Love is in the air and in our house so is the smell of Lobster Macoroni & Cheese. Scott is one lucky man this year! Lately I've been indulging my love of snacking and my other love of NOT cooking! Poor Scott has been living on frozen pizza for awhile. I try and keep some sort of food in the house or at the very least have breakfast for him on the days he is working. Fortunately, he was blessed with those "SKINNY" genes. Scott could eat all day long and not gain a pound. Oh how I envy him. I just think about any type of carb and my pants suddenly feel tighter.

I thought I would spoil him this year. I had seen a recipe earlier this week for lobster macoroni and cheese. Out of everything I cook Scott's favorite meal is hands down my Mac & Cheese with Gruyere cheese & nutmeg. He spent all year begging me to make it for him to take to work this Thanksgiving. Needless to say Thanksgiving came and off to work Scott went with a tray of mac and cheese. On a more serious note the thought of cooking lobster completely terrified me...shells...poop tracks...oh my, oh my, let me count the ways I could mess this up. On my way home from teaching last night I swung by the grocery store for a much needed pep talk from the women behind the meat counter. She looked me in the eyes and assured me if I could boil water I could boil a lobster tail. Between her help and a helpful YouTube video I finally decided to give lobster a whirl. What's the worse that could happen? Scott could have a slight heart attack when he learned I spent $30 on lobster tails that ended up exploding all over the kitchen...hehe!

I'm proud to report I came out on top and with ALL my fingers!!! It was so much fun cooking something new. It actually was beyond easy, even getting the lobster meat out was easy. The butteryness of the lobster and the smokey Gruyere cheese made a perfect pair, just like Scott and I. I'm crazy and he is calm, cool, and collected. My current problem is deciding how I will ever eat Macoroni & Cheese again without lobster?!?! Thank you Ina Garten for your delicious lobster macaroni & cheese recipe...I am forever changed.

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY! Enjoy the ones you love!


Lobster Mac & Cheese
Ina Garten - Food Network


Ingredients

Kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1 pound cavatappi or elbow macaroni
1 quart milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 pounds cooked lobster meat
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. In a large pot, melt 6 tablespoons of butter and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. Still whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, the pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and lobster and stir well. Place the mixture in 6 to 8 individual gratin dishes.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.
 
Right off the bat let me warn you, if you read the title of this post and got excited now would be the time to calm yourself down. Being a red velvet fanatic I'm sorry to report this recipe was a flop. I thought combining a childhood favorite like puppy chow with a new dessert love from my adult life would be a hands down winner. Sadly it was not. Although I'm not completely ready to throw the idea out, the recipe however is a goner.

I found a recipe online that used chex cereal, red velvet cake mix, powdered sugar, white chocolate chips, chocolate chips, milk, and cream cheese. I have to admit what I love most about regular puppy chow is the peanut butter and chocolate combo, so when I realized this recipe did not include the classic peanut butter ingredient I was already a little skeptical. I followed the recipe exactly and when I found myself at the last step, shaking the coated cereal in powdered sugar and the red velvet cake mix I was completely annoyed. The only thought that popped into my head was "I can't believe I'm coating these puppies with plain old cake mix...this is going to taste like cake mix." Like I'm constantly telling Scott, I was of course RIGHT. Everytime I took a bite all I could taste was powdery cake mix.

As I sat there in the kitchen staring at a pile of it feeling like a failure, Scott tried to comfort me by telling me if I didn't tell anyone it was cake mix they probably would never guess. Needless to say ever since I made this I've been craving regular old puppy chow, it's now on the to do list for this week. I'm sad to say but this is one recipe that will not make the cut..it has been chopped!
 
You may remember seeing some of our earlier posts from our grand opening where the ladies made twine wreaths. Well twine is back but in Valentine's Day fashion. My sister Jamie made this wreath for the Valentine's Day and I had to share!

This wreath is wrapped with twine the same way as our other twine wreaths then adorned with felt hearts and finished with another layer of twine in an argyle pattern. I love the simplicity of the twine and think the hearts add a pop of color, giving it the perfect Valentine's Day touch without looking like a holiday pile of barfed hearts and glitter! Great DIY Valentine's Day decoration just in time for the holiday!