Monday, January 16, 2012

Pepper Jack Cheesy Mac

Ok everyone. . you will have to bear with me as I get into the swing of things. Eventually I should be able to remember to take pictures of the recipe that I choose in steps but I forgot to do it this time. and it's been over 2 weeks. . sorry.

This recipe was the first time that I've tried this. I got it in an email earlier on today and I thought that it sounded good so I made it for dinner tonight. The recipe:

Pepper Jack Cheesy Mac

2 cups (8 oz.) dry elbow macaroni
2 cups (8-oz. pkg.) shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Pepper Jack cheese, divided
1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 to 1 cup broken tortilla chips (your choice of color)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)


PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Lightly grease 2 1/2-quart casserole dish.

COOK macaroni in large saucepan according to package directions; drain. Return to saucepan.

ADD cheddar cheese, 1 1/2 cups Pepper Jack cheese, evaporated milk and black pepper to macaroni; stir until combined. Pour into prepared casserole dish. Combine remaining 1/2 cup Pepper Jack cheese, tortilla chips and red pepper flakes in small bowl. Sprinkle over top. Cover tightly with foil.

BAKE for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake for an additional 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

*copied from website (link is also provided when you click on the Pepper Jack Cheesy Mac above the ingredients)

My picture of how mine turned out

Now everyone in my family ate it and enjoyed it. I did make a couple of changes by using reduced fat cheddar cheese and using the cheaper priced (Jewel Osco) evaporated milk. I stuck with the lower amounts on the few that they gave choices. I also kept it in longer without the foil because it didn't seem to be browning. . . I would suggest not doing that because it did make it a little dry (but not too much).

Overall, this is a very good recipe and I will be making this again in the future.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Year of Challenges

This year is going to be the year of challenges for me. I'm going to challenge myself more than I have in the past and (hopefully) succeed on these challenges. The blog that started me on this decision is I am a Reader, Not a Writer that led me to the Dusty Bookshelf Challenge.
Challenge #1

The details:
Here are the steps for this challenge:

1. Write a blog post with a list of all those books that are literally or figuratively sitting on your shelf that you’ve been meaning to read for a while. You can pick books that you bought and haven’t read or books that you’ve just been waiting to read for a long time. Feel free to use the badge I made at the top of this post.

2. Pick a level

~Pixie Dust – Read 0-5 books

~Dust Bunny – Read 5-10 books

~Cobwebs – Read 10-15 books

~Grungy – Read 20+ books

EXTRA CREDIT-Say how long that book has been sitting on your shelf!

3. Link your blog post where you are doing the challenge at the bottom of this post (with the blue button) and then enter the giveaway!

I am going to sign up for the Grungy level. I own a TON of books that aren't only on bookshelves but in boxes, bags and so much more. We moved into this house in 2002 and since then I've kept collecting books and haven't gotten around to reading them all. This is encouraging me to get my butt in gear and read them.

Now the Dusty Bookshelf blog led me to another blog that led me to

Challenge #2

I consider this a lot like the Dusty Bookshelf challenge. The TBR Reading Challenge
The Details:
Challenge guidelines:

This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2012 - Dec 31, 2012.
As we would like to see quality reviews linked up to our monthly wrap-ups, only bloggers can enter. Sorry about that!
Any genre, length or format of book counts, as long as it is a book that's been sitting on your shelf for some time now. Only books released in 2011 and earlier! NO ARCs and 2012 fresh-off-the-press releases allowed!
You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.
When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the 2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge (You need to include the info + host list + challenge button. You can also grab the button code and add it to your sidebar!)
You can move up levels, but no moving down.
Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2012, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.
At the end of each month one of the hosts will post a wrap-up. Every wrap-up will have it's unique theme, a mini-challenge, a giveaway and place for you to link up your reviews from this month. For each review you link up, you will get one entry in a drawing of one book of choice from Book Depository. It's open to INTERNATIONALS. For participating in the mini-challenge you will get +1 entry.
If you miss a wrap-up post + giveaway, you can link up your reviews next month. Do not, however, try to link up one review twice - we will be checking ;)
December is a wrap-up for the whole year. All the book reviews you linked up January-November + the ones you'll link up in December will be entered into a HUGE giveaway - 12 books, 12 winners, INTERNATIONAL.
You don't have to follow all the hosts to join the challenge, but you do have to follow all of us to be entered in giveaways!

1-10 - A Firm Handshake
11-20 - A Friendly Hug
21-30 - A Sweet Kiss
31-40 - Love At First Sight
41-50 - Married With Children

I'm going to start by shooting for the A Sweet Kiss level (since it says that you can move up but not down) but we'll see as we go.

Challenge #3

Read-n-Review I'm challenging myself to review every book that I read in 2012. This is probably going to be one of the harder ones since I don't review much and need more practice.

Challenge #4

Finishing the Series
The Details:
Here are the rules guidelines.

1) All books that are part of a continuing series qualify (i.e. Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove, Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum, James Patterson's Alex Cross, etc. etc.)

2) It doesn't matter if you have 1 or 10 books in a series to complete it, it qualifies (i.e. if you only need to read one more Sookie Stackhouse book to complete the goal, that's fine) The goal is to complete a series from wherever you are up to until the last published book.

3) The qualification period is January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012. Books must be read during this time frame to count.

4) Take the button above and post about it. Use the Mr. Linky below to sign up, but make sure you link it directly to your post about this challenge.

5) If you don't have a blog, that's fine. Just leave a comment to sign up and tell us what you are reading.

6) Any format of book counts - audio, ebook, etc.

7) You should choose the series you want to finish before the challenge begins, but it isn't necessary. It's fine to change series during the year - as long as you complete whichever series it is.

8) Choose a level....

Level 1 - Complete 1 series.
Level 2 - Complete 2 series.
Level 3 - Complete 3 or more series.

I'm going to shoot for level 3. I have a lot of series that I need to finish.
1. Twilight series (books 3 and 4)
2. Mercedes Thompson series (books 4, 5, 6, etc.)
3. The Cat Star Chronicles (book 5 which I just started last night and was in my TBR pile)

Now the rest of these challenges are personal challenges.
Challenge #5
Reach my goal weight. Last year I lost a total of 21 pounds. I'm hoping to lose about the same this year. I'm going to challenge myself to exercise more and really shoot to lose that weight.

Challenge #6
Get organized and become less of a hoarder. I think that I started becoming less of a hoarder last year but I am not organized and have so much more to do.

Challenge #7
Bake and Cook more. I'm going to try and shoot for baking or cooking something NEW once every 2 weeks (I want to shoot for once a week but I'm not sure how that's going to work out).

Challenge #8
Do and/or finish something artsy once a month. It could be something small like painting, fabric work, working on my never ending latch hook, etc.

Those are my goals so far for this year. I might add ones to it or not. The last 4 I'm considering doing a sign up for like the others that I'm signing up for but I'm not too sure how to do it or I might just explore online and see if they have sign ups for them already and add them later.

Care to join me on shooting for any of these challenges?