Whoa. Has it really only been one week since Thanksgiving? It’s like the moment the dishes were finished (oh wait, I didn’t do the dishes!) my head was pointed North and ready to dive right into Santaland. And I couldn’t be happier about it.
I’m trying my best to not get caught up in the must-do’s and will-try’s of the holiday obligations and instead am taking it one minute at a time.
And that’s why I had to take a minute, regroup and do as Frankie says—Relax!—and put my feet up in front of the fire. It’s my favorite spot this time of year.
We arrived back home from our week in Memphis and Nashville on Thanksgiving day just as most of you were diving into the cranberry sauce. It was an incredible trip and I’m so glad to have shared it with my lil’ ol’ family, learning more about our country’s history and to visit friends we haven’t seen for far too long. I have a few posts about our trip with a few eats mixed in that I’ll be sharing soon. And let me just say, there’s nothing quite like true, Southern-style food.
Since we were unprepared and unmotivated to cook the turkey ala dinner king once we rolled our bags into our home sweet home, instead we wandered down to our friend’s house and crashed their dinner. They’re good like that. I ended up getting in the kitchen for a bit but Sherrie had prepared nearly everything, including this amazing pie that you should make any day of the year.
But that was a whole holiday ago! Time to get into the latest swing of the season with a few Friday Faves…
This is a sponsored post on behalf of DOLE Garden Soups and the Mom It Forward Blogger Network.
As a mom of an only child, I’m that mom who is constantly lamenting that my little baby is growing up way. too. soon.
The fact that my little girl is turning into a young teen has snuck up on me. Every other month I notice how I have to raise my arms a little higher to make that red-headed top knot in her hair. When she’ll let me. This year ever since school started she’s no longer coming into mom and dad’s bed for her usual morning snuggle. It’s killing me. And she pays no heed when I suggest what she should wear to school these days. The girl knows what she likes, when she likes it.
But it isn’t all bad. She’s become totally self-driven in getting her homework done, feeding the dogs and OMG! she’s even started making her bed without being asked.
One of the best things about her becoming more independent is she’s totally into making her own lunch, and this girl’s favorite thing hands down for lunch, snack and dinner is soup, soup, soup.
It’s the time to do the dance and fancy footwork when toeing the line between giving into each and every one of your holiday mouth cravings (hello to Mom’s homemade fudge) and listening to your head—and often times your bloated belly—and take a side step to the lighter side of everything bright, fresh and joyful that winter’s produce forks over.
It bears repeating that salads should never, ever be bastioned to only spring and summer eats. Let the cucumbers and tomatoes wait for their day in the sun because winter is the time to really play with our produce.
This salad is one of my everyday favorites. In fact, it was one of my normal weekday lunches that after I put it together made me thing, “Geez, that’s a great salad. I should make that for the blog sometime.”
Why I think that the way I eat on a simple, everyday level isn’t blog worthy astounds me sometimes. Because good food doesn’t have to be fancy, or ironic or always Pinterest perfect. Nope, not at your house or here at mine, either.
I can’t think of a better way to start off the holiday baking season than with a festive cookie recipe from one of my favorite food bloggers Deborah Harroun, author of the food blog Taste and Tell, and her new cookbook Red Velvet Lover’s Cookbook.
If you don’t already follow her blog, Deb might still be a familiar face to FoodieCrush readers. She and her husband Josh along with their three children, Abbi, Easton and Camden (in utero!) joined me two years ago at the State Fair for an article in my summer issue of FoodieCrush magazine. They rode rides, hit the games and noshed on favorite fair food which Deb took back to her own kitchen and created fair-inspired recipes you can see here.
Deb has always been a huge supporter and inspiration to me and to FoodieCrush. So when she offered to send me a copy of her new cookbook, Red Velvet Lover’s Cookbook, I knew before even seeing it that I’d be finding plenty of delicious influences. These Cream Cheese Thumbprint cookies are pretty much just the start.
Every year, the holiday season begs for taking note of all things nostalgic. From shopping mall Christmas Santas to familiar family stories, reminiscing and relishing the familiar sights, sounds and smells of the holidays goes hand in hand with the season itself.
While the destination of where we gather changes from year to year, being with those we love is always the centerpiece of our holiday table. Family is that one essential ingredient that makes the holidays the special occassions that they are: familiar but in so many ways, brand new.
But sometimes, traditions are begging to be broken, and sometimes you just need to bust out of the same old and put a new spin on things.