There aren’t many things that I really, really loved as a child that I still enjoy as a 26 year-old
grown up woman. For example: I used to really love putting on gratuitous amounts of make-up and getting dressed up for no occasion other than standing by an open window and pretending I was a princess… and now it’s like a war-zone in my closet every morning trying to pick out a shirt for work. I loved my cat, Tiger, but now if I’m in a cat-friendly home for more than 30 minutes my allergies attack like Attila the Hun. Lastly, much like the rest of my generation, I used to love those delicious Easter-y things we call “Peeps” but as adulthood set in, the illusion that they were actually anything more than stale marshmallows coating in more sugar wore off.
On the other hand, the few things that have withstood the test of time (albeit 20 years or so) are dinosaurs, animated movies, and “veggie mac & cheese”.
My dad will still tell you that “veggie mac & cheese” is my favorite food. While that’s not entirely accurate, it is still one of my go-to meals when I just want something simple that I know I’ll love. My parents would make this all the time when I was a kid because it was easy. The mac & cheese part varied between Ramen with melted cheese, Kraft Blue Box, and Annie’s Organic, but the veggies always came out of a bag in the freezer. As I’ve started to eliminate packaged food from my pantry, the instant mac & cheese was one of the hardest to let go.
I thought for sure there had to be a way to take cheese powder and make your own instant mix. After doing some digging, I found that Crystal of Store This, Not That! had already figured it out! So I ordered some cheese powder and got to work.
Immediately upon receiving my key ingredient in the mail, I made veggie mac & cheese for dinner. It was awesome! My husband liked it, my picky sister liked it… everyone was happy. I was especially happy because it was a great alternative to what you buy in the stores. I looked up the ingredients for the Blue Box (even after the ingredients change) and Annie’s Organic just to compare the competition:
Kraft Macaroni and Cheese contains salt, sodium tripolyphosphate, sodium phosphate and calcium phosphate. According to the International Food Additives Council, sodium phosphates help cheese retain its melting properties and calcium phosphate improves nutritional value. Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 are added to the sauce mix as colorings. Final ingredients in the sauce mix are citric acid, lactic acid and enzymes. (per Livestrong because Kraft doesn’t have them posted)
Annie’s Organic: Cheddar Cheese (cultured pasteurized milk, salt, non-animal enzymes), Why, Nonfat Milk, Butter, Salt, Cultured Whole Milk, Sodium Phosphate, Annatto Extract for Color.
Seems a lot longer than three ingredients, am I right? Your kids (or inner child, in my case) may thank you one day for breaking up with the Blue Box. Are there any other childhood favorites you’ve been tempted to break up with?