Post Holiday Update! A Christmas Card Craft and a Detox Side Dish: Roasted Winter Salad

Happy New Year! Well technically happy January 4th but close enough! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Ours was fabulous, full of family and joy and FOOD. My parents and sister came to town to spend Christmas with us and having them here along with Robert’s whole family was really a special treat!

They got to experience some of the fun Christmas traditions we do with Robert’s family like his mom’s fun Christmas Eve Birthday Lunch where everyone wears Santa hats.

And the most beautiful Christmas day dinner hosted by our Aunt Vanessa.

V's Table

Her place settings included a special ornament for everyone which was so creative and thoughtful!

After being told at my 36 week Dr’s appointment the Friday before Christmas that I was already 2 cm dilated and 70% effaced and that they wouldn’t be surprised if the baby came within the week…we are still waiting and not much appears to have changed :/

On the bright side, it did cause us to hurry up and get all of our baby gear assembled and hospital bags (half way) packed. So we are “ready”, and now we wait…and wait…and wait. Luckily I have found plenty of ‘nesting’ activities to keep me busy. Besides the usual laundering and cleaning, I put all of our Christmas decor away and completed an easy Christmas card craft!

Card Tree
My card tree

I LOVE getting Christmas cards from family and friends, especially photo cards! I also hate the thought of tossing them out post holiday, it seems like such a waste! So a few years ago I came up with this idea to save my cards…just in case I ever get extra nostalgic and want to flip through them all (which I do every year!).

All you need for this craft is a hole punch and a set of loose leaf rings. I bought mine in a pack from Michaels but I’m sure you can find them at Staples or on Amazon.


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Super Simple Side: Pan Roasted Parmesan Asparagus

And just like that it’s almost August! Summer, where have you gone? Anyone have any tips for prolonging these next few weeks? If so I’m all ears. Besides being the first week of August, next week is also my last official week of summer break. True to style, we have packed a lot into it already. Robert has an end of the summer party with his tennis buddies on Sunday, my mother and sister are tentatively coming for a few days of girl time Tues-Thurs and then we leave for North Carolina to spend the weekend with my grandparents. On top of all of that (in just the first week!) we also celebrate my birthday and the anniversary of our engagement in August Smile  Robert and I got engaged in Las Vegas while on vacation with my family and it was hands down the best few days of my life. Our wedding was absolutely amazing, but getting engaged in Vegas was SO MUCH FUN! I’ll be sure to recap that fabulous trip next.


It probably isn’t traditional to celebrate the anniversary of your engagement, but Robert surprised me last year and I sure hope it becomes a yearly tradition (hint hint). He set his alarm to wake me up after he left for work and I found a sweet card by the bed telling me to get up and get ready because he was on his way home to pick me up for a breakfast date! There aren’t many things I love more than a breakfast date, and the fact that Robert took an hour away from a busy work morning meant the world.


It was such a sweet surprise and a nice low key way to celebrate the best “yes” I’ve ever given.

 Olive Oil

As summer winds down, I hope everyone is taking advantage of all the yummy produce it has to offer. I guess technically asparagus is a Spring vegetable but whatever, we’re still enjoying it in this neck of the woods. Full disclosure, I used to dislike asparagus. It’s got a pretty distinct flavor, it definitely makes your trips to the bathroom more fragrant and getting a thick, not quite done stalk is quite unfortunate. Luckily, as my taste buds have matured and as I’ve been exposed to fresh, well prepared asparagus, I’ve developed a new appreciation for the pointy green little guys.

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Easy Summer Side Dish: Crispy Smashed Potatoes

Happy Friday! Hope everyone is having a wonderful last weekday and has fun (or relaxing!) weekend plans. Lately, Robert and I have had weekends that seemed just as chock full of plans as did our weeks, and between weddings and travel, we have quite a few more busy ones on the horizon. This weekend is completely plan free (so far!) and I’m determined to keep it that way…well almost…we DO have a planned stop by the hospital right after work today. Before you get too worried, this is a HAPPY hospital stop! Remember when I threw this baby shower for our sweet friends Ben and Annie?!?

