• Am Reading,  Best Thing Ever,  Family Fun,  Food,  I've Got Mad Skillz,  Reflections on Parenting,  Tradition

    My GoodReads Reading Challenge Goal was Thwarted by…a Book.

    Last year I decided to spend more time doing something I had let fall by the wayside since I was a kid: read books. I got active on GoodReads and made a fairly ambitious (for me) reading challenge goal for 2018: 26 books. I fell short, reading “only” 22 books but was proud just the same. I probably hadn’t read 22 books in the ten years before that, all put together. It’s not that I don’t enjoy reading; I just used my free time for other creative pursuits. I decided to keep the same goal for 2019 and was projecting to achieve it easily when I took at look at…

  • Truffles
    Best Thing Ever,  Favorite Things,  Food,  Something That Could Change Your Life

    Here’s a Chocolate Truffles Recipe That Will Make You Super Popular.

    For the most part, I have trimmed back on my holiday baking every December by quite a bit. Back in the olden days when our boys were younger, I baked a large variety of treats. Now that it’s just Jim and me I usually pick just a couple of our favorites and keep it simple. One recipe that makes the cut every single year is the one I use to make chocolate truffles. They are easy, delicious, and keep in the refrigerator for weeks if they’re in an airtight container. I gift these truffles to friends and have been complimented like crazy on them as if they’re the greatest thing…

  • Food,  Friends

    Let’s Make a #HousefulOfCookies!

    Today I’m participating in the #HousefulOfCookies blog hop, hosted by my friend Natasha of Houseful of Nicholes. You can follow the hashtag on Twitter or Instagram to find the recipes that have been posted so far, or if you like to make your life a little easier you can just go to Natasha’s post that lists everyone’s cookies and links. Today I am delighted to share one of my favorite holiday cookies (both to make and to eat), Chocolate Mint Sugar Cookie Drops. The recipe is by NestlĂ©. I started making these cookies more than twenty years ago and their biggest fan in our family is my older son, Dylan.…

  • Food,  My Sister Has Mad Skillz,  Pretty Pictures

    Fruitastic Salad 2.0

    Knowing what you know about me regarding my control freak tendencies, it probably doesn’t surprise you that I am tremendously more comfortable following recipes to the letter than I am experimenting with a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I’m certain that’s why I enjoy baking more than cooking elaborate meals that leave lots of room for improvisation. My sister, while definitely knowing what she wants, when and how she wants it, is more laid-back than I. She is not only an excellent baker but also a tremendous cook when it comes to all dishes. A few years ago she brought what she called “Fruitastic Salad”…

  • Childhood Memories,  Food,  I'm Apparently Old.,  I've Got Mad Skillz

    Jell-O Times Two.

    Until the last six months or so since my mom started trying to minimize, we have always known that if we’re looking for something from our growing-up years, she’s likely got it. It’s for that reason that when we come for a visit, we usually find long-forgotten things either by accident or, if mom finds something she wants us to take home, left on the dresser of the room in which we sleep. I was tickled on this visit to find a short stack of old report cards, a program from an elementary school play, and a collaborative recipe book made by my kindergarten class on that dresser. The recipe…

  • Childhood Memories,  Food,  How To

    Easy Dinner Idea: Petros! (You’re Welcome.)

    When I was a teenager, I lived in Knoxville, Tennessee for a few years. The reason we moved there was so my dad could manage a Holiday Inn just up the hill (literally) from the University of Tennessee campus and a nice walk from the 1982 World’s Fair site. This was the same hotel where my sister and I were friendly enough with the guy who came in weekly to collect the quarters from the video games in the arcade that he would set up the machines with hours worth of free play for us. We got season’s passes to the World’s Fair that summer and often rode in to…

  • Food

    Sweet! Hand-Rolled, Melt-In-Your-Mouth Truffles

    I haven’t done a lot of holiday baking in the past couple of years because whatever I bake, we eat. I know that’s the point but the combination of my tendency to go overboard (Go big or go home!) and our desire to not eat five hundred cookies and other sweets daily in December indicated that a cut-back was probably in order. One of the recipes I use that has always been a huge hit is my chocolate truffle recipe. Actually, it’s not “my” recipe: it comes from a book that was published in 1970. These truffles are so good that I didn’t even make them last year because see…

  • Food,  I've Got Mad Skillz

    Easiest Muffin Recipe Ever (You’re Welcome!)

    In my never-ending quest to confuse my readers about my niche as a “Life Blogger” by tossing in a Food Blogger-ish recipe every now and then, today I present you with another family favorite around here: the muffin recipe I use ALL THE TIME. My Mom calls them “Sweeter Muffins” but the title I copied into my recipe book is “Twin Mountain Muffins” and I don’t know if that has a double meaning or not (Get your mind out of the gutter, OMG! And take mine with you!) so I’m just calling this recipe “The Easiest Muffin Recipe Ever” because I’m at a loss and that title describes it very…

  • Food

    I Have Made This Pumpkin Bread Recipe Approximately 231,945 Times. Still Awesome.

    Yesterday I attended my first Chicago Food Swap since April because my crazy schedule prohibited me from attending the summer swaps. I was doubly excited for this one because our host (who generously donated the space!) was Dave at the new Savory Spice Shop in Lincoln Square. Lincoln Square is a German neighborhood in Chicago so I bet you can imagine how happy I was to make the drive. I asked Jim if he wanted to tag along and then grab dinner at the Chicago Brauhaus, where they’re currently celebrating Oktoberfest*, and he was all in. The swap was as fun as it always is, and we returned home with…

  • Amazing People,  Food,  Spreading the Bloggie Love

    Ms. Maggie Moo and a Bowl of Stew

    I have a couple of food-related things to share with you today; the first one is way exciting. Or it could be. No, strike that. It IS way exciting. My girl Mags over at Ms Maggie Moo Talks 2 U is having a contest and I need you to help me win by entering to win yourself! (Still with me?) The prize? Some of her amazing home-baked goodies, shipped directly to your door! (or hopefully, MY door.) It’s easier for Mags to explain, so I’m copying her details here: “The rules are simple:1. Leave a comment (on MAGS’ blog post) telling me (her) you would like to be submitted. 2.…