Almond Joy Balls

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As you read this post, I am probably terrified. Gripping the hand of my seatmate. Hurtling through the air at the speed of 576 mph. Oh, and also incredibly excited to descend upon the great city of New Orleans for Mardi Gras! Woohoo!!!

That’s right, Ragini (who you may remember from my Junk in the Trunk Cookies) and I are going to visit our friend Nisha, who is currently doing grad school smartypants things at Tulane! After asking Nisha the all-important questions of “What clothing should I bring?” and “Can we use your shampoo and conditioner?” (Either way, I was going to use hers . . . Spirit’s luggage fees are crazy!) I asked myself the next-most important question: What snacks should I bring?  Continue reading

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Lightened Up Mac & Cheese Bites

My first experiences with macaroni & cheese took place at the Ryan’s Buffet in Wichita, Kansas. Although this haven of all-you-can-eat steak is now closed down (eliciting great distress from my dad), I still remember my plan of attack at the buffet spread: First, a spoonful of mac & cheese – with the baked cheese crust on top.

Next, a visit to the mashed potatoes diagonally across from the mac & cheese. I would put a dollop of mashed potatoes on my plate, then – most importantly – brown gravy on top of both the potatoes and the mac & cheese. Thus, it was of utmost importance to visit the mac & cheese pan before sojourning to the mashed potatoes. Let’s not even talk about what happened if all the baked cheese crust had already been taken from the mac & cheese pan. Sob city.

My mac & cheese passions fluctuated over the next decade or so (gah how old am I??). The summer before high school, when I was exhausted and absolutely ravenous from the full days of summer P.E. class (ughhhh), I actually melted sour cream with cheese, then poured it over pasta. Never. again. In college, though, I was more a fan of Kraft Easy Mac Cups. Now those, those I could talk about for days. Three and a half minutes to cheesy pasta heaven.

Recently, I’ve been craving mac & cheese again. This craving happened to coincide with my hosting a (small) Halloween party this past weekend. Basically, it was an excuse for me to make a lot of food, eat, and decorate…which are three of my favorite activities in the entire world. Though, really, I can’t take credit for the decorations. My best friend Hannah (who I’ve known since basically the womb) visited me this past weekend (yayyy!), and worked some serious crepe paper magic.

In terms of food, though, I really wanted to make mac & cheese. I mean, who doesn’t like mounds of cheese heaped on pasta (AmIright? Crayola even named a crayon after it!). But, I wanted an option that didn’t require all sorts of fork/plate/mouth/napkin/messy shenanigans. So when I saw this recipe for mac & cheese bites – baked in a cupcake tin!!! – I knew I’d found a winner. Buttt. Since I also wanted a recipe that I could eat at least five of and not feel guilty about, I looked around for a “healthy” mac & cheese option as well.

These mac & cheese bites are a product of both of these recipes, plus some of my craziness/perpetual messing around with recipes. I also baked them in a mini cupcake tin to perfectly fit in the palm of your hand! But I do need to highlight one thing: Greek yogurt, people. Say it with me: GREEK YOGURT! I’ve used it before to substitute for butter in baking, and man oh man. Who knew it was so perfect in mac & cheese as well? Now you know. No excuses.

So, tell me, am I a crazy person? Or do you, too, go through mac & cheese phases/cravings/recipes galore? Hit me up with your mac & cheese recipes!

P.S. I now have a twitter – @3PastriesaDay. Follow me for delicious blog updates and drool-worthy pics!

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