Pin It Party #3

 

 

 

I know technically it is the fourth Pin It Party, but I didn’t participate in the very first one, so this is my third. Thanks to Lindsay for hosting this wonderful round-up, I hope you find a post you love while you are here! You can check my first and second posts if you have the time.

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So what is a Pin It Party? I share five of my favorite pin worthy posts with you, and link up on Lindsay’s blog. Once you write a post make sure you pin 5 blogs posts to support your fellow bloggers! Click on the photos to get to the post.

1. Toddler Time Workout

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A quick and sweaty workout at home!

2. Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap: Koulourakia

IMG_3803.JPGMy favorite Greek Christmas cookie

3. Stocking Stuffer Guide for the Host

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I know the holidays are over, but these are fun gifts to keep in your back pocket when you need to give a gift to someone who loves to cook, bake, host or all of the above. All of these items are under $20 so it won’t break the bank either!

4. My Favorite Books of 2013

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I made reading more of a priority in 2013 and I picked 5 books that I read that I absolutely loved.

5. Cold Weather Necessities

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I have extremely dry skin, couple that with this dry winter air and the coldness of the polar vortex? I have been employing every strategy possible to keep my skin from cracking and bleeding.

Toddler Time Workout!

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or trainer, please consult with your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise routine.

Let’s catch up on last weeks food and exercise first. I posted my plans last week, they were Tuesday – Achieve Kettlebell Class, Wednesday – at home workout, Thursday – Achieve MetCon, Friday - Studio Poise Pound, Saturday – Studio Poise Zumba & Pound Xpress.

So how did I fair? Tuesday, Friday & Saturday went as planned. Wednesday was a crazy day and it just didn’t happen so I figured I would hit up a Sunday class at Studio Poise instead of taking a rest day. Wednesday night my ulcer started flaring up, again. I went through everything I ate and there was no caffeine, no acidic foods, no stress. It was extremely frustrating. On the plan for dinner was spicy chili. It was already made and I needed to eat, so I ended making a grilled cheese. Not exactly on the plan, it was extremely frustrating. As one Instagrammer pointed out, it’s not me falling off the plan, it is me taking care of myself which is #1 on the plan. Because of the pain, lying down is actually very painful, so I ended up going to bed late and not getting up at 5 am to get to the gym. I ended up pulling together a short but sweaty at-home workout.

I didn’t end up getting that Sunday class at Studio Poise because B ended up very sick Saturday night, including a fever, throwing up, and feeling very uncomfortable. He wanted his momma and I was more than happy to oblige.

Here is the workout I ended up doing on Thursday:

 

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What you need:
A set of weights
One kettlebell
TRX (or you can modify)

Warm Up:
Stretch
3 rounds of 15 squats and 15 push ups

Workout:
Each section has 3 exercise done three times.
1. squat press, one arm kettlebell swing, sit ups
2. knees to chest, squats, TRX rows or pull ups
3. Right Side Plank for 30 seconds, Plank for one minutes, Left Side Plank for 30 seconds.

For the kettlebell and TRX portions please make sure you have had practice with these as you can get injured if done with incorrect form.

It’s not a long workout and you can make it as hard as you need and if you have a toddler like mine, you know the one that sometimes won’t take a nap, it’s easy to do while they play with their toys.

My plan for this week is to eat healthy for the week. We are hosting a Superbowl Party on Sunday and I would like to be able to indulge in a few of the less healthy things. So far so good.

For workouts: Monday – Strength at Achieve, Tuesday – KB’s at Achieve, Wednesday – preview class at a new barre studio in the area, Thursday – at home workout, Friday – Pound at SP, and Saturday – Yoga & Zumba at SP. Because of B’s stomach bug (it got worse and included a late doctors visit) I haven’t made any of my scheduled workouts. I might change my schedule, just to get in some great workouts in.

What are your workouts this week? Have you ever trained with kettlebells or a TRX?

