Well, foodie family, it's been a difficult couple of days. What was set to be a weekend of fun and celebration with wedding festivities and visits with close friends was a bit compromised with a devastation. Late Thursday evening my family learned that a family member lost her life as a result of the Alabama tornadoes. The home and surrounding neighborhood was completely flattened and my second cousin, Jennifer, was a victim of the storm. She was only 25, a newlywed, an unsuspecting individual who tried to take cover and did not make it through. It is so hard to wrap my head around these things: the pictures, the growing number of people who lost their lives, the people that have made it through but lost everything they have. Then it really hits home to have a relative I grew up with and so close to in age... a family losing their daughter, sister, niece, cousin, a young man losing his new bride, it really breaks my heart.
I did have uplifting events take place as I mentioned above with a friend's wedding, which brought great friends to town lending the ability to enjoy time with them. I had the chance to spend an entire day with my parents, just being with them, talking with them. I witnessed two sweet friends say their "I do's" and begin a beautiful life together, now as their own family. I spent a lazy Sunday with my best friend, Paige and my Max Man. With all of these ups and downs, I haven't been feeling 100% - the brunt of it I felt on Sunday with sore scratchy throat and that bone-tired feeling where you lack any and all energy. It's like an emotional hangover, a hangover of the heart's sentiments.
I wanted to use this as a way to grieve for my family in Alabama and for all those effected in the south. We learned about Jennifer late Thursday, more details Friday, even more details Saturday - with each day, more to learn and I feel naive, that I take everything in my own life for granted. I have treasured my time with loved ones the last few days, I wanted to soak that time in. Time is precious - time is ticking - time runs out.
Really not feeling up to par Sunday, Mr. Max decided it was his turn in the kitchen and made us dinner. He decided to make my favorite comfort food from scratch with a recipe used in our Central Market cooking school, paired with a salad and a simple pan-seared fillet of beef tenderloin marinated in a steakhouse sauce from Whole Foods. That boy is taking care of me with our mutual love - food.
This macaroni and cheese is awesome, honestly restaurant quality, but here's the catch: it is not healthy. This uses cream cheese and heavy cream (eek! those two being the worst parts), Parmesan, Gruyere and sharp yellow cheddar. Every now and then, in the name of comfort food, our healthy attempts are broken.... but every now and then, I think I'm okay with that.
For some reason, my camera will not download the pictures so the recipe is coming! Stay tuned for Max's Mac and Cheese, along with my Monday night dinner, a cilantro-lime chicken with avocado salsa, saffron rice and spicy black beans.
I do ask that you please lift up the people effected by this tragic series of storms, say a quick prayer as you sit at the stoplight, wash your hair in the shower or as you fall asleep tonight. Pray for their understanding and strength to move on and rebuild. Pray that our nation will focus on the people who need help right now.