Bird’s Mac & Cheese

mac

 

I know that there are zillions of recipes for yummy mac & cheese, thought I would toss mine into the mix. I have never been a huge fan of making the roux (flour, butter, milk mixture) so I just take the lazy girls way and dump everything into the pot, stir it up, pour in a baking dish and viola it’s as easy as that.  Besides, how many pots do you really want to dirty up?

1 lb pasta noodles (bow ties, penne, rigatoni, whatever you like)

1/2 stick of butter, cubed

4 oz cream cheese, cubed

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese plus additional 1/2 cup reserved to top pasta

1 cup whole milk, warmed in micro 1 min

1 T whole grain mustard

1 dash cayenne pepper

1/2 t ground nutmeg (fresh is amazing if you have it)

1 dash Worchestershire sauce

Boil pasta in salted water 2 mins under the al dente directions. Drain. Add butter and cream cheese; stir well. Warm milk and add mustard, spices and Worchestershire sauce, pour into pasta stir, add cheese stir and dump into a baking dish. Top with remaining cheese. Bake 350 for 20 –30 mins.

Enjoy~ Mama Bird

Kate’s Christmas Cheese Tree & Snowman

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Last week I shared a Favorite Things Christmas Party! Each girl brought a favorite app or sweet as well and Kate brought, what looked to cute to eat, a Christmas Cheese ball in the shape of a CHRISTMAS TREE & a SNOWMAN!! The pic is Kate’s handiwork and I will have to reference it as I try and make mine!

They were freaking adorbs and I immediately had to snap a pic! When I finally tasted, as I was honestly afraid to ruin the look! I was so glad I did! BEST ever! So different, so fresh tasting, so YUMMY!!!

Yeah! just in time for menu & party planning Kate is sharing her yum-o recipe!! Thanks girl!!

Kate’s Cheese Ball

6 packages of 8oz cream cheese
8 cups sharp shredded cheddar cheese ( I always grate mine off the block, it tastes soooo much better)
4 tablespoons pesto

1/2 cup chopped parsley or cilantro
3/4 cup chopped pine nuts and 4 tablespoons whole pine nuts
4 tablespoons chopped red bell pepper
1 lemon
1 baby carrot (buy a bag and use them to eat the cheese ball)
Fresh thyme
1 Cucumber
Pretzel sticks

Olives

Directions:

Let cream cheese come to room temp. before trying to mix or your arm will fall off trying to get the cheese incorporated. Place the cream cheese, shredded cheddar and pesto in a large bowl and mix it together. After mixing, cover the bowl and refrigerate for 4 hours or until firm enough to shape.

When the mixture is firm divide it in half. Place half of the mixture on a large piece of plastic wrap and cover the cheese mixture. When it is covered shape it into a cone shape for the Christmas tree( You can also leave out the plastic wrap step and just use your hands, but I find it more appealing to eat something that has not had someone’s hands all over it). After you have shaped your cone roll it in the chopped parsley or cilantro and set on a serving platter.

Take the other half of the mixture and divide it into 2 parts making one larger than the other. This is to make the head and body of the snowman so just use the amount you want for the size you are going for. I used plastic wrap again for shaping the balls. After shaping the balls roll them in the chopped pine nuts. When they are done place the larger ball on the platter and the smaller ball on top of the larger ball and press together.

At this point you can start to decorate the tree. Cut off a slice of lemon peel and shape it into a star. I just free handed mine but if you have a small star cookie cutter that should work too. Use the whole pine nuts as garland on the tree and the chopped red bell pepper for ornaments.

For the snowman, wrap the thyme leaves around the head like a scarf, use a carrot for the nose, 2 pretzel sticks for the arms, pieces of olive for the eyes and buttons, red bell pepper for the mouth and cucumber ends for the hat. Serve with veggies and crackers.

It ROCKS!!!

Totally making this for my family Christmas party!

xoxo, Mama Bird

Berry Smoothie {Nussentials}

berry smoothie

 

What a great night with my Nussentials girls! It was great to meet new people who are really taking Health & Wealth to a whole new level!! We made some great shakes tonight and since I am all about recipes, thought I would share what we made!

