United By Watercolor

January 21, 2012

My great, great aunt Lillian Causey was on her way to becoming a famous painter when she passed away in her forties.

She painted this watercolor portrait of my grandparents on their wedding day that I published in this post

In that post, Hillary commented on the photo, prompting my mom to write a response about Lillian.

Just this morning I received an email from Dan, who said he found a watercolor of his Uncle Eugene Frey, who attended Peabody Conservatory in 1940. The portrait was signed Lillian Causey. He found my blog in a Google search!

Judging by the similarity of the paintings and signature, I’d say it was my aunt’s work!

Eugene Frey, 1940 (Baltimore Peabody Conservatory) 001Blog

Just another one of those internet connections : )


Remember the days of Family Matters and Full House? Those nights when mom announced you could eat by the TV for fun? And she whipped up a big pot of gooey mac and cheese? That’s the vibe I was going for at lunch today. I wanted something warm and comforting.


Starring this:


Adult-ified with some swiss chard:


And trading Full House for House Hunters!


But sadly, this was not very good. It wasn’t very cheesy and was kind of sticky/dry. Not what I remember from my childhood! I think I recall the kind of the squeeze pack of “cheese” being the tastiest. I should have consulted with my mac and cheese expert 5th grade self.


Apple on the side!



Today has been a lot of this and this. Procrastination. Avoidance of the outdoors. I think it’s time to do some yoga or take a walk. I’m getting a little cabin fever. Wish there was enough snow on the ground to go sledding! That’s the ultimate workout.

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{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More January 21, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Mac and Cheese from a box is by far one of my favorite comfort foods. I “adult-ify” by stirring in some frozen veggies when the noodles are almost done cooking. We used to also add tuna as a kids sometimes, so on occasion I do that as well.

…Man, now I want mac and cheese! 😉


2 Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries January 21, 2012 at 2:32 pm

i was just thinking the same thing… wish there was enough snow on the ground to go sledding! so fun and like you said, an awesome workout walkin up those hills!


3 Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) January 21, 2012 at 2:34 pm

I totally think the squeeze pack stuff (velveeta stuff) is the best! I LOVE mac and cheese!


4 Hillary January 21, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Your great-aunt’s paintings really are beautiful, Kath. What a cool connection you made!

And I had boxed mac and cheese for dinner last night, probably for the first time since my freshman year of college. Like you, I was hoping for something more like how I remember it. Apparently, boxed mac and cheese tastes better when 1. you’re ten or 2. you’re a starving, inebriated college student. Lesson learned!


5 Felicia (Natural + Balanced) January 21, 2012 at 2:40 pm

love the bowl!


6 Erika - The Teenage Taste January 21, 2012 at 2:50 pm

That is such a cool thing about that guy contacting you about another one of your aunt’s works. Her watercolor portraits really are beautiful! Have a great day, Kath! :-)


7 Kristen January 21, 2012 at 2:52 pm

I always follow Annie’s Mac and cheese alternate directions and mix the powdered cheese packet with plain yogurt instead of the typical milk/butter combo. Much creamier and tangier!


8 KathEats January 21, 2012 at 4:20 pm

I was wondering if that would work – I bet the tanginess is wonderful! Maybe I’ll do that with my leftover serving!


9 Gretchen January 21, 2012 at 9:33 pm

I’s really good that way!


10 Gretchen January 21, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Sorry “it’s”…


11 Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles January 21, 2012 at 2:53 pm

I miss the days of Full House and Family Matters….. Wait, I work out to Family Matters every day. So, I guess I still live in those days 😉
Your grown up mac n cheese looks fab!


12 Robin January 21, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Your post reminded me of this taste test article I read a while ago about packaged mac&cheese…


Maybe the white cheddar is better?? Love the paintings!!


13 KathEats January 21, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Kraft for the win!


14 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats January 21, 2012 at 3:01 pm

I tend to hole up in my apartment too when it’s chilly, but sometimes I go crazy and just need to get out! My brother uses the Velveeta mac and cheese, which is the one with the pouch of cheese. I was more of a Kraft fan.


15 Allison January 21, 2012 at 3:05 pm

There’s barely enough snow [and ice] to go sledding- a saucer sled would zip you right down the hill! One of my fave lunches growing up was white cheddar mac and cheese because I only had it when I was over at my BFF’s house… Things at other peoples houses always tastes better 😛


16 Susan H. @ The Food Allergy Chronicles January 21, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Creativity obviously runs in the family! Your pictures alone of your morning oatmeal could be considered works of art! Enough snow here for tobaganning…my kids headed out this morning and I took in a good hike. The fresh air was wonderful…I highly recommend getting outside…helps clear out the cobwebs! Not much of a boxed mac and cheese girl now…your right, it somehow doesn’t taste the same. Much prefer a real cheesey sauce…or in my son’s case…Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds…he has a dairy allergy…it turns out really yummy!


17 Lindsey @ happyhoneycrisp January 21, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Greens with mac&cheese is an amazing combo! Where did you get the swiss chard? I seriously love that stuff. I like the comment by Kristen about mixing the cheese with yogurt, I would have never thought of that!


