Musings of a Museum Fanatic: February 2014


Favorite Childhood Movies

Looking back at your childhood you can always remember some of your favorite things, books, music, toys, and movies. Thinking back I can definitely remember a few of my own favorites! Some were just a good time and some definitely had more of an effect on my life.

I just did a whole post professing my love of Labyrinth so I won't bore you again : ) It is one of my favorite childhood movies though.

Chipmunks Big Adventure

This is one of those movies I can remember watching over and over again. Like most of our movies this was one that we taped off the TV. It's so funny that even now I can hear the opening credit song the way it was on the tape, sort of messed up because you didn't start recording early enough but then going into perfectly clear music. If you haven't seen Chipmunks Big Adventure you really need to. It's got everything a whirlwind world tour, great songs, the Chipettes, an evil villianess in totally 80's power suits and even a cute baby penguin. Those are just a couple of the highlights from this amazing kids movie!

Rock a Doodle

I can remember when this movie came out as a kid, I was enthralled that a kid who was transformed into a kitten could save this fantasy world in his book. The Grand Duke of Owls and all his henchmen always freaked me out too. I mean come on, doesn't he look so evil? I know you're right there with me on this one. 

It's weird to say this but if any one children's movie had a profound affect on my childhood it was definitely Pocahontas. My grandma had this old shed where we tore down the wooden upper part but left the bottom cinder block walls and concrete floor, after we saw Pocahontas we started to research anything relating to Native American culture. We gave ourselves authentic names (at least we thought they were!), if we had learned how they did a certain day to day task we would pretend to do things in that manner. For years we would play that way, making little fire pits, gathering items to be stored in our shed/wigwam. Looking back it's amazing how long we were fixated and all because of a Disney movie!

Phantom Tollbooth

This is probably one of my top 10 favorite movies of all time. It's a little known movie made in the 1970's based on the book The Phantom Tollbooth. For me the book is always better than the movie but honestly this one definitely comes reaaaaaally close, at least I think it does. The cartoon style in which the movie is made was super popular during the 70's, most people are more familiar with Rikki-tikki-tavi as opposed to the Phantom Tollbooth

Fairy Tale Theatre

So in the 1980's Shelley Duvall got all of her friends together and did a made for TV series that retold popular fairy tales. When I say friends I mean ... , and  to name just a couple because the list goes on and on. The half hour long tales are rich creations that tell each story with just the right amount of detail. The best part about them is adults can enjoy them as well since it's not dumbed down for the audience, a couple months ago Kevin asked me about the set of dvds and since then we've been watching an episode about once a week and he loves them. It does crack us up to see certain stars acting in such different roles but the tales are told so lovely it doesn't matter. A lot of the episodes can be found in their entirety on YouTube ... just saying ... 

3 Ninjas
Any 90's kid worth their salt knows of and loves the movie 3 Ninjas. I loved all the ridiculous 90's martial art movies but this one was definitely the top of the heap. Who wouldn't love three young boys kicking total butt! I feel like I have this theme of kid empowerment going with all my favorite movies. Rocky was super dreamy. I used to imagine that I was Emily and we were dating. What can I say I was young! Also I do not acknowledge the so called sequels to 3 Ninjas, they are terrible and I will never see them. 

They might be my favorites from childhood but you can bet money that all of them currently reside in my collection!! What are you favorites?


St. Valentine

I know this post is little late being at the end of the month but when I made my topic schedule that's just how it ended up so I'm gonna talk about St. Valentine and you will like it!

Being that Valentine's day happened not too long ago I thought it would be fun to chat about how the holiday came about. This brings us all the way back to the late 200's ... yes that is not a typo I meant 200's. What information we have about St. Valentine states that he was a Roman priest during that time period. During the time of Claudius Gothicus or Claudius II, St. Valentine was stirring up all sorts of trouble. He was going around performing Christian marriages for couples. Which was kind of a big no no. In addition to that he was just helping out Christians in general which the Emperor was not a big fan of.

