chillin’ on winter break

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Baby, it’s cold outside. It has snowed everyday since Monday, and the kids and I are getting a little stir crazy.

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Before we go off on that, though, I want to know how everyone’s Christmases were. What did you do to celebrate? Did you have family in town? What did you bake? What did you give?

easy dinners from whole foods and zoës kitchen

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Can someone please tell me where December went?? I swear, it was just the end of November, and I was wondering why the month was taking so long, and then I blinked, and now it’s three days before Christmas. Talk about crazy. I still have peppers and tomatoes I bought at the beginning of the month that I still have not used. I keep wondering, Did I cook this month? Did we do anything?

I know we watched Elf. I know we set up the Christmas tree. I think that’s about it. We must have ordered a lot of pizza or something.

whole foods logoI know we ate several Whole Foods’ new frozen dinners. They had recently asked me to sample some of the new products, so I trekked up to Salt Lake and stocked up on a bunch. Our favorites were definitely the Italian dinners, particularly the Wood-Fired Buffalo Mozzarella Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes and the Gnocchi alla Sorrentina (our favorite). Their new line, with the white packaging and this logo, also includes desserts and ice cream.

To go along with the same idea, there’s a fantastic a restaurant called Zoës Kitchen* which has locations around the country. They wanted me to help get the word out about their company, which is a fast-casual restaurant that offers tasty and simple homemade Mediterranean-inspired dishes hand-prepared daily with wholesome, close-to-the-garden ingredients. They cater events, but the best part is, they sell convenient Fresh Take Tubs To Go, which can be purchased at their many locations around the country. They also provide recipes with the Fresh Take Tubs, so you can turn something simple into a great meal for your family. They asked me to try some of them out. I have to say, my favorite of all the recipes they sent was their Hash Browns.

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What made it special was that it was made from their Potato Salad. All you do heat up some oil in a hot skillet, and then add the potato salad. Once it cooks, all the flavor from the potato salad is already cooked in. You serve it with some eggs, and you have the perfect breakfast for dinner, which we love around here.

Now, I mostly cook from scratch. I usually do that because it saves money, and I know what is going into my food. But I am all for buying convenience foods if I can pronounce everything on the ingredients label, and it comes from Zoë’s Kitchen or Whole Foods. On crazy evenings around the holidays, I love knowing that a good meal is only ten minutes away.

*In an earlier version of this post, I made a mistake by saying that Zoës Kitchen Tubs To Go were available at Whole Foods, but I was mistaken. I’m very sorry for the confusion. To learn everything you need to know about Zoë’s Kitchen and their great products, please visit their website at www.zoeskitchen.com.

peanut butter brownies

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I’m sure you’ve been just as busy as I have been, but here’s just a quick something-or-other to add to your Christmas cookie boxes. They’re like eating pure evil.

our thoughts on connecticut, and how we trim our tree

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Those babies.

Those babies.

Nothing has ever shaken me quite like this has. As I am sure is true for most of you.

I won’t put into words what I see when I imagine the events of last Friday—they’re too horrible. As mothers and fathers, I think we have all projected ourselves into that situation, and we are left with questions with no answers: How will those families ever go on? How will those sweet, innocent survivors ever be able to sleep at night? Why them? Is there anything we can do?

I wish I could take the pain away, I wish I could give them hope, I wish I could run to them, and tell them they can lean on me.

All day on Friday, I kept thinking of how those little children, at the start of their day, were filled with wonder and anticipation for the holidays, and then they saw things no one should ever see in a lifetime.

Through my tears and agony for the terrible loss of their innocence, my mind kept turning to another child, whose life we celebrate at this time.

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