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She Makes The Best

by Courtney on October 3, 2012

Can I just say how nice it was to hang out with the family last night? I mean sure, it helps that there was good food and yummy beer, but really…I just love my family.


P.S. – That Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat may now be a new favorite. WOW.

You can always count on goodies to be at mom and dad’s house!

So I headed over to my parents’ house a bit earlier than dinner last night so I could have some catch up time to chat with mom. We talked about all sorts of stuff, including a few funny stories about some of the students she’s working with this year. Oh, they made me laugh.

After a little while, hubby, dad, and the brother arrived and it was time to feast…just LOOK at that homemade mac and cheese.


Good lord, she makes the best. I can still remember eating this when I was just a little tyke, usually having it paired up with hot dogs sliced lengthwise on a piece of white bread with ketchup. Ohhh, those were the days. Smile

Jay kept telling me that I need to “get the recipe” from mom, but the funny thing is…she doesn’t have one. (side note: I told him that I have a few mac and cheese recipes, but apparently those aren’t good enough anymore).

She usually just cooks up some elbows, and layers them with diced tomatoes, salt and pepper, and whatever cheese she has on hand. She’s not picky.


To go along with our mac and cheese, we have some chicken from the grill, beans, and corn.


I totally went back for some seconds of the mac and cheese…don’t kid yourself. Winking smile

It was an early dinner, since my dad and brother had to head out for bowling, so Jay and I had plenty of time to get home to watch The Voice and New Girl. Seriously…new girl cracks. me. UP. I mean, Schmidt? Oh man, don’t even get me started. Hilarious.


This morning I had planned to get my workout in first thing, but my rear end has been draaaaagging ever since I got up. So I decided to take care of a few things around the house first, have some breakfast, and then I’ll attempt the workout.

Speaking of breakfast…it was good.


Coffee + a pumpkin spice English muffin topped with PB, banana slices, and chia seeds.


Simple and delicious.

Now, let’s hope I have some energy to get me through my stability ball circuit. Weights, here I come!

Question for the Morning:

Are there any recipes that a family member/friend makes that you LOVE, but can never quite seem to replicate it yourself?

What are some memories you have of food when you were younger? (recipes you loved, traditions you had, etc.)

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{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Hope @ With A Side Of Hope October 3, 2012 at 8:42 am

That macaroni and cheese sure does look tasty! :) My husbands grandmother makes the best sweet and sour meatballs. My sister and I tried replicating them once and they turned out good but didn’t taste exactly like hers. Hers are just incredible!
Hope @ With A Side Of Hope recently posted..Easy Coconut Crusted Tilapia!…


2 Hayley@ Running Down the Runway October 3, 2012 at 8:45 am

My favorite meal that my mom used to make growing up was ravioli calzones. It was her homemade dough filled with homemade tomato sauce and raviolis. They were pretty much incredible!


3 Courtney October 3, 2012 at 8:46 am

Holy crap, that sounds intense!
(and delicious!) ;)


4 Hayley@ Running Down the Runway October 3, 2012 at 8:48 am

Haha talk about a carb fest!


5 Natalie October 3, 2012 at 8:54 am

That mac and cheese looks amazing! My grandmother makes these meatballs that are simply delicious, but I never can seem to replicate them!
Natalie recently posted..If It’s Not This….It Would Be Something Else


6 Khushboo Thadani October 3, 2012 at 8:56 am

Oh boy Courtney…there was this one dish that my mom used to make all the time when we were growing up in Nigerian which you would love called groundnut curry. It was basically a curry made purely from peanuts and then she would serve it with rice and assortment of toppings like shredded coconut, papaya, onions, more peanuts. If I’m not mistaken, it’s a popular Ghanian dish!
Khushboo Thadani recently posted..#TheLittleThings


7 Lauri October 3, 2012 at 8:57 am

That mac and cheese looks a-mazing and I really love that Shock Top Pumpkin too!!

My mom makes the best lasagna and I cannot replicate!!!

Growing up we had staples that were in constant roation – Hot dogs and beans, veal cutlets, tacos, pasta e fagioli, Pork chops…

My Nana used to make the best American Chop Suey and Pineapple delight (only on Thanksgiving!). I haven’t had either in years!!! My other Grandmother used to make this dish with cut up hot dogs, scrambled eggs and roasted potatoes that I LOVED and always begged my mom to recreate. And a favotire special dinner at my parents house was the nights my mom would say “Breakfast for dinner!” and make a big batch of pancakes. Or summer nights when she would say it was too hot to cook and throw together a huge salad with tuna…Ah, memories!


