Discover ‘True Hospitality’ and Never be Intimidated Again
What kind of friend are you: the one who hosts or the one who’s often the guest? Sometimes we let self-doubt, fears, intimidation, or an imperfect environment inhibit us from having people over. We can easily confuse the food and presentation with the art of hospitality.
When you’re a guest, what’s more important: Gourmet food or feeling welcome and included? A well decorated environment or feeling loved by your host who is so glad you came? You see, hospitality is how we make people feel when we have them in our home.
Our last Christmas gathering is one I’m sure my family will never forget. Not because it was ‘perfect,’
Whether your work environment is serious or light hearted, take advantage of ‘Fun at Work Day’ and add a little joy to your co-worker’s lives. Here are some ideas to get your imagination spinning with fun and your work breaks teaming with laughter.
- Surprise co-workers with a little gift on their desk when they arrive.
- Bring a camera and take snapshots being silly, post them on your bulletin board.
- Play a Minute-to-Win-It game
- Share your uncommon talent (wiggling ears, whistling, double joints)
When I think of soup… I envision my family around our sturdy, oak table, leaning over big bowls of chowder. The light overhead envelops us in a scene we know as family while the windows hold out the blackness of night. My nose inhales the unmistakable aroma of sautéed onion lingering in the air as we tear into crusty loaves of sourdough.
My favorite soups to make are Ham & Split Pea, Turkey Vegetable, and ‘Amazing Soup’ (which is always different because it’s inspired from anything I have leftover in my refrigerator)! What truly warms my heart are the people around me. Our conversation can range from ordinary to funny; yet, there’s something assuring about the security we find in being together.
There’s no better way to warm up on a chilly winter day than with a steaming bowl of soup. In honor of National Soup Month, we’re sharing this recipe for Kielbasa Bean Soup, which is a hearty meal in itself. It’s perfect for throwing together while the kids are outside playing or putting in the slow cooker so it’s ready when everyone gets home from school and work.
- 2 cups potatoes, ½-inch diced and par boiled*
- 2 10.5-ounce cans bean with bacon soup
- 2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes
- ¾ pound kielbasa sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, soup, tomatoes, kielbasa, onion, carrots, celery, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Transfer to a crockpot or large pot.
- Slow-cook in the crockpot, set on low heat, for 5 to 6 hours, until thick. Alternatively, simmer over low heat on the stovetop for 2 hours or until thick.
- Make sure to serve this with some crunchy bread!
- *To par boil potatoes: Scrub and wash unpeeled potatoes. Dice potatoes into ½-inch pieces. In a large pot, bring water to a rolling boil. Add diced potatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Remove potatoes from water. Rinse potatoes in cold water. Drain and use as directed in recipe.
Children welcome and wish for snow days… a day off from school and a chance to play outside. When the weather keeps you from getting out of the driveway, seize the day. Bundle them up and head outside, you too!
- Summer games seem new in the snow. Try: Tic-Tac -Toe, Hop-Scotch, Follow-the-Leader, and Tag.
- Play Act. Pretend you’re the Grinch, Frosty, or any of your favorite Christmas story characters and reenact you kid’s favorite scenes outside together.
- Build something with snow. Give them shovels and buckets to create roads, forts, cities, creatures, and furniture.
Are you Worried that your Kids are Headed Toward Obesity … before they Grow Up?
We’re a culture obsessed with media-glorified body images and yet our lifestyles are mostly sedentary with a high caloric intake. We live in a contradiction that’s challenging to win. The grocery check-out highlights our dilemma with these two messages: (1) Follow these recipes and indulge, and (2) look like these super-skinny models. Research shows our health is the loser. Both children and adults are experiencing an obesity epidemic. 30% of American children are overweight or obese [i] and 35.7% of adults are obese [ii]. On top of that, our self-esteem wanes as we don’t meet the size and shape expectations we’ve accepted.
Thursday, January 16 is National Hot and Spicy Food Day. It is the perfect opportunity to combat chilly weather with food that will heat you from the inside out.
Warm up with our Buffalo Ranch Chicken, Sweet Chipotle Chicken Cavatappi, or Outlaw Chicken Sliders from January’s menu. The great thing about celebrating spicy flavors with Dream Dinners is that you can make your dinners as hot or as mild as your family likes. By adjusting the spices to fit your family’s tastes, you can rest assured that your kids will still enjoy all of these family-friendly meals.
When the extra Christmas decorations begin to feel like clutter and the daylight hours are short, it is the perfect time to organize. Cupboards are like junk drawers – they need regular attention or things become lost and unused.
When you feel that organization motivation coming, seize the day and tackle your pantry!
Try this step-by-step guide for creating a little peace when you open your cupboards.
If you’ve tackled the question of, ‘What’s for dinner?’ you might still have one big dilemma, ‘When’s dinner?’ Family meals are not easy to squeeze into today’s busy family calendar. We have long work hours, long commutes, kids going in multiple extracurricular directions, and if there’s room, we might grab a date night or enjoy a hobby of our own. Assembling everyone together can be like gathering butterflies. Sometimes it just seems easier to give into the chaos and let our families eat when they can.
Why protect the family dinner hour?
January is National Slow Cooking Month. Using a Crock Pot, or slow cooker, is a great way to save time and make a delicious meal. Just set it up in the morning and you’ll have a delicious-smelling, hot dinner waiting for you when you get home – perfect for busy weeknights!
Both the Old Fashioned Pot Roast with Baby Bakers or the Honey Chipotle Pork Roast with Almond Green Beans from our December menu are great meals to make in a slow cooker. Plus both come with a side, so you’ll have a complete dinner with no extra prep work.