mrs.b and her boys

embrace the chaos

Month: December 2015

A HEALTHY NEW YEAR’S

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As New Year’s approaches, many of us are full of the heavy, rich foods from the holidays and as delicious as they were, we are looking at lightening up our plates a bit. You will enjoy this appetizer option for New Year’s Eve. It is healthier, lighter, but so tasty! And easy to throw together quickly. I could sit with this platter all night and be content. {I may, or may not have had a few bites before I took these pictures}

If you have trouble finding fresh herbs, these work wonderfully too. You find them in the produce section.

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DILL DIP

 

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

¼ cup Miracle Whip (or mayo works too)

2 Tb. fresh dill, chopped

2 Tb. green onions or chives, sliced

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

½ tsp. sugar (It cuts the tang, but is completely optional)

Salt & Pepper, to taste

 

Mix all ingredients together. Chill in fridge for at least 1 hour. Serve with cut up fresh vegetables of your choice and pretzels.

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I hope everyone has a joyful and safe New Year’s Eve! And may the new year bring you all happiness and opportunity to new things. Whether it be a new job, fulfilling a dream or cooking more homemade foods for your families. Enjoy!

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TOMATO BASIL PASTA

This dish is perfect for the holidays. But it is the perfect weeknight dish too. It comes together in no time! We eat so much delicious, heavy foods during the holidays, that this is a nice way to fill up with something light and fresh.

I find it is great for kids {they can eat around the tomatoes} and the vegetarians in your life {you can even make it vegan by serving the parmesan on the side}, but it still fulfills the crazy “must have meat” eaters.

The magic of this pasta is when the tomatoes start to burst a bit in the garlic olive oil and it turns it from an oil into a sauce {queue angelic music}, it is so delicious!

And it’s green, red and white! How more festive can you get?!!

 

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FRESH TOMATO BASIL PASTA

 

1 lb. thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta

1 cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic, sliced thin

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 cup fresh basil, chopped

Fresh Parmesan cheese, grated or shaved

Salt & Pepper

 

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta to just under done. While the pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic to oil and cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, until starting to soften.

 

Next, add the tomatoes and season generously with salt & pepper. Cook 5-8 minutes until tomatoes start to burst a bit; stirring often.

 

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When pasta is cooked to just under done, do not drain. Scoop pasta directly from pot to the skillet of tomatoes and garlic. Toss until pasta is coated with the oil.

 

 

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You can set it out in a big pasta bowl for serve yourself style or plate it individually. Top it with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese. It’s beautiful, it’s healthy, it’s delicious! And so simple.

 

Don’t Stress Over Teacher Gifts

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I am here to tell you that there is no need to stress over what to get your kids’ teachers and coaches – or finding the time to do it. They do not want another mug filled with something gourmet, they do not need another Crayola framed picture {But they are cute, aren’t they?}. What I have heard from teachers in my life is they enjoy gift cards to treat themselves to something special.

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Think restaurant, coffee shop, bake shop, salon in your area. It does not have to be an extravagant amount, just a thoughtful $5, $10, $15. Then, I just got these cute holiday tins and buckets at the dollar store. Fill them with filler and candies and place the gift card in there. Ribbon, no ribbon, it’s still cute.

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That is all it takes. It’s about being thoughtful, not slaving hours over it.

Last Minute Book Ideas

Quick! 7 more shopping days left! I have two more book ideas for you to give. One is for kids and the other is for grown-ups; or teenagers too.  Both are sweet and thoughtful – and both are on my Top 10 List!

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The first choice is “Bear Stays Up for Christmas” by Karma Wilson. This is a darling little story of a hibernating bear that is trying his hardest to stay awake until Christmas. As in every “Bear” book, it shows thoughtfulness for others and unconditional love. You will love reading this out loud to your kids, I promise!

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The second choice for Our Book Bag is “A Year of Mornings: 3191 Miles Apart” by Maria Alexandra Vettese and Stephanie Congdon Barnes. It is the perfect gift for that someone on your list that loves photography and friendship; or just a sweet book. These two friends that live on opposite sides of the country each took a photograph every morning for a year and blogged about it. It was so popular, they turned it into a book! And a beautiful book it is! I found it interesting on some days how similar their photographs were with subject, colors or lines.

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