Except for a few odds and ends in their old apartment, my daughter Shannon and her husband, Mike, are all moved into their new apartment in South Portland. Bless those movers! They certainly took a lot of the stress out of moving. My husband, Clif, and I simply can’t haul couches and chairs up and down stairs, the way we once could.
When we got to South Portland, after the movers were done, Clif and I helped Mike and Shannon set up their bedroom and living room. It’s amazing how much progress we made. While there is still work to be done in both rooms, we did get them arranged so that they were usable and comfortable, even.
Adam, the young landlord, stopped by, and he is so pleased with the colors Mike and Shannon chose for the apartment. In turn, I told him how much I loved the old house and also complimented him on his job refinishing the wood floors.
Smiling, Adam was clearly pleased. “This summer I want to pour as much money as I can into this house.”
For Adam, the house is a labor love, and while it needs work, I expect he will get it back into shape. It will take him a while—he works full time—but he’ll do it.
After getting the living room and bedroom into some kind of order, it was time for dinner. As I wrote in Friday’s post, I spent that day cooking for the first official dinner in their new apartment. I made bread and macaroni and cheese. For dessert, brownies. And just so that it wouldn’t be a complete carb fest, I also brought salad.
On the way home that night, Clif and I were a little blue that Mike and Shannon were no longer a quick drive from where we live. But, we know they are where they should be, especially with the high price of gas and for employment opportunities as well. Unfortunately, with the state cutting back, central Maine has few job opportunities.
In addition, there are many things to love about the Portland area: There are lots of great places to eat, it’s close to the ocean, and it’s close to Trader Joe’s, where I’ll be getting a lot of the organic food that I can’t find locally. (Note: This year we are getting into a CSA program with Farmer Kev, but that will be a subject for another post.)
I already have a Portland trip to look forward to. Next Sunday is Mother’s Day, and Shannon and Mike will be making lobster rolls for lunch. After that, we’ll all go for a walk to the ocean. For me, it doesn’t get much better than that.
Now, if only our eldest daughter, Dee, lived within an easy drive so that she could join us.
Some notes about macaroni and cheese, and a few suggestions
Shannon loves my macaroni and cheese, and I will admit that it is pretty good. Over the years, I have learned a few tips—a really important one from America’s Test Kitchen. That is, the cheese sauce should be a little runny because when the macaroni and cheese is baked, the pasta swells and absorbs the sauce. If the sauce is too thick, then the effect will be one gloppy dish. Not inedible, but not smooth and nice, either.
Here are the proportions:
9 oz. of uncooked macaroni
2 1/2 cups of milk
2 cups of grated cheddar. (I use one of Cabot’s sharp cheddars.)
3 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of flour
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg (This adds a lovely flavor.)
Salt and pepper to taste
While I’m at it, I might as well give directions, even though I have included this recipe in one of my old posts. That way, you won’t have to hunt for it.
Cook the macaroni in a big stock pot. Drain when done and set aside in a large bowl. In a big sauce pan, melt the butter, add the four, and whisk until bubbly. Whisk in the milk and then stir until thickened. Another tip: the sauce is done when it leaves a line across the back of a wooden spoon. (It might work with a regular spoon, too, but I always stir with a wooden spoon. Somehow, it just feels better.) Add the cheese and stir until smooth.
Pour the cheese sauce over the macaroni, and mix it up, and then pour into a buttered casserole dish. I always like to tear up a few pieces of bread into crumbs for the top. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until the mixture is bubbly.