Barefoot Mondays: Bacon Mac & Cheese & Bikini Boot Camp

It’s Monday and I’m barefoot, sipping on my iced coffee, all is good in the world.

If you started work today, I wish you a wonderful work week! It’ll be my turn tomorrow.

These days, I’ve been feeling more productive. I’ve been sticking to my to-do lists and happily scratching things off. I admit to being tempted to put off blogging to working on it but this is on my list too!

I’ve read that a habit can take two weeks to form. Addictions, like coffee, I understand…habits? Do they work in the same way? Can I get addicted to exercising or cleaning the house? Knowing me, probably not… If only scooping the litter box was as appealing as a Starbucks run.

However, beyond setting the goal, that initial starting of the goal makes you want to follow through. It’s like you don’t want to let yourself down and you don’t want to  let your progress thus far go to waste.

No matter the goal, seeing that red line through your task feels amazing. Almost like that first sip of iced coffee.

A coffee shop is my favorite place to get work done, but sitting on the couch with my cat is pretty good too.

I think this habit is starting to stick!

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Instead of piling it on, I started off with a reasonable list. The one thing that I haven’t gotten to yet is a steady exercise plan.

Like I told you last week, the summer does something to me. Does it do something to you?

Sure it’s hot, but maybe summer is the best time to start that exercise routine. You don’t really feel like turning the oven on or eating a giant, delicious, decadent meal…well everyday…so it’s the perfect time to eat light as well. I went grocery shopping yesterday and a lot of fruit happened to be on sale. We only grabbed a basket so I had my husband carry a watermelon, a cantaloupe and some kiwis. When we got home, he cut it all up and made a pretty fruit salad. Did you know watermelon is only 92% water? I made some tuna fish sandwiches with chopped onion and arugula on whole wheat bread. It felt good and tasted good too!

With vacation coming up, the bikinis hiding in my closet – yeah, the same ones I forgot to bring on my Bahamas honeymoon – are starting to stare me down. Besides that, diet, exercise and drinking lots of water is good for your skin, gaining more energy, and disciplining yourself- more scratching off of that to-do list! Really, what can go wrong?

I am a huge fan of the lovely Lauren Conrad, The Hills, her Style & Beauty books, her clothing line, she’s a great role model for us twenty-somethings! When I need a break from the to-do list and a pick me up, I browse her website! She also has some great motivational tips under fitness. How pretty is her website?! Obsessed.

I have started her Bikini Boot Camp.

I’m also incorporating Piloxing, a mixture of pilates and boxing with the fun creator Viveca Jenson, who gives you an amazing work out in the comfort of your own home!

So why am I cooking Bacon Mac and Cheese, you ask?! I know, the irony…

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I was looking for a recipe early this week for Mac and Cheese that kids in particular would love.

My go-to mac and cheese recipe is of course, Barefoot Contessa’s. Her Grown up Mac and Cheese is amazing and grown ups do love it. Kids on the other hand  might not be crazy about the blue cheese and maybe the basil, so I adapted it a little bit. Although I love her basil breadcrumbs, I’ve found that putting it into the oven dries out the mac and cheese and I prefer the saucy, melted cheesy kind! I’m sure kids would too!

When I was a kid, I loved Mac and cheese and just cheese in general and I still do. It’s a nostalgic, comfort food. It’s the cheese…I couldn’t and still can’t eat pasta without a mound of freshly grated Romano cheese, yum!

I gave this dish as a gift to two adorable kids and the feedback was that they loved it. It made my cheesy heart melt! There’s something about cooking and sharing meals that is so fulfilling.

Here’s my version:

Bacon Mac and Cheese

Bacon Mac and Cheese

(Adapted from Ina Garten’s Grown Up Mac and Cheese)

Ingredients

4 slices thick-sliced bacon
olive oil
Kosher salt
3/4 lb elbow macaroni or cavatappi (De Cecco is my favorite)
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
3 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated
3 ounces Romano cheese, grated
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch nutmeg

Directions

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F

Place a baking rack on a baking sheet and line up 4 slices of thick cut bacon and cook for 15 minutes. (Perfect bacon every time!) When cool, place bacon on a cutting board and chop into bite size pieces with a sharp knife.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, adding a drizzle of olive oil and cook pasta per box directions.

While that cooks, make a rue – in a small saucepan, heat the milk until hot, but don’t boil. In a separate, larger pot, melt the butter and flour and cook for two minutes, whisking, add the hot milk to the butter flour mixture and whisk this for another minute until smooth and thickened.

Next, add the cheeses, salt, pepper and pinch of nutmeg.

Toss in your cooked pasta and mix until the pasta is coated then add your chopped bacon.

Go ahead and grate some cheese on top, why not.

It’s homemade and delicious! I’m starting to get the hang of this cooking thing…

Make this for the kids in your life or treat yourself on cheat day!

<3 Cait

14 thoughts on “Barefoot Mondays: Bacon Mac & Cheese & Bikini Boot Camp

  1. Bacon just makes life better. And, if you do the paleo diet to supplement your workout, you can eat all you want! But… no noodles, or cheese, so, eh… it’s a toss up. I made a spaghetti squash with vegan cheese casserole with bacon and almond flour butter crust, it was great but not mac and cheese.

    This looks amazing, btw :)

  2. Pingback: Barefoot CEO: opening a store in Colchester | House stuff

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