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January 17, 2018

The Valentine's Collection | Launching Tomorrow at 8am Central

Each year, after the rush of the Holiday season, slow, cold January settles in.  I was so ready for slow.  Now, as a quiet blanket white covers our town and in the midst of bleak winter months come big bunches of the palest pink roses, tiny hearts on pink packages tied with ribbons, cozy dinners by candlelight, and homemade chocolate treats adorned with flowers made by tiny hands.  

Like last season's Holiday Collection, I focused on finding tools for you to be able to create heartfelt moments for your loves.  There are pretty boxes to fill, easy pastry projects the make, luscious ribbons, pretty linens for your table, charming tags and the softest pillows.  All for you to create a little lovely magic for your family and friends.

The Valentine's Collection will launch tomorrow, Jan 18th at 9am Central.

The Valentine's Collection will launch tomorrow, Thursday, Jan 18th at 8am central.

January 09, 2018

Family Dinner Goals | Easy Weeknight Recipes

Since I started this "Family Dinner Goals" series (yesterday), I thought I would go back through my recipes and pull out our favorite for easy weeknight dinners.  These are all our go-to's any week, any season.  Most are from simple, fresh ingredients and can be made in 30-45 minutes.

The best weeknight meals are sheet pan recipes like this Lemon Roasted Salmon & Vegetables.  If you don't care for fish, you can also do this with Chicken.  

You pile everything on a sheet pan, drizzle with lemon and olive oil, salt & pepper, then put it in the oven.  Add some garlic bread spread with goat cheese or mozzarella and you've got a yummy meal.

Lemon Roasted Salmon & Vegetables


Apricot Chicken with Couscous    |    Chicken Fricassee




Grilled Chicken with Penne (can be made with roasted chicken)   |   Poached Salmon & Vegetables

This becomes a weeknight dinner when you make a big batch of meatball and keep them in the freezer. Our all time favorite sauce has 3 ingredients (canned tomatoes, butter and 1 onion cut in half) and only takes 30 minutes to simmer.

What is dinner without dessert?  After dinner, we usually indulge in warm baked cookies (from the freezer), a scoop of ice cream, or these Mini S'mores baked in the oven.  I love these little traditions that feel like a reward at the end of the day - for everyone.  

Family Dinner Essentials :

I am obsessed with my Plastic Kitchen Containers.  I use them for fresh ingredients (grated cheese, fruit, chopped veggies) and for soups and sauces going in the freezer.  I even empty all of my frozen vegetables and fruit into them (instead of the bags they come in) to keep them organized.   In the freezer (and the fridge), they stack perfectly on each other, making it easy to find what I'm looking for.

I use the glass containers for leftovers and to send to work with Mike.

Sheet Pans + Parchment are the easiest tools to use for dinner.  We are constantly roasting chicken breasts, vegetables (carrots, green beans, broccoli, asparagus) and toasting bread on sheet pans.  The clean up is so easy.

I hope to be adding more new recipes soon.  I feel like we've get into our happy routine of favorites, but I'm ready to start exploring new ideas.  I'll keep you posted!

Next, I'll share some everyday centerpieces from the grocery store and your yard... my favorite thing to do.

You can follow along with this Family Dinner Goals series, here >

Family Dinner

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January 08, 2018

Family Dinner Goals | A New Series

Family Dinner Goals
No matter what time of year (beginning or otherwise), I am always looking for a way to make our family dinners easier, more interesting, healthier and more frequent.  Aren't we all?  

I'm going to start a new Family Dinner series on the blog.  Wish me luck sticking to it - ha!  Seriously, though, I'm so passionate about our family sitting down together 3-4 nights a week.  The ritual of sitting down to a family dinner is my favorite part of the day.  I know that lots of kids and busy schedules can get in the way, but we are in charge of our homes and our families.  The time we spend across the table from one another, talking about our days is so key for keeping a strong family connection.  So, I'm going to come up with some great ideas for making Family Dinners easier, give ideas on fun  kid friendly table settings and recipes.  

Last Fall, I wrote a lengthy post about our commitment to Family Dinners, here>

For family dinners to actually happen at our house, having lots of easy dinner ideas is key.  Sometimes our meals are labor intensive (if I'm in the mood to spend time in the kitchen), and sometimes they are out of the freezer (maybe soup or meatloaf).  There are so many ideas on my Dinner Planning Tablet that are easy to prepare in 30 minutes or less - Beef Stroganoff, Shrimp Scampi, Chicken Parmesan, Grilled Lemon Chicken, Vegetable Soup, etc.

All of my recipes are included on my Dinner Tablet.  I sit down at the beginning of the week and schedule all of our meals from this list.  it helps remind me of things we haven't had for a while and helps me plan for some balance throughout the week (meat, fish, chicken, pasta, etc.). 

If cooking isn't your thing but you still want your family to experience family-style dinners, focus on the table instead.  The food really isn't all that important, anyway.  Set a pretty table with a simple glass of fresh flowers or lit candles, with folded napkins and placemats.  It is the sitting around a table all together for conversion that is what is important - with a frozen pizza in the middle.  Totally fine!!  A pretty setting always helps put everyone in the mood to relax and enjoy.

Here are some of the essentials that I depend on for Family Dinners in our home.

Check Napkins & Placemats >

Classic Hemstitch Cotton Linens >

Is there anything easier than lighting some candles?  Instant ambiance and instead "relax" setting.  We get out a new set of seasonally colored tapers every couple of weeks.  

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