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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Wheat-Free, Dairy Free, Morning Glory Muffins {Guest Post}

Hey there Life’s a Bowl readers!  I’m so excited to meet you!  I’m Ree, and along with my friend Bre, I blog over at bump & run.  It’s an active lifestyle blog about golf, running, fashion, and a little bit of everything else.

I’m thrilled that Allison is letting me share one of my favorite muffin recipes with you today.  It’s a wheat-free, dairy-free, morning glory muffin that is full of goodness and flavor.  I make a batch every two weeks and toss them into the freezer.  Don’t let the long ingredient list intimidate you.  They’re easy to put together and worth every minute!  Enjoy!

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Prep Time:  30 minutes
Cook Time:  25 minutes
Yield:  2 dozen standard size muffins

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups gluten-free all purpose flour mix
1 teaspoon guar gum OR xanthan gum *don’t add this if your flour mix already contains xanthan gum or guar gum*
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated carrots (about 4 large carrots)
1 large peeled and shredded apple
8 ounces drained, crushed pineapple
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts OR pecans
3 large eggs
1/2 cup light olive oil OR canola oil
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F / 176C.

Grease standard muffin pan or line with paper muffin cup liners.

In a large bowl, combine flour, gum, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate large bowl combine carrots, apple, pineapple, raisins, coconut, and nuts.  Stir to thoroughly mix.

Add the fruit and nut mixture to the dry ingredients.

Add eggs, oil, and vanilla.  Beat the mixture to thoroughly combine ingredients.  *Note: This is a very wet batter, don’t be alarmed.*

Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool completely before removing from pan.

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Thanks Bre and Ree for sharing!  I haven’t made a batch of muffins in ages, but they’re always a great thing to have on hand for a quick on-the-go breakfast.  Pair one or two with some yogurt and fresh fruit, yum!  I think that morning glory muffins are especially delicious because they remind me of carrot cake!  Who doesn’t want to eat {a healthier} dessert for breakfast?

Question:  What’s your favorite type of muffin?  Morning glory, blueberry, and lemon poppy seed.

Question:  Raisins – yay or nay?  A HUGE yay for me!  And dates…  Dried fruits are truly nature’s candy!

— Allison

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Favorite Finds: National Pancake Day

I was planning to share my race recap of the Reston 10 Miler today, but I just finished eating pancakes and heard that today is National Pancake Day.  It’s like I have ESPN or something {name that movie?}.

My love affair with pancakes is no secret, they’re my favorite breakfast food.  Crisp around the edges, light and fluffy in the middle, silver dollar sized or as big as your head, thick as a board or thin as a sheet of paper, they’re the perfect golden brown canvas for all sorts of toppings.  What’s not to love?  Someday I need to eat pancakes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I can’t believe I haven’t done it yet.  Maybe it’ll happen today since we have another snow day…

The majority of the time I try to keep my pancake ingredient list short and light – granted, I typically eat a few stacks a week – but every now and then {hello weekend!} it’s fun to indulge.  Another reason why I love pancakes, they’re so versatile and can be allergy friendly.  Healthy, sinful, savory, sweet.

And if at the end you’re craving pancakes but don’t have time to make them yourself, there’s a rumor floating around the Twittersphere that IHOP is serving free short stacks of buttermilk pancakes until 10PM!

Favorite Pinterest Finds

27 Pancakes Worth Waking Up For via BuzzFeed

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24 Pancakes from Around the World via BuzzFeed

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Dark Chocolate, Raspberry, and Banana Whole Wheat Pancakes by Hot Chocolate Hits

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Almond Joy Pancakes {Gluten Free} by The Lemon Bowl

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Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes by Iowa Girl Eats

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Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes by Minimalist Baker

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Blueberry Dutch Baby Pancake by Averie Cooks

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Whole Wheat Gingerbread Pancakes by Hungry Healthy Girl

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Coffee Pancakes via Eat, Live, Run {recipe from Pancakes: 72 Sweet and Savory Recipes for the Perfect Stack}

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Banana Nut Pancakes by Skinnytaste

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Not a recipe, but I love this The Perfect Pancake wall print by visualphilosophy.  It would be perfect in our kitchen/dining area!

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Check out an old Favorite Finds pancake post here.  I know, I know some of the links are busted… I need to do some spring cleaning.

Question:  What’s your favorite flavor combo – apple spice, banana nut, carrot cake, or lemon poppy seed?

Question:  If you had to eat the same meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, what would it be?

— Allison

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