So when St. Valentine was caught doing these things he was tossed in jail. Somehow along the way Claudius and Valentine took a liking to each other. Who knows how that happened?! Well it was Valentine's lucky day, since Claudius took a shining to him Valentine decided to push his luck and try to convert the Emperor. That did not end well for him. After attempting to beat and stone him to death he was then finally beheaded somewhere between 269-273, multiple dates have been given for his martyrdom.

In addition to that main story there are other smaller ones that have popped up throughout the years. One states that Valentine became friends with the jailer's daughter and wrote her letters, signing them "From your Valentine" in another version this letter was to his wife. There are also multiple stories of multiple Valetines who were clergy in different countries at about the same time but all were martyred.

Some sources point to the fact that in the 1400's the middle of February was known for it's holiday's related to romantic love and like most pagan holidays, the Church decided to attach one of their feast days to it so it would be an easier transition for the people. It's also said that in the Middle Ages people believed birds mated in mid-February and that was attributed to the romance of St. Valentine. I don't know about birds anywhere else but any birds in Chicago trying to pair up this month are not going to have a fun time of it! I would not want to try to catch a guy in -30 degree wind chill eep. 


Tunes on Tuesday: Under Appreciated Movie Theme Songs

We're all used to hear the theme songs for TV shows, I mean come on who doesn't know when the claps come in on the Friends theme song or what 90's kid can't sing the Pinky & the Brain theme? That's right we all can! Movie themes tend to be waaaay under appreciated. Then there are times when the song itself becomes so big that we totally forget it was written for the movie.

Can't Fight the Moonlight by LeAnn Rimes from Coyote Ugly
I don't know about any other girls my age but I was totally in love with this movie. Girls were doing their thing! This song was sooo over played that year too, I feel like I heard it every time I turned on the radio but I still love it. I also miss that LeAnn Rimes, not the man stealing skeleton she is these days. Does she still even make music?

Space Jam Theme Song
Not gonna lie this might be the best movie theme song EVER. I mean come on didn't every basketball team play this song some time during every. single. game. after this song came out? Yup I'm pretty sure they did. Plus any song from the 90's that uses some semblance of the phrase "Whoop there it is" is gold.

Hero by Chad Kroeger from Spider Man
I didn't realize this before checking out this song but Hero was written for Spider Man. 2002 was the year of Spider Man and this song. I'm actually quite a fan on this song not gonna lie haha. So wonderfully agnsty!

Drive Me Crazy by Britney Spears from Drive Me Crazy 
Britney is obviously fabulous in this video, even with that neon green metallic plastic-y top. Gotta love the late 90's/early 00's hair styles that Melissa Joan Hart is sporting in this music video. So now it's the age old question which came first the song title or the movie title?

Men In Black and Wild Wild themes by Will Smith
Can I just say right off the bat I really miss Will Smith making music. Obviously both these songs were made for the movies but like Hero you would hear them being played on the radio all the time. Anyone remember the MIB dance? That's right get on up and jam with your bad self.

Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls from City of Angels
Until I did some research I didn't realize that this was technically this song is the theme for City of Angels. Granted I have still never seen that movie but still haha.

Scotty Doesn't Know by Sum 41 from Eurotrip


Friday Free For All: Labrynith

One of my all time favorite movies from when I was younger and still is a top five favorite is Labyrinth. I can remember going to my cousins house and watching it on the taped from TV version that she had. We would watch it over and over and over again. It was amazing.
Labyrinth ..................................  "I say, does anyone want a game of Scrabble?"
If you're not familiar with the story of Labyrinth there is this spoiled girl, Sarah (Jennifer Connelly,)and she's being a jerk to her baby brother. She ends up getting so pissed off at him she asks the Goblin King, Jareth (David Bowie), to take him away. Well obviously she regrets that immediately and then has to go through the labyrinth to get to the Goblin city and the castle to get him back. There are fun songs along the way, crazy characters and lots of padded crotch costumes worn by David Bowie. It's a pretty amazing movie.

