  OMG!” so I’m calling it OMG Tuna Fish Salad.

OMG Tuna Fish Salad

Ingredients {serves 1}:

  • 1 small can of tuna fish
  • 2 tbsp hummus
  • 1 tsp honey mustard
  • 1/4 c shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 – 2 tbsp sundried tomatoes
  • seasoned salt *to taste*
  • black pepper *to taste*

Directions:

In a medium bowl, flake the tuna into chunks.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.  Refrigerate if not eating right away.

8.  Runner’s World is “running” {so punny!} a sweepstakes with Iceland Naturally.  One lucky winner will receive the following:

  • Economy round-trip air on Icelandair for 2 people
  • 3 nights accommodation in Reykjavik at Hotel Nordica for 2 with Scandinavian buffet breakfast daily
  • 2 72 hour Reykjavik Welcome Cards providing free access to the City of Reykjavik world famous thermal pools, museums and public transportation
  • 2 entries to the Reykjavik Marathon
  • 2 roundtrip bus transfer from the airport to the hotel
  • 1 case of Icelandic Glacial water for your hotel room
  • 2 Experience Comfort entries to the Blue Lagoon Spa
  • 2 award winning Snaefell jackets

To enter, visit this website and enter the requested information.  The contest will remain open until April 1st.

9.  Have you seen these Portable Protein Packs from Oscar Mayer {aka the adult Lunchable}?

Portable Protein Pack

10.  After my students finish their classwork or a quiz, I let them “play” with math flashcards to keep quiet until everyone is done.  On Monday one student started singing “Everyday I’m shuffling.  Everyday I’m shuffling.  Everyday I’m shuffling.” while shuffling his flashcards.  And then the other students joined in.  It was hilarious!

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Thanks Amanda for hosting another link-up!

Question:  Tuna fish – yay or nay?  Tuna fish out of a can is a yay {obviously}, but the raw stuff is a nay for me.

Question:  If you could drop everything and go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?

— Allison

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Thinking Out Loud: If they only knew…

Thanks to two snow days and a 2-hour delay, this week has flown by!  Last night I worked my first team night at the running store.  Team night is when a local high school’s cross country/track team comes in to get fitted for shoes for their upcoming season {and receive a super sweet discount!} – the store was the most crowded it has been since I started working, but it was a lot of fun!

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Thanks Amanda for hosting another link-up!

1.  Truth: I used to refer to the treadmill as the “dreamill,” but this past winter I’ve had a change of heart.  It’s always there for me, it’s never covered with ice/snow, the temperatures are consistent, and the hills are…  Nonexistent.  Plus, it’s a great chance to catch up on trashy TV {i.e. Bravo}.

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2.  Yes, yes, yes.  Runner’s World is so smart.  This is exactly why I run.

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3.  Did you celebrate National Pancake Day?  If you missed out but still want to celebrate this weekend, check out Tuesday’s Favorite Finds: National Pancake Day post.

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4.  Or if pancakes don’t tickle your fancy, what about muffins?  These Wheat-Free, Dairy-Free Morning Glory Muffins would be great to make and freeze for a quick weekday breakfast.

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5.  Today I took a personal day because I had two different dermatology appointments.  PSA: Get yourself checked!  Melanoma doesn’t discriminate!

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going back in April to have the mole that’s circled removed & tested

6.  Speaking of health, I want to talk more openly about my “health hiccups” on the blog this year.  By doing so I hope to connect with others who have gone though/are going through similar situations, share my experiences, and inspire others to keep a positive attitude.

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shared via Instagram this morning

7.  I love when “throw everything together and hope for the best” dishes turn out to be delicious!  These meatballs contain a few ingredients that may make you question my cooking ability.  I want to make them once more before I share the recipe, but in the meantime, I need help naming them…?

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8.  Another “throw everything together and hope for the best” recipe…  Except, this one has a name.  Three Bean Bell Pepper Chili.  With a side of dog.

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9.  I overheard a group of high school girls chatting and one of the girls said “Ugh, I’m starving!  I overslept this morning and didn’t have time to eat breakfast or pack a lunch.”  Her friends suggested she go get a sandwich, but she ended up buying a banana and pretzels because “I need to fit into my bathing suit for spring break!”  Wish I {could have} said something.

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10.  And an obligatory snow picture.  Everything looks so tranquil covered in snow.  I wonder if we’ll see another storm this season?

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Question:  Do you ever jump into conversations if you overhear something that grabs your attention?  Yes, I do BUT I think it really depends on the situation and topic.  Chatting about coffee in the line at Starbucks?  Sure, I’ll jump in.  But a conversation between high school girls and body image, that’s a tough one.

Question:  Snow – sick of it or hope for more?

— Allison

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