Hopes and Dreams for Spring

March has come in like a lion. The weather today makes me feel like I should be putting up Christmas decor instead of looking towards spring. But hey, on the positive side, I have a day off of work, and am not even going to think about having to make up this day when it is actually nice outside. Wait. . .I’m staying positive, right? I digress.

Another positive about this weather is it is still time for fill-up-your-belly-with-warmth-and-goodness food. Luckily for me, I had some leftover soup that I could quickly warm up for a delicious lunch.

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Warmth + Healing

I love the smell of onions + butter.  Like, love love. If I could bottle that smell, I would. To me it smells like comfort, deliciousness, and warmth. You just know with that smell wafting through the air, something wonderfully good is about to happen.

That was the case at our house tonight. I don’t know about where you live, but here – it is cold. Downright stupid frigid. In addition, my husband has been sick for days, and my oldest daughter has not been feeling well, either. We needed something warm and healing on the dinner table tonight.

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The Joy of Cookies – Four Ways

Well before I went GF, I stumbled upon a really delicious flour-free peanut butter cookie recipe. Actually, my daughter did – in her kids’ Emeril Lagasse cookbook; you know, as in, “BAM!” These are the most peanut buttery, delicious cookies – and that is no lie. I take my cookies, especially my peanut butter ones quite seriously. His recipe is kind of unbelievable because there are only three ingredients: peanut butter, sugar, and an egg. That’s it.

Well, I’ve tweaked these cookies a bit over time and I think I have improved upon the celebrity chef’s. Oops! (but, not really oops, because dang, they’re good!)

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Date Night-In: Short Ribs

We’ve decided to forgo going out to eat for a while…            IMG_0414

Though, we find “date night” to be really important. Day-to-day busyness and family responsibilities leave us wanting time and space to ourselves – as a couple…remember that? We really do have names that aren’t “Mom” & “Dad?”

But now, our date night is a weekly weeknight financial seminar that we are attending. What? That doesn’t sound romantic to you? Well,  becoming financially free sounds downright steamy to me. So, in the spirit of being financially careful and more responsible, we have stopped dining out for now. Though, after our seminars we’ve decided we will splurge and  go out for coffee, or a drink, or a dessert – on the cheap. And in lieu of date night dining out, I’ll be making a special dinner once a week, just for the two of us, at home.  Don’t worry – the kids won’t go hungry . . . I just make them something a little more their style, earlier.

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Summer Slackers Unite! (And Eat Salad.)

I’m a slacker.

Hey, it’s summer. You know? The lazy days of…? So, I’ve been lazy. Oh, I’ve been cooking- but being careful to measure, write down the recipes, take photos and blog? Nope. Not so much.  We have been leisurely eating dinner late, usually after sitting on the patio as the day winds down.  We’ve been eating well and I’m going to get back into the swing. Really I am.

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Summer Rolls…Make Me Feel Fine…

Ever since my kids were old enough to stand up on a chair pulled up at the counter, they have been helping me in the kitchen.  I am a firm believer in a few things:

Kids need to help out ’round the house

Kids are more likely to eat what they have had a hand in preparing.

Less pickiness =good!

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Souper Yum!

*This is an updated and improved version*

I belong in SA – Soupers Anonymous.  That’s right, I have a soup addiction; especially if you include stew and chili in that category.  Peace & happiness come all together, piping hot in a bowl with a soup spoon on the side.  I find almost as much comfort in throwing things together in a pot to love on each other as I do eating it.  You know the slogan, “Soup is good food”.  So true, so true.

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BUTT, You Must Try It!

*This is a pre-gluten free recipe, so it suggests serving on bread. Gluten free without the bread…or, serve it on a toasty gluten free baguette, a crisp corn tortilla, or all on its own, topped with slaw. The carbs are not the star in this dish, anyway. :) )

Within the past few weeks we’ve had to throw out both our waffle iron and blender.  Maybe that seems like no big deal, but both of them were wedding presents.  We are nearing 15 years and apparently that means small appliances have met their life span.  I love the idea of an anniversary shower with registries, oh about every 15 years or so,  but I don’t think that idea will catch on.  Much to my Pottery Barn dismay.

Another bridal shower gift of mine that will probably outlive me is my slow cooker.  Sure it is 15 years old too, but it doesn’t get nearly the wear and tear of some other things.  In fact, I have in the past  forgotten I owned one.  Pretty sad. (I sure hope whoever gave me that thing does not read this!)  I have often told friends that I don’t really “do” the crock pot.  It’s great for potluck style get-togethers to keep things hot, but for cooking…ummm, not so much.  I remember perusing the little booklet that came along with it, and I believe I got a “Crockery Cooking” cookbook, as well.  In the early days I tried a thing or two and was not impressed.  But, I am a sucker for “slow cooking”.  Braised meat – yes, please!  Slowly smoked, fall-off the bones ribs – oh yeah!  Stews or sauces that have cooked for hours, even more succulent the next day – ooh baby!

My store recently had pork butt on sale.  It is really pork shoulder, not…you know.  If you’ve ever had pulled pork, you have eaten it.  It is an inexpensive cut of meat, and lends itself to slow cooking, because of its high content of fat and connective tissue.  Cook it slowly, and once all of that breaks down, it melts in your mouth.  Delicious.   We have done pulled pork on the grill, dry rubbed and smoked, then combined with a classic thin, vinegary sauce, and let me tell you…you want a dinner invitation.

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