Tag Archives: home

The Beauty of Being Home

It’s funny how being around people from your past makes you revert, in a way, to who you were when you first knew them. I feel so grateful to have reconnected with a few friends from my childhood now that we’re all grown up. The really stark contrast I notice is how much I, and they, have changed over the past decade and how, in a way, we are all still the same. The mannerisms of these adults seem no different to me than their pre-teen counterparts when, in truth, they have undergone massive transformations for which I was not there. It saddens me a bit to see how much I have missed out on having moved so far away after high school. With that said, I may be even more overjoyed by the knowledge that, for some friends, time and distance are irrelevant.

During this trip to Texas, and being on the verge of yet another transition as my person and I prepare to move to North Carolina, I have been blessed to spend real quality time with friends I have known since they days of sleepovers and school dances. There must be some kind of unbreakable bond formed with people you go through puberty with because, even with years and miles between us, I feel myself falling back into the same skin I wore at age 12. The conversation feels the same, the laughter feels the same and the beautiful, indescribable sense of belonging has made me sure that, regardless of no longer having a house here, this will always be my home.

Home is a loaded word. It means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, myself included. I just left a home in Queens that I loved and am about to move into a new home in North Carolina, which I’m incredibly excited about. My mom’s home is in heaven and my dad’s home is whichever trout stream he’s standing in and yet, somehow, Austin remains the home in my heart. I guess that’s one of the funny things about life; no matter how much you move or how many homes you rack up, there will always be the one from which you came that, if you’re lucky, you can always return to and find the person you started out as on your way to becoming who you are. And if you’re really lucky, you’ll find a few of the people you started out with and be a part of each other’s journeys yet again. I’m one of the really lucky ones.

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Mac & Cheese: A Love Story

Once upon a time, during a stroll in the East Village, we happened upon a lovely little pub advertising $3 draft beers. I happen to be a big fan of $3 draft beers, so we decided to sit for a spell. The locally brewed ale was refreshing, but I had the pangs of hunger sneaking up on me. To my delight, I saw the menu boasted mac and cheese, then to my absolute enchantment, I saw the menu offered something else: chili mac and cheese. Something I’ve never had before, I enjoyed this dish so much that I had to attempt my own version.

I started by making the chili, then while it was simmering, I began with the mac and cheese.

<– Here is everything I used to make the cheese sauce.

I did not make the pasta from scratch (maybe some day soon) I used big shells from a box.

First I put the pasta into a pot of salty boiling water (this recipe calls for a 1/2 pound). The shells take 14 minutes, so that gave me plenty of time to make the sauce. First I mixed 3 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons of flour. I whisked this all together, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes. Then I added half a onion, chopped, 2 cloves of garlic, chopped, 3 cups of milk, a dash of paprika and cayenne and salt and pepper. Then I let this simmer for about 10 minutes. Don’t forget the pasta!

After ten minutes, I added in 8 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese. It melts fast and then in with the pasta! Once the pasta is all cheesy, pour it into the casserole dish (ours is foil cause we’re classy) and put 4 more ounces of cheese on top (just get a 12 ounce bag and do 2/3 and 1/3). I added a little spicy monterey jack too, but that’s up to you.

Then into a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes, until its nice and bubbly. A little scoop of this… a little scoop of that…and they lived happily ever after.

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