* * * * * * *

"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

A (Gasp!) Recipe & Suggestions Needed

I rarely post recipes.  Like, never.  I'm one of those people who believes that a family's recipes should be guarded like . . . well, something well-guarded!  As many of you will have noticed, though, Mama Pea does not share this belief.  At all*.  Much to my chagrin.  But, I'm over it.  Mostly.  I think.  ;) 

(*But to your benefit!)

After one of Mom's most recent posts, Nancy asked for the recipe of my mac and cheese.  And, Nancy?  You're in LUCK!  This happens to be one of the few that, for some reason, I don't hold close to my chest.  Maybe because it wasn't handed down through the generations?  I dunno.  But, whatever the reason, YES, I will share it!

Here goes:

Chicken Mama's Good 'n' Easy Mac 'n' Cheesy

2 C pasta (I usually put in a bit more)
3 T butter
Finely chopped onion (recipe calls for 1/4 C, I usually grab a smallish onion
Chopped celery
2 T flour
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
2 C milk
2 C shredded cheese (again, doesn't need to be exactly 2 C)
Tobasco to Taste

Optional Crouton Topping:
Bread, cubed
Hint of Lawrey's

Cook pasta.  In saucepan, melt butter.  Saute onion and celery just until tender.  Stir in flour, salt, and pepper.  Add milk all at once, stirring until thick and bubbly.  Cook, stirring, 1-2 minutes more.  Add cheese and Tobasco - stirring until melted.  (A combination of Asiago and sharp white cheddar are terrific, but you can choose whichever cheese[s] your family prefers.  I almost went with a maple cheddar for this batch.)

Combine pasta and sauce, turn into 9x11.  Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

Optional topping:  I had some old chiabatta that I wanted to use up, so I cubed the bread and then plopped it into the pot I'd cooked the pasta in.  I browned the bread in butter, adding just a touch of Lawrey's seasoning salt.  Not too much, though, as I didn't want that flavor to overpower the flavors in the dish.  During the last five or so minutes of the baking, I sprinkled the croutons on top of the mac and cheese so they could sink into the top and brown nicely.  And, voila!  That's it!  Good and easy mac and cheesy!

In "other news", I need help.  (Ohhh, do I!  Ha!)  I know I said that one of my goals was to blog more this year, now that I'm (getting) a bit more settled post-move.  But, now that my life is so much "smaller", I feel like I don't have much to write about!  I mean, there aren't any more interesting animal sightings or challenging weather conditions to write about from my (past) combined two-hour commute each day.  My 40-acre homestead has been drastically downsized to a tiny rented cabin where the trees are crowding the deck.  My chickens are in a little, borrowed house and enclosed pen just spitting distance from the east window.  There are no off-grid energy challenges.  And, my days off are still spent trying to organize this new little space into something comfortable.  So, what's there to blog about?  Got anything you want me to write about?  ANY ideas?  Anyone . . . anyone . . . ?


  1. Holey Molely, that looks good! I will have to try it with quinoa pasta but hold the croutons. GF bread makes lousy croutons. As far as blogging goes, your adventure in adapting from large to tiny is rife with blogging material! Besides, you have such a way with words, you just HAVE to blog - even if it's once a week!

  2. I'm with Susan! The whole concept of "Living Large to Living Little" seems like a WHOLE bunch'a blog posts just there.
    Even those people with a huge farm, lots of land, lots of critters, housefull of children run out of things to write about. Like, how many pictures of goat butts (and whiney posts about waiting for labor) can one blog about? I'm already there!
    Keep on blogging.... interesting shit is always bound to pop up! :)

  3. I hate computers! They drive me nuts. I just typed a whole long comment and it magically (and evil-ly) disappeared! I'll try once more but if this one disappears, I'm not accountable for what happens next. :o\

    What to post about? Your animals. That tale you related to us about your naughty cats and what they did yesterday was so cute. (Even if you didn't think so.) Cooking for one. (Although I know you've been doing that for some time now.) Talk about your past travels (England and Iceland, etc.) and adventures. Life in a small community. (Name changes to protect the guilty, of course.) Your crocheted items and pictures! What you do on your lunch hour from work when you choose not to go home for lunch. Blog about the movies you've watched, books you've read. Progress in sorting through all your storage areas after the move, including pictures. Your current weekly "schedule" including days off. Living alone vs. being married. (I know you've been doing that for a while now, too!) You can always write introspective posts if you feel comfortable with that. Your plans, hopes and dreams, both personal and business-wise. I've found that what seems mundane to our own selves is often quite interesting to others . . . in many ways.

    That's all. :o}

    1. Mama Pea has some great blogging ideas. Some times it is just the day-to-day that interests readers the most. Especially if the blogger is a good writer to boot--as you are!!

  4. I'm definitely making it! I am like you and prefer to guard recipes... my favorite one is for Mama Pea's Cranberry Almond Cake. Yes, I know that she published it but it is sooooooo good that I tell people it is a top secret recipe from a friend that threatened bodily harm. :) Hey, that cake fetches 60-70 bucks at our church's youth fundraiser so I'm not talking!

  5. By the way, I think you should blog more about your new digs - small space living tips are a real eye opener for people hoping to downsize and purge. Of course most people don't want to go too small, but everything you go through is very relevant from the purging of stuff to the inner focus you get from more time to think and less time spent cleaning unused rooms! I'll be here whatever you blog about :)

  6. Please post about when your ancient doddering pal can zip her ever-so-groovy Subaru Outback up north and meet you for a cuppa.

  7. Definitely small living, also would love to hear more about your photography.

  8. Listen to your Mama! She listed it all for us LOL! But seriously, the small space living. Take one small section at a time


If you are familiar with me and where I live, please respect my right to retain some anonymity by not referring to me by anything other than Chicken Mama nor mentioning city/town/villages by place names. Thanks!