Recipe Swap - Budget Friendly Florentine Mac 'N Cheese


Glad that you stopped by!  Today's post includes Alex's State 4-H Food Show entry for this year's competition! 

The theme this year for Food Show was to fix a "budget wise" recipe.  This recipe is just that - costing only $5.25 for the whole dish that serves 6 and its a HUGE serving - good for a "meatless meal";  that's .88 cents a serving.  The secret ingredient is SMOKED GOUDA cheese - O.M.G. - it is SO good!  The healthy hit is the added spinach.  By adding spinach into this classic dish, it ups the nutritional value up by 48%!  So you've got a great taste along with a healthy twist on a comfort food! 


Our local 4-H group leaves Monday for 4-H State Round Up held down on the Texas A&M campus.  Both of my boys have photography competing, our Childress Mohair team (Sheldon, Coleman, Alex & Aric) compete on Wednesday and on Thursday is Alex's day with Food Show!  It's going to be a great time!

Budget Friendly 
Florentine Mac ‘N Cheese

3/4 lb. (3 cups) Elbow Macaroni; cooked according to package instructions
3 Tablespoons Butter
1/4 cup Finely Minced Sweet Onion
1/3 cup All-purpose Flour
2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
4 cups Milk (2 cups whole milk / 2 cups 2% milk)
4 cups Spinach leaves; cut into 1/2" strips
2 cups shredded Cheese (1 cup White Cheddar & 1 cup Smoked Gouda)

In a dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat.  Add onion and saute’ until softened, about 3-5 minutes.  Whisk in flour until mixture is golden.  Gradually add whole milk, whisking constantly.  Add 2% milk; raise heat to medium-high, bring to boil and continue to whisk until sauce is smooth and thickened, 10-12 minutes.  Add salt and pepper.

Stir in cheeses until melted, add spinach to sauce; stir until spinach is wilted.  Add cooked pasta and stir.  Serve immediately!


Thank you to all that voted either grass green or navy blue placemat on facebook.  Your input was very helpful - Alex is taking BOTH and will decide on Thursday on which color to display his dish on for the public viewing!  Either one will be a great choice - I think!

Would love to hear your comments and suggestions for this recipe!  The only difficult item to find in this recipe - in our big C-Town, is smoked gouda - we have to buy it out of town.  Other than that, you already have most of the ingredients in your kitchen!  

Thanks for stopping by!  Hope you are enjoying the summer time! Remember to hug the ones you love the most, until next time...

Homemade "Leather" Cleaner... Love it!

Found a new HOMEMADE 

"Cost Efficient "

Leather Cleaner 

that I LOVE... 

and it's simple.  

We are the owners of two couches, love-seat & several chairs plus an ottoman ALL of leather...  it has been somewhat expensive to up-keep and clean these furniture pieces - UNTIL NOW...  


1 plastic bottle
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1/2 cup regular white Vinegar
- shake before using!  

How simple is that??  I use a cotton rag, spray and wipe the furniture.  You could add some essential oil for fragrance - but the vinegar smell does not last long at all and is not overwhelming like I had anticipated the first time using this cleaner!  

So, if you've been spending $7+ for 30 leather wipe tissues and would like to save some $$ - try this homemade concoction!

Hang in there - it's finally the month of JUNE.  What do you have planned for the summer?  I now have the time to clean, clean, clean!  Something that has waited until now... how nice!  Be sure and check back soon! 

Remember to hug the ones you love the most, until next time...

MAY 2014 Card Swap

Finally getting to post these incredible cards from our MAY Card Swap! 

The challenge this month was to design and create a card with a theme of COFFEE and to incorporate a special fold of some sort with the card and ribbon!  This was a FUN swap to design for... enjoyed this challenge.  Also, these ladies that are apart of this group are AMAZING!  True hearted, talented ladies that make time spent together so special!  Enjoy these creations! 

PAM  This elegant card with it's frilly lace, brown net bow and cream & brown color scheme just add up to a VERY sophisticated-looking card that provides such a feminine twist for this coffee loving presentation!  She even made a custom-sized envelope to match - AWESOME!

MARIA  Our fearless Stampin Up demonstrator always designs a specular piece of art within her card.  Presentation starts with a stamped decorated brown-paper bag - aka envelope with a glitzy red bow - inside you find a whimsical rosette ribbon stamped brown stock card featuring a color scheme of the new SU colors - LOVE this quote that is stamped inside - "Chocolate, coffee and men - some things are best rich"!  Absolutely a FANTASTIC coffee-lovin' card presented here!

