Love, Lydia - Notes from a geeky, plus sized artist.: Mac and Cheese + Good Reads

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Mac and Cheese + Good Reads

Hello again!

Today I've got a new recipe for you.  I decided I wanted to tackle something new for the guys this week for our tabletop RPG night.  I love recipes that make things easy and one of the easiest ways I know of doing that is crock pot recipes.  I looked at a couple different versions of crock pot mac and cheese before coming up with my own.  Here is my version:

Leveled Up Mac and Cheese

What you'll need:

3 3/4 cups of shredded cheddar cheese (we tried Sargento's 4 State Cheddar because it sounded good/was on sale)
2 cups Mexican blend shredded cheese (we just used Kroger's version)
3 cups of milk
5 tablespoons butter
16 oz elbow macaroni
8 oz cream cheese


1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 cup bread crumbs (we went with garlic and herb seasoned)
1/8 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 package of bacon

Total time: about 3 hours

First boil the pasta until it's al dente, or if you're like me as soon as you look in the pot and see they've grown, then drain the noodles.

Then add all the items in your crock pot except the parmesan, bread crumbs, and bacon, stir them a bit and set the crock pot on low.  Come back and stir every half hour and in 2-3 hours it will be done.  You can tell it's done when everything is melted, smells good, and cheese starts browning on the sides of the pot.  When it's at that point just add a layer of the parmesan and bread crumbs on top, put the lid back on and set your crock pot to warm until you're ready to serve.

If you want to add bacon to the dish cook the bacon separately in the oven.  My favorite method is by putting the bacon on a foil lined pan, into the oven and then setting the temperature to 375F for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes if it's not done just check it every few minutes until it's done the way you like it best.  You can then chop the bacon and add it to your bowl of macaroni.

We found that as a main dish this recipe feeds 5 adults, as a side dish it would feed 10.  It is very cheesy and fill you up more than you'd assume because of this.

And now for the book reviews:

Cover image used under fair use guidelines

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson was a really interesting read.  I had picked it up at a thrift store a while back knowing Bryan had enjoyed some of the author's books and thinking a book about the trail so close to where I group up in Roanoke would be interesting.  And it was!  The Appalachian Trail stretches from Georgia to Maine, with an extension trail that goes on up into Canada for those who wish to keep going, and Bill and his friend are about to tackle walking it all.  I think I ended up enjoying some of the more thoughtful sections of the book on history, nature, and the influence of man on it all better than I did some of the parts about the experience of walking the trail and the humor involved (the humor actually put me off a little at times).  I could mentally picture what it might have been like to see the huge old chestnut forests.  All in all it makes me want to go out and walk some parts of the trail and photograph it.  This is the kind of book that many readers will enjoy, but there will be parts you can take or leave along the way.  However, it's all worth the trip.

Cover image used under Fair Use guidelines

Velvet Volume 1 by Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting, and Bettie Breitweiser is the quintessential spy story.  A spy is framed and has to revisit past memories to find out the secrets that will allow them to clear their name.  Only in this case it's a middle aged female spy who was just working as a secretary at the time she was framed.  Over the course of this first book we find out just how much she knows and doesn't know about those she has spent her life working with.  And all this while she's on the run from her own agency.  This was one of our reads for the Word Balloons discussion group at Fight or Flight Comics (my local comic book store in Raleigh, NC), which I probably would never have picked up otherwise.  It reads like most spy movies and has a fairly formulaic feel, but undeniably left me wanting more the moment I finished reading it.

That's all for today, but I'll see you again Friday!



  1. The mac and cheese looks so good!

    1. It was! I'm going to make it again soon because it pleased everyone so much.