Category: Food

Panera’s Mac and Cheese

Hey, everyone! Did you have a nice weekend? Did you get some gorgeous weather? It rained Friday and Saturday, shortening our trip to the zoo and postponing my long to Sunday. But Sunday was gorgeous! I started on a DIY project out in the garage and started cleaning out flower beds. I could get used to the springlike weather!! I hope it’s here to stay!

 Speaking of sticking around….the recipe for Panera’s mac & cheese used to be on their website, but they’ve since taken in down. Why? I don’t know. But luckily I jotted it down before it disappeared! And now I’m going to share it with you!
Panera's Mac & Cheese #recipe (more…)

Friday Fitness: Quick Breakfast

Happy Friday today!  We’re off to the zoo today and hoping to get a lot of walking in, but the forecast isn’t looking so great.  The threat of rain this afternoon is high.  As much as we’re itching to get outside (and see the animals) the idea of walking around in the rain in low 50 degree weather doesn’t sound like much fun.

But here is the fitness fun I had this week!

Saturday – 9.3 mile run (10:09 pace)


A photo posted by Heather Hawkins (@mrshawkins03) on

Sunday – rest

Monday – 3.1 mile stroller run (9:53 pace) I usually run on Tuesdays but rain was in the forecast so I moved it up a day.  Good thing because it rained ALL DAY on Tuesday!


A photo posted by Heather Hawkins (@mrshawkins03) on

Tuesday – Girls Gone Sporty Lower Body AMRAP

Wednesday – Step machine and upper body strength training

Thursday – 4 mile stroller run (10:05 pace) on a super windy day!  Phew!

Friday – I haven’t decided yet.  I was thinking of doing Jillian Michael’s No More Trouble Zones, but I might just get some time in on the step machine and do some core work. 

But first a healthy filling breakfast.

Egg sandwichI like to whip up egg sandwiches for breakfast before a workout.  Start by putting a whole wheat English muffin in the toaster oven, then using my NordicWare Egg’n Muffin Pan I microwave an egg.  Once their both done I assemble and toss a piece of pepperjack cheese on top and eat!  It’s so quick to assemble.  Serve it up with some chocolate almond milk and some fruit and it’s such a filling meal.  I’ve even got hubby loving egg sandwiches for breakfast before work.

This has been a great breakfast before a run.  It’s just enough to keep me energized but not so much that it feels heavy. 

What’s your favorite preworkout breakfast?

Have a great weekend everyone!!

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What’s New with Noodles & Co.

I was given free food to sample, but was not otherwise compensated.  All opinions are my own. This is not a sponsored post.


I hope you’re not hungry while reading this!  Last week I was given the opportunity to participate in a taste test of the Noodles & Co menu.  It had been a long time since I’ve been to a Noodles & Co, but a new location has just opened up very close to my house, so I suspect I will be visiting more frequently now! 

Pumpkin and I headed over to the restaurant and met up with our friends Bethany and Katie and met a new friend, Carmen.  We settled in, got some drinks (they have one of those fun a million flavors to choose from fountain machines!), and the food started pouring in!

Fig & Pig FlatbreadAnd we started off with a bang!  This new Fig & Pig Flatbread was so good!!!!  I seriously could have eaten the whole thing by myself!  But I had to share!  It got rave reviews from the group!

Margherita FlatbreadThe Margherita Flatbread also came out with the first sampling and I didn’t even get to try it.  Want to know why?

Margherita FlatbreadThis kid couldn’t get enough!  She ate two pieces.  She would have eaten more, but again, we were sharing!  Luckily for her the next round came with a favorite………..

Mac & CheeseMac & Cheese.  Need I say more?  Every kid’s favorite, right?  Big kids, too!  A great addition to this Mac & Cheese was the Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Breast.  The mac is good by itself, but the chicken added to it was over the top delicious! 

Penne RosaWe also sampled the Penne Rosa.  It was good, but a little spicy for the young ones taste.

Mac & CheeseShe moved her penne to my plate and devoured the Mac & Cheese!

Bangkok CurryOK, I don’t remember the name of this salad (Med Salad, I think) and I didn’t try it because it had feta cheese on it, but I do recall that the salad plus the Bangkok Curry in the bowl behind it was less than 500 calories!  For the whole thing.  And guess what!  The Bangkok Curry was yummy!  It was loaded up with veggies with a delicious coconut curry sauce and rice noodles for added fun!  It was one of my favorite!

Steak StroganoffI made a quick trip down the road to pick Cupcake up from school and we continued to feast!  Next up with the Steak Stroganoff.  This is something I typically wouldn’t choose, but I’m glad I got to try it.  It wasn’t half bad!  Pumpkin liked it, but Cupcake was just mad that she was promised Mac & Cheese and her sister had finished off the bowl of it before she got there.

Indonesian Peanut SautéSo she was definitely mad when the Japanese Pan Noodles was brought out because it was also a little spicy.  Despite the spice I thought this was really good as well.  The sprouts are a fun addition, but the cilantro is where it’s at!!  It really made the dish.