APRIL  This creative fold card features a swing-out medallion that's stamped "whole latte love".  On the front features a "crystal effect" embossed coffee cup that is repeated on the envelope.  Inside, there is a ribbon bow embellished with pearls and room to write a special note to the receiver of this wonderful card!  What a WONDERFUL coffee-latte card!

ANGIE  This vintage style card grabs your attention quickly by the fancy fold of the stamped and cut medallion on front that cases a stamped image in the middle!  Hemp string adds to the creative style of this card.  With this card's fancy double-fold out for the inside - along with another brown paper cut-out medallion and stamped images - makes this card simply FABULOUS!

KIMBERLY  This tag/gift features a chevron-design pocket that actually holds a gift package of instant coffee for the lucky recipient.  A bright colored stamped "C" and a variety of ribbon makes this a perfect gift for any coffee lover. SUPER work, Kimberly!

Melissa  This neutral color schemed coffee lovin' card features a variety of textures on front with a stamped ribbon circle banner of "You're Cool Beans" and corrugated background.  Hemp ribbon and paper-pieced coffee cups add to the focal point for the front of the card.  Inside features a vertical opening, paper-pieced stamped cup along with a card holding pouch so you can include a gift card for someone special.  This stamp set is from the Gina K's stamp set - "You're my Cuppa Joe".  So excited to finally use this stamp set!

Hope you enjoyed this card swap!  These cards really are AWESOME!  Next month will feature cards with a "movie theme" using black & white in the color scheme along with a matching envelope...  Here's a link to last month's card swap here - April.  

On a personal note - the summer has officially started - yahoo!  Semester testing and graduation went fine - our senior graduates handed out "tie-dyed" roses - WOW!  Aren't they beautiful!  I was honored to receive 2 during the ceremony - love my students!!  NOW!  It's time to rest...  

Thanks for stopping by today, remember to hug the ones you love the most, until next time...

It's ALMOST summer...

Oh - W.O.W.!  

It's almost summer

 - one more week and we are there!  It's been so CRAZY - awards assemblies for both boys along with several banquets!  We have been going "non-stop"... this is the reason that teachers need a summer break! LOL!  TRUE STORY!
Just going to post several pictures to show off the boys' activities - you are sweet to let me share!  

ALEX is a JUNIOR - fixing to "rule the school" as a senior - as he keeps telling me every day for the last several weeks...  sniff! sniff!  Here's pics from the FFA Banquet, CHS All-Sports Banquet and the CHS Awards Assembly!

Aric is an 8th grader - last year of CJHS - here is Aric at the year ending Band Concert, CJHS Awards Assembly, our last son at CJHS pic and a 8th grade banquet.

YES!  My boys are growing UP!  Did you notice in the very first picture of them... Aric is the same height of Alex - ARGH!  Andy now is the shortest of the boys - LOL!  He still claims to be the wisest... !    Wishing you an AWESOME weekend - JUNE is almost here!  Remember to hug the ones you love the most, until next time...

CHS 2014 Jr/Sr Banquet & Prom

Hello!  It's MAY and it is W.I.L.D.!!

As a teacher, this is normal - to be sprinting for the finish line.  To add to the race - KV and I are both Junior Class sponsors... what that means is - PROM!  It only occurs once ever 4 years  (It takes that long to re cooperate!)  The theme was picked for "Roaring 20's / Great Gasby" - colors are black, gold and white! We have an EXCELLENT group of kids - so all went well.  And their parents really pitched in and helped so much! Here are some pictures before the banquet - after decorating for 3 days and planning for months! LOL  It really was a beautiful time!  Gym never looked so good! Ha!

The craziness adds up to also include ALEX's first PROM - (he's a junior!)  SO!  With a prearranged date (are you kidding - think he would actually TALK to a girl... psst!)  It really went on without a hitch - they looked AMAZING (yes!  I'm partial!)  Here are more pictures!

Thanks for letting me share!  We've got more banquets before school is out - stay tuned!  

Hope you are well and hanging in there - summer is coming!  Remember to hug the ones you love the most - until next time...

Daily Bible Verse

Play "Bubbles"