Weekend Links – Travel and Reading

Reading, Quitting and Sticking with It

Last week, I admitted that I have a habit of ditching books that I’m not enjoying.  I’ve been wondering if that’s always a good idea.  I’ve decided it’s a mixed bag.

On the one hand, it’s good to quit some books.  Just because others love them, doesn’t mean you will share the love.  Last week I determined that I would finish Gone Girl.  I wasn’t liking it, but I just kept thinking it would get better.  I slogged my way through 90% of it and couldn’t take any more.  Finally, I did something I’ve never done before – I googled to find out the ending.  Good grief!  I’m so glad I decided not to read through to the ending.  Those were some seriously messed up characters with little to no redeeming qualities.

This has taught me that I only enjoy reading books where I can have some sympathy for the characters.  And that if I really want to quit a book, I will put it down.

On the other hand, on the advice of several people, I picked up The Language of Flowers again.  I started this book a few months ago, but didn’t get far into it before quitting.  It seemed like it was going to be very sad.  But now that I’ve started reading it again, I’m really liking it.  I’m not very far into it, but I predict that I’m going to like this one through to the very end.

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I haven’t put much time into planning our Disney trip lately.  I’m just try to keep up with the latest Fastpass+ info, so I’ll be in the know.  But once I put together our planning booklets, I will share those with you.  Until then, here is a photo of two from past trips.  I know these seem like planning gone crazy, but when you travel with a group of 13 people, it’s very nice to have everyone know what we’re doing.  I really hate standing around trying to figure it out with that many people.


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I must have a little spring fever, because in addition to our upcoming Disney trip I’ve been thinking about other trips as well.  So far, we don’t have any actual plans for other trips, but I’ve been doing a lot of dreaming.

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I listened to this podcast from The Art of Simple.  In this episode, Tsh talks with Stephanie Langford about the year long, round the world trip her family has been experiencing.  For a variety of reasons, this is not something that my family will ever do, but it is something that we’ve had fun dreaming about over the years.  And I love hearing stories of people who have taken off on long adventures together.

We’re getting near the end of our homeschool year and we’re all getting tired.  The idea of making next year full of field trips is enticing.  Especially when I read these 12 Things Children Learn While World Schooling.  It has me thinking about how we can incorporate some of that adventurous spirit in our school, while sticking much closer to home.  If you’ve got thoughts on that, I’d love to hear them!

I pray you have a lovely Easter weekend!


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Slow Cooker Apricot Crisp

Slow Cooker Apricot Crisp


I am really liking creating these slow cooker desserts.  But even better is getting to eat them!

Late yesterday afternoon, I put this simple Apricot Crisp in the slow cooker.  Then we had dinner, cleaned it up, took a walk around the pond.  Wednesday is the night that all of our kids are gone, except the youngest.  We settled in with her for the evening and enjoyed this dessert together.

It was a great way to top off the day!

This recipe is just about the same as my Slow Cooker Peach Crisp recipe.  I just used apricots instead of peaches.  Apricots have a deeper, sweeter taste than peaches and they were so good in this crisp.  The brown sugar and oats cooked bubbly around the edges and even browned a bit.

I’ve also realized through this Slow Cooker Dessert Series that 95% of all slow cooker desserts should be topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Fact.

Here’s what you’ll need to make Slow Cooker Apricot Crisp:   [Read more...]

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5 Ways to Eat Kale – or what to do with the rest of the bag of kale in the fridge

5 Ways to Eat Kale


Weird news:  4 out of 6 of the people in my house have decided that they really like kale.

That’s not something I would have seen coming.  But my youngest two kids actually ask for me to buy kale.  Odd, but true.

Since I’ve been buying it more often, sometimes I end up with part of a bag leftover.  What to do with extra kale?

Here are a few ideas:   [Read more...]

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Breakfast Banana Split – An Easy Way to Perk Up Breakfast

Yogurt and granola have been one of my staple breakfasts for years. It’s quick and easy and I can mix in whatever fruit we happen to have in the house. One morning, I had been too lazy to slice up my banana and stuck it into the yogurt whole. My husband laughed when he saw and said it looked more like a banana split than breakfast. I loved the idea and started making my parfaits in sundae form.


This is my favorite version. The ingredients are simple, but all together this feels like a really special breakfast – and loaded with fruit, it’s not one you’ll feel bad about devouring either.