Five Things Friday: Links I love

Welcome to another addition of Five Things Friday. I will be back to alternating this and Confessions of a Mom on a regular basis now.

This weeks post is dedicated to some awesome bloggers, some I have met, some I have only interacted with online. All the same, I want to share some important posts and causes this week.

1. Boston Marathon Fundraising

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My pretend twin (I mean we have the same irrational fear of crickets) Jane is running the 2014 Boston Marathon for Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, read all about her fundraising here, and she is also hosting a virtual valentine’s 5k and selling some super cute New Balance tech tanks and long sleeves. Please think about donating, participating in the 5K, or buying a shirt. I can’t wait to cheer Jane on during Marathon Monday, and I hope you can cheer her on virtually by helping her raise some money for such an important cause.

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I mean how cute are those shirts!?

2. Struggling with fertility & miscarriage

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It’s no secret that I have been struggling with dealing with my miscarriage and not being able to get pregnant, and I hate that more people are experiencing this. I am however glad that more women are opening up and talking about this. As women we should rally around each other and become lifelines of support and love.

Please read these three posts from Lindsay, Charlotte, and Colleen. Share them. Let women know it’s okay to talk about the pain and struggle, the sadness, the anger, and the hope. My raw posts about my feelings have never made me feel more exposed or more cared about.

3. On the Marine Corps Pull Up Requirement for Women

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That’s Lauren in the green tank on the right – the leader of the Achieve Fitness Triathlon Team

Lauren from Achieve Fitness wrote this AMAZING post about the Marine Corps eliminating the pull up requirement for women. Her thoughts are much more eloquent than mine and I really hope you take the time to read this article and share your thoughts. Also, there is an amazing video at the end of the post that I encourage you to watch.

4. Defeating Unhappiness

After having my breakthrough moment in yoga, I have been really into yoga and what it can do for me. Just like I loved reading about runners and their experiences, I want to immerse my self in the yogi world, so please send your favorite yoga websites, blogs, instagram accounts, etc… my way. This article on defeating unhappiness really spoke to me!

5. On Goal Making

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PR & I

Sometimes as bloggers we put all our goals out there in the blog world, almost keep us accountable. So what happens when we don’t accomplish those goals? I think my pal Pavement Runner handles this so well. He didn’t accomplish his goal, but he ran the best damn race he could that day. I have no doubts he will accomplish this goal and get that sub 3:30 soon. Stop by and show him some love.

What links are you loving this week?

Young Love

The winner of the giveaway is Stephanie, congratulations! I sent you an email, please get back to me within 24 hours with your information.
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I am sure that you’ve read one of the million posts regarding marriage and age, and just like fitness and health there is no one size fits all situation. Two of the most popular posts that I’ve seen are Vanessa’s on what you should do instead of getting engaged at a young age and Emily’s on why she got married young.

While I think that Vanessa’s post has some very important, I think it is treating marriage at 23 as black & white. So this is my story, and my thoughts on young marriage.

#TBT College Kelly & Nick

#TBT College Kelly & Nick

Nick and I met in college through a mutual friend. I had gone through a serious of bad short-lived relationships, although now I am not sure I would even call them that. I wasn’t looking for a relationship, but I was happy to meet a new group of people (Nick and his roommates) and to develop more real friendships.

That spring, Nick and I were both still on campus and it was my sisters graduation, I invited him to come hang out with me for a bit, everyone assumed we were dating (we weren’t), we just were good friends. During the summer I was going through some stuff with my best friend and I needed some advice and someone to talk to, someone from the male perspective, and I called Nick.Things just sort of progressed. We started talking more and more and then we started seeing each other. Things just got serious very fast.

Fast forward back to school starting, it was Nick’s senior year and my junior year (we were the same age, I was a year behind due to transferring and losing a ton of credits). I had a lot of obligations for clubs on campus and my sorority, and in the fall it’s all kinds of crazy. We had a huge fight, and in my typical style I said it was over. We didn’t talk for months, it was difficult because we still had a lot of mutual friends. At a mutual friends birthday we ended up talking and for the next few months we just talked, we took things slow and ended up getting back together. That was scary for me, and a lot of our friends expressed their dissatisfaction about it.