Berry Smoothie:

3/4 cup vanilla almond milk

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

1/4 cup frozen mixed berries

1 cup ice

1 packet LESS protein powder

Toss all ingredients in your blender, blitz & ENJOY!!

xoxo, Mama Bird

Roasted Tomato Soup

tomato soup 2

Today was nasty, rainy, gloomy day and what is best on a yucky day? SOUP! My friend Ashley mentioned that she would love some tomato soup and just like that the seed was planted! I was a woman on a mission. And I must say, MISSION ACCOMLISHED! This soup was DELISH!! And aside from waiting for the veggies to roast it came together rather quickly.

tom grid

Roasted Tomato Soup

3 lbs Roma tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise

1 large Vidalia onion, quartered

4 cloves garlic, peeled

1/4 cup olive oil

splash of balsamic vinegar

salt & crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

1 t smoked paprika

1 t thyme

32 oz chicken stock

1 T tomato paste

2 t sugar

1/2 cup half & half

Slice tomatoes in half lengthwise, quarter onions & peel garlic; toss with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and spices. Place on rimmed cookie sheet; roast at 375 for 35-45 mins. Puree in food processor to desired texture add chicken stock, tomato paste and sugar. Allow flavors to combine for at least 30 mins. over low heat. ENJOY!!

xoxo, Mama Bird

The Birthday Project

tiffany box

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Many, thanks to The Birthday Project

for inspiring me to do good deeds, random acts of kindness, spread the love, cheer others on, be positive, say please and thank-you, hold the door and SMILE

all in honor of my birth!

Wednesday, March 7th

Come back to see where this journey takes me, who I meet and the lessons I learn, the joy I share by truly giving of myself.

I am so excited!

xoxo, Mama Bird

Lemon Drop Cupcakes

lemon drop

LEMON! YUM! YUM!

These little jewels turned out amazing.I love lemon I add lemon to everything the crisp/tart freshness can cut even the most undrinkable of drinks! I love a little squeeze on mixed greens and it gives a little punch to blan veggies. Gives great taste with no calories or fat!! Ok, I know… What about the cupcakes?
I used my favorite vanilla cake recipe and added a little fresh lemon juice. After they cooled I took the center out with my new cupcake corer that worked like a champ!

corer

And filled it with apx 1 T of my favorite short-cut ever!! Trader Joe’s Lemon Curd. This stuff is so good that I can not think of any reason why I would go to the trouble of making it again!!

lemon curd

Then the frosting on TOP!!
1 8 oz block of cream cheese, softened
1 stick of butter, softened
2 T lemon curd
zest of 1 lemon
1 t vanilla
4 cups powered sugar (give or take)
Mix cream cheese and butter until super light and fluffy, add vanilla, lemon curd and zest; mix well. Add powered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until you get that perfect consistency. You may need to add a splash of milk or lemon juice if you want more zing.
I topped these with  Lemon Head candies.
Aren’t they just adorable?
xoxo, Mama Bird

Drumroll Please….

new yr 2011

Oh my goodness! It has been a full year since I wrote the 21 things I wanted to accomplish in 2010! And now it is 2011!! So, without too much pomp and circumstance I think I will go with the fun number of 21 again!

21 things in 2011

1. Learn how to use my CRICUT CAKE
2. Continue to build Mama Bird’s Nest cake and catering biz
3. pick a cookbook for each month and cook 1 new recipe a week!
4. DE-CLUTTER pick 1 day a week while Jack is at pre-school to be my “clean-out” day
5. read for pleasure, start a book club? Read a book a month ( I read a total of 5 books last year, good start!)
6. go to the movies
7. Date Night, once a month
8.  BE GREEN (continue spreading the Juice Box Brigade!)
9. Once a month Family Outings!! (ck next week for my plans!!)
10. Back to Meal Planning!! (saves time & MONEY!!)
11. Paint kitchen and do something with family room paneling
12. Paint Shutters
13. Landscape yard
14. Lose the last 20 lbs. I have lost 60+ pounds since March!!!!!!!!
15. Pay it forward!
16. Potting train Trixie our new Laberdoodle  puppy! may need all new flooring!!
17. Plan garden and get seedlings planted EARLY!!
18. be more involved in places I am passionate about
19. Listen more, talk less
20. write with a purpose; share fun, food & parties on Mama Bird’s Nest, get more followers!!!
21. BE HAPPY! HAVE FUN! LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST!!!

What’s on your 2011 List?

xoxo, Mama Bird
21.

I ROCK!!

I wanted to share with you something personal, something I wanted to share. The journey that I have been on since March 8, 2010 to now! all the BIGGEST ACHIEVMENT of my Life!  To get healthy and HAPPY and find ME!!

I did!

I ROCKED!

I LOST 62lbs!!

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Now. (We all look better!!)

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I year ago. (and an extra person)

Do you have some good news to share?

I would love to hear!!

xoxo, Mama Bird