Until I got older one thing that I didn't appreciate about Labyrinth was the fact that all of the goblin and fantasy characters were made and operated by Jim Henson and his amazing puppeteers. Yup Jim Henson! You'd never have guessed it right. Labyrinth is definitely one of Henson's darker movies, along with earlier film The Dark Crystal, another fantasy movie but with all puppets. Being an adult I can definitely appreciate the amazing talent and time it took to produce such movies with so many puppets. 

When Labyrinth was first released it was somewhat of a bomb only grossing about $12 million (it took $25 million to make it) and received terrible reviews from critics, who said things like the plot didn't come to life or the movie was just visually ugly. I beg to differ about the first one but I agree with the second critic, pretty sure it's not supposed to be pretty though! Amazingly enough it has developed a kind of cult following since it's release. I know anyone and pretty much everyone my age seems to love the movie and have really fond memories of it. You see pins about it on Pinterest, Buzzfeed articles and so many other

The Labyrinth soundtrack is one of my favorite parts of the entire thing. It has really neat original songs and some pretty fabulous David Bowie dance numbers.

Be sure to watch "Chilly Down" all the way through there is some crazy puppet action that happens!

To celebrate my Friday Free For All mentality here are some of my favorite and probably some of these are the more ridiculous things I've seen relating to Labyrinth. 


Homemade Herbed Fettuccine and Vegetables

Lately my best friend Jackie and I have been getting in to making recipes and trying new cooking things when we get together. This fall she decided to help me out with one of my 101 tasks ... making homemade pasta! I was also able to use a Pampered Chef recipe from one of my cookbooks, Cooking for Two & More. Unfortunately it's now defunct but a good consultant can probably find a copy somewhere for you!

This recipe was a great one to try making homemade pasta for the first time. It was really easy and with the lightness of the sauce and veggies it's a really healthy recipe too.

Homemade Herbed Fettuccine and Vegetables

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, pressed

1/4 pound asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 small yellow squash, scored and sliced*
1/2 small zucchini, scored and sliced*
1/2 cup frozen peas (Jackie doesn't like peas so we used more squash and zucchini)
1/4 cup (1 oz.) prated fresh Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
coarse ground black pepper

1. Place flour in the Classic Batter Bowl. Wish eggs, parsley, oil, salt and garlic in a small bowl.

2. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour the egg mixture intot he well. Mix toroughly until dough forms into a ball.

3. Turn out onto lightly floured Cutting Board. Knead 1-2 minutes or until dough is smooth.Add additional flour as needed so you form a very firm dough.

4. Cover and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.

5. Divide dough into four balls. Using the Baker's Roller roll out each ball as thinly as possible. It should be a rectangle about 12x4 inches and slightly tanslucent.

6. Slice into 1/4 inch wide strips using the Pizza Cutter. Separate noodle and let them dry about 30 minutes before cooking.

7. Fill a Stockpot with salted water and bring to a boil. Add asparagus and black for 1 minute, remove, set aside. Add noodles to boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes or until slightly firm, drain.

8. Meanwhile in Saute pan melt a butter for the other veggies. Add asparagus, peas, squash, zucchini and half of the cheese. Cook until your desired firmness. Add noodles and cook through.

9. Garnish with remaining cheese, lemon zest and black pepper.

**For step 8 if you prefer your veggies crunchier add noodles and veggies all at once. I prefer mine softer so cooked them a little longer before adding the noodles.**

***You can substitute a 9 oz package of refrigerated fettucini noodles for making the homemade ones*** 


About Me: 7 Photos of Me Being a Ridiculously Cute Kid

One nice thing about making myself go through and scan all of my photos is getting to see and share gems that I haven't seen in years. It's always kinda fun to look back at yourself when you're so young and see how much you have changed. Since so many of the photos of me much younger are just too darn cute not to share I decided to share some of my favorites from when I was younger. : )

 From a young age I had an affinity for terrorizing the family pet. He looks so thrilled doesn't he?

 I also had/have a thing for playing dress up. Fireman looks pretty good on me right?

Isn't it interesting what gestures you still make even when you're 20 plus years removed from a photo? Totally still do the finger on the chin thinking gesture. Also that darn umbrella never inflated the way it was supposed to! 

