Mac And Cheese With A Twist!

Mac And Cheese With A Twist!

Mac and cheese lovers unite! Nothing is more comforting than a delicious bowl of ooey-gooey macaroni and cheese. I grew up eating this in so many different ways as a child. Does anyone still eat mac and cheese mixed with hotdogs?! These days I can elevate it a little more. My kids love seafood so making lobster or crab mac and cheese is such a treat for them. This particular dish is loaded with yummy veggies and crispy pancetta. I like to use shallots because they are not as sharp as onions, their taste and texture mellow out nicely. You also get some smoky and sweet in this dish from the paprika and tomatoes! Share some of your favorite nostalgic mac and cheese memories with me below in the comments.

1 lb Elbow Macaroni
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves minced garlic
2 teaspoons shallot, minced.
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (half and half works too.)
3 cups white cheddar
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained well and chopped.
1/2 cup mushrooms
,2 cups fresh spinach
1/2 cup crispy pancetta
1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cook the pasta according to instructions. Set aside.

Add pancetta to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until crispy and remove to drain and set aside.

Using the same pan add garlic and shallot and cook for 1-2 minutes. Now add in mushroom and cook for about three minutes more. (This allows the moisture in the mushrooms to release) Add your spinach and cook until wilted. Pour into a small bowl and set aside.

Carefully wipe out the pan and return to heat. Heat butter over medium-low heat.

Now whisk in flour gradually until smooth. Continue to cook for about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk and cream stirring until thickened. Reduce heat to low. Add spices and two cups of cheese.

Stir in the pancetta, spinach, mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes. Remove from heat.

Add pasta to the skillet and evenly spoon the cheese sauce over it.

Pour the pasta into a lightly greased baking dish or cast iron skillet. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheeses.

Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.

A perfect dish to serve this holiday.

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

Xo Ayesha

Gluten-Free Persimmon Cookies

Hi Everyone! I come bearing gifts just in time for the holidays. Gluten-free gifts!  The persimmons on our tree in the front yard were completely ripe and ready to picked. Growing up with a Jamaican mommy we would always just eat the persimmons. Now, they kind of tie up my tongue.  I wanted to make something with this sweet and succulent fruit that could please everyone. Being that it is the holidays, this yummy sweet and spicy persimmon cookie was the perfect fit for our family. I made these cookies gluten-free simply because my mother in law has become gluten-free recently and a lot of my readers on here have asked for yummy simple gluten free options. I hope you like this recipe. Be sure to comment below. Enjoy!

… and Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all have a wonderful time with your families.

Ingredients 

1/2 Cup of Brown Sugar

1 Stick of Unsalted Butter

1 Organic Egg

1 Cup of Blended Persimmon Pulp (about 4-5 small persimmons)

1 1/4 Cup Gluten-Free Flour

1 Tsp Baking Powder

1/2 Tsp Baking Soda

1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/2 Tsp of All Spice

Pinch of Salt

1/4 Cup of Chocolate Chips (Optional)

Handful of Chopped Walnuts (Optional)

Optional Lemon Glaze: 2 Tbs Unsalted Butter melted and hot, Juice of half of a lemon and 3 Heaping Tablespoons of Powdered Sugar

Directions 

Preheat your oven to 375. In a bowl mix brown sugar and room temperature butter together until smooth. Add in the egg and the persimmon pulp and mix until it forms a smooth wet batter.  Next, add in all of your dry ingredients and mix well until a thick batter is formed. Drop tablespoons of the batter onto a greased cookie sheet, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Bake for about 10-12 mins. Let them completely cool!

I decided to do two batches, one with chocolate chips and one with walnuts and the lemon glaze. They were both absolutely delicious. This is a great cookie to package as a gift or take to a holiday party. It will not disappoint! Enjoy 🙂

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Homemade Scents for The Home

One of my fondest memories is the smell of our home during the holidays growing up. The scent was so subtle and delicious and I would feel so warm and cozy coming home from school. I grew up in Toronto, Canada so fires, candles, and anything to make the home feel warm and inviting during the winters were a must. The delicious smell that I grew so fondly of was actually a homemade concoction that my mom would make on the stove to infuse our home with the aroma of love. Sounds so strange but thats really what I feel when I walk into my home and smell this delightful scent.

I called my mom a couple of nights ago to let her know that I was going to blog about this and share the recipe with you guys. She was thrilled and both delighted and surprised to know that I remembered her doing that as a child and have continued to do it myself. It’s the little things that stick with you it seems. My goodness do I LOVE tradition. I hope that this becomes a staple in your home as well during the holidays. If you try it please let me know what you think. Enjoy!

Ingredients 

1-2 Cinnamon Sticks

Peels of an Orange

Peels of an Apple

Cloves (a tablespoon or so)

2-3 cups of water

*This recipe is such great way to get the most out of your fruits and use up those unwanted orange peels!

Directions

Simply place of the ingredients into a pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer on extra low for a long as you want! As the water evaporates add more! Such a natural way to infuse your home with a yummy smell. This recipe is so addicting and will be on my stove all through the holidays.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Pear

This recipe is quick, easy and extremely delicious. I can eat an entire bowl by myself! It makes for a great side dish at dinner, especially thanksgiving. The sweetness of the pear, the tartness of the dried cranberries and the richness of the brussels make for smiling faces and full bellies. I hope you like this recipe as much as my family does. Enjoy!

Ingredients

12oz of Brussels Sprouts (approx 12-15)

1 Pear

1 Lemon Wedge

1 Tbs Honey

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 Tbs Olive Oil

Handful of chopped Onion

Handful of Dried Cranberries

Directions

Preheat oven to 450. Wash, dry and halve all of your brussels sprouts  and slice the pear. Place them in a baking dish along with the onion. Coat with a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Next, Squeeze the lemon wedge all over the pan and drizzle with honey. Lastly, toss in the dried cranberries, mix everything together and serve! I promise this dish will not disappoint.

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