Pork Chops on Mashed Root Vegetables with Mustard-Mushroom Sauce–Cook at Home for Valentine’s Day

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If you haven’t made a restaurant reservation yet for Valentine’s Day, you’re probably too late except for the 3:30 or 10:30 pm slots.   

What you’re definitely in time for is a trip to the grocery store, a little cooking action, an attractively-set table, and a relaxed dinner with no one asking

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Salmon with Avocado-Almond Salsa on Kale and Brown Rice

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There are lots of arguable lists of “super foods” or the “20 best foods you can eat” and I’m all over them, particularly right after the Super Bowl–why not? Any or all of them are probably useful if you’re trying to improve your health; choose one that speaks to you and eat up.  Somehow an amalgamated list of “super foods” sits most easily for me to remember lately and I try to eat and serve at least one of them every day. Sometimes, if I eat my homemade granola, for instance, I get several at one time!  My list currently looks like this:

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Fast Chicken and Tortellini Soup with Parmesan and Basil

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Most of us have a thing for pasta and cheese; I know I’m not alone. Admit it; you’re in this club. Google macaroni and cheese if you’re unsure of my claim. (There are almost 24 million hits.)  We all mostly adore fast, filling, and luscious meals made in minutes from leftovers as well, right?  Wed the ultimately pleasurable pasta and cheese idea with a quick next-night dinner and we have a match made in heaven.
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Roast Pork Pot Pie with Parmesan-Black Pepper Biscuits

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A gorgeous pork loin roasted over the weekend for our wine group along with a big bunch of Simon and Garfunkel Vegetables left me with two large containers of fragrant meat and vegetables in the fridge. What to do?

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Dutch Oven Beef and Italian Sausage Stew

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Give me a cold day. Any cold day. Let me have time and peace to stir together something that incubates in my oven gently easing its teasing, come-hither aromas throughout the house and drawing near all who enter.  Add an entrancing, captivating book waiting for me during that 3-hour parole and I am a happy girl. Ok, include a balanced, but lofty bottle of wine and the deal is sealed.

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Sheet Pan Dinner: Chicken Fajitas (with Tortillas or Salad)

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I think of fajitas as a summer meal.  It’s a hot night on the deck.  There are margaritas along with chips and guac to start.  Icy cold Dos Equis to go with the meal and just made cinnamon ice cream to finish.

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Steak and chicken could both make an appearance and I’d probably even twist Dave’s arm to grill all of the vegetables and heat the tortillas.  What’s a husband for?

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Sheet Pan Dinner: Shrimp and Vegetable “Stir Fry”

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It’s a snow day. I don’t currently have a paying job–this isn’t to say I don’t work– but I’m still thrilled to think I needn’t go anywhere and perhaps could be excused from accomplishing anything. Too many years of kids in the house or teaching makes me stand up and cheer when the school closings begin.  Usually I spend the day in the kitchen with a big pot of soup bubbling away –and I’m about to do that after I’m done with the blog– but today a little perking dream took life.

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The neighborhood girls out for a stroll out front…

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Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Country Sausage and Cabbage

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New Year’s Day is the perfect time for any old bean soup

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think a long, cold and frozen day nursing a hangover and watching old movies while playing cards with the kids, right?–  but since I love black-eyed peas and my folks were both raised in the deep south, I’m going with those little beauties this year. (For an interesting article on many New Year’s Day lucky food traditions, click here.)

Have my cookbook, Soups and Sides for Every Season?

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Chocolate-Peppermint Shortbread Cookies

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For anyone with Scots background, shortbread is the Christmas cookie. In whatever “shape or form”, to quote my Dad, it might come.  It also happens to be my  very favorite cookie of any season and you can find it on the blog in a few incarnations... The endless variations are a large part of its intrinsic attraction for this baker:

Raspberry Shortbread Sandwich Cookies and Valrhona Chocolate Shortbreads with Sea Salt:

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Gingerbread Waffles with Quick Cranberry Jam

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Holiday breakfasts, for many people, are laden with tradition.  Such as: We always have pancakes. OR My best friend makes scrambled eggs with peppers and onions. OR  Bacon gets fried up in huge quantities for me.

In our house, we are addicted to my mother-in-law’s egg casserole and my homemade cinnamon rolls.

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