Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A few recipes

A few weeks ago (eh, more than a month ago), I said I'd post about a few recipes I'd made. Well, Faithful Followers, that day is here!

First, let's go over the recipes I mentioned in this post.

Grandma's Homemade Mac and Cheese
I hold this recipe near and dear to my heart for a few reasons.
  1. It's an old family favorite.
  2. I love good mac and cheese. A lot.
I was a little nervous to make this recipe because I knew it'd be hard to top my Grandma's version, but I tried anyway. (For the record, mine was decent, her's is better).

Serving size: More than enough--can easily feed 4 to 6 people (and you'll probably have leftovers)

1/2 pound (8 ounces) penne, ziti, or elbow macaroni
1/4 pound Velveeta
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1.5 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste

Boil macaroni until cooked (roughly 10 minutes). Melt butter and pour in a large bowl. Slowly stir in flour, and add milk gradually. Add sliced cheese, and stir until smooth. Grease an oven-safe dish. Pour cheese sauce into dish. Next, drain the macaroni and rinse it in cold water. Then, pour the macaroni over the cheese sauce, and stir in well. Don't be afraid if the mixture looks watery, soupy, and downright disgusting--I promise that it will firm up as it bakes! To spice things up, put sliced tomatoes on top and sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

When I made this recipe, I used slices of American cheese instead of Velveeta because I had a ton in the house that I needed to use. I also left off the tomatoes because Boyfriend isn't a fan. We really liked this mac and cheese, and we had a lot leftover. If you make this, make enough to have leftovers because it really is better the second day.
Please ignore the crappy phone picture.
Since you can't just have mac and cheese for dinner (or maybe you can, but whatever), I made tuna croquettes to go with it. Growing up, we always ate salmon or tuna croquettes with spaghetti or mac and cheese, so this was a pretty normal pairing for me.

Tuna Croquettes
This recipe is so easy that I'm not even sure it can be called a recipe. I don't follow one when I make it, so I'll do my best to explain the process.

I started by draining 5 or 6 cans of tuna and dumping the contents into a large bowl. I know 5 or 6 cans seems like a lot, but I wanted to have leftovers. I had hard boiled some eggs earlier in the day, so I cut up 3 or 4 eggs (yoke and all) into small pieces and mixed them in with the tuna. I also added mayonnaise, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Then I started to form patties with the tuna. I make my patties about the size of small hamburgers, but it's all personal preference. I rolled each patty in breadcrumbs before putting it on a cookie sheet. Then, I brushed each patty with a little bit of oil and put them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes (until they're golden brown). That's it! Simple, simple!
I've also been pinteresting some recipes. I tried this recipe for honey-lime grilled chicken a few weeks ago. It was pretty good, but I'll be sure to marinate the chicken longer next time. The chicken looks a little well done because I grilled it on my George Foreman. I paired this dish with rice with soy sauce and green beans.
I made this recipe for garlic brown sugar baked chicken last night for dinner. Although my chicken looked nothing like the picture, the flavor was delicious, and the chicken was really moist! To ensure that the garlic did not overpower the brown sugar, I drizzled a little honey over each chicken breast before I popped them in the oven. I paired this dish with mixed veggies.
Stay tuned for my homemade enchilada recipe! I think it's the best thing I've made so far.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Leap of Faith

I finally have a free moment to show my little blog a little love, and I'm ready to hit the ground running with a post that I've been meaning to write for a while.

I've touched on this before, but after I graduated, I didn't really know what the future held for me. Sure, I knew I was going to Israel for two weeks and, thankfully, my internship asked me to come back on as a full-time employee, but once Israel had come and gone, I didn't have any specific plans for my future. That was something really new to me, something I'd never experienced before.

During this time, I was living at home with my parents, which was fine, but at 21 (almost 22 at the time), I was ready to move out and be on my own (or at least with a roommate).

Soon after graduation, Boyfriend got a job in Columbia, which meant that he was staying in the same town where he had gone to school. I was so proud of Boyfriend for landing his first "big boy" job so soon after graduating. I also knew that this job placement meant that we needed to make some big decisions. Yes, I had a job in Dallas, but I made the decision that I was ready to move on. And Boyfriend and I made the decision that it was time for me to move in.

So, I began my job search--something that ended up being hard to do from 600 miles away from my target market. While most people understood my reasoning for moving to Missouri, they didn't understand how I expected to leave Dallas--a huge city with a strong economy--move to a college town, and find a job (especially a job in my field). I got discouraged a few times, but I kept searching. Eventually, I landed a few phone interviews, but nothing really came of them.

By the time April rolled around, Boyfriend had started his new job, and we decided that I would move up with or without a job at the beginning of May. I gave my notice to my job, enjoyed a wonderful going away party thrown by my fabulous coworkers, and had my last day on April 27. All the while, I was busy packing, looking for a job, getting my family used to the idea of me leaving, and tying up all loose ends. In the midst of all of this, I managed to schedule two interviews for the week I moved to Columbia.

In addition to moving, I was stressed about not having a job, and I was really counting on one of my interviews to be the right fit. Luckily, my first interview--which took place on the Tuesday after I moved--went wonderfully! I had reached out to this company on a whim while I was still in Dallas, so I was amazed that they had any open positions. They were impressed with my marketing experience and my writing skills, and I was offered the job the night of the interview, just three days after arriving in town.

I lucked out. Big time.

The best part is, I really like my job. A lot. I'm the executive writer and a marketing specialist at one of the nation's leading surety bond producers. Yes, I'm working in an industry that I have to research on a daily basis, but I learn something new every day, and I'm constantly expanding and finessing my writing and marketing skills. Plus, it's a super relaxed environment with a great group of people.

Like I said, I lucked out.

I'm so thankful that things worked out so well and so quickly. I'm thankful that I had the work experience I had to impress my current employers. Most of all, I'm happy that I took that leap of faith and moved up here to take the next step with Boyfriend and the next step in my professional life.

I guess this means I'm a real person (aka self-sufficient, independent adult) now, huh? Weird. But I am extremely grateful that, at 22, I have a pretty good idea about where my life--at least my life for the next few years--is going to go.
Winston, the office dog

Friday, July 13, 2012

Coming Attractions

On the posting calendar for the next few weeks (in no particular order):
  1. My not-so-new job
  2. The rest of my trip to Israel
  3. Vacation to Destin with Boyfriend's family
  4. China trip with my family
  5. The recipes from this post
  6. My June Birchbox
Annnnnd that's all I've got right now. Here's hoping this sinus infection and serious case of jet lag I have make a quick departure and let me get back to my life.
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