Daily Archive: January 15, 2013

WIAW 1/16: Mac n CHEEESE

Posted by Lauren

Hello friends! I hope you had a great weekend! Since my last post on Saturday, I skied a half day on Sunday in Tahoe, ran 7 miles on Monday in the work gym, and treadmill hiked for 2 miles on Tuesday. I have speed intervals on the agenda for Wednesday, so I made sure to get a lot of rest last night! Let’s get to the WIAW action. Thanks go to Jenn for hosting this awesome link party… check it out for some cool, new blogs. If you are new to this blog, Nicole and I welcome you!

Breakfast – 9:30 AM – Oat bran and Trader Joe’s chocolate whey protein powder


I’ll miss Tahoe. The next three weekends I have things I must go to in the Bay Area, so the 8-hour roundtrip drive to Tahoe is out of the question. Celebrity chef cook-offs, surprise birthday parties, moving away bar crawls, a half marathon (a trail run, yikes, I’m so unprepared), all-day training for a new volunteer opportunity, and the SUPERBOWL.


Lunch – 12:00 PM – the taco salad you see e.v.e.r.y. week from our Taco Tuesday spread… unpictured: approximately 27 tortilla chips and a Diet Coke


Over the weekend, everyone in the cabin got into a HEATED game of Spoons. Kyle does this thing where he fakes having four-of-a-kind and slaps the table really close to the spoons. Naturally, everyone freaks out and reaches for a spoon. BUT. BUT! If you grab a spoon and no one has the matching foursome, you get kicked out. Most of us got used to his tricks, but not Todd. Elimination rounds resulted in a final match up between Kyle and Cam. Guess who won.


Afternoon Snacks – 3:45 PM – a few small bowls of Special K Cinnamon Pecan and Special K Oats & Honey


I want to write a post about transitioning from weekend ski legs to weekday run legs and how I avoid weak week run legs. See what I did there? Love homophones. Anyways, expect that blog post to come randomly in the next 21 days while I’m daydreaming about Tahoe. Yes, compression socks are crucial.


I bet you want to know more about dinner, don’t ya?

My mom and I arranged monthly dinners to ensure that we actually see each other on a regular basis. Both of us have busy work and social schedules, travel plans, races to run, and she is planning a wedding! I am really looking forward to more of these family dinners, especially if the food (AND dessert) is going to be so good!


My mom used Williams-Sonoma Mac n Cheese Starter as inspiration for tonight’s dinner. Their website describes it as a “thick, creamy sauce, ready to customize with your choice of cheese and favorite pasta shape. It’s made with whole milk simmered with a buttery roux for a classic bechamel, gently spiced with nutmeg, pepper and mustard. A rich, creamy starter for making your own version of an American classic.”


Quick n’ Easy Mac n’ Cheese


  • 1 jar of Mac & Cheese starter
  • 5 1/2 cups shredded cheese (we used blue cheese, monterey jack, cheddar)
  • 1 lb. elbow macaroni, cooked until al dente and drained
  • 2 cups coarse bread crumbs


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a large, ovenproof casserole dish and set aside.
  2. Pour the Mac & Cheese starter into a really large sauté pan over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally, until bubbly, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add 80% of the shredded cheese into the sauté pan and stir until melted. Add the [cooked and drained] al dente macaroni and stir until well combined.
  4. Transfer macaroni and cheese into casserole dish, sprinkle the remaining 20% shredded cheese and bread crumbs on top.
  5. Bake in the oven for 20-25 mins, or until the cheese is bubbly. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.


Dinner – 7:00 PM – mac n’ cheese, crock pot pulled pork (YUM!), a simple side salad with pecans and dried cranberries, and homemade cornbread! I went back for seconds of the mac n’ cheese, my favorite part being the crispy top layer.


Dessert – 8:00 PM – chocolate caramel Godiva square and all this strawberry rhubarb PIE!


Such a tasty dinner and great company too :) After dinner we chatted a little bit about wedding details and I am so crazy excited for May! We signed up our family to run the Capitola Half Marathon on the day of my mom and David’s wedding…. we’re nuts.

One more Tahoe shot? Ok, since you asked…


Question: Favorite pie flavor? Are you a mac n’ cheese fan? Favorite type of cheese? 


First Day[s] of School

Posted by Nicole

I’ve officially completed my first two days of school! So far I like all of my classes. It’s going to be a difficult semester, but Lauren always tells me “you thrive with a busy schedule.” Guess that means I’m going to be thriving like CRAZY this semester.


The first day of school started with breakfast at the sorority house. I’m going to try and eat 90% of my meals there because dues are expensive and this way I’m not only paying for friends, right? ;)

Cream cheese toast and an apple. (Side note: my dad used to always make sourdough toast with cream cheese and every time I have cream cheese toast it reminds me him.)


The weather in LA has been beautiful and sunny, but surprisingly cold. I wore my winter jacket today and still felt like I needed gloves. Don’t believe that blue sky.

blue sky usc

Before I talk about my classes, I just need to let our a little rant. USC now has fences that block off the majority of entrances into campus during evenings. Also, past 9 PM, you need to have your student ID for access to campus from the few open gates. Can you believe that? I’m all for safety, but this just strikes me as extreme USC arrogance and efforts to keep locals away from campus. Ugh.


As for my first two classes:

Marketing Analysis and Strategy was amazing. My professor seems extremely experienced; she mentioned that she spends fall semester doing research and then teaches this one class in the spring. This class acts as a mix between case analysis and “job simulation,” and overall seems like the perfect preparation for my future career path. I can’t wait to learn.

Managerial Accounting is a continuation of the accounting class I took last semester. The atmosphere of the class seems pretty average, but we’ll see if it picks up as the year progresses.

I grabbed a late lunch from the sorority house, organized some school stuff, and then went to Monday Night Dinner and chapter for DG. This is the first time I’ve made it to Monday Night Dinner this year because I normally have dance practice. Major kudos to our coach for giving us practice off so we could relax on the first day of school! I took full advantage of actually going to Monday Night Dinner and enjoyed some spaghetti, garlic bread, brownies, and reeses. Yum.


After chapter, Lindsey and I went to go visit the new puppy at my friend’s fraternity. I think every frat should buy a puppy… it’s quite the chick magnet. But seriously, Rex (or 2 Chainz… they are still finalizing the name choice), is the cutest!

IMG_7198 IMG_7203 IMG_7204 IMG_7205 IMG_7206

I’ll be back to visit the little pup often and I might just have to steal him…

I ended my night with a long trip to the gym: 15 mins elliptical, 15 mins bike, 6.25 mile run, 20 min bike cooldown. It was one of those good cardio days.


I started my morning with breakfast at DG again. And again, I had cream cheese toast (not sure when I’ll get sick of this) and 4 egg whites.


Then I had two more classes:

Business Finance might be a struggle because I don’t have a “financial” mind. I’m going to get a subscription to the Wall Street Journal and try to cut down on blog-reading and increase the educational reading. That way I can participate in class discussions and try to sound smart. My professor is good, though! That’s always a relief.

Operations Management seems like an interesting class because a lot of success in a company comes from the internal operations. We started class by reading an article about Apple’s operations and I immediately knew that this will be a class I will enjoy.

After class, I got lunch from DG. It’s nice not having to cook!


Plans for the rest of the day are up the air. I don’t have dance practice, so I’ll probably head to the gym at some point. OH, and I have HOMEWORK. It’s welcome back to real life for this girl.

– Nicole

Question: When did you have the “aha!” moment about your career path?