8 Courtney October 3, 2012 at 9:16 am

I love all of your recipes growing up! Breakfast for dinner used to be a HUGE deal for us growing up, too. My dad was a killer waffle maker ;)


9 Chelcie @ Chelcie's Food Files October 3, 2012 at 9:11 am

That Mac and cheese sounds delicious! I definitely will never be able to replicate my moms chicken noodle is the best! Probably because I don have the patience to make it..maybe someday! (For now ill let her make it for me:)
Chelcie @ Chelcie’s Food Files recently posted..WIAW-Crock Pot Lentil Soup


10 Courtney October 3, 2012 at 9:16 am

Sounds like a good idea to me ;)


11 Jai October 3, 2012 at 9:17 am

ha i have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to mac and cheese – its my fav.

My mom has mastered Ina Garten’s version though – with Gruyere and tomato it’s the best so far.
Jai recently posted..What a Weekend!


12 Traci October 3, 2012 at 9:18 am

Is that shock top as heavy as the other pumpkin beers out there? As much as I love pumpkin ale, I have trouble stomaching the whole thing, and shocktop is usually lighter than an ale. Just curious!

I used to love eating my mom’s mac and cheese with a cut up hot dog mixed in. Haha!


13 Lauri October 3, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Chiming in :) My husband and I have taste tested just about every pumpkin beer out there and I don’t think the Shock Top is as heavy as others….
Lauri recently posted..T-7 days!


14 Traci October 3, 2012 at 1:06 pm

@Lauri Thank you! Good to know. Looks like I’ll be trying it out :D


15 Andrea @ Andrea Out Loud October 3, 2012 at 9:19 am

I was justtalkingut this My parents were visiting and I had my dad make me chicken marsala pasta! I have tried to recraete it a million times but it never works because he doesnt measure anything (hes a chef) so it is so hard to remake!
My family is italian and we typically had traditional italian christmases (well, not the WHOLE shabang, but part of it) and we would have goose and “fest of the seven fishes.” I hated it back then I wanted dang turkey and stuffing or ham or the “normal” stuff but looking back it was kind of fun!
Andrea @ Andrea Out Loud recently posted..It’s Wednesday, You Know What That Means…


16 Carrie @ Fitness and Frozen Grapes October 3, 2012 at 9:23 am

The mac and cheese looks amazing! My mom makes the best lasagna; whenever we go to a family gathering, she’s always in charge of bringing a tray or two. It’s *that* good. :)
Carrie @ Fitness and Frozen Grapes recently posted..Shopping for New York City—Complete!


17 Jana @ Newly Wife Healthy Life October 3, 2012 at 9:23 am

Shock top pumpkin wheat sounds amazing! My mom makes this taco dip that I can never seem to replicate. It’s not healthy, but that’s what makes it so good for football parties: velveeta, ground beef, refried beans, diced tomatoes, taco seasoning in the slow cooker. Amazing comfort food!


18 Laurie @ Love, Laugh, Laurie October 3, 2012 at 9:26 am

Homemade mac and cheese may be the best food on earth! Do you watch the Mindy Project after New Girl? You should, it is awesome!
Laurie @ Love, Laugh, Laurie recently posted..A Few Tangents


19 Tessa Holshouser October 3, 2012 at 9:31 am

1.) Love that beer
2.) Mac and Cheese looks amazing!
3.) Most favorite line from the New Girl- “I can only afford the valet parking and ‘add onions’ on this menue!”


20 Tessa Holshouser October 3, 2012 at 9:32 am



21 Elaine October 3, 2012 at 9:37 am

The New Girl Episode last night was hilarious! I love that Schmidt pretended to be a Romney. He has me cracking up every episode. And I really hope Jess and Nick accept their feelings and just date already!

And yes, everything my Dad makes seems to taste better when he makes it, even if I follow the recipe to a t. His homemade lasagna is one of my favorites.
Elaine recently posted..Buttermilk Oat Loaf


22 Elaine October 3, 2012 at 9:39 am

Also, if you like that Shock Top beer, you should try the Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale. It’s seriously the best pumpkin beer I’ve ever had!
Elaine recently posted..Buttermilk Oat Loaf


23 Gail Welter October 3, 2012 at 9:48 am

My grandmother used to make a french dish – sausage pie – every New Year’s Day. I still make it, not just on New Year’s though. It’s just browned loose pork sausage, mixed with a couple of boiled, mashed potatoes and some sauteed onion and a little sage. Put that in between two pie crusts and voila….a delicious, tastey treat, good for a meal or party.


24 Faith @ The Cheap Girl's Guide to Chic October 3, 2012 at 9:58 am

If you like the Shock Top, you have to try Sam Adams’ Fat Jack Double Pumpkin. It’s heaven in a bottle!
Faith @ The Cheap Girl’s Guide to Chic recently posted..Cheap Girl’s Closet: Crochet and Swiss Dots


25 Laura @ LauraLikesDesign October 3, 2012 at 9:59 am

Hahaha, I totally remember my sister always requesting sandwiches on white bread with cut up hot dogs! Spaghetti-o’s were another common request in our house!
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26 Laurel October 3, 2012 at 10:06 am

I love the plates that your mom has. We had those same ones at my house growing up. The food looks amazing, mac and cheese is one of my top 5 favorite foods!!!