That summer was the hardest, my best friend passed away and I was a mess. Not only did Nick move to Boston, so did 95% of my friends, only 3 of the core group of people I hung out with were actually in my graduating class. I was angry and sad all at the same time. I spent literally all my free time in Boston with Nick. We had talked about marriage and looked at rings, Nick had stood by me through one of the most difficult times in my life thus far. I knew that he was a keeper, but I also witnessed a ton of unhappy relationships in my family and how mean those people turned after divorce. I didn’t want to have any part in that.

Marriage to me is sacred, you honor it. Marriage is not always easy, it takes constant work. You need to communicate and spend time with each other, and to continue to give to that relationship like you did when you were dating. Divorce isn’t always the answer, I truly believe that people (old and young) don’t realize that marriage can be hard and that you go through shit that may make you want to walk away, but getting to the other side, that’s the beautiful part.

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We got engaged when I was still in school, I turned 24 two weeks before our wedding and Nick was still 23. Five and half years later here we are. In a much better place then when we started dating. I’ll be honest, we’ve had some rough times, we’ve been through some situations that really test your relationship. At the end of every day I am grateful, and Nick’s support through the miscarriage has made me even more aware how great of a partner I picked. I am grateful for the hard times, because we wouldn’t have been able to get through this without those times.

Did I miss the fact that I couldn’t just pick up and travel wherever I wanted or that I couldn’t blow all my time and money on a fad or something completely ridiculous? Absolutely not. We traveled a bunch, we spent our fair share of time roaming around Boston, finding cool bars and restaurants. If nothing else, I am grateful I got to experience all those things with my best friend and my partner.

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Back on the Wagon

I made no secret that I was letting many things slip after the miscarriage. For the first week or so I wasn’t working out I was obviously very depressed and I definitely turned to the comfort of sleep and eating. Not exactly the healthiest ways to deal with things, but it is what I did. The holidays came quickly after that, followed by a nasty bout of the flu, and here we are today.

I learned a lot about nutrition and how to eat well for my body when I met with Amanda, and I know I need to get back on the eating right plan.

I have a few tools that I plan on utilizing.

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I love the Lose It! app, it helps Nick and I take accountability for the food we eat and for portion size. I love that it has both a web and app for you to use. I like that it keeps things real, losing weight is not something that happens overnight, you input your weight, goal weight, and can choose between 1/2 lb and 2 lb loss per week. It can be a bit daunting to see you won’t get to your goal weight for 6-8 months, but it is the healthiest way to get there.

Turkish Get Up - Proud Moment Photo!

Turkish Get Up – Proud Moment Photo!

I write out my workouts, and I plan on blogging about them here, just for accountability’s sake. This week my plan is: Tuesday – Kettlebell class at Achieve, Wednesday – at home workout, Thursday – MetCon at Achieve, Pound Workout at Studio Poise, Saturday – Zumba and Poise Xpress at Studio Poise. I am hoping to throw in a yoga class at some point this week, because honestly, it has been doing wonders for my mind and stress.

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I also need to meal plan. This is something that I really struggle with. I like to see what the sales are, but I also prefer to shop on Monday or Tuesday’s because it is less crowded and there is usually a shipment in the morning. This makes things a bit hectic since I don’t have X amount of hours to meal prep sans kiddo. I do my best but it can big a struggle.

The last thing I need to do is keep up on my water intake. I used to be so so good at getting 90-100 oz of water in a day, but for some reason I haven’t been great about it lately. I know that I can do it, I just need to get better about it.

So that is my plan, what do you do stay on track or get back on the wagon?

Five Things Friday: Yoga, Athleta & Salad Fun

It’s been a long time since I posted one of these, but I have a bunch of fun things to share and none of them make a big blog post. Before we get to those, make sure you enter my giveaway!