Well I am happy to announce that their darling baby girl was born yesterday afternoon! I know they will be the BEST parents and Robert and I can not wait to meet sweet baby Cooper later today! I have already let them know that we are on call to babysit for their first date night so we can check out this parenting thing for ourselves Smile

Annie and Cooper
Beautiful New Mama and Baby

Speaking of babies, I got a call from the opposite of one yesterday, my grandfather! Was that the weirdest segue ever or what? Sorry. Back to that phone call, I love talking to my grandparents and try to call them weekly to catch up. These phone calls typically take place during my commute which my grandma seems fine with but the second my grandpa gets on the phone and finds out I’m driving he ends the conversation as quickly as possible. Always worried about my safety, that one. So sweet. Anyway, I was excited and surprised to hear from him yesterday while I was preparing dinner. Even though I was safely in front of my stove rather than behind the wheel, he kept the conversation brief and let me know that he was only calling to let me know that it was time to dig up my potatoes.

Potato Plant Baby potato

My grandfather has the greenest thumb around and often shares plants and goodies from his garden with me. Last time he came to visit, he brought me a seed potato. To me, said “seed potato” looked exactly like every other small red potato I’ve ever seen in the grocery store, but what do I know. It must have been special because it proceeded to sprout into a lovely green plant….or at least I think it did….i could very well be seeing tall weeds growing in the pot with it, guess I’ll find out tonight when I dig it (them?) up!

Boiled Pot. Oiled Pan

This phone call couldn’t have come at a better time as I was literally in the process of marinating a flank steak for tonight’s dinner when the phone rang. By Friday, my fridge is looking a little bare and I was thinking I would probably have to make a trip to the grocery store after work today to find something to accompany our flank steak and broccoli. I mean really, what’s a steak dinner with no starchy side?

Potato Masher Smashed Potatoes

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Lighter Creamed Spinach and a Picky Eater Tip

Happy New Year readers (reader?)! Those of us who had the luxury of time off from work have officially been back to the grind for three days, halfway there! I was actually kind of excited this year to get back to work (read: back into my routine), it’s always fun to see the kids after Christmas and hear all about their holiday. This year I had a fun holiday of my own to tell them about…California! Robert and I had an amazing and very full trip. We successfully navigated two brand new cities, plus the airline giving away our seats, an extremely long rental car line, possible food poisoning, and driving in LA, but more on all that (and lots of fun photos!) later. No photos of the food poisoning part, promise.


I left you last with a breakfast casserole recipe a few days before Christmas. I hope everyone’s holiday was as nice as mine, full of family, friends and food (not necessarily in that order). But really, aren’t those three F’s the best thing about every holiday? Sleep and traveling are close seconds. Renly got a brand new haircut for Christmas. Check him out!


This is much shorter than we normally keep him cut but I have to admit it’s kind of growing on me. He’s pretty adorable with any haircut. When we got home late Friday night I thought his little tail was going to wag right off, but for the first time ever I think Robert and I were both more excited to see him than he was to see us, and that’s really saying something. Having a dog is literally the best.

 Sleepy Heads

For as long as I can remember, I have been eating the traditional New Year’s Day meal on January 1st. What, you may ask, is this traditional meal I speak of? I’m pretty sure it’s widespread considering both my mother and Robert’s mother do it but it could just be a southern thing. On New Year’s Day you are supposed to eat certain things for luck in the year ahead; pork for prosperity, greens for wealth, black-eyed peas for luck and cornbread for…something….maybe just a delicious starch? My mother-in-law always makes cornbread muffins and hides a penny in one, whoever finds it gets EXTRA luck that year. It’s a fun tradition but if you adopt it, don’t forget to wash your penny thoroughly and warn your guests so that no one cracks a tooth!

Since Robert and I didn’t return from California until the 2nd, we missed our traditional family meal Sad smile While lamenting this fact on the flight home as we ate airport food, I remembered I had a Boston Butt in the freezer and decided to make Robert and I a mini version of this beloved tradition when we got home. I didn’t have any cornbread ingredients or black-eyed peas, but pork and spinach I could definitely handle on short notice (hello crock pot!). My sweet mother-in-law is NOT a cook, but the few dishes she has in her arsenal are tried, true and delicious….they are also top-secret as she refuses to share them with me for fear that she then won’t have anything to make or bring to family functions. Someday I’ll wear her down Winking smile. On New Year’s she always serves her spinach casserole which is sinfully cheesy and delicious. I say sinfully because I’m pretty sure it’s also terrible for you. Like a whole stick of butter, three eggs, a container of full fat cottage cheese AND a whole block of cheddar terrible. Mmmm, why does bad usually taste so good?

Garlic and Onions Spinach and Onions

I love having her spinach casserole as a treat, but since I enjoy healthy cooking (and I don’t have her recipe), I decided we would go a different route this year. I created this yummy and MUCH healthier creamed spinach recipe that Robert gobbled right up without ever missing that block of cheddar.

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