Comfort Food Definition: A food that gives emotional comfort to the one eating it, these tend to be favorite foods of childhood, or linked to a person, place or time with which the food has a positive association.
I have eaten lots of comfort foods in my lifetime (mainly because I’m old and need to be comforted). To name a few….creamy mashed potatoes, chicken pot pie, buttermilk biscuits, apple pie, meatloaf and of course classic macaroni and cheese.
Nothing is better than good ol’ down home cooking.
In fact, I’ve always envisioned myself as Laura from Little House on the Prairie, cooking up “vittles” in a small wooden barn house…….I just don’t look great in braids.
I’ve used my “mac n cheese” recipes in various ways but the easiest and cutest thing I have done to date are these little muffins. They are great for parties or just for fun when you want to serve them as an appetizer, main or even a side dish.
The trick to a perfect mac muffin is a good combo of “binders”…….eggs and cheese are your best bets. I have tweeked my recipe to add a little punch for the adult crowd by making them sharp and spicy but you can absolutely use any cheddar cheese you desire.
Here’s how you make em’ ….
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 extra large egg, beaten
1 cup whole milk (if you are watching your diet you can use 1 % milk but it really makes a difference using the full fat one)
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese or shredded jalapeno cheddar for an extra kick
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin (or a 24 mini tin) with nonstick spray. In a small bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, olive oil and salt; set aside.
2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook for about 8 – 10 minutes, it should still be a little bit firm or al dente. Remove from the heat, drain and return to the pan; stir in the butter and egg until pasta is evenly coated. Reserve 1/2 cup of cheese and stir the remaining Cheddar, milk and mozzarella cheese into the pasta. Spoon into the prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle the reserved cheese and the bread crumb mixture over the tops.
3. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the topping is nicely browned. Allow the muffins to cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan. This will allow the cheese to set and they will hold their muffin shape. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve warm.
See ya next week!
One of my favorite times of day with my daughter is story time before bed. We both love to snuggle on her chair and read some great books. There are so many books in her collection that are new to me (Pinkalicious!!) and yet so many classics like Brown Bear Brown Bear. This is one of my favorite books and we were thrilled at the idea of designing a party around this wonderful theme.
Color is very important to the Brown Bear story. Each animal is a bright, bold color that children can relate to and remember. We started our design process with a fabulous dessert table. I found this amazing Brown Bear fabric on Etsy and it was the perfect base for the dessert table. Two bright yellow 36″ balloons were anchored on each side of our table. Custom colored tassels from One Stylish Party were made to attach to each balloon, corresponding to all of the colors in the book. We love how these small blue OLIVER balloons looked hung up behind the table.
White modern trays from Poppin were the perfect size and depth to be filled with different color jelly beans – This created the base for some delicious treats like cupcakes, cookies and candies. To add height on the table, we also filled glass cubes with colored jelly beans to put underneath the trays in the back row. Each animal was from the story was represented on the table. Our amazing sweets girl Angela from Making that Cake carved all of these gorgeous animals out of sugar. Can you even believe how amazing they are? We were blown away!
For the cake, I loved the way Angela incorporated each animal while still keeping it relatively simple and classic.
With all of these sweets, we also included some colorful fruit kabobs for guests to nibble on once they had their sugar intake for the day! Kraft take-home containers were displayed so guests could take a gorgeous cupcake or treat home with them after the party.
We recently launched Little Miss Party in a Box and our Birthday Box was the perfect addition to this party! The colorful paper goods work so well with any themed party, especially a colorful one like this.
In addition to tableware and cutlery, we set up the kids table complete with party hat, personalized water bottle and felt animal masks for each child. Brown Bear themed blocks were scattered around the table for the little ones to play with and a lucite tray was filled with small containers of goldfish in case anyone needed a snack before lunch.
We styled additional 36″ confetti balloons with matching tassels around the room, anchored in glass cubes we filled with white jelly beans. Along the bar we set up white wooden frames with pictures of Oliver throughout his first year. Pictures are always an important part of a 1st birthday celebration as kids grow and change so dramatically in that first year!
The favors for this party were some of the best we’ve ever done. The older kids got a Brown Bear puzzle and the younger kids received a Lollacup in the shape of a red bird. Each favor was wrapped up with a clear box of animal crackers with a personalized sticker, ribbon and yellow mini honeycomb. A Thank you tag was attached to each that read “That you BEARY much for coming to my party!” I had extra Brown Bear fabric so I laid it on the table beneath the favors and it was the perfect way to tie it all together.