One word. Slippers.  

 See I really like that whole dress up thing!

 For years people would come up to my mom in the super market and tell her that I looked like that little girl from E.T.  I always thought that in this photo I resembled Drew the most

Gotta love the total 80's look I'm sporting here with the dress.

Not gonna lie it definitely would be really fun to travel back and just enjoy life as a kid again. Definitely wish I could get away with some of those outfits again. Although the fireman one would be a little awkward!


Tunes On Tuesday: World Music

World music is probably one of the most under appreciated genre's of music here in America. It encompasses everything from traditional types of music to contemporary and wraps it's way around the entire globe. Thanks to the expanded CD market before and now being able to download or listen to anything through sites like YouTube, you can experience the world at your finger tips. This is probably the biggest reason I love world music, besides the fact that it's amazing music, it's a chance to "travel" and be transported without having to spend the thousands of dollars.

I wanted to take today to share some of the songs I've encountered and are some of my favorite world music songs today. They aren't from one certain country or continent and range from the traditional to the modern. I hope you enjoy them!

** Tornero  by Mihai Traistariu 

When I visited Greece before my senior year at Valpo this song was all the rage because of the European version of American Idol. The TV would play this music video ALL the time and the music channel was one of the only channels where we could sort of understand it, you can understand the emotion of music no matter what language right? : )

**Punjabiyan Di Shaan by Hans Raj Hans
If you were a big fan of Bend it Like Beckham you would definitely know this song. It's one of the songs off the soundtrack and probably my favorite out of the entire album. This is a great energetic song to add to your workout playlist too.

**Rompi Rompi by Omar Faruk Tekbilek & Richard A. Hagopian
A number of years ago now I really got into the whole belly dancing trend and found that I really enjoy that type of Middle Eastern music as well. This song is one off my favorite album. Middle Eastern belly dance music is always a good one to get those hips moving and toes tapping. Just type in belly dance music into youtube and you'll come up with tons of great songs.

**Τενεδιό - Νησιώτικο παραδοσιακό Τενέδου (Greek folk music)
A growing love of mine is Greek traditional or folk music. There didn't seem to be as many good youtube videos as I was hoping but I really like this guy's play list. It seems the past few years I've become more interested in Greek culture as a whole, not just the classical Greek history. I wish I could tell you my learning of Greek was coming along enough to translate the title of the song but it's not there yet!

**Merry Sisters of Fate by Lúnasa
Celtic music was probably the first type of World Music I fell in love with. So much of it is just so mysterious, vibrant and just plain fun. This song is off Lúnasa's Merry Sisters of Fate album, which is an amazing album with some killer flute and violin parts. I highly recommend checking out all the songs on the play list.

**Aboriginal Music by Richard Walley
Australian Aboriginal is probably the type of music I listen to that Kevin thinks is the weirdest. I do not blame him because it is a bit odd when all of a sudden you have the didgeridoo blaring from your computer in a dead silent room. The didgeridoo is just like no instrument that we have here in the States and I just love the unique sound it makes. Richard Walley has a bunch of albums that are great, most of the songs are instrumental but there is some singing.

**Never Let You Go by Dima Bilan
Now to sort of bring everything full circle with another song I learned about on my trip to Greece and their wonderful version of Idol. I believe this guy won then entire thing that year which is totally obvious by this song. I mean come on wouldn't you pick the guy with the mullet? I mean come on?

Hopefully you've enjoyed some of the songs on this somewhat world tour of music. There are soooo many other songs and types of songs just sitting on my World Music playlist that I couldn't come close to sharing them all today! Do you listen to any types of World Music? What's your favorite?


Pinterest Makes Snow Days Fun!

Thanks to today being President's day (I had the day off) and because it's been snowing non-stop since like 8:30 I've spent the entire day all nice warm in our condo instead of running all the errands I had planned. To amuse myself today there was plenty of cleaning and catching up on my Vanderpump Rules but probably what I've done the most of today is taking in the humor section on Pinterest.

