Fighting the Cold

It seems that pretty much everyone is fighting a cold right now. I’m hoping that spring comes soon because I think we all need to get outside. We need to be able to throw open the windows and air everything out. But in the meantime……what are your go-to cures when faced with a cold?

For me, when I feel a cold coming on, I reach for Vicks, lots of water and tea, vitamin C, and soup. Specifically? Egg drop soup.

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Yep. Egg drop soup. Comforting. Warm. And, I found a fantastic one that delivers to us and they put a healthy amount of veggies in their egg drop soup….and shrimp which I wasn’t expecting but was a delicious addition.

When you feel a cold coming on, what do you do to try to stop it?

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Marshmallow Taste Test

When baby girl was home with a fever, big girl and I had a little marshmallow adventure at XO Marshmallow! We each had a treat and then brought home some treats to share with baby girl and daddy.

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Vanilla, salted caramel, and peppermint. Yummy!

And because we were going to try all three on the same night, we did a little taste test.

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Although we agree that each flavor was yummy (except baby girl who doesn’t like mint flavors so did not like the peppermint), we were able to name a favorite.

Three of the four chose vanilla as the number one. I was the only one to choose something different, though. My fave is the salted caramel. But yea, all three flavors are yummy. And there are many other flavors available in the store and in their online store.

Have you had these? Which one is your favorite? Which one would you like to try?

Winter Checklist Update #6

What are your favorite holiday flavors? For most “seasonal” flavors throughout the rest of the year, I could really enjoy those flavors at any time. However, there is just something about the flavors of the holidays….I really don’t want them except for during the holidays. Those flavors are peppermint and egg nog. Sure, I might have peppermint flavored foods at different times of the year but it’s during the holidays when I really crave that flavor. And since you can’t find egg nog except during the holidays, I try to drink as much as possible. Within reason, of course. 🙂

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The list thus far:

Cookies for Dinner

I was recently sent a copy of Holly Nichole Zarcone’s book, Cookies for Dinner, to read and review. This is such a lovely book for storytime with young children. The story really resonated with me, as well. And, I’m certain, that it will resonate with many other moms, too!

The mom in this story is a mom who is feeling overwhelmed by all of the stuff that she has to get done in her life. What mom doesn’t know what that feels like? And when she takes a moment to take a step back, she remembers that sometimes it’s the little things in life that are the most important. The laundry can wait. The dishes will still be in the sink. But, sometimes the little things, like having cookies for dinner, are the things that mean the most to our kids. Those are the things that we need to hold in our hearts because those are the things that are kids will remember.

Not only is the story lovely, there is a recipe for chocolate chip cookies at the end of the book. And after reading the book, my girls and I made cookies…..and we did in fact have cookies for dinner!

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What have you done recently to celebrate the simple joys in life? Although we can’t do it every night…..I’m thinking we might need to add cookies for dinner into our meal rotation. 🙂

Easy, easy trifle

Now, I’ve watched enough Great British Baking Show to know that Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood would definitely not be impressed with my trifle. I don’t make any of it from scratch! I use Cool Whip! Aaaahhh! But, it’s delicious. And is great for any holiday (I need it for New Year’s Day – family tradition). And, it’s a great leftover as the flavors all come together in one delicious pile.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen the beginning and the final product of this trifle in my instastory. But, you’re in luck. Because I’m going to do a step-by-step so that you too can make a delicious and quick trifle.

(Shout out to my mom, who still makes the best trifle ever!)

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You are going to need two pound cakes. As you can see, I don’t bake them fresh. I buy my pound cakes from Mariano’s because Mariano’s makes delicious pound cakes. You can also try other flavors of cake – maybe angel food cake for a light trifle or a chocolate cake. That’s the fun part of trifle. You can mix and match the flavors to match what you have or what sounds delicious to you that day.

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Cut each pound cake in half and spread a good (thick) amount of jam or preserves – essentially you are going to make a really big sandwich.

Next, put that sandwich back together and cut into small little sandwiches. You can going to cut the whole cake lengthwise and then into smaller wedges.

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Make the pudding. I like french vanilla for my trifles but, again, you can experiment with flavors that you like and what you think will work well with the jam and berries (or other fruit) you are going to use.

