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No-Boil Mac and Cheese!



  • 1/2cup(1 stick) unsalted butter,  divided
  • 1/4cupall-purpose flour
  • 3cupswhole milk
  • 1tablespoonkosher salt plus more
  • 1/2teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper plus  more
  • 1poundelbow macaroni
  • 2cupsshredded cheddar,  divided
  • 2garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1cuppanko (Japanese  breadcrumbs)
  • 2tablespoonschopped flat-leaf  parsley


  • Preheat oven to 400°. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a large saucepan  over medium-high heat. Add flour; cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Whisk  in milk and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook,  whisking often, until a very thin, glossy sauce forms, about 10 minutes. Stir in  1 tablespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Remove sauce from  heat.
  • Toss pasta and 1 1/2 cups cheese in a 13x9x2-inch or other  shallow 3-quart baking dish. Pour sauce over (pasta should be submerged; do not  stir) and cover with foil. Bake until pasta is almost tender, about 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, melt remaining 1/4 cup butter in a large skillet  over medium heat. Add garlic, panko, and parsley and toss to combine. Season  with salt and pepper.
  • Remove foil from dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese,  then panko mixture. Bake until pasta is tender, edges are bubbling, and top is  golden brown, about 10 minutes longer. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

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**Recipe and photo from


I have been obsessed with using the crock pot lately and have been looking up tons of recipes – this one is awesome!

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Old Cover

New Cover!

All 18-year-old Celeste Garrett wants is to head off to college and make those fun, yet ill-advised, choices college kids are known for. And maybe to spend some time with the hot cameraman she just met. Instead, because of a pact her ancestors made in the 17th century with a mythical creature, she has to save the world.

While normal kids are slamming energy drinks and cramming for exams, Celeste will get her adrenaline rush fighting a fire breathing dragon. She wants to meet friends in the quad to exchange lecture notes, but first she must exchange blows with a shapeshifting demon on the rooftop. Life isn’t always fair for a superhero, but at least she doesn’t have to do it alone. With her brother and sister as sidekicks, they alternate between saving lives and getting on each others’ nerves. Together the trio encounters unspeakable odds, mystical forces and comes face-to-face with an image that will haunt them forever—their grandmother in a leopard print bikini.

“Okay, little side note here. If a psychopathic killer asks if you want to see a trick, say no. That’s the smart thing to do. I, on the other hand, responded, ‘Bring it’.”
-excerpt from THE CONDUIT

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  • Peanut oil, for frying
  • 1 recipe “The Lady’s Cheesy Mac” prepared, chilled in the refrigerator overnight, and cut into 15 bite-sized squares, recipe follows
  • Flour, for dredging
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Plain bread crumbs, for dredging


Heat 2 inches of oil in a large, heavy Dutch oven to 350 degrees F.

Dredge each Cheesy Mac square in flour, then egg, and then bread crumbs to coat. Fry for about 1 minute on each side until golden brown. Drain on paper towels before serving.

“The Lady’s Cheesy Mac”:

  • 4 cups cooked elbow macaroni, drained
  • 2 cups grated Cheddar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Once you have the macaroni cooked and drained, place in a large bowl and while still hot, add the Cheddar. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and add to the macaroni mixture. Pour macaroni mixture into a casserole dish and bake for 30 to 45 minutes. Top with additional cheese, if desired.

Lara's Book Club

Thanks to Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games, young adult fiction is more popular than it’s been in quite some time. To lure some of these teen readers into the classics, publishers are re-designing the covers of classic books like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.

According to this article byThe New York Times, it’s a mindfreak that seems to be working. The new covers are brighter, handwritten, and more youthful. Some are even directly inspired by the Twilight series, with a black background and single red rose.

Many publishers are doing it, and most can since many of the novels are in the public domain — meaning anyone and everyone has free access to them.

According to the article, a number of businesses are selling classic novels now more than ever. It’s a plus for bookstores and even teachers who are happy to see young people…

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**Savory Sweet Life has a great cookbook that I would definitely recommend!
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups (12 oz) all-purpose flour *If at all possible, please weigh the flour
  • 3/4 tsp. smallish-medium coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 360 degrees. Cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar until it is nice and fluffy (approx. 3 minutes on medium-high speed on a K-5). Add both eggs and vanilla and beat for an additional 2 minutes. Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, and flour until cookie batter is fully incorporated. Finally add chocolate chips until well distributed. The cookie batter should be somewhat thick. Drop about 2 tablespoons of dough or use a medium cookie scoop and plop the batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12-14 minutes until the edges are nice and golden brown. Remove from heat and allow the cookies to stay on the cookie sheet for an additional 2 minutes. Pick up the parchment paper with the cookies still on top and transfer to a cool non-porous surface. Allow the cookies to cool on the paper for at least 3 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

*please do not use table salt, the sea salt gives the cookies a nice flavor and hints of texture. If you only have table salt, use 1/2 tsp. *When using sea salt, you will get small crunchy flecks of salt when you bite into the cookie. If you do not like this taste, go with 1/2 teaspoon of table salt.

*I realized grocery stores sell bags of chocolate chips in 12 oz bags but this recipe really needs every last chip. Otherwise you’ll get cookies with only a few chips in each one and this recipe requires lots of chocolate to bulk the cookie up. You’ll need about 1 1/2 bags.

I am so proud of our Olympians that I had to post this video.  Great job guys!!!

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Mojave Desert Home

Have you ever wanted to travel to the desert – or even live there?  I have.  That’s why I wanted to share this slideshow of a pretty cool sustainable home located in the Mojave Desert.  Enjoy!

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  • 2 strips bacon, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 small red-skinned potatoes (about 6 ounces), quartered
  • 1/2 head broccoli (about 10 ounces), broken into florets, stem peeled and sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 baguette, sliced into 8 1/4-inch-thick pieces
  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese, cut into 8 thin slices


Cook the bacon in the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat until it renders slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the onion, garlic andcelery seed and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Scatter the flour over the mixture and stir to coat. Gradually add the broth and the milk, whisking until smooth.


Add the potatoes and sliced broccoli stem; increase the heat to medium and simmer, covered, until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the broccoli florets and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Continue cooking, uncovered, at a rapid simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper.


Meanwhile, position a rack in the upper part of the oven and preheat the broiler to high. Spread the mustard on each piece of baguette and top with a cheddar slice. Place on a baking sheet and broil until the cheese melts; serve with the soup.