It was an especially good day where one after the other was just spot on and hilarious. Since it's Monday and we can all use a pick me up on Monday why not?

Did You ever
I actually sort of got to do this today! Although the old person in me only let me sleep for another 20 minutes. 

diet spoon-hope it works better than  forks for dieting

This fascinated me as a kid (and now haha)

One size fits ALL - Y U NO FIT ME??? :))

Why is this a "teenager post"? I didn't develop a solid sense of hatred for humaninty until my 20's.

➤ See the best Facebook fan page for Pinterest Humor! #ecards #someecards #rottenecards


National Hellenic Museum

Way back when in November Stephanie and I braved the wacky Chicago weather to celebrate her birthday/Christmas.  I decided being the awesome friend that I am that I was not going to give her something that would clutter up her apartment and that it was going to be something that she can cross off her 101 list.  Two birds with one stone right?  I know I'm an awesome friend.
I surprised her with lunch in Greektown and then a visit to the National Hellenic Museum.  Little known fact I was actually an intern at the National Hellenic Museum back when it was at it's original location (Adams & Halsted) before they built the very very nice new building and moved a couple blocks south (333 South Halsted Street, Chicago IL). Let me tell you it is really nice! 

Their current exhibits include two permanent American Moments: The Legacy of Greek Immigration and The Story of Greek Independence. These both give great looks at Greece the country and how Greeks have affected life in America (specifically Chicago and the Midwest) during the late part of the 19th and early part of the 20th centuries. In addition to those staple exhibitions there are temporary ones that appear several times a year, the most recent and one that was up when we visited was The Holocaust in Greece. It's always sobering to see how something as big as the Holocaust affected so many more countries and peoples than just those immediately in Germany. Along with that was the Spirit of the Marathon, it made both of us feel very lazy but was really interesting to learn the really really long history of the race.

The National Hellenic Museum is so much more than just what's going on in the exhibit space too. Throughout the year they have multiple events that showcase Greek culture and food, language classes, and so much more! One aspect of the museum that not many people know about is their Frank S. Kamberos Oral History Center. There are probably hundreds of Persons of Greek descent, the spouses, or relatives of Greek persons who have given oral histories, photographs, other documents and objects as part of this on-going project. 


The National Hellenic Museum is super easy to get to. Being just west of the Loop in Greektown you could walk from both major train stations or take a bus a couple of blocks. 

The price is great too. $10 for adults and like most Chicago museums there are ways to get a discount too. 

In addition to the price and the transportation being perfect the location is right by the most amazing Greek restaurants! You can't go wrong with the Greek Islands or the Parthenon.  We enjoyed the Parthenon for our lunch that day.  

Don't forget to check out the amazing view from the rooftop terrace!!



Songs from 2004 That Need to be Resurrected

For some reason this year it seems like everyone is freaking out about the fact that 2004 was 10 years ago. I don't remember there being this big a deal about 2012 or 2013. For me 2013 being 10 years was crazy since it was my 10 year high school reunion and I'm definitely right there on the "OMG it's a decade since 2004?!?" crazy train. Seriously I am because that was my freshman year of college ... whoa!

Since everyone is feeling the need to freak out over it I think we need to bring back 2004 in full force. Starting with music obviously! Pretty sure that all the top 40 radio stations need to stop playing the terrible Bieber and Co. stuff and start playing these amazing songs from 2004.

1.  Jet - Are You Gonna Be My Girl

Starting off my list with a little rock! This song doesn't feel so old to me, probably because for years 'Stache was playing it so I would get my fill every. single. weekend.

2. Terror Squad - Lean Back ft. Fat Joe, Remy

This song reminds me of the frat dance parties that used to go down. Valpo being a dry campus, the frats would have dance parties instead. We thought we were oh so cool going to them. 

3. J-Kwon - Tipsy

This also reminds me of the frat dance parties. As young white 19 year olds who didn't drink we thought we were very bad ass when we were rocking out to this song. 

