Welcome back for another new recipe Tuesday! I hope you guys had a great Thanksgiving with your loved ones and ate a lot of yummy food. For those of you who went shopping on Black Friday, I hope you guys got some pretty good deals. Same for those of you who took advantage of Cyber Monday. To be honest though, I can’t believe that it’s all over. I can’t believe we are just a few days away from December and a few weeks away from Christmas. We are so close to a New Year and I have no idea where this year went. Am I the only one who feels like this?
Seriously, how did this year fly by so fast? I don’t know what it is but for some reason I feel like this year has been a quickest year of my life. I don’t if it’s the fact that I am now a mom so days just seem to go by way faster. Maybe it’s the fact that I started this blog and setting goals and timelines for myself just makes it seem like there’s not enough time during the day to get everything done. Or maybe it’s just the fact that this is my last year in my 20’s and life is just being cruel and rushing me into the 30’s. That’s just not nice so I’ll go with the first two.
Since becoming a mom time is something that I appreciate much more. From the sense of having enough time on a daily basis to finish all my day to day tasks, to the sense of holding on to every minute with my daughter as she grows so fast. I just seem to have a much more appreciation of time. I try not to dwell on unimportant things and I am learning how to move on and walk away from situations or people who do not give value or quality to my life. I want to focus all my energy and time on the things that matter. And that’s on building a better future for my daughter and spending as much quality time as I can with her.
When it comes to valuing time however, I have also learned that it’s not just about learning how to appreciate what actually matters and letting go of what doesn’t. It’s also about learning to let go of the little everyday things that I can’t get to and not be so hard on myself. This is actually what I am having the hardest time with. I try to be organized and make a daily list of what needs to be done on a daily basis. What groceries need to be done, what needs to be clean, laundry that needs to be done, bills to pay, etc. I also make a daily schedule so I can have a better idea of when I can do these things. My house chores and/or errands always revolve around my daughter’s schedule. However, even though I try to stay very organized sometimes things happen and I am not able to get to one thing or nothing on my to do list.
When this happens I tend to be hard on myself and get stressed out that I didn’t get certain things done. I am trying to learn that not getting through my to do list is ok. There’s always time to clean the kitchen and to get to that pile of laundry that needs to be folded and put away. Definitely is harder than it sounds thought for someone like me. The best I can do is try. Especially because most times the reason why I can’t get through my daily tasks is because I have to prioritize my daughter’s needs. She may wake up in a funky mood or under the weather where all she wants is to be on me all day. Sometimes she may have a melt down at feeding times because she doesn’t want what I made or decided that all of a sudden she doesn’t eat chicken anymore.
Emma has been going in and out of her picky eating phase for a few months now. A few weeks ago I got very sick and thankfully she didn’t get anywhere as sick as I was but she was feeling a bit under the weather. She was congested and she didn’t have much of an appetite as she usually does. With being as sick as I was and having low to no energy I just couldn’t deal with all the house work and trying to get a 21 month going on 13 to eat her food. At this point I just had to pick my battles.
As Emma entered the picky eating phase I made sure that I gave her a lot of options when it came to her meal times. A lot of healthy options of course. Like this I made sure she ate enough and also had a nutritious meal. You can read more about how I have dealt with her picky eating phase here and here. I also made sure that even if I new she wouldn’t eat it I still served her the foods she had been rejecting. I tried to not hide any fruits or vegetables so that she knows what she is eating and is familiar with them.
With both of us not feeling so good and not much like ourselves I had to make her meals simpler and quicker. Not only was Emma not in much of a mood to eat anything, I also wasn’t in much of a mood to cook. I had to resort to making foods that were easy to make and to eat. Hiding fruits and veggies was also something I had to resort to. I still wanted to make sure Emma was getting her daily servings of fruits and vegetables especially since she was on the verge of getting sick too.
I made us a lot of smoothies in the morning loaded with fruits and a lot of spinach. This helped us both out a lot. Emma and I both love smoothies and it was the perfect breakfast for us since we didn’t have much of an appetite. I made us soups for lunch and dinner. Nothing like chicken noodle soup to make you feel better when you’re sick right? Emma seemed to like this very much but still wasn’t eating as much as she usually does.
As we started feeling better soups got really old and I was ready for something more solid. I think Emma was too. So I started working on a new recipe. I started craving pasta and thought Mac and Cheese would be a good way to get back into fuller meals. It doesn’t get much more comforting than Mac and Cheese. Plus I had this really cute snowflake pasta I had gotten from Trader Joe’s and had been thinking of a fun way to use them. I still wanted to make the Mac and Cheese in a nutritious way and incorporate some veggies in it so that they would help us get better. I thought a mix of cauliflower and butternut squash would make a good base for a healthy Mac and Cheese. These two vegetables make pretty thick and creamy purees so I knew they would be perfect. Plus the colors are perfect too.
It did take me a little while to get this recipe “perfected” though. I only used salt and pepper as my spices but because of me being sick my taste buds were so off. At first I felt like I used way too much pepper so I wanted to adjust that. But I also wanted to make sure I could completely taste my foods again before sharing this new recipe. Needless to say, I have been making a lot of this Mac and Cheese lately but at last I feel like it’s ready to be shared with the world.
This recipe has to be one of the easiest recipes I have ever made. The cheese sauce is so easy it’s ready before the pasta is. The longest part is waiting for the cauliflower and butternut squash to steam before pureeing. Once you have your puree and mix it with the cheese and milk it is ready in no time. I like to use gluten-free pasta too for my Mac and Cheese to make it a completely healthy meal with no refined flours. My favorite pastas to use are brown rice and quinoa pasta. They’re so good and go perfect with this sauce.
With the holidays coming up now this is a great meal to make too for those busy days. Make the puree ahead of time and freeze it so you have it on hand. With the cold weather and colds going around it is also a great meal to keep it healthy without much of a cooking hassle. And not to mention how great it is for picky eaters. They won’t even be able to tell there is a bit of vegetable in this. It tastes just like Mac and Cheese. They really won’t be able to tell the difference. So go ahead and make some cauliflower and butternut squash puree and try this Mac and Cheese. It is so cheesy and delicious!
Vegetable Mac and Cheese
- 1 cup cauliflower
- 1 cup butternut squash
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 2 cups mild cheddar cheese
- 1 tsp pink salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 3 cups cooked macaroni
Steam cauliflower and squash for 20-25 minutes.
Puree steamed vegetables until smooth consistency is reached.
In a medium sauce pan mix milk and cheese stirring until cheese has melted.
Add vegetable puree and mix with melted cheese.
Add salt and pepper.
Add cooked macaroni and mix well until it has blended with cheese.
Remove from stove stop and serve immediatly.