To keep the kids entertained we brought in Penny and the Puppettes who always do an amazing job with the little ones! Their 45 min show keeps them engaged and loving every second! We set out foam mats on the floor along with a bunch of Duplo blocks for the kids to play with. It looks like the adults had just as much fun as the kids!
Happy First Birthday Oliver, thank you for letting us share your special day !!!
As we walked into the room and set up the wintry mix of teal, white, silver and grape at the Downtown Dance Factory, the snow started to fall. This mom couldn’t have gone with a better theme for her daughter’s 5th birthday if she tried.
As the kids came off of dancing up a storm they enjoyed pizza followed by sweet eats from Making that Cake.
We styled the airy feeling room with jumbo confetti filled balloons dangling with snowflake garland from One Stylish Party. She also made us fringe bunting that we hung up to look like a sky with tissue flakes falling down.
We’re always looking for a good excuse to celebrate and there’s nothing better then a birthday. Cheers to turning 5 and so many more wonderful celebrations in the future.
This past Saturday when the kids jumped into our bed at 6:30am I popped up and screamed “Gavin! Can you go and grab the newspaper from the front door?!” He hustled over to the door and quickly ran back with the NY Post in hand. There on page 25, 26 & 27 was LMP talking all about entertaining for the Oscars. It was the most surreal feeling of my life.
The NY Post asked us to style a table at Cafe Gitane in the Jane Hotel inspired by the movie The Grand Budapest Hotel by Wes Anderson which was nominated for several awards.
We played off the bold colors and symmetrical visuals from the movie. We used red cake stands from Fish’s Eddy to serve mini schnitzel sliders and to hold goblets of poppy seed dressed chunky chopped salad.
We also served a drink inspired by Madame X played by Tilda Swinton in the film. It was a vodka soda cocktail with a swirl of lemon to garnish and mustache straws like all of the men have in the movie!
We found the most perfect vintage items from Little Vintage Rentals – the phone, lamp and train case looked like they were right out of the movie!
In the train case we set up bags of parmesan & paprika popcorn with “Lobby Boy” stickers. We also printed Lobby Boy Hats that we turned into photo props by taping to a skewer.
A really fun element of our table were the antique items that we found from our family members. My Boobie lent me a beautiful platter which we lined with gold heart doilies and placed pastries on top of. And then there was the jewelry box that we stole from Aunt Debi AKA The Garden of Eatin’ which we turned into a macaron hotel.
Last but not least, the Mendl’s Boxes. Michelle printed out a template that she found on Etsy, printed on cardstock and folded to make these boxes look identical to those found in the movie. I took a stab at the famous Mendl’s Courtesan Du Chocolat from a recipe that I found on Buzzfeed. These were easier to make then they look!
This was one of the first times we’ve actually worked with a model who got into character with the bellboy from the Jane Hotel to showcase our work.
We couldn’t have been more pleased with how this all turned out and are still pinching ourselves from seeing our faces in the NY Post.
A big huge thanks to Zandy Mangold for these photos. What a doll and talented photographer who we are so lucky to have worked with.
To see the article in the Post including all recipes for the food that we served up click here.
It’s very rare that I cook something so decadent but man was this delish! Freshly steamed lobster and ooey gooey cheese melted in between homemade pasta.
Have I peaked your interest yet?
The recipe was adapted from one of my favorite magazines – Sweet Paul.
1 lb bag of large pasta (I used fresh ziti)
3 tablespoons butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cups milk
½ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (I used kozliks grainy creole)
8 oz white cheddar, grated
4 oz Gruyère, grated
2 cups sharp cheddar, grated
salt & pepper, to taste
the meat of 2 cooked lobsters, coarsely chopped (I only used one)
1 tablespoon chives, chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain in colander and return to stockpot.
Melt butter over medium heat in large saucepan.
Once melted, add shallots and sauté until soft.
Add flour and stir for 1 minute until combined.
Whisk in milk.
Bring to a slight boil, whisking constantly.
Add cream, Dijon, both cheeses, salt, and pepper.
Remove pan from heat.
Stir together until all cheese is melted.
Mix in pasta and lobster.
Pour into a large baking dish.
Bake until golden. This will take about 20–25 minutes.
Serve with chives on top.