18 Roxanne January 21, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Okay, I am making some, I have to grate some vegan cheese….


19 Roxanne January 21, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Oh yeah, I add diced tomatoes to mine, does anybody else do this?


20 Maria @ Sinfully Nutritious January 21, 2012 at 3:12 pm

I love adding nutritional yeast and vegan sour cream for extra creamy and cheesiness. So good. My daughter has been sledding and snow boarding in the backyard all day. I envy her energy. I have had a belly ache so I have not been able to join the fun. Maybe after some tea, toast and ginger ale! :)


21 kathleen @ the daily crumb January 21, 2012 at 3:14 pm

i think what you need is the blue box of kraft!

full house was a childhood staple for me :)


22 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen January 21, 2012 at 3:29 pm

I was just talking about TGIF with a coworker and how we would get so excited for those shows every Friday and watch all 4 of them as a family. Full House of course reigns supreme but I really loved Family Matters too :)


23 Elisabeth January 21, 2012 at 3:32 pm

I loved Friday night tv as a kid, especially Full House (which I still enjoy watching reruns of :) )


24 Rebecca @ Runner with an Appetite January 21, 2012 at 3:34 pm

How freaky! I just had mac and cheese and swiss chard for lunch, too! Kind of have goosebumps over that.


25 KathEats January 21, 2012 at 4:21 pm
26 Elise January 21, 2012 at 3:40 pm

As far as natural boxed mac and cheese goes Annie’s brand is pretty good (using the alternate directions calling for milk and butter). It’s a little salty (but I find that true of all natural boxed mac and cheese) and a little bit grittier than the original blue box, but other than that I think it’s pretty close to the classic.


27 Mama Pea January 21, 2012 at 4:06 pm

We had mac and cheese for lunch too! With peas, of course.


28 Pat January 21, 2012 at 11:45 pm

Oh I love some peas stirred into my mac’n cheese!


29 Anne P January 22, 2012 at 9:02 am

Me too!


30 Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga January 21, 2012 at 4:13 pm

That is such a cool story about the painting…and you’re right, I bet it IS your aunt’s work!

Mac n cheese. Havent had it in ages but when I do, I usually try to add some veggies and clean out the bottom of the refrigerator drawer b/c all those odds n ends taste better coated in cheese :)


31 Dee January 21, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Ohh! I should probably use my mac and cheese too! I love pasta for lunch! :)

ps. I loved Full House and Family Matters! LOVED.


32 Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs January 21, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Oooooh sledding does sound good right about now!


33 Hannah @ Eat, Drink and Save Money January 21, 2012 at 4:32 pm

That is always disappointing when childhood food doesn’t taste the same. I made spaghetti the other night and it was just too plain, i guess my palette really has changed!


34 Roxanne January 21, 2012 at 6:37 pm

Doesn’t it? I never used to like veggies, now I eat them fresh all the time! It’s weird, they taste good now! I just made mac N Cheese (vegan) with diced tomatoes… all because of this post!


35 carrie January 21, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Not sure if you would try it, but Amy’s frozen mac and cheese is the best!! We buy it once in awhile for my daughter when we know we’re in a pinch. I always find myself wanting to lick the container clean!


36 Julie January 21, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Velveeta is better! I actually got some as a side to a sandwich I bought today. I got a few bites in!


37 Amanda January 21, 2012 at 4:54 pm

I used to love that artificial velveeta mac & cheese as a kid. My mom would never buy it, but I always ate it when I went to friends’ houses. :)

I actually enjoyed the fluffy snow today. We got about 5 inches and I loved seeing my new puppy’s reaction to her first snow. She’s a rescue from Florida, so she wasn’t sure what to make of it!


38 Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife January 21, 2012 at 5:01 pm

I want snow on the grown too so I can sled!!

I ate some mac and cheese (recipe by Oh she glows) and it was awesome!


39 jana @ newly wife healthy life January 21, 2012 at 5:09 pm

As bad as it is for you, the velveeta mac n’ cheese is the best!! It has the squeeze pouch you’re looking for.. :-) I love the painting story! That’s why the internet is so awesome, you would have never gotten to see that picture your aunt painted if it wasn’t for this blog!


40 Heather H @ Run Eat Play January 21, 2012 at 5:33 pm

I was actuall watching Boy Meets Workd today – isn’t that funny? I’m actually not really a Mac and cheese fan, besides homemade!


41 Lexi @ Cura Personalis Foodie January 21, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Agreed with cabin fever. Unfortunately, accounting homework is NOT helping that 😛


42 Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin January 21, 2012 at 6:40 pm

I loved mixing canned tuna into my mac and cheese as a kid! It’s been years since I had it though… I’m curious to see if I’d still like it!


43 [New Balance] Nicole January 21, 2012 at 6:55 pm

WOW. That watercolor is amazing! I love using water colors. And you gave me the perfect idea of what I will be making for dinner- veggie mac and cheese :)


44 Cait's Plate January 21, 2012 at 7:07 pm

I just finished shoveling! I definitely considered it my workout! I think I would have rather been sledding!


