Mac & Cheese Wednesday: Creamy Macaroni with Brie and Ritz Crackers, and Some "Fancy" Reads



It's Mac & Cheese Wednesday, here on Silver Shoes & Rabbit Holes. Today's mac & cheese was found via one of my favorite recipe blogs, Half-Baked Harvest.  Of course, I always wind up making do in the kitchen, which is why my mac & cheese is just a little different from hers. I'm still using up my shell pasta, and I used actual Ritz crackers, instead of the fancier ones in her photos. The biggest difference, however, came in terms of cheeses. The original recipe, which you can read here, calls for four cheeses: sharp white cheddar, fontina, havarti, and Brie. Well, my usual store was out of fontina that day (and honestly, fancy cheese gets so expensive!), so I decided to use extra white cheddar.






I do love a recipe that calls for garlic, even in a light amount, such as this one. Cayenne pepper is a plus. But my favorite spice to use in mac and cheese? Ta da! Dry mustard.




This is what it looked like, straight out of the oven. It was so pretty in my French white Corningware.



So...  the verdict? This was a surprisingly mild take on macaroni and cheese. Even the extra cup of sharp white cheddar did not cancel the smooth mild creaminess of the havarti and Brie. The girls and I decided that despite the fancy cheese, this was a bowl full of comfort. It didn't taste fancy at all. (The Ritz cracker topping probably helped with that, too.) Someday, we'll try it with the fontina. Forgive me, but it was past dinner time, and I didn't want to race around town to find it.

This is me, cooking in real life. I'm a mommyish-bookish blogger, not a food blogger. Go to the real food blog to get the proper recipe. It's so worth it.




The girls and I had the exact same idea when we considered a book to pair with this recipe. The fanciness, like Brie? Why, Fancy Nancy, of course!

You're surely familiar with the Fancy Books by now, right? She's been around for over a decade and there are more books than I can even begin to name.

Nancy loves everything fancy, but much like her family and her homemade, craftsy decor and fashion, the books are like comfort food. And by the way, her best friend is named Bree.




We still prefer the lovely hardcover picture books, although we certainly had our fair share of 8 x 8 paperbacks and I Can Read books in the past. For older, independent readers, the Nancy Clancy chapter book series is very cute, too. 

We are a bit behind: Fancy Nancy: Saturday Night Sleepover came out back in February, and we have not read it yet. 

Fancy Nancy: Saturday Night Sleepover
by Jane O'Connor, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser.
HarperCollins, 2016.

Fancy Nancy is fresh in our brains, because Little Sis decided I needed to read some of the books to her this week. My Nancy voice was a bit rusty (yes, I have a Fancy Nancy voice), because sadly, it had been so long since I'd read one aloud. We read the first book, which is still such a sweet, sweet story. We also read Bonjour, Butterfly.

The first book was published when Big Sis was only three months old. That's so crazy. When she was three, she got her big Nancy doll from Target. The doll still comes down to play, although she's Little Sis's friend now. (Big Sis has no use for anything fancy, although she has a soft spot for these books.)

Speaking of Little Sis, I'll leave you with a brief glimpse at her third birthday party, almost 5-and-a-half years ago. Sigh.







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Favorite Fairy Tales Series, Edited by Virginia Haviland: Part Two



As promised, here are three more books in Virginia Haviland's Fairy Tales Told Around the World series. 


I'll kick things off with 1961's Favorite Fairy Tales Told in Ireland, illustrated by Artur Marokvia.

Favorite Fairy Tales Told in Ireland, retold from the Irish storytellers by Virginia Haviland, illustrated by Artur Marokvia. Little, Brown and Company, 1961.


"The Bee, the Harp, the Mouse, and the Bum-Clock"

"The Old Hag's Long Leather Bag"

"Billy Beg and the Bull"

"The Widow's Lazy Daughter"

"The Widow's Lazy Daughter"

"Patrick O'Donnell and the Leprechaun"


I love Trina Schart Hyman's illustrations for Favorite Fairy Tales Told in Czechoslovakia, published in 1966.


Favorite Fairy Tales Told in Czechoslovakia, edited by Virginia Haviland, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman. Little, Brown and Company, 1966.


"The Twelve Months"

"The Twelve Months"

"Kuratko the Terrible"

"The Wood Fairy"

"The Wood Fairy"

"The Shepherd's Nosegay"

And finally, more Adrienne Adams fairy tale illustrations! (See here, here, here, and here.) These are from 1963's Favorite Fairy Tales Told in Scotland.

Favorite Fairy Tales Told in Scotland, retold by Virginia Haviland, illustrated by Adrienne Adams. Little, Brown and Company, 1963.



"The Page Boy and the Silver Goblet"

"The Page Boy and the Silver Goblet"

"The Page Boy and the Silver Goblet"

"The Brownie of Fernden"

"The Brownie of Fernden"



As I wrote yesterday, most of the books in the series (which also include tales from England, Russia, India, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Denmark, Japan, Greece, Italy, and Norway) seem to be easily available via Amazon.


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Favorite Fairy Tales Series, Edited by Virginia Haviland: Part One



It's time for another vintage fairy tale book post! I found these books on the library website, while searching for Irish fairy tale books for St. Patrick's Day. Virginia Haviland was a children's librarian and writer who compiled collections of fairy tales for children from around the world. The series was published by Little, Brown and Company in the 1950s, '60, and '70s. My library had five books in storage that I was able to check out. I accidentally requested the Scottish tales book, which was not allowed to be checked out (nor was the Norway book, illustrated by Leonard Weisgard - "in library use only," grrrr!), but they sent it to my branch anyway, and I took it home for a couple of days, too. The collections were a lot of fun, and the illustrations are to die for. I have so many pictures to share, I decided to split the books into two posts. Enjoy!

First up, Favorite Fairy Tales Told In France, illustrated by one of my very favorites, Roger Duvoisin!

Favorite Fairy Tales Told in France, retold from Charles Perrault and other
French storytellers by Virginia Haviland, illustrated by Roger Duvoisin. Little, Brown and Company, 1959.


"The Twelve Dancing Princesses"

"The Twelve Dancing Princesses"

"Puss in Boots"

"Beauty and the Beast"

"The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood"

"The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood"


From 1966, Favorite Fairy Tales Told in Sweden, illustrated by Ronni Solbert.

Favorite Fairy Tales Told In Sweden, retold by Virginia Haviland, illustrated by Ronni Solbert.
Little, Brown and Company, 1966.


"The Boy and the Water-Sprite"

"The Boy and the Water-Sprite"

"The Old Woman and the Tramp"

"The Old Woman and the Tramp"

"Pinkel"

"Pinkel"

"Lars, My Lad!"


 And the last book of the day, Favorite Fairy Tales Told in Polandillustrated by Felix Hoffmann, published in 1963.


Favorite Fairy Tales Told In Poland, retold by Virginia Haviland, illustrated by Felix Hoffmann. Little, Brown and Company, 1963.


"About the Hedgehog Who Became Prince"

"About the Hedgehog Who Became Prince"

"The Jolly Tailor"

"Jan, Wonderface, and Flamebird"

"Jan, Wonderface, and Flamebird"


There are lot of used books available on Amazon, including the ten my library doesn't have. I think I want to start a collection!

More to come! Stop by Tuesday!


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