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I believe how we are feeling is often reflected in what we are cooking and eating. Emotional eating. Not ’emotional eating’ in the negative context of gluttony that we’ve come to associate it with thanks to reality television and makeover shows. But cooking and eating to connect to an emotion, a memory, a person.  Relating food to a feeling or a state of being we desire, transporting you back to a experience that left you fulfilled, happy, content.

Reflecting on this past week I haven’t felt so content or happy. Struggles with my health are continuing and I’m left feeling frustrated, disconnected, and very honestly scared. Scared that I’m not going to over come what increasing seems like an unclimbable mountain. Annoyed at the impact it is having on my life. Generally I’m not the most compliant patient in the world, it takes everything in me not to try to power through this, to keep resting even though I’ve watched most of Netflix, to keep doing my rehab exercises. Feelings of disconnection from my life or my old life, my relationships can’t help but creep in. I’m sure being so far away from home doesn’t help, nor does T. working away, but that’s life and our reality for the moment. I just need to keep doing what I’m doing and somehow find the way to stay positive and not cringe every time I hear the word ‘functional’. One way I am doing this is through cooking.

As I’ve shared, I cook and freeze meals for T. while he is working away from home. I suppose it’s a way for me to care for him, to provide some comforts of home, but it also helps me to feel useful and productive to our partnership, marriage. So to combat my feelings of disconnect this past week I decided to take an evening to make some new meals for him. Nothing particularly challenging, just one batch of mac & cheese and I even used pre-shredded cheese (shame). However one step at a time, one meal, one set of exercises, one day.

Hopefully this week will be better, and for those days that aren’t there is always macaroni and cheese.

And last week since I had a huge pot all prepared it only seemed right to do taste test…

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Topped with fresh breadcrumbs and even more cheese then cooked until golden and bubbly.

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Served with a side tomato salad for a comforting meal.

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Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, plus some for topping
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 cups milk
1/4 cup butter
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 bay leaf
1 tsp thyme
1 tbsp dry mustard
2 tablespoons butter
2 pieces of stale french bread
1 pinch paprika
1 small garlic clove
1 tsp parsley

 

Directions
  1. Cook macaroni according to package, drain, and set aside.
  2. Heat milk with bay leaf and thyme.
  3. In a saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Add flour, blend and cook for 2 – 3 minutes.
  4. Slowly add milk to flour/butter mixture, whisking to blend. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until thickened. Remove from heat whisk in cheese until smooth, add dry mustard and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Combine bread, garlic, parsley, and paprika in food processor, grind until smooth bread crumbs.
  6. Mix cheese sauce and pasta in overproof dish, top with cheese and breadcrumbs.
  7. Cook at 400F for 25 – 30 minutes.

 

 

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