5-8-17 ~ Real Life

As moms trying to feed our families, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to provide homemade meals and not rely on prepared box dinners. I was talking with my sister about this the other week and we both agreed that having grown up with a mother who is an amazing cook, we were used to having meals made from scratch. I don’t recall having boxes of mac ‘n cheese in our house. Ever. So as adults, we both strive to provide these same homemade experiences to our own children.

With today’s busy schedules – work, daycare, sports practices, homework, volunteerism – sometimes homemade is just not possible. And you know what I’ve finally come to decide? That it is okay.

This past week I added a jar of pasta sauce to sautéed chicken, topped that on some Country Pasta, and added frozen veggies and garlic bread to the side. It was hearty, healthy, and most importantly for that night, a fast meal for my hungry family. 

We are proud that Country Pasta is so versatile that it can be used as a quick go-to meal to fill hungry bellies on a busy night, or as a leisurely prepared Sunday supper.

We know many dads help with the dinner duties as well, but with Mother’s Day this weekend we have all you busy moms on our minds. And we salute you for all the work you do to provide healthy meals for your families. Just remember to give yourselves a break sometimes and reach for the jar. It’s okay.

Wishing you a relaxing and enjoyable Mother’s Day!

Heather

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Dinner is Done!

Once a week I try to plan a crock pot dinner for our family. And let me tell you, that is the night I always look forward to. Who doesn’t? You get to walk in to a delicious smelling house, pour yourself a glass of wine, and relax because dinner is done.

Prep, Set, Enjoy!

I have been using and recommending crock pot recipes for years now, and hadn’t given much thought to the history of them until today. So, after a very quick search on Google, I found this article from The Huffington Post: A Brief History of the Crock Pot.

I found it interesting that it took over 30 years from when the original slow cooker was patented, to when it became a regular household item. It was developed in 1936 to cook a bean based stew. The inventor, Irving Naxon, eventually sold his design to Rival Manufacturing in 1970 and they re-branded the item to become the Crock Pot.

The Crock Pot was marketed to…you guessed it…working mothers so they could prepare the food in the morning and have dinner ready and waiting when they got home. Things haven’t changed.

Working mother or not, I think we can all agree it is nice to have your dinner ready and waiting at the end of a long day. I recently came across a wonderful  Cajun Chicken Alfredo – Slow Cooker recipe that I made for my family this week. It was a huge hit. Although the Country Pasta needs to be prepared separately, it was still a simple dinner that allowed us to maximize our time together that evening.

I hope you enjoy the history and this slow cooker recipe. When you do, remember to grab a glass of wine and say a toast of thanks to Mr. Naxon for making your relaxing dinner night possible.

Salute!

Heather

 

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Planning the Perfect Holiday

fall-to-do-list-cropped-and-editedWhat is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the holidays? Family? The scent of pumpkin and spice? Mom’s dressing?

And then again, maybe stress is the first thing that comes to mind as you begin thinking about the big day. After all, if you are hosting, there are so many details to keep straight.

Growing up in our house (and even now), we tend to miss the dinner time by at least one hour each year. My mom, who is an amazing cook, seems to always add more and more to the menu, thus putting herself behind a bit. Don’t get me wrong, we all try to plan and pitch in on the family meal, but she usually just takes things in her own hands and assigns us the easy tasks like corn and cranberries. And although we like to tease her relentlessly about her timing, I have to admit, in the end, it’s always worth the wait!

My mom laughs at our teasing now, probably because she is an old hat at this, but if you’re new to hosting, or even just want to try to make things a little easier on yourself, there are plenty of online resources you can turn to. We have compiled a list of some we are going to try this year, amy-w-holiday-glow-and-deep-thoughtsincluding how to prepare a big meal, what family friendly movies to put in the queue, or even a checklist in hopes of keeping stomachs full and faces smiling.

We hope these are helpful, and we wish you a relaxing and memorable time with your family. Don’t worry, even with your completely organized event, they will certainly find other things to tease you about. That’s all part of the fun!

Happy holidays,

Heather

 

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Holiday Planning Checklist

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20 Best Movies for Families

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8/24/16 ~ Back to School

B2S for blog 2016It’s that bittersweet time of year again….back-to-school time! On one hand, it is nice to be getting the kids and ourselves back in a routine. But on the other hand, it’s sad to see another summer come and go. We’ll miss the cool crisp mornings followed by warm carefree days, evenings outdoors, and of course barbecuing.

And while we’ve all enjoyed grilled burgers, veggies and kabobs, there’s also a part of us that starts to yearn for comfort foods this time of year. Soups, casseroles, roasts, and of course using the crock pot for easy, ready-to-eat meals at the end of long days.

Growing up, one of the things I remember about family meals is that my mom would be able to turn last night’s dinner into a whole new concoction for us for the next meal. It was incredible what she would come up with. We’d barely even know that it was the previous night’s pork chops we were eating.

One of my current favorites is having roast one night, then the next night mixing all of the leftover ingredients and gravy together and topping some Country Pasta. This hits two of my favorite cooking techniques – using the crock pot, and repurposing our meals. Can you see a theme to my cooking – it needs to be quick!

To help get you thinking about some repurposed meal ideas of your own, take a look at this list of 65 ideas for leftovers. http://greatist.com/health/leftovers-meals-healthy-recipes

We hope you do some experimenting with your food this winter. Being creative will help to get us through until these long summer days arrive once again.

Enjoy in comfort,

Heather

 

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8/27/2015 – Act of Kindness #13 – Glacier National Park Pasta Give-Away

PicMonkey CollageThis week, for our 13th Act of Kindness, we gave away over 360 bags of Country Pasta to visitors of Glacier National Park. One of the things we love about where we live is our proximity to Glacier Park, so it seemed only fitting to include the Park in our Acts of Kindness somehow. We chose August 25th because the National Parks were celebrating their 100th Birthday, and Glacier specifically celebrated 99 years as an official National Park.

To say we had a good time would be an understatement. We met folks from at least 30 states and 8 different countries! We were warmly welcomed by the Park staff. We enjoyed ice cream. One of us went swimming. Two of us juggled pasta. We shared our own National Park stories. One of us ran into a server they had met while vacationing in the Virgin Islands! We met new friends. We had a picnic lunch. We had many laughs. And through all of this, we still get to call this “work.”

Throughout this year I continue to feel deep appreciation for the many customers we have who make this all possible. This year and our 25 Acts of Kindness are our way of giving back to each of you. We thank you, and we look forward to continuing to share our appreciation.

Best,

Heather Signature

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