Tag Archives: Sectionals

Couch Food: 7 Steps to Mac & Cheese Perfection

We’re all just looking for a little bit of comfort. [Guest contributor: Michael Majlak]

As someone who truly believes that a good meal can transform the human soul, I’ve been spoiled with a mother who can really kick it up a notch in the kitchen. I probably never really gave her the appreciation she deserves for creating some insanely impressive homemade dishes.

Dig in!

Comfort on a plate

It’s one of those cliché arguments you have with your friends as a kid, and I couldn’t imagine it any other way. Every child should go through their adolescence thinking that their mom is the best cook in the entire universe. I can remember almost getting into physical fights with other kids that thought their mom made better meatloaf than mine!

One dish my mom has had perfected since my birth was this gooey, ridiculously delicious Mac & Cheese. Since we’re quickly slipping into the season for food that will keep us warm, I thought now would be the right time to bring you the recipe for a plate that anyone can make- and EVERYONE will enjoy. My mom, Robin, walked me through the whole process in 7 simple steps and I’ve laid them out below with some pictures to get your mouth watering just a bit. Throw on some sweatpants, follow the recipe, and bring a big bowl of this cheesy masterpiece back to your couch for an ultimate comfort session!

Just don’t try to say yours came out better than my mom’s…

SO MUCH CHEESE!

Gather your ingredients

Robin’s Mac & Cheese aka: the ultimate comfort food!

  • 1 lb. Cavatappi Pasta
  • 6 oz. Gruyere Cheese
  • 1 small onion
  • 12 oz. New York Extra Sharp Cheese
  • 3/4 stick butter
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  •  2 cups milk
  • 3 Tbs. flour
  • 1/2 cup Panko Crumbs
The beginning of something great!

Boil some pasta

  1. Preheat oven to 375º
  2. Bring water to boil in large pot; add a splash of olive oil, cook pasta until almost cooked.
  3. Grate cheeses, nutmeg and chop onion.
  4. Melt butter in saucepan add finely chopped onion, cook slowly until onion is translucent. Add flour to butter/onion mixture and heat over low for 2 minutes stirring constantly.
  5. Heat milk in separate pan or microwave until hot.
  6. Add milk to pot with butter & onion and whisk until hot [do not boil]. Add cheeses, nutmeg, salt & pepper to mixture. Blend well and when smooth pour cheese sauce over pasta in casserole dish. Top with Panko, salt and pepper.
  7. Bake 30 – 35 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.
Gooey, cheesy goodness.

The money shot

Bout to get crusty!

Sprinkle, sprinkle, sprinkle that Panko

Just eat it all, who cares.

Bake it to crusty perfection

Enjoy!

— Michael Majlak

 

 

 

 

 

The Couch Life of a Modern Jacques Cousteau

But what if I fail?

That question is one of the biggest obstacles we face in our lives. That fear of not being good enough or smart enough or strong enough suffocates us and stomps out our ability to achieve our dreams. As children, we had high hopes and extreme visions for what we would do with our lives. Some of us wanted to be astronauts. Others wanted to be chefs, or doctors, or dog trainers. But at some point, out of fear of the unknown, many of us abandon our dreams and opt for something more “secure”. Instead of shooting for the stars, we decide to take the safer path in order to avoid the risk of falling up short.

On a recent Lovesac business trip to Salt Lake City I sat down with Brent Andersen, the founder of the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium. After talking with Brent for a few minutes, I quickly realized he was not one of those people who took the safe road in life. Brent spent his childhood couch life being deeply inspired by  Jacques Cousteau and his underwater adventures. He created a strategy to build a chain of aquariums and a research vessel. His purpose: to help educate the world on our fragile ecosystem, with the notion that: “We are all connected,” and that we need to understand that.

Two entrepreneurs for the price of one.

Brent Andersen and myself at the Living Planet Aquarium in Utah.

Brent is an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur. Even in the face of every possible adversity, he pushed forward to achieve his ultimate vision.  As an entrepreneur Brent shared four things that were key to his ultimate success. 1. Think big 2. Persevere, no matter the cost. 3. Surround yourself with smart people, and other entrepreneurs. 4. Once you arrive, keep going.

His next step? Hopefully to take his dream to the next level, building more aquariums, and linking them with a network of exploratory ocean vessels roaming the world making new discoveries. Sound too ambitious? Too fantastic? It is. And that’s why I love this guy. The next Jacques Cousteau, and an inspiration to us all.

–Shawny
Founder, LOVESAC

 

Celebrity Couch Life: The Canavan Sisters

Like everyone else in the world, the people you see on TV have a life on a couch too. Liz and Marie Canavan, the infamous twins from the Amazing Race Season 19, invited me to their place on Manhattan’s Upper East Side to chat about their couch life. We quickly found that when the girls aren’t on television entertaining millions of viewers, they spend time on the couch just like the rest of us. I never grow tired of seeing how reflecting on our couch life brings back some of our fondest and even most touching memories.

The Canavan twins could probably complete every sentence for the other. I think that in the 15 minutes that we hung out on their couch, they actually spoke in unison for some portion of it (something twins are known for). This interview spanned the entire emotional spectrum- carrying the girls from the happiness of sisterly memories on their childhood couch, through the heartbreaking moments they shared upon losing their father, and up to the current uncertainty they’re feeling as they pack up their apartment to live apart from each other for the first time in their lives.

A twin's couch life!

Liz, Marie, and I in their Manhattan walk-up

Do you have a family couch in your life? One you inherited, got stuck with, or possibly stole from your family like the one that Liz and Marie are about to leave behind in their New York walk-up?

–Shawny

The New Kitchen Table

We all have a life on a couch—every last one of us. Much of the joy that underlies our natural attraction to our life on a couch has nothing to do with the couch at all, let alone the book, TV, movie, laptop or whatever other form of entertainment might be consumed there. The real joy comes from the time spent there in the company of those who matter to us most. I suppose this is what makes the couch so special as a fixture in our lives. It is not a chair—it is a shared chair. It is wide, and soft, and low and inviting. It is beautiful. It is not furniture—it is a platform for living—one, that despite having a thousand years of history, was seemingly designed especially for this era, for our way of life.

The couch is the new center of modern civilization. For better of for worse it has replaced the kitchen table as the place where people come together, where people communicate in person, where people enjoy shared experiences—which by the way, is the definition of intimacy. Some people sit there together, facing the center and chat. Some people sit in parallel, focused on the same screen ahead. Some sit close, others apart, some cuddle, some lay sideways, some build forts with kids, some pile-on with friends, and some make-out with lovers. Some hold hands, even as others text, surf, shop, work, or game in solitude—yet often they are still “connected.” But regardless of how they do it—people spend time together on the couch…and that is a beautiful thing.

As a culture, we are more aware of, and more fascinated than ever by how others live. Whether celebrities, or whether just “the Jones’s” next door, thanks to modern media we have access to more personal information than ever—and this helps bring context to our own lives. It is my personal mission to shine a light onto this “life on a couch” that we share—one by one, story by story—in hopes to further our mutual awareness and respect, both as a people and as a generation. That we might recognize: regardless of our income level, social status, marital status, or personal travails, we are all just in this together, trying to make it work, trying to enjoy life, to find meaning, to contribute in some way, and to connect with those who love us.

This is life on a couch—and it is interesting, because you are.

— Shawny

My life

…nearly every night