1. OXO Salad Chopper

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Lauren, one of the owner’s of Achieve, recommended this to me a few weeks ago and I friggen love it. When it arrived (thank you amazon prime shipping) I immediately washed it and made a salad.

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Spinach, Beets, Edamame, Broccoli, Hard-Boiled Eggs, and a small bit of goat cheese

After yoga on Wednesday I added some grilled chicken sausage to it, and ate a serious portion of this for dinner, it was perfect. I loved that there were no awkward large pieces of lettuce or spinach. It also came with a great booklet of ideas for salads to make, I can’t wait to try them.

2. Kid Classes

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Because I don’t have any many mom friends in my area, I joined a facebook group for moms in my town. One of the moms owns an art studio that does primarily kids classes (she has a few paint nights for adults) based on their age. She had a few open spots in her 2-3 year olds class and offered a free class to check it out. I went in with zero expectations, but B loved it, so we have decided to keep going. Fun fact: when he wanted to paint the left side he used his left hand, and when he wanted to paint the right side he used his right hand.

3. A Quinoa Fan

Nick had never had quinoa before, I’ve made it for myself for lunches etc… but never for dinner. I decided to just make it and see if he and B liked it. Turns out he loved it, I guess I should’ve done that sooner. B also likes to call it sweet potatoes…can’t win em all.

4. Athleta legging love

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It’s not a great photo, but I bought these leggings on a whim when I was in Athleta the other day. They were soft and comfortable and reasonably priced. I wore them to yoga on Wednesday night and I loved how they moved with my body. I would buy a gazillion pairs of these! (Someone wanted to come to yoga, but he’s a bit too young)

5. YOGA LOVE

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I took a Lululemon community class on Wednesday night. Danielle, the owner of Studio Poise, is a Market Street Lululemon ambassador. On Wednesday night Yoga Jake (also a Market Street Lululemon ambassador) held a class at Studio Poise.

I’ll be honest, I was super anxious and nervous to attend this class. I started taking yoga classes in November and haven’t taken that many classes. I was worried that everyone would be better than me and I wouldn’t be able to keep up. I re-read these great posts from Christine and Angela and had a great pep talk from Caitlin.

I got to class and got settled, Jake started talking about how yoga is an individual practice and to do what you can. It really started to relax me. I don’t really want to delve too much into what happened to me and how I practiced, because it was a very personal experience, but it was an amazing experience. I was able to mentally let go of a lot and to relax. What truly surprised me was during shavasana I felt a moment of complete happiness and next thing I knew tears were rolling down my face. It shocked me, but I had heard from more than one person that it can happen. It felt freeing to let go of all my anger with the miscarriage and my unhappiness with our struggles trying to get pregnant. I am by no means over it, but it pulled me to a better place, and today I feel less frustrated with the entire situation than I have in months.

I am grateful I had the opportunity to take this class and grateful that I didn’t bail because of my anxiety.

What are some of your favorite salad mix-ins?

What’s your favorite piece of work out clothing?

Have you ever had a yoga moment that moved you to tears?

 

Raise the Child You’ve Got: Book Tour & Giveaway!

Nancy Rose Book Tour Banner

Through From Left to Write I have had some great opportunities to read and review books. I again have the opportunity to read and review Raise the Child You’ve Got – Not the One You Want by Nancy Rose.

I have plenty of family and friends who don’t have blogs and don’t participate in the world of social media, yet they see the influx of articles and news pieces about parenting and the pressures of being the perfect parent. It is so easy to judge all the other parents out there and how they are “doing it wrong”, but sometimes we don’t look at our own parenting and what we might need to approve upon.

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Everyone talks about how “terrible” the twos and threes are, and I will be honest, I have my very rough days too, but I think a part of the problem with this age is that kids are learning how to communicate, and that learning process can be difficult. Deciphering what it is your child is saying, responding in a manner that they can understand as well. Then there are the issues that arise when you don’t respond with what they want. Sometimes we get frustrated and give up. Trust me, I am not perfect, I have definitely given up or given in, and I am not proud of that.

