Jazzed Up Mac and Cheese w/ Garlic, Kale and Tomatoes

In exactly one week today (actually yesterday), Sebastian and I will be moving back to Montreal. The next time I speak to you it will be from our new little apartment with bright windows and yellow walls. I am so excited!

This summer has been many things:

hot
long
full of sun
full of rain
full of plants
cakey
sweet
too long
too short
adventure filled

That is probably not the best list, or at least not the most encompassing list, but it tells a feeling I think.

I realized that (even though it is nearly a month later) I never talked about the camping trip I went on. I had planned to post a bunch of the photos I took with my film camera, but then the film didn't work out and I was so sad about it that I forgot to even write some words down :(

I started camping when I was about 1 year old. Every summer, my parents would take me, my brother, and my two cousins camping at The Pinery. Those trips comprise some of my fondest memories. We used to all sit around in the afternoons, after we'd been to the beach, and eat peanut butter out of the jar with spoons while playing cards and laughing constantly. We'd take long bike rides and drive into town to play mini-put for our one day long excursion from the campground. It was perfect and I looked forward to it every year.

Now, things are different. All of the cousins are in different places, and for the last few years we haven't made it out. Except, there is a new tradition. My mom goes camping to the same place with a few close friends and their families. This year, I joined them for 4 days. It was amazing. Just to be out of the city, breathing that fresh foresty air is all I could ask for. It brings out those feels I was talking about in this post - all the forest faerie adventures I crave.

There is a magic that happens to a group of people who communally live outdoors together for a period of time. There were about 20 of us spread out across 3 campsites. For every dinner, a different family would plan and cook, and then other people would set up/ do dishes. We would all gather around 2 large picnic tables with great food, wine, laughter, and happy bellies. It is so filled with love and friendship and joy, and I am so glad I was able to re-experience the wonder of it all. Thank you <3

What does this all have to do with mac and cheese Maya?? Well let me tell you, absolutely nothing. Except I've had this clip playing around in my head and so I decided it was time.

This mac and cheese is the perfect comfort food. It's creamy, flavourful, and super easy to make! I really wanted a non-dairy version of a big ol' bowl of this stuff, and I think I cracked it. You can make it at 3am like Rory, or just settle for an appropriate evening dinner time (although what's the fun in that??).  Whenever, however, with whomever, just make this and cozy up with your favourite people and your favourite movie on a rainy day :)

Jazzed Up Mac and Cheese w/ Garlic, Kale and Tomatoes

Serves 4

*Cashew Cheese Sauce is adapted from YumUniverse - this post :)

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Ingredients

Cheese Sauce

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews (soaked for at lest 2 hours)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot powder (optional - makes the sauce thicker when heated)

Pasta

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 2 handfuls fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 bunch kale, rinsed and ripped
  • 1 pkg (340g) brown rice pasta

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Notes

Fill a medium sized pot with water and bring to a boil. Cook pasta as instructed on package.

While pasta is cooking, combine all of the cheese sauce ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth. Set aside.

In a cast iron skillet (or other pan) heat approx. 1 tbsp olive oil and sautee the garlic, tomatoes, basil, and kale until tender. Set aside

Once the pasta is cooked and drained, place it back in the pot it was cooked in and pour the cheese sauce over it. Stir over medium heat until the sauce thickens (2-3 minutes). Add in the garlic-tomato-basil-kale situation and mix it all up. Serve warm and enjoy!

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ps. I've found that rice pasta doesn't work very well when re-heated so this is best devoured immediately!

pps. MUCHO MAC AND CHEESEEEE!