When you think of the holidays, and this time of year in general, what flavors come to mind? You might instantly be drawn to thoughts of crisp cool peppermint, or spicy gingerbread, sweet sugar cookies heaped with sprinkles, and cocoa and marshmallows by the fire. Sweets often take the lead during the holidays, but there’s still a lot of room for the savory.
Thanksgiving is all about tradition. From the turkey to the cranberries, the menu for the holiday is usually as set in stone as you can get. Every year, though, I like to try to change up (at least) one little thing about my Thanksgiving dinner. And although people are often skeptical, me changing things up a bit has led to some new family favorites, that step in year after year as new traditions. This time around, I decided to try a new pumpkin pie recipe.
It took a little while this year, but our after school craziness is officially in full swing. I remember when my kids were younger, and parents of older kids were always telling me, “Just you wait.” when I’d remark on how busy their afternoons were. Well, that time is here for me now, and it seems like I spend at least a chunk of many afternoons running someone around town.
On nights like that, I’m eager to find solutions to help ease the craziness, and help dinner get to the table quickly…because I know my busy bunch is hungry.
If my kids ask what’s for dinner, and I say “Chicken and pasta”, I’m usually safe from the “Uuuuuuugh! Noooooo! WHAT? Eeeeeew!” that would have accompanied scarier responses for them like “We’re having fish” or “I’ve decided to experiment with tofu today”. I can mix other things in with the chicken and pasta, things that they don’t usually like, and they won’t complain a whole lot because they just focus on the chicken and pasta. Those are their comfort foods…their no complaint foods. So, I’m always looking for new ways to jazz up the ordinary and introduce them to new and exciting flavors and variations on their favorites.
I am a big believer in the family dinner.
A friend recently asked me what sorts of traditions I’ve continued with my children that my parents started with me, and the first thing out of my mouth was, “Well, we make a point to eat dinner together every night.” Dinnertime is our time to unwind from the day, and reconnect as a family. I make it a priority for all of us to eat together, even though our schedules are busy, and I often feel like I’m driving a shuttle bus around after school. Eating dinner as a family was part of my childhood, and I am glad that I’m able to make it a consistent part of my children’s world as well. It’s our time to talk, to discuss, to laugh and to learn about each other and our days. In this busy, crazy whirlwind of activity lifestyle, it’s our time to settle in as a family.
In our house, special holidays deserve a special breakfast, and Easter is one of those days. I don’t like to spend my Easter morning running around the kitchen, though. I’d rather spend that special time soaking in the memories with my family (and quite possibly, swiping chocolate eggs out of my daughters’ Easter baskets…but you didn’t hear that from me.)
Make ahead breakfasts make my holidays a lot less stressful, and this latest one I’ve concocted is perfect for springtime. Speckled with spring colors, and light, fresh flavors, this breakfast turned out to be just what the Easter Bunny ordered.
Ooooh! It’s Spring! I think it’s really here this time! The birds are chirping, the grass is greening up, and the sun is warm and delicious, and we’re all ready to soak it up.
Warmer days mean lighter, super fresh meals to me, and this meal was the perfect start to our first warm week in a long time.