27 Michelle @ Eat Move Balance October 3, 2012 at 10:09 am

Definitely my mom’s pumpkin cookies cannot be replicated. I don’t know how or why–she’s even given the recipe to me–but hers are always unbelievably delicious.
Michelle @ Eat Move Balance recently posted..Closing Day at the Track!


28 Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries October 3, 2012 at 10:10 am

Growing up, we had “pizza night” once a week and us kids got to spread out an old sheet and have a “picnic” on the living room floor while watching TV. It was quite the treat! :)

Your mom’s mac ‘n cheese sure does look incredible! Wowee. Gotta love comfort food at its finest. ;)
Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries recently posted..WIAW #54: In the Classroom


29 Colleen @ Jimmy Choos on the Treadmill October 3, 2012 at 10:15 am

I was dying laughing last night while watching New Girl! “Tug Romney” was too much!
Colleen @ Jimmy Choos on the Treadmill recently posted..Just My Luck


30 Stef October 3, 2012 at 10:16 am

That mac and cheese looks delicious! I LOVE my mom’s potato salad, but I can never seem to get it quite right. And of course she doesn’t have a recipe and just throws it together based on taste. But whenever we have a cookout at their house in the summer I make sure that she has it on the menu!
Stef recently posted..Little touches of fall around the home.


31 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 3, 2012 at 10:48 am

Moms/grandmas always make the best food. I have a lot of memories of my mom making chocolate chip oatmeal cookies when I was little. I remember getting so excited when I knew that she would be making them, and then waiting impatiently by the oven so I could have one that was still warm… always with a glass of cold milk :) And my grandma made the best buttermilk pancakes that I’ve never, ever been able to replicate. She lives in Europe so I’m only able to see her once a year or so, but breakfast is something I always look forward to when I’m over there.
Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted... fig and date oatmeal bars .


32 kim@hungryhealthygirl October 3, 2012 at 10:54 am

Pretty much all of my mom’s recipes are favorites that I just can’t seem to make as good as her. And your right, there are always goodies at the parents’ house!
kim@hungryhealthygirl recently posted..microwave muffin & WIAW


33 Rachel October 3, 2012 at 11:06 am

Definitely my grandma’s pastina lol it was my favorite growing up and was never able to make it at home lol
Rachel recently posted..A Big Bowl of Deliciousness


34 Suzanne @ Fit Minded Mom October 3, 2012 at 11:22 am

My husbands Aunt makes the best twice baked potatoes but for some reason I cannot even come close to duplicating them. I think it is because of the insane amounts of butter and cheese that she uses. While I don’t mind eating it when someone else cooks with really fattening ingredients, I just cannot bring myself to make it like that!!! I am always trying to “lighten it up”, even just a little!!
Suzanne @ Fit Minded Mom recently posted..What I Ate Wednesday #16


35 Shannon October 3, 2012 at 11:28 am

Your dinner looks awesome! I wish that mac n cheese + grilled chicken was my dinner last night. I’m going to put a request for that kind of dinner for the week.

1. Mom’s almond rice pilaf- I could eat the entire bowful if it was placed in front of my seat.
2. We eat a lot of chicken but one of my favorite recipes is Comforting Chicken.


36 Danielle@cleanfoodcreativefitness October 3, 2012 at 11:38 am

That homemade mac an cheese looks amazing! My mom makes the best everything! I especially love her tomato sauce!
Danielle@cleanfoodcreativefitness recently posted..What I Ate Wednesday


37 Alysha @Shesontherun October 3, 2012 at 12:01 pm

That casserole dish is so cute! I’m a sucker for cute serving ware. I wish I could replicate my dad’s french toast. It must be all the butter he uses!
Alysha @Shesontherun recently posted..Canning Cranberry Apple Butter


38 Lauren October 3, 2012 at 12:21 pm

I am loving that beer too!!! Toly just brought home some Banana Bread beer though so I might have a new favorite. :)
Lauren recently posted..Pumpkin Pie Smoothie


39 Cher @ Weddicted October 3, 2012 at 12:44 pm

My mother-in-law makes those “7 Layer Magic Bars” (they have so many different names) with the coconut, condensed milk, chocolate chips, graham crust? I try and try and I cannot do it.. I don’t know.. hers are sooo good.. I can’t get enough of them.
Cher @ Weddicted recently posted..Wedding gown trends: All about the straps


40 Claire @ Keeping Up With Claire October 3, 2012 at 12:45 pm

That mac n cheese looks SO good! I just asked my mom for her homemade recipe last week, because I want to try to healthify (is that even a word?) it a little bit! Growing up I used to (and still do) LOVE my mom’s spaghetti. I used to always ask for it on my birthday, and when I had my last “at home dinner” before moving out of my parent’s house for good last year after graduation, it’s what I asked for again.