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Now comes the fun part – putting the whole thing together!

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Start with a layer of the little sandwiches. I then drizzle a couple tablespoons of orange juice across the layer. Since authentic trifle has alcohol drizzled over the cake, this gives you the same added moisture and flavor soaked into the cake – but makes it family friendly because there isn’t any booze.

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Then, start the layering. Berries. (I used raspberries this time.) Then pudding. Then Cool Whip. Yes. Of course, you can make homemade pudding. Sure, you can make fresh whipped cream. But, yes, you can also make this as simple as possible and it’ll still taste delicious.

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Another layer of cake. Another sprinkling of orange juice. Berries. Pudding. Cool Whip. I mean seriously. Doesn’t that just look beautiful?! So colorful. And so easy.

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I like almonds on top for a little extra crunch since most of the texture in the bowl is a bit soft or mushy. You can even add some crunch into your layers by adding almonds in between layers.

Again, there are tons of recipes online for trifles. Seriously. Do a search right now. How many results did you get? A lot, right? Well, each of those trifles is essentially the same thing – layers of delicious served in a beautiful bowl so you can see the layers of delicious.

Use the cake flavors that you like. Use the fruit that looks good. Experiment with flavors. I promise you, it’s going to look impressive. And, it’s going to be delicious.

Breakfast Is an Anytime Food

I love breakfast foods – especially the savory types. And, I love breakfast foods anytime of the day but I actually like them more for lunch or dinner.

One of my all-time favorite breakfast anytime foods is biscuits and gravy.

Now, for some, they might have the time to make biscuits from scratch. But, biscuits and gravy is a meal that I can get finished in the time it takes to bake the biscuits.

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Seriously. These biscuits are tasty and puff up to a nice size. Two biscuits cut in half gives you a really large portion. And they’re super easy!

I usually buy a spicier type but I was making this for my kiddos and they like the mild much more than the spicy varieties.

After the sausage has cooked thoroughly, I sprinkle a tablespoon of flour. Be sure that the flour cooks all the way. You don’t want the taste of raw flour in your gravy…..ew.

So, while others might give you an exact recipe with an amount of flour and milk and how much you need to add….but…..I have found that a lot depends on the sausage that you are using and how much gravy you want to have when finished. I usually add a cup of milk at a time. Stir frequently. And be sure to get all of those cooked on bits of sausage scraped up off of the bottom of the pan. Your gravy should thicken up soon-ish because of the flour. This is when it becomes kind of fun to develop your own recipe. Do you need more milk? Should you add more flour next time? Try a different sausage. Do you get the same results?

I promise you, you will know when your gravy is ready. It will look ready. It will smell ready. And after a generous amount of black pepper (because I need a generous amount of black pepper in my gravy), it will be ready to pour on your lovely biscuits.

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Doesn’t that just look delicious? And, it’s so easy. It really is. Sometimes, I like to make a double batch of biscuits just so I have more biscuits ready for snacking during the rest of the week. (My girls love biscuits with some jelly or jam.)

What is your favorite breakfast-for-anytime meal? Are you a biscuits and gravy fan, too?

 

 

Winter Checklist Update #3

Traditionally, on past Christmas Eve’s, the girls and I have made cookies on Christmas Eve to leave out for Santa (and for us to eat since Santa doesn’t really need two dozen cookies). I usually just buy some cookie dough and we use the sprinkles that I already have on hand to decorate the cookies. This year, however, we changed it up a bit.

When I went to the Wilton Outlet Sale (seriously…check this sale out if you are able), I picked up a gingerbread house kit. I thought that this would be a fun project for the girls and I to conquer during our Christmas break. (The first time that I attempted a gingerbread house on my own, the walls were held up with cans of soup on the inside of the house……)

Was it the prettiest gingerbread house ever built? Um. Of course not. But, we had a lot of fun putting it together and adding our own touches (so many marshmallows!!!!). And, it was actually really easy to put together so a great project to do with kiddos.

It’s not our typical “making cookies” adventure. But, it was fun and then we got to eat it.

Bonus: the house stayed up until we tore it apart to eat it! That’s a victory right there. 🙂

The list thus far: