What I’d like for you to think is that we’re happily preparing for the Christmas season and eagerly anticipating this seasonal snow storm, all cozied up on our couch, sipping hot chocolate and stringing popcorn to hang on our tree, while hand-making all of our gifts and singing Christmas carols.
There is grace in the warmth of Eric’s body next to mine, as we sink into the valley that has become the middle of our couch. He sits next to me, goes to bed with me, and drinks coffee with me each morning, even though my words to him are too often impatient and critical. His peace-based optimism, his ability to forgive and truly forget, his sincere affection for me – all of this is grace.
While Christmas music season may be just around the corner, we know there’s a few of you out there who may be holding out until after Thanksgiving. So, we thought we’d share a taste of what we’ve been listening to lately and give you something to listen to as you cook your Thanksgiving feast. This playlist is mellow and is best paired with a mug of something warm.
We have rules about Christmas music around here. Well, really one rule.
Not until after Thanksgiving.
(Exception: Unless it’s beautifully snowing outside.)
And thus far, neither snow (beautiful or otherwise) or Thanksgiving have arrived. However, maybe it has something to do with being pregnant and
overly emotional sentimental, but I am pining away for Christmas music this year. (Puns win again).
This month on the Cooking Club, I shared one of our household favorites. This salad has got it going on, my friends. Of course, there are greens. But then we make maple-glazed bacon, which is so easy we wonder why we don’t do it everyday. And then add all sorts of other goodies, like Gargonzola, toasted nuts, and of course, pears.
I made a really simple cranberry vinaigrette, and loved the zing of the cranberries over this salad. But you can make this salad as simple (store-bought dressing for the win!) or as complex as you want.
For this month’s seasonal eating post on This HeArt of Mine, I trashed up some winter squash with some serious cheese. I made this Italian Winter Squash Bake because I was seriously craving some lasagna but we had like sixteen winter squash lying around, just asking to be thrown around like balls by Owen. Loved the result – like lasagna with the nuttiness and creaminess of squash!
The story of this dip is that I went to Williams Sonoma last month to buy a gift (we never go there for ourselves, amIright?) I had Owen with me, and as soon as walked in the store, we headed for the checkout counter.
We did this because I had called to have them set the gift aside for me…and because of their array of samples. Owen blew kisses at the ladies behind the counter while I tried the first sample: some kind of pumpkin cream cheese dip that came with its own pretzel chip.
The sample I tried was probably 1 teaspoon’s worth. My mouth really would have preferred a 1/2 cup. However, I couldn’t play that game where I take six laps around the store, trying to blend in and sneaking over to the sample counter every few minutes because…well, like I said, Owen had been charming the ladies behind the counter. By that point, I was highly and regretably recognizable.
They would invariably ask: How old will your son be when the baby’s born?
My answer: 20 months.
And then, I would get one of two responses. Every single time.
#1. Wow! (wincing) That’s so….close.
#2. That’s wonderful! My kids were 19 months apart, and I loved it!
Today, despite the fact that our baby girl is still safely growing inside of me, was definitely more of a #1 kind of day.
So, it’s November. A fact of reality that I’m still struggling to realize is true. And this means we’re 21 days from Thanksgiving, 48 days from Christmas, and approximately 79 days away from my due date.
Anyone else out there hyperventilating into a paper bag at this point?
Last November, we did a little series called Thanksgiving Thursdays each week leading up to Thanksgiving, with recipes that were some new takes on old favorites. We’re back at it again, but this time, we’re focusing on appetizers. Because really – isn’t that the worst part of Thanksgiving? All day long, you’re smelling that turkey, and you’re starving. And personally, with the appetite this baby inside of me has, I know that 18 handfuls of peanut M&Ms are not going to cut it this year. So I’ll be sharing three Thanksgiving-worthy appetizer ideas with you (which could also be served as fabulous sides to that noble bird)…and today, we’re starting wtih this butternut squash bruschetta.
People coming over for dinner? Oatmeal fudge bars.
Just broke your favorite coffee mug? Oatmeal fudge bars.
Oh, it’s Tuesday, and it’s supposed to snow tonight? Oatmeal fudge bars.
Our friend Erin from church brought these bars to a dinner over the summer, and we’ve been making them pretty regularly ever since. Not only are they a salty-sweet, fudgy play on a brownie (with hints of coffee, people, coffee), but they’re easy. Like, my one-year-old-helped-me-make-them easy.
But then our friends that we were having dinner with were going with their kids, and we decided to join in for a few blocks, because we had already dressed him up for dinner, and we decided it wasn’t fair to hide his cuteness from the world.