ALSO-I made your loaded peanut butter oatmeal cookies last night to take to my boyfriend’s boss’s house for dinner, and everyone loved them! They were such a hit-and I was so nervous that I was going to mess them up. So a big thank you for helping me impress! :)
Claire @ Keeping Up With Claire recently posted..Perfect Timing


41 Ellie@Fit for the Soul October 3, 2012 at 12:49 pm

It’s so funny how the best “recipes” aren’t actually “recipes” to the person who makes them! :P Korean women (the older ones) never write down recipes or pass them down like in American culture b/c everything is eyeballed and estimated, haha. And the one thing I NEVER seem to get quite right is when I attempt Korean tofu bean stew and my mom makes the best one in my opinion, of course. ;) So I might just have to tell her to show me again. Hope you have a great day Courtney!
Ellie@Fit for the Soul recently posted..We Aren’t in Kansas Anymore, Y’all


42 michelle kim October 3, 2012 at 12:49 pm

My mom makes awesome Korean dishes! It’s pretty hard to replicate because there’s no set recipe and no measurements. It’s just comes through making them so many times and eye-balling everything.
michelle kim recently posted..God is Good?


43 Annette@FitnessPerks October 3, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Oooh that does look tasty! I love family get-togethers!

My mom makes killer homemade pizza. YUMM!
Annette@FitnessPerks recently posted..BPA-Free EcoBottle + Run Update


44 Raychel October 3, 2012 at 1:34 pm

WOW, that mac & cheese looks outrageously good!

I don’t think there’s anything I’ve tried to replicate from my family; but my dad would always bake a delicious cinnamon ring (think gooey cinnamon rolls in bundt cake form) for every special occasion and it was so good!
Raychel recently posted..In defense of Pumpkin…


45 Life's a Bowl October 3, 2012 at 1:58 pm

My mom was known by my friends for making the best PB&J sandwiches and franks & beans- both of which anyone with the ingredients could make themselves but somehow hers were always what my friends wanted :P Maybe it was the Great Harvest bread and the chunky PB? The maple baked beans? Not sure, but now I want some!

IMO, my momma makes the best meat sauce and beef stew- both of which I’ve tried to make myself but it never turns out the same…
Life’s a Bowl recently posted..First Month as a Mrs.


46 Amanda October 3, 2012 at 2:13 pm

I’ve been loving that beer so far this season, too!


47 Michelle@Peachy Palate October 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm

My mums apple pie…I’ve given up trying, it’s her specialty!
Michelle@Peachy Palate recently posted..The joys of new ingredients


48 Sam @ Better With Sprinkles October 3, 2012 at 4:07 pm

My mom makes epic mac and cheese too! I know hers involves a lot of Cheese Whiz (which might explain why I don’t replicate it, hehe) but it was delicious. Always what i would request for lunch as a kid. :-)
Sam @ Better With Sprinkles recently posted..WIAW # 3–Upping My Protein.


49 Erica @ For the Sake of Cake October 3, 2012 at 4:52 pm

I’m not a big beer drinker at ALL but I love the Shocktop Pumpkin Wheat!
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50 Meghan @ After the Ivy League October 3, 2012 at 5:18 pm

That mac and cheese looks like everything I want in life.

And seriously Schmidt is hands down THE best character on telelvision. I’m obsessed with him and feel like I’ve met several Schmidt’s in my day. The douchebag jar…too frickin funny!
Meghan @ After the Ivy League recently posted..My Food Story Part II: Blogging Hiatus Explained


51 Emilie @ Hungry Delights October 3, 2012 at 9:23 pm

I am so excited to go home this weekend and food – coma on my mum’s cooking. It is just so comforting!
Emilie @ Hungry Delights recently posted..WIAW – Lamb Kheema and trying Chobani!


52 Katie @ A Frizzy Life October 3, 2012 at 9:55 pm

That beer sounds delicious. I am making it a goal to try all pumpkin beers this season so I can find my favorite.

I remember my mom always making english muffins for my sister and I, and would make a face on the muffin and a body out of the sides she was serving us. So silly, but I loved it at the time!


53 Bek @ Crave October 3, 2012 at 10:21 pm

My gran made this awesome walnut slice- when she passed we found the recipe (actually I have the book its from), with her adjustments…but it doesn’t turn out the same! Ughhhh! Oh well, more chances to make it and re-test it ;)
Bek @ Crave recently posted..Frozen Food Product Review- Weight Watchers: Roasted Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Risotto


54 Tara October 4, 2012 at 4:35 am

Our family recipe is Christmas lasagna! No one makes it like my mom and sissy and it is delish but we only eat it at Christmas…it’s that special!’


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