The Perfectly Imperfect Train Cake

On my children’s birthdays, I want them to have a smile that is unforgettable: wide, genuine, unbreakable. I want it to be there the moment he wakes up in the morning til he places his head on his pillow that night.

But the world doesn’t stop for our childrens’ birthdays. Making sure the wide smile lasts from sun up to sun down might require shortcuts. Sometimes hacks are needed to make sure the day exceeds (ok, at least meets) any expectations.

This year, my middle child’s third birthday fell the day after two back to back out of town work trips (not to mention that his birthday is a week after Thanksgiving. Sorry December babies. You totally get the short end of the stick). With no time to be a Super Mom, I was really close to throwing in the towel… Continue reading

Winter Warm Up: Chicken Tortilla Soup

As soon as it gets cold, I am programmed to make Chicken Tortilla Soup. It’s easy, filling and yum.

It makes a lot (don’t worry – it freezes well.) It’s perfect for company, or when games are on, or decorating for Christmas. Really any night where I don’t want to worry about checking the oven, what’s on the stove, or how long something’s been cooking. Not only is it easy to make – the clean up is minimal.

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Fall Fun: Apple Picking and Baked Apples

September hit and I was in the mood for fall activities. It was too early for pumpkins. Regardless, I wanted to be on a farm and I wanted to bring something home from that farm.

I have been eating an apple every morning for at least the last 13 years. So an apple seemed like a good food to target. Even though some farms are starting the pumpkin season, it is still prime apple picking. In my mind, we’d do apples in September and pumpkins in October. Plan in place, we loaded up the kids and drove to a local farm to pick apples.

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Rosemary and Cheddar Roasted Potatoes

It was a Saturday night. Friends invited us out for drinks. We couldn’t find a babysitter.  Here we were standing in our kitchen, embarking on one of my least favorite discussions: What are we going to have for dinner?

After a week of planning, cooking and delivering home cooked meals to our table, I want a break. It’s not so much the cooking I mind, it’s the decision making. On an average week, I probably make 347, 658 decisions. Everything from how to handle an upset client to which color shirts the kids will wear that day. Sometimes, I just do not want to make another decision. After giving my husband the: I don’t feel like cooking, but I don’t want to order out either because we have food here shoulder shrug and sigh. He took control.

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Summer Cook-out Side Dish: Asian Slaw

July 4th is always a little bittersweet for me.  I love a summer celebration, but it feels like summer’s halftime which means pools, boating and cook-outs won’t last forever. My go to recipe for cook-outs has long been: Those Potatoes (yes, that’s the name of the recipe.)  But for this year’s first barbecue of the season, someone beat me to the potatoes. I had to find an alternative!

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The Cleaning Out the Fridge Salad

On the weekends, I try to keep cooking to a minimum and use whatever is left-over in our fridge to minimize waste (or it’s passed down catholic guilt).  Like my mom used to, as if I need anymore signs that with each day I am slowly becoming her (pretty sure all husbands get really excited about this), I empty the soon-to-expire contents of the fridge onto the counter and start assembling my meal (after assembling everyone else’s.)  With friends coming over for Superbowl and Superbowl food on the menu, lunch needed to provide some nutrition that would off-set the impending guilt.

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Sunday Morning, Real Pancakes

A few weekends ago, my dad was in town to visit the boys.  Feeling festive with “Pa” sleeping on the third floor and as the only female of the six humans in the house, I got the idea (or maybe felt an unexplainable responsibility) to make pancakes.  Even though I have never made pancakes before.  A google search located a recipe that relied on pantry staples.  The recipe proved the accuracy of its name: “Easy Basic Pancakes.”  I whipped up the batter in no time with a little help from my boys.  When cooking or baking, I borrow a trick from my mom.

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