4. Nina Sky - Move Ya Body 
Another fabulous dance hit from '04! This was a staple on my burned workout cd, I would walk the track around the main basketball court (hopefully to catch a glimpse of the cute player I was crushing on at the time of course!), and every now and then there would be a little booty shaking not going to lie. 

5. The Black Eyed Peas - Let's Get It Started

Pretty sure everyone was obsessed with this song for like the next six years. Everyone meaning like every single college basketball team who played this right before everyone took the floor so they would seem all tough. Another workout staple of mine, hey if it revs up the basketball players and they perform awesome it should impart it's magical powers to me too right? P.S. totally walking around the track with my discman oh yeah!

6.  Green Day - Boulevard Of Broken Dreams

Oh thick black eye liner and melancholy tunes. Oh Green Day how we missed you! Off their 2004 hit album American Idiot, it was their first hit in a few years and it was a smash hit. Pretty sure you can never have enough Green Day so let's bring back this one and all their others!

7.  Kelly Clarkson - Since U Been Gone

Not even looking at the awful grammar of the title (it drives me bonkers every time!) this is the probably one of the best break 
up songs ever created. Rip those pillows girl! 

8.  Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz - Get Low

Since Lil John was on Celebrity Apprentice I always forget that he was a rapper and made this song. 
This song was the anthem of my floor freshman year. We would be rocking out to it all the time, someone always had it playing 
from their room. 

9. Kelis - Milkshake

What can you say about this song? Best song of 2004? Quite possibly! So underrated and really needs to be on rotation so much more. I think from now on any jukebox I see I will request this song. Enough with the twerking the milkshake booty roll is where it's at people.

10. U2 - Vertigo

What can you say about U2 other than the amazing fact that they're fabulous in every decade? 

11. Britney Spears - Toxic

Oh Britney you are incredible. This song is amazing. Why is this song not being played every day? Why is Britney not played all the time?

12. The Killers - Somebody Told Me

This song was probably one of my college anthem type songs. We would play this one all the time on our radio shows and just loved it oh so much. I feel like I always hear Mr. Brightside on the radio and out at the bars but "Somebody Told Me" always gets the short end of the lollipop. 

I don't know about anyone else but I'm starting to feel a tad old by the end of this list! Now to go dust off my velour track suit and mourn the loss of the original Facebook layout. 


9 Reasons I Miss the 90's

It seems like being a kid in the 90's was probably the best thing ever and there are definitely some days I really miss it. I mean come on with the toys, heartthrobs and music we grew up with who wouldn't? Just in case you need a little reminder about why the 90's were awesome and what I really miss and that you should miss too!  

1.  The Toys
Kids these days don't know what they missed in 90's toys.  We had the original American Girl dolls and they weren't just simpering girls, they fought bears and shit!  Our Barbies were the best although it does seem we had this thing for mermaid Barbies in the 90's, not gonna lie I'm pretty sure I had every. single. one. Even our McDonalds toys were better!

2.  Snack Food
In the 90's you could get a treat that looked like almost anything and everything. We had pure sugar coming out of baby bottles, band-aid shaped gum, and every single kids show had their own cereal/candy/anything edible. The day Dunkaroos were discontinued was the day my childhood ended.

3.  Girl Bands

For some reason the 90's were what seemed like THE decade for killer girl groups. Yes there have been some since but I'd like to think the 90's was one of the golden ages for girl groups. Today you don't see many groups it's mostly individual artists, I think girls just can't get along these days.  I mean really can you see Ke$ha, Lady Gaga and Christina in a group together?  Ha!

4.  Cartoons

Like most things seem to these days the selection of cartoons have definitely gone downhill. Seriously in the 90's Disney, Nickelodeon and the regular networks were really on top of their game. We woke up on Saturday to amazing shows like the Muppet Babies, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and, Animaniacs. Let's not forget the wonder of the Disney Afternoon with Darkwing Duck, Talespin, Aladdin and Goof Troop. 

5.  School Supplies
The stuff kids take to school now just can't compete!  I mean come on rainbow colored cheetahs, ballerina bunnies, triangle colored pencils?  There just is no comparison.  Obviously the 90's were a golden age of school supplies and Lisa Frank was the ruling monarch.  

