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The Little Things Newsletter #404 – Life, laughter, and lots of great food!

Welcome to the weekend, my friends! We woke up today in a winter wonderland. As much as I love a snow day, and this is definitely a great one, I’m also thrilled that warmer weather is in the forecast for the rest of this week and the snow won’t be here for long. In the meantime, I’m planning to cook up some hearty snow-day foods this weekend.

Starting with waffles and waffle sauce for brunch this morning, then crispy baked chicken, the best ever homemade mac and cheese, and a sweet kale salad on the menu for dinner tonight. Tomorrow’s brunch plan is bacon and eggs with fluffy biscuits and some jam I brought back from Switzerland. Dinner will be this chipotle honey meatloaf (a long time favorite from my first cookbook) with garlic mashed red potatoes and parmesan roasted carrots

I’m getting hungry just reading all of that, so I’m headed to the kitchen to start the waffles just as soon as I send this email. Fortunately, we have several soups and a batch of steak chili tucked in the freezer for lunches too.

ON THE BLOGS THIS WEEK: Bursting with the sweet, juicy flavors of pineapple and coconut, this Pina Colada Smoothie brings a bit of vacation sunshine, no matter the weather.

Tender and savory steak bites offer a fresh take on the classic loaded baked potato. A Loaded Steak Baked Potato is a hearty meal, all by itself.

Crunchy cabbage is tossed in a tangy and sweet dressing in classic Chick Fil A Coleslaw. Making this beloved menu item is a breeze, now that the once secret recipe is well known.

Warm and fluffy cinnamon rolls are kicked into high gear with rich, creamy caramel and tart apples in these Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls.

A simple, rustic tart featuring fresh pears drizzled with caramel sauce, this Caramel Pear Tart is simple to make, with just a handful of ingredients.

Buttery, nutty cookies are topped with the sweet jam of your choice in these simple, gluten free Pecan Thumbprint Cookies. These are the cookies that my friends go crazy over every time I make them!

Creamy, rich chocolate peanut butter ice cream with loads of chocolate and peanut butter chunks mixed throughout is a dream come true for any ice cream lover. The candy pieces are just the right amount of dark chocolate and peanut butter to mix into the ice cream.

What I’m CRAVING: I think I already went a little crazy with the food cravings when planning our meals for this snowy weekend. I’m hoping my youngest son will want to do some baking though, and if he does, these Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies are likely to happen.

My FAVORITE THINGS this week are these cleaning gloves. I used to wear gloves every time I put my hands in water, but I’ve gotten out of the habit. These awesome gloves have changed that. They have a cuff that helps prevent water from splashing and getting inside the gloves. I bought the medium size and they’re the PERFECT not-too-tight, not-too-loose fit, super easy both to put on and take off.

Yes, I just raved about cleaning gloves. Welcome to middle age, Mary. (You’ve actually been here for a while, get comfy with those gloves.)

What I’m WATCHING: Wonka. I really enjoyed this movie. I went to see it last night with two of my boys and we all agreed that it was a lot of fun and better than expected. Timothée Chalamet did a fantastic job with his role as Wonka and Hugh Grant as the Oompa Loompa? That was completely unexpected and I don’t know when I’ve laughed so hard in a theater. 

While it does deviate from the book (and how many movies don’t at this point??) I think this has the potential to be a great prequel to a new series of Wonka movies. There was so much joy in the movie and I just loved the way it continuously made us smile and laugh. 

What I’m READING: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. My youngest son stumbled upon this book a little while ago and after he read it, he immediately informed me that I needed to read it too.

This is an absolutely charming children’s book, telling the story of how even the hardest heart can learn to love. This is a must-read for book lovers and for anyone who collects children’s books. Edward’s journey and the lessons learned will stay with you long after you have closed the pages of this book.

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11 NIV

Wishing you a beautiful week full of little things that make you smile!

Mary

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