45 sarah January 21, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Wow. Those watercolor paintings are so special. What a sad story and an amazing talent.


46 Tiffany January 21, 2012 at 7:10 pm

The snow looks so pretty! I had cabin fever too this morning…it was raining in LA. but to my surprise by mid-afternoon the sun came out and it was beautiful! went for a walk with mom :) perfect saturday!

By the way how do you cook your swiss chard? I bought collard greens once and steamed them and they were awful :( lol

I love your posts…they always motivate me to eat healthy and the pictures are beautiful!


47 KathEats January 22, 2012 at 10:49 am

I sauteed it in a little olive oil and salt on the stovetop. Your collards probably just needed some flavor – drizzle on some maple syrup!


48 Lauren @ What Lauren Likes January 21, 2012 at 7:15 pm

those watercolours are amazing! Have a great Saturday 😀


49 Stacy @ Say It With Sprinkles January 21, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Ahhh, those were the days! =) Sometimes I forget just how fun such simple things were as a kid!


50 Trisha January 21, 2012 at 8:14 pm

We did a grilled cheese sampler for our snowy comfort food dinner.. On deck was grilled provolone w pesto on Whole foods bakery crusty italian, Grilled Cheddar w bacon on 365 rye, grilled buffalo wing cheddar w avocado on Alvarado Flax seed bread, and my favorite and not at all cheesy, Grilled peanut butter and banana. Was very comforting, filling and YUMMY! (The bites of whole foods dessert sampling was a great ending!). Why is melty warm cheese soooo comforting!?!?


51 colleen January 21, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Others have mentioned Annies Mac & Cheese… it’s the best, and they have the squeeze pouch cheese kind, too! It’s called “Deluxe” and they have one with whole wheat pasta and one with white cheddar… they’re totally awesome! I usually mix in sauteed broccoli and garlic for health’s sake, it’s super yummy that way :)


52 Mom January 21, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Love the Lillian Causey connection. Dan, if you’re reading, I’ll touch base with my mom and get back to you on some details. My best guess is Lillian was born around 1900 but I will find out the scoop. Thanks so much for sending Kath a photo of the drawing. My mom, an artist herself, is going to get a huge kick out of thi.


53 Larbs January 21, 2012 at 9:02 pm

White cheddar is always better!


54 Kristen @ Change of Pace January 21, 2012 at 10:49 pm

When I make mac-n-cheese for my kids we do whole wheat pasta mixed with cheddar and little bit of earth balance butter. They love it! It’s delicious, healthy and simple!


55 Khushboo January 22, 2012 at 12:00 am

You need some Kraft in your life :)


56 Anne P January 22, 2012 at 9:01 am

How amazing to have found that watercolor! The internet really is amazing – my great grandfather was a decently famous writer and we found a poem of his on eBay once – handwritten – that we had no idea existed. What a treasure.


57 Anna January 22, 2012 at 9:21 am

Add some shredded cheddar- it can’t be bad! :)
And that is so cool about your aunt’s painting. Her work is beautiful! There’s something about those random connections to humans we’ve never met that is really fun and satisfying… And the Internet makes it happen so much more than it used to!


58 Angel7 January 22, 2012 at 10:41 am

I have found some brands of macaroni and cheese to be dry and sticky and not very good!

My husband took our daughter sled riding yesterday. He built a hill with the snow, and she slid down it with her sled.



59 Emily January 22, 2012 at 6:30 pm

That is true. The one with the packet of velveeta is the most delicious (and therefore the worst for you, I am certain). I still make it, but throw chicken and veggies in there too to round it out and make it more filling. If it lasts for several meals, its better, right?


60 Hannah January 22, 2012 at 7:23 pm

What beautiful detail work! I haven’t seen that in watercolor pieces with people as the subject. Wow!
Mmm mac and cheese.
Now I have “Everywhere you look…” and “It’s a rare condition, this day and age…” in my head. Ah, the shows o’ the good ol’ days!


61 Jessica January 23, 2012 at 11:12 am

Must have been a macaroni and cheese kind of day. I had macaroni too! Except…I found a bug in mine. It must have gotten itself stuck in the noodle while still in the box. Ewww!!! I don’t think I’ll be eating mac & cheese anytime soon.


62 ~Christy January 23, 2012 at 1:58 pm

The organic box brands just aren’t as good as what I remember either. :( Making from scratch is my fav way to go! Sledding is the best ever!! Next to making snow angels…


63 Amanda January 23, 2012 at 3:55 pm

For good boxed mac that is still healthy (well as healthy as possible) I highly recommend Annies. My kids love it and I don’t feel SO bad about them eating it. Admittedly I sneak a bite here and there and have to admit its pretty decent.


64 Charise January 24, 2012 at 9:10 am

Ahhh! I love when the Internet helps make connections like that – so cool!

I remember liking the liquid cheese pack (velveeta shells & cheese) better than the blue box powder, but man, does any boxed mac + cheese take me back to being a kid!


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