This excerpt below is one that really resonated with me:

“If you want to really know your child and have him open up to you, you must be emotionally present. By doing so, you give your child permission to show all of himself to you. What does it mean to be emotionally present? It means letting our children communicate all their feelings, not just the pleasant ones. It can be a challenge to be present with children who feel sad, angry, or incompetent, but it is worth the effort (and is the only way you can teach them appropriate ways to express difficult emotions). If your child senses that you want to know her thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, she will let you know in words. Let your child reveal the full picture of who she is by making it clear that you want to know everything about her and can handle whatever she has to tell you, not just the good stuff.

When parents give the impression that they do not want to know the bad stuff, their children will often express their struggles by acting out, rather than talking. Notice what your child is telling you through his behavior. For instance, if he is terrified of giving a report in front of his class, he may not necessarily tell you; what you may see instead is your child bullying his younger sibling. We should be tuning into not just what is said, but what is unsaid, perhaps as you see him having moments of quiet sadness by himself before going to school.”

This resonates with me for two reasons, the first being that I don’t ever want to be that parent to tell B he can’t do something (or should do something) because he is a boy. If he is frustrated I want him to be able to tell me. I also want him to know that it is okay if he cries. When he falls and hurts himself and cries, I do everything in my power to make sure he feels safe and comforted and that whatever injury happened isn’t serious. I make the effort to make sure the words “boys don’t cry” don’t come out of my mouth, and it is an effort, because sometimes I say that statement. I don’t want him to ever feel like he can’t show his emotions. If he is angry because I took his toy away, I want him to be able to tell me. I want to have the opportunity to tell him that because he threw it at my face means he can’t play with it for awhile. He can be upset that I took it, but I will always be there to tell him why his actions caused a reaction.

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At least he will tell me when he’s done getting his picture taken ;)

The other reason I love this piece of the book is because I grew up in a house where my parents pacified my sister and I. This is a behavior that STILL happens. When I get frustrated with one of my parents because of something they did, instead of having an adult conversation about it, usually they pacify it (or ignore it). For example, one of my parents was supposed to come to San Francisco with my sister and I to spectate me in the Nike Women’s Marathon. This was a plan for 7 months, and the day I had to book my flights said parent backed out. I found out via my sister and when I expressed my anger and frustration, the person threw money at the situation. Over a year later and I am still obviously frustrated about it.

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Enjoying SF on a sisters trip!

 

I do love my parents, but I don’t feel like I can sit and have a real conversation with either of them about how I feel regarding my relationship with them. I never want B or any future children to feel like that, I want our children to feel like we will always hear them out and have a rational discussion about how they are feeling, judgement free. But that I will also give out consequences when their behavior is unacceptable.

Now you get your own chance to win Nancy’s book! The giveaway is open until 11:59 on January 22. The winner will be notified via email and will have 24 hours to get back to me. US only. Check out more posts for the book tour and Nancy’s appearance on the Today show!

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How do you feel about the excerpt above?

My Favorite Books of 2013!

Since I joined From Left to Write I had the opportunity and push to read many more books than I did in 2012. Reading is something that I have loved since I was a kid. I used to go through a book a week when I was in school, I loved getting lost in the stories and worlds that books offered. I also loved reading true stories or books about real life events.

I picked my favorite 5 books that I read in 2013. In no particular order, disclaimer all links are amazon affiliate links.

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Bossypants by Tina Fey. I love Tina Fey, I have always loved her style of comedy, and this book is no different. I literally found myself reading late at night trying to stifle the sounds of my laughter because I didn’t want to wake Nick.

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Mother, Mother by Koren Zailckas. I wrote about this book and my thoughts on what makes you a parent. While my feelings on that haven’t changed, I really truly believe this is a captivating book that everyone should read.

