The ULTIMATE Low Fat Mac & Cheese

As much as I love to cook, there are a few times where I want something easy. And, that’s where the crock pot comes in. Honestly, its name should be “how to impress your guest when you really have no idea what you’re doing machine“. I guess that doesn’t roll off the tongue easily soo, we’ll stick with crock pot. Either way, today I’m sharing my favorite crock pot recipe, and… its low fat! ::drum roll::

Here’s the recipe for my Low Fat Mac & Cheese!

Disclaimer before we begin; I’m not saying this is a “healthy” mac and cheese; it’s just lower fat than normal recipes. Don’t Regina George me and eat this 3 times a day and wonder why you haven’t lost any weight. 

crockpot recipe



  • 16 oz. whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups milk
  • 12 oz of evaporated milk (1 can)
  • 8 oz. low fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cut into chunks
  • 3 cups low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup of panko bread crumbs


  1. Cook pasta in boiling water for about 6 minutes- you want it to be a little al dente. 
  2. While that’s cookie, cut the cream cheese and butter into little squares. 
  3. Place the cooked pasta, milk, cream cheese, butter and cheddar cheese into a crock pot. Stir and top with Parmesan cheese. Set heat to Low and cook for 2.5 hours. Stir occasionally. You’ll know it’s finished when it’s all melted together around the 2.5 hour mark.
  4. For an extra flair, because I’m extra AF, before serving the Mac n Cheese, top with parmesan cheese, panko bread crumbs a pinch of parsley, put it in the over under “Broil” until brown and then serve. It’s extra amazing that way. 

And, there it is! Hopefully you enjoy it as much as we do! 

A Small Act of Kindness


a very bad iPhone photo of the Restaurant for your viewing pleasure!

I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times before: working in retail or the service industry is difficult. The long hours, the difficult customers, the demand both physically and mentally can take a toll on anyone. During the holiday season, the difficulty meets a catalyst from the overall urgency so many people feel to “get things done.” The older I get, the more I see how the meaning of the holiday season is lost on so many. It’s not about the gifts; it’s about thoughtful time together.

Unlike many in the service industry, I’m fortunate in that I work with my family. Christmas Eve is possibly my favorite day to work here because of that. I spend the day with Mark, we exchange our gifts, go to work where I see my dad, and after a few hours I go to my brother’s house which is right in town. But, that doesn’t mean the time leading up to Christmas Eve isn’t difficult. 

Two weeks ago, after a sudden loss of Marks Grandmother, I still had to decorate the restaurant. I stayed late one Saturday with my co-worker/friend who refused to leave me in the restaurant alone. Doing the decorations alone for the first time in ten years affected me. Change is inevitable, but, all of this change was taking its toll. I felt sad not having anyone there like I did in the past. The ghost of our family laughing or of Emmett climbing the stairs as we did the bannister haunted me. Plus, after a long night, it was hard to get into the Christmas spirit. I left feeling under appreciated. 

Last night, as I walking through the dining room a woman was standing taking pictures of the decorations around the restaurant. She angled her phone to get the perfect shot of the bannister. She stood at the hutch analyzing the little details and taking pictures. As I walked through, she apologized for being in the way. I told her she was not in the way at all, and, that I was glad someone was enjoying the decorations.

She stopped me and said “Can I show you something?” I complied, and she proceeded to show me a whole album of all the restaurant decorations over the last year and a half. “I love the way this place looks, and I always try to replicate your design at home. The person who does this must take so much of their time doing it. I loved the fall decorations the best, but, this Christmas one is really amazing.”

I thanked her for her compliments and she soon realized I was the brainchild behind it all. We talked about where I got my decorations, my inspiration, all of it. She left so happy to have some insight into where I get the ideas, and my spirit was instantly lifted. 

During this holiday season, while you’re frantically trying to buy the best gifts for someone, I hope you remember how far a small acts of kindness can go. Hold the door for someone, thank an employee who is most likely on their 3rd, 12 hour shift in a row, give back to local charities. You never know how something so simple can change the course of someones life. This woman definitely changed mine. 

cheesecake cookies

Easy to Make Cheesecake Cookies

With the holiday season here, it’s that time to do our best Santa Claus and stuff our bellies with some delicious treats. Over the last few years (a.k.a- since I received a KitchenAid Mixer) I’ve become the designated dessert person in my family. There’s something very satisfying about making things from scratch, and, even better, it’s really not as difficult as assumed. 

This recipe has become one of my go-tos when I know people will be coming over or I’m asked to bring something to a dinner. (although, the first time I made them I used Baking Soda instead of Baking Powder… they sucked but my friends were too polite to say anything) As long as you don’t make that mistake, it’s easy to make, doesn’t need a lot of steps, and it always impresses guests. These cheesecake cookies have become my all time favorite dessert! I’m also giving you my secret to making delicious, moist, cookies!

cheesecake cookies recipe


  • 1 1/4 cups finely crushed graham crackers (1 sleeve) (if you have a guac bowl, smash them in there)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


(Just a tip before you start:  if you own a kitchenaid, just do all of this “beating and mixing and bowls” in the kitchen aid bowl. Also, I’m separating this out as best I can so it’s easy to read for you)

To start, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

FIRST:  In a bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, flour and baking powder.

SECOND: In another bowl, beat together the butter with the brown sugar until it looks like it belongs together. Throw in the egg white, mix together again until it’s blended. 

THIRD: Add in the bowl from the first step to the second step and blend together until it’s nice and smooth.

FOURTH: In a separate bowl (lots of bowls), beat together the softened cream cheese with the granulated sugar, egg yolk, lemon zest and vanilla until well combined. This is your filling. If you have a pastry bag, place the filling into there to make it easier. Or, take a zipbloc bag, fill it with your frosting, seal the bag, and cut a tiny hole in the corner- it works just as well as a pastry bag! 

LAST: Take the graham cracker cookie dough, roll into balls and place in an oiled cupcake pan. Yes, a cupcake pan. This will give the cookies a little more depth and it allows them to stay moist. Fill the 12 slots evenly. Then, very scientifically, take your thumb & make an imprint into the middle of each cookie.  After that very scientific method, simply place the frosting in the imprint, bake for 15 minutes, let cool for 10 minutes, and enjoy. I top mine with sugar sprinkles for an added touch.