holiday soap

Now that the gifts have been opened, it's time for show and tell!

I wasn't super productive this year in the gift department (I was quite happy to let baby items kind of dominate the crafting around here this year), but lots of folks on our list received my first effort at handmade glycerin soap. Let me tell you, this was one crafty project that was so much fun, I think it might become an annual event.

This year's concoctions included earl gray, lemon rooibos and poppy seeds, cinnamon and clove, mint and chamomile, and oatmeal honey. Super fun!

I followed the instructions from Martha's holiday edition on handmade gifts from a year or two ago, but the process is very simple. It involves melting down the glycerin (found at craft or art supply stores), then adding stuff straight out of the cupboard -- teas, spices, honey, etc -- then pouring them into molds (yogurt containers work great, no need to use vaseline like most instructions say to do) and finally letting them cool for an hour or so.


mac n' cheese with cauliflower

I know I've shared a mac and cheese recipe before, but this one is better. Plus, it's got cauliflower, so you can feel good about eating your veggies at the same time as all that carby cheesy goodness.

The last time I made it (when this badly coloured photo was taken), I stashed some in the freezer for these first weeks with the baby -- so glad I did! It froze very well and we enjoyed it the other night with some green leafy veggies. 'Twas a perfect comfort food meal for the sleep-deprived.

mac n' cheese with cauliflower
Serves 6
Adapted from Real Simple

12 ounces whole-wheat elbow macaroni
1 head cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 - 1 1/2 C breadcrumbs
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
olive oil
salt and black pepper
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 - 2 1/2 cups grated extra-sharp Cheddar
1 1/2 cups reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1-2 Tbs Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Boil the pasta until done, adding the cauliflower during the last 3 minutes of cooking time. Drain pasta and cauliflower.

Meanwhile, combine breadcrumb with parsley, a couple tablespoons of the oil, and pinches of salt and pepper.

In the same pot as you boiled your pasta, heat on medium heat and add a tablespoon of oil. Add the onion, another pinch of salt and pepper and cook until soft. Add pasta, cauliflower, cheese, sour cream, milk, and mustard. Mix well.

Put into a shallow 3-quart baking dish. Top with bread crumbs and bake until they are golden brown (about 15 mins).


new arrival

I've never been a reliable blogger,
but now I have a good excuse!