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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn which being made into a movie (and I love love the casting). This is one of those books you either love or hate. I loved it, it sucked me in and I read it in about 3 nights. I love suspense filled books, I also that Gillian Flynn’s writing was wonderful, I need to read her other books!

Reasons Mommy Drinks

Reasons Mommy Drinks by Lyranda Martin-Evans and Fiona Stevenson. I reviewed this book as well, but I think it is one of those books every new mom should read (even if you don’t drink). I think that sometimes we get caught up in the perception of being the perfect mom or our kid being in the same place as other people’s children that we forget we have children and they are all different and unpredictable. This book (and their blog) puts all of that back into perspective. Also, I laughed, a lot.

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The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is my fifth book. I actually put off reading this for a long time. I knew that it was going to be a sad book and I just wasn’t sure I was ready for it. The thing is even though it was sad, the storytelling was incredibly beautiful. Again, I couldn’t put this book down. I am actually really looking forward to this movie, I can’t wait to see how they put the book into a movie.

What were your favorite books of 2013?

WIAW: Pinterest Wins!

As anyone in a relationship or marriage knows planning holidays in order to spend time with all family and friends can be very…trying to say the least. Nick and I were spending Christmas with his family and in order to have a special celebration with my parents and sister, I planned a dinner at our house the weekend before Christmas.

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I think we need a train around our Christmas tree…

Menu planning can be a bit tricky though, my sister’s boyfriend has two allergies: all nuts and poultry. The poultry one means that your usual Christmas dinner ideas (chicken or turkey) or using any sort of chicken stock is out of the question. For me that was actually a good thing, I’ve never cooked a chicken or turkey by myself and I didn’t want to have to do it for the first time for 12 people or for a holiday.

I went with my family’s standard holiday favorite: Meatloaf. I used grass-fed beef and doubled this recipe. It is very east to make and the meat was still nice and juicy, I love the flavor that the glaze adds, but you could easily leave it off.

I ended up going with a couple of carb-filled sides. All of these ideas I had pinned to my pinterest boards for a while, and I needed to try them. This was the perfect place.

The first was a new-to-me risotto. I tried an asparagus and spring pea risotto last Easter. I decided to try one that was a bit more hearty for Christmas. I went with Kerstin’s French Onion Risotto. I doubled the recipe and I used swiss cheese instead fontina, mostly because the cost of the fontina was way more than I was willing to spend. This dish was a lot of the guests favorite side dish of the night. I liked it, but it was heavy for a risotto, and that coupled with a few other heavy dishes didn’t make it my favorite, but I would make it again!

The second was this lighter buffalo chicken mac & cheese. Obviously, I did not use chicken, I used ground pork, because the flavor profiles are most similar to chicken and because we already had plenty of ground beef with the meatloaf. I doubled this recipe and it turned out wonderfully, again it was a heavier dish, but I loved it and I wish I had some right now!

The third recipe is the creamy corn pudding with crispy onions and herbs. Ever since my date with Caitlin at Agave Grill I have been wanting to try my hand at making a type of corn pudding. This dish surpassed all of my expectations and I can’t wait to make it again. I left the herbs off the top, mostly because I forgot, but to me it didn’t make a difference. The pudding had that sweet and savory taste I was looking for without being overly heavy.

I also had a large salad and roasted brussel sprouts on the side… we needed some green up in here.

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For dessert we had the classic christmas cookie (at least in my house), the snickerdoodle, and I tried my hand at Baked by Rachel’s mini cookies & cream cheesecakes. The flavor was on point, but for some reason they didn’t bake up like Rachel’s did. All that matters is that they tasted good!

Make sure that you check out all the other great food recipes and ideas on Jenn’s blog for WIAW!


I apologize for the lack of pictures, it was my first time hosting & cooking 90% of the food (thanks mom for making sure the risotto made it from the recipe to the table) and I was a bit crazy and running late so pictures just didn’t happen. I hope you try some of these recipes, I fully endorse them all!

What are your favorite successful recipes from Pinterest?