6.  Board Games

90's board games were the best things ever. We had so many games that were motorized, knocked things over, moved and were just plain freaking awesome. I mean come on Mall Madness is still the best game ever, which I still have and may or may not have made Kevin play before ... mulitple times.  

7.  Figure Skating

Even though figure skating is still pretty awesome and is always my favorite to watch these skaters nowadays just can't compete with the like of Kristi Yamaguchi, Oksana Baiul, Tara Lipinski and Michelle Kwan. Skaters these days just don't have the balls that Tonya Harding did. I mean come on who today would hire someone to jack someone as nice looking as Nacy Kerrigan in the knee? That's right no one.

8.  Dance Music

I know this one is better explained on a Tuesday but you can't have a reason to miss the 90's and not include the amazingness that is 90's dance music. It's perfection wearing parachute pants, a satin button down shirt and a tight leather vest, pounding through your speakers with that same heartbeat rhythm. One does not simply keep their head still when listening to 90's dance music.

9.  Devon Sawa

There were so many amazing 90's heartthrobs to choose from but my heart always belonged to Devon.  Maybe it was that he was kind of a ladies man in Wild America maybe it was his classic line of "Can I keep you" in Casper I'm not sure but my heart will always belong to pre-1999 Devon.  Anything past that does not exist.


Baked Mac ‘N Cheese with Shrimp

 I was so excited this Christmas when my in laws gave me the new Pampered Chef Rockcrok™ (2.5-qt.) Everyday Pan!  The Pampered Chef spent over four years developing this wonder pot that can go from the stove top to the oven to the microwave to the broiler to the grill and into the dishwasher ... I got tired just saying all the places you can use it!

Kevin finally chose a recipe from the set of cards that comes with the pot for us to try out the new piece with and it turned out fantastic!

Baked Mac ‘N Cheese with Shrimp

1 ½  lbs medium raw shrimp (25-30 per pound), peeled, deveined, tails removed
¾ tsp salt, divided
½ tsp ground black pepper
6 tbsp butter (3/4 stick), divided
6 tbsp dry sherry, divided
¼ cup flour
3½ cups milk, divided
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp cayenne pepper (Couldn't find it at the store didn't end up using it)
8 oz uncooked mezzi rigatoni pasta (2 cups) (Used regular rigatoni, the mezzi would have been better)
6 oz sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded (1½ cups), divided
4 oz  fontina cheese, shredded (1 cup)
2/3 cup   panko bread crumbs
¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley

***One thing I highly recommend is to prep the cheese and measure out the ingredients for steps 1-5 before starting. I didn't do all of the prep and it would have helped a lot to have it all ready to just dump in!!*** 
1. Season shrimp with ¼ tsp of the salt, and pepper. Heat 2 tbsp of the butter in Rockcrok™ (2.5-qt.) Everyday Pan over medium heat 1-2 minutes or until bubbling. 

2.  Cook shrimp 2-3 minutes or until pink and cooked through, turning once. Stir in 2 tbsp of the sherry; cook 30 seconds. Remove shrimp.

3.  Preheat oven to 400°F. 

4.  Add remaining butter and flour to Pan; whisk 1-2 minutes or until smooth. Slowly pour in 1 cup of the milk, whisking constantly until smooth. Whisk in remaining milk, mustard, cayenne and remaining ½ tsp salt. Cook, covered, 3-5 minutes or until mixture comes to a simmer, whisking often; remove Pan from heat.  

5.  Stir in pasta, 1 cup of the cheddar and fontina. Bake, covered, 30-35 minutes or until pasta is tender, gently stirring once halfway through baking.

6.  Meanwhile, combine bread crumbs, parsley and remaining cheddar in small bowl.

7.  Remove Pan from oven; preheat broiler. Stir in shrimp and remaining sherry; top with bread crumb mixture. Place Pan 2-4 in. from heating element. 

8.  Broil 2-3 minutes or until top is golden brown. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes.

9.  Enjoy!!