Breakfast Banana Split


  • 1 banana
  • 6 oz. vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp. granola
  • 2 Tbsp. blueberries
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped strawberries
  • 1 Tbsp. Nutella


  1. Slice the banana in half lengthwise and place it in a bowl.
  2. Mix together the yogurt and cinnamon. Pour between the banana halves. Sprinkle granola over the yogurt and banana. Top with blueberries and strawberries.
  3. In a microwave safe bowl, heat the Nutella until warm and runny. Drizzle over berries and serve immediately.
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Kate is a home cook living and working in New Jersey. In addition to sharing recipes with Eat at Home readers, she blogs her cooking adventures at Kate’s Recipe Box. When she’s not in the kitchen, you can find her reading or tending to her garden.

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Basic Chicken Skillet – The Foundation for Lots of Meal Possibilities

Basic Chicken Skillet. Start here to create many meals.


You know how you can create a lot of outfits if you start with a few basic pieces and add in accessories?

You can do the same thing with food.

If you start with a skillet of chicken, onions, garlic and green pepper you can create all kinds of fantastic meals.

Accessorize with tomatoes, basil, oregano and parmesan and have Italian chicken over pasta.

Embellish with Greek seasoning and serve it in a pita.

Accent with white wine, cream cheese, chicken broth and serve it over steamed spinach.

The possibilities are endless!  I’ve got several recipes ready to share that start with this skillet.  This is going to be a series of sorts, but I’m not going to tie it to one day of the week or give it a specific ending date.

I love the idea of starting with a few simple ingredients and creating meals from there.  And I’d love to hear your ideas too!  This is the kind of thing that you can start with the basics and add what you find in your kitchen.  No recipe needed.

Here’s what you’ll need for the Basic Chicken Skillet:   [Read more...]

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Simple Meal Plans & Real Life – April 14

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post with how our dinners have gone over the past week.  I started to say that last week was out of the ordinary, but truly, every week is a little different than the one before.

What is true is that I kept things very simple for dinner last week.  The week before I’d created quite a lot of recipes, so maybe I needed a break.  Or maybe I was just being lazy.

We started off Monday by staying up to watch the NCAA Basketball game.  Such a good game, but so sad for those of us here in Kentucky.  And it made us pretty tired the rest of the week too!

Monday night we had Orange Chicken.  I added a fresh pineapple that needed to be used and it was so good!  We love this quick meal.

Tuesday night I created a new recipe for a client.  It will be posted on the blog next month I think.  You’re going to love it!  I know we did.

Wednesday is an evening that has everyone going in different directions.  It was mostly YOYO (you’re on your own).  I did make a skillet of Migas for Jim, Mia and myself.

Thursday night I had book club.  I picked up a rotisserie chicken for everyone else to eat.

Friday night we ate a quick dinner of tacos before driving Isaac to the high school formal dance.  It was held at the castle and we wanted an opportunity to look around a bit.  This place sat empty for years and years before finally being turned into a hotel.



It’s not the kind of place you expect to see in central Kentucky, is it?

After we dropped Isaac off, we met friends at Graeter’s for ice cream.  The weather was gorgeous and we were able to sit outside to eat.

Simple Weekly Meal Plans

If you’ve been looking for a way to save time on menu planning, you’ll want to look into getting our Weekly Meal Plans.  All the organizing and thinking is done for you.  No grocery list making or side dish planning needed.  I love using these and when I don’t have to do any recipe creation, this is my preferred way to shop and cook.

Here’s a sneak peek at this week’s meal plans.  When you join the Weekly Meal Plan list, you get the grocery list and printable recipes with side dishes included.  You can find out more about how to get the meal plans for yourself by clicking here.

Whole Foods Menu

  1. Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps
  2. Sweet & Smokey Salmon
  3. Chicken Tacos
  4. Chicken Avocado Lime & Cliantro Soup
  5. Chicken Curry
  6. Veggie Pie
  7. Caramel Apple Pie

Traditional Menu

  1. Chicken, Plantains, and Spinach in Coconut Milk
  2. Steak Burgers
  3. Grilled Fish Sandwich
  4. Ham and Swiss Scalloped Potatoes
  5. Easy Pizza Rice Casserole
  6. Mexican Vegetables over Cornbread
  7. Brownies a la Mode with Wild Berry Sauce

Slow Cooker Menu

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Weekend Links, Latest Reads and My Bad Habit of Not Finishing Books

I loved this post on Modern Mrs. Darcy of book recommendations for writers from Shauna Niequist.  Shauna is the author of Bread and Wine, which I recently finished and highly recommend.