Mac & CheeseCupcake got her Mac & Cheese and everyone was happy.

Indonesian Peanut SautéStill feeling the cilantro and sprouts love we moved on to the Indonesian Peanut Sauté.  Another spicy dish.

Alfredo MontAmore®Last up was the Alfredo MontAmore.  Talk about indulgent!  You definitely want to share this bowl!  This one is on the high end of the calorie scale and is certainly delicious.  That Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Breast was tossed in there again and I was not complaining! I’ll definitely add it to future bowls!

Lastly we satisfied our sweet tooth!

Espresso CakeThe Espresso Cake was deliciously moist and quite chocolatey!

Tres LecheThe Tres Leche was good.  It wouldn’t be my first choice of dessert, though.

Carrot CakeThe real star of the dessert menu is the Carrot Cake!  It was fantastic!  The cake was flavorful and moist and the frosting was just the perfect amount of sweet without being heavy. 

DessertCupcake approved of all the desserts, including a cookie.

DessertPumpkin did, too.

I’m so glad I was able to take part in this sampling!  I’ve only tried one menu item from Noodles & Co so I’m glad I was forced out of my comfort zone. 

Oh and I hear if you sign up for their Noodlegram they’ll send you coupons!  Who doesn’t love coupons?


What is your favorite dish at Noodles & Co?


*Not Noodles related!  But will you go vote for me on the Indie Sew Selfish Sewing Week Challenge?  I’ve entered my Polka Dot Out and About Dress.  Please and thank you!!!!  p.s.  You can vote daily!  😉

Rainbow Gooey Treats

Cupcake is looking forward to St. Patrick’s Day.  They have a fun leprechaun hunting event at school that she’s super excited about.  In the meantime we had some pre-St. Patty’s Day fun by making Rainbow Gooey Treats!Rainbow Gooey Treats #dessert #recipe #nobake #stpatricksday

These are so good!  They’re just like a Rice Krispie Treat but instead of Rice Krispy cereal use Trix!  Although these are extra gooey, which I think makes them that much better!  Hey, does anyone remember when Trix were in the shape of fruit? 

Rainbow Gooey Treats #dessert #recipe #nobake #stpatricksdayI love no bake desserts like this because Chef Cupcake gets to be very hands on!  She loves to pour and stir and mix and lick the spatula when we’re done!  Though she has no patience to wait for the finished product to cool before she wants to dig in.  #4yearoldproblems

Rainbow Gooey Treats #dessert #recipe #nobake #stpatricksdayThese didn’t last long in this house!  We couldn’t resist the gooey marshmallow!  And they’re so colorful and fun!  Perfect for a St. Patty’s Day celebration with the kids.

Rainbow Gooey Treats
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  1. 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  2. 6 cups mini marshmallows
  3. 6 cups Trix cereal
  1. Spray a 9"x13" baking dish with oil and set aside. In a large pot melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the marshmallows and stir until the marshmallows are almost melted. Remove from heat and add in the cereal and stir just until combined. Transfer the marshmallow/cereal mixture to the baking dish and gently press down. Allow to cool then cut into squares and serve.
What Does She Do All Day?

Hawaiian Smoked Sausage

Show of hands.  Who got more snow this weekend?  *raises hand*  The kids were in snowman building heaven!  It was good packing snow!  Although Pumpkin only goes outside so she can request to come back in and have some cocoa. Cupcake on the other hand LOVES the snow!  She could play outside all day!

Another thing Cupcake likes is bell peppers, so I try to incorporate them into meals when I can.  I have to toss in the veggies she likes any chance I get.  That’s one of the great things about this Hawaiian Smoked Sausage!  It’s a delicious meal, with bell peppers!  And onions, tomatoes, pineapple and a delicious sauce!

Hawaiian Smoked Sausage #dinner #recipe And sometimes I really like meals that don’t require a separate side dish!  Maybe I’m lazy?  Nah, let’s call it efficient!  I love the savory sausage combined with the sweet sauce.  And it makes great leftovers, too!  And the kids eat it! 

Hawaiian Smoked Sausage
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  1. 3 tablespoons canola oil
  2. 1 medium green pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  3. 1 medium onion, diced
  4. 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
  5. 1 lb smoked sausage, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
  6. 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  7. 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  8. 1 tablespoon vinegar
  9. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  10. 1/2 cup apricot preserves (or orange marmalade)
  11. 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks, or canned pineapple chunks, drained
  1. Add canola oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Add sausage, green pepper, onion and tomatoes and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until sausage is heated through and vegetables begin to soften.
  2. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch, ginger, vinegar, soy sauce and apricot preserves. Add to skillet and cook until sauce begins to thicken.
  3. Add pineapple chunks. Reduce heat to low and cook until pineapple is heated through. Serve over cooked rice.
Adapted from Smucker's
Adapted from Smucker's
What Does She Do All Day?
 Hawaiian Smoked Sausage #dinner #recipe

Which do you prefer: main dish + side dish(es) or everything mixed in one bowl?