The list of books she recommended was interesting for several reasons.  I’ve read a couple of them.  Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott is one of my favorites.  Traveling Mercies, also by Lamott, has been on my to-read list for a while now.

I’m in the midst of reading another of Shauna’s recommendations – Gone Girl.  I have to admit, I’m not finding it to be as much of a page turner as I’d hoped.  In fact, I could probably just abandon it and not look back.  I’m going to stick it out and finish this book though for several reasons.

First, it made the list on Modern Mrs. Darcy for its interesting structure.  So far, I haven’t seen anything  too unusual so that must still be coming (I’m about 40% of the way through it).

Second, almost everyone seems to love this book.  They get wrapped up in it and can’t put it down.  There must be something too that.

And finally, I’ve recently (like yesterday) realized that I have a habit of quitting books.  Another book on the list, The Language of Flowers, was one that I quit after a few chapters.  And last night at book club, we were discussing all kinds of books and there were three or four that I had only read part of.

Modern Mrs. Darcy has a post on not finishing books.  I even commented that I have no problem abandoning books part way through, even read-alouds for homeschool.  Otto of the Silver Hand comes immediately to mind.  We hated that book!

But now I’m wondering if I’m too quick to abandon.  Maybe I need to give books a chance to finish out.  It’s possible that it’s unfair to judge a book on the first 30%.

What do you think?

In other bookish news, this came for me in the mail:


Jessica Fisher is a friend of mine and I’m so excited about her latest cookbook.  Mia actually jumped up and down when she saw Best 100 Juices for Kids.  She loves juice and smoothies!  The book will be available April 15.

One of my friends had a brilliant idea that we should go to Becoming Conference in August.  I’m very excited about this upcoming trip.  Most of the conferences I’ve gone to the last few years have been times of intense learning.  I’ve come away with long to-do lists.  But Becoming looks like a refreshing type conference.  Just what I need!

McCormick Spice has a Pin-Spiration Sweepstakes going on right now.  They’re giving prize packs out every week.  Click here to enter.

Disclosure: I am working with McCormick this year.




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Slow Cooker Brownies and Cherries

Slow Cooker Brownies and Cherries


Several weeks ago I was in ALDI and saw cans of tart cherries for sale.  I love tart cherries, so I picked up two cans.  They’ve been hanging out in my pantry waiting.  I sometimes buy ingredients that I don’t have any recipe ideas for yet.  They make good inspiration for new things.

Yesterday, I decided those cherries needed to meet up with a box of brownie mix and become a new slow cooker dessert.  I had no idea if this would turn out like I hoped or not.

Then again, how can you go wrong with cherries and brownies?

The dessert turned out wonderful!  The brownies are soft, but a bit more set than cobbler type desserts.  The cherries taste bright next to the deep, chocolate flavor of the brownies.  A creamy scoop of vanilla tops it all in a classic way.

Here’s what you’ll need:   [Read more...]

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Asian Glazed Oven Fried Chicken

These sweet, savory Oven Fried Chicken breasts will become an instant family favorite! Packed full of delicious Asian flavors & easy to make, there will be no need to hang on to those take out menus!

Asian Glazed Oven Fried ChickenI absolutely love fried chicken. One of my all time favorite comfort foods! But I hate going through the process of frying it up. It’s time consuming, messy & normally ends up with me injured. Which is exactly why I have grown to love oven fried chicken. You get all of the breaded goodness you love from traditional fried chicken in a whole lot easier version.   [Read more...]

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Extra Creamy Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream – with just 4 ingredients

Extra Creamy Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream


Recently, I mentioned a book I discovered on Scribd that made my mouth water for ice cream.  Not that that’s a hard thing to do.  I love ice cream!

The book is Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home.  Jeni’s is an ice cream shop out of Columbus, Ohio that is famous for their gourmet flavors and natural, local ingredients.  I’ve never been to one of their shops before, but I was able to find Jeni’s ice cream at Whole Foods.  It’s not cheap, but it is amazing!

I still want to try making one of the recipes from the Jeni’s cookbook, but they require cooking and then cooling before putting it into the ice cream maker.

I’m pretty lazy, so I wanted a short cut.

I used my basic, no-cook recipe, but I added cream cheese.  Jeni’s uses cream cheese in most of the recipes, so I wanted to see what effect it would have on my easy version.

The cream cheese adds some depth of flavor and it does make the ice cream even creamier and thicker.  The cheater recipe is still super easy to make.  It’s only got 4 ingredients and requires no cooking, but adding the cream cheese makes it better.

Here’s what you’ll need:   [Read more...]

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