Eat at Home Habit #6 – 21 Dinner Conversation Starters & FREE Printable!

We’re nearing the end of our series on 7 Habits for Eating at Home.  Today’s habit is most important. ?You may be asking why this one is so much more important than all the time-saving tips we’ve been sharing. That’s because dinner may be about the food, but family dinner is very much about the conversation and connections made with each other around the dinner table at mealtime.

Habit #6 – Intentional Dinner Conversation

Eat at Home’s mission is to encourage families to cook and eat at home together so they can leverage dinnertime to build a strong family.

Building a strong family is what making family dinner a priority is all about.  When we spend time together around the table, it strengthens our relationships to each other as we share food and good conversation.  It’s a chance to slow down a minute, look each other in the eye, talk together and really listen to each other. And it’s a great time to check in with our spouse and kids and see how things are really going for them.

A lot of the conversation around the table happens naturally, but sometimes it’s really nice to have a jumping off point to get the conversations started. Having some predetermined conversation starters can be a great way to talk about things that don’t normally come up in conversation but that help us get to know our families better. Sometimes it’s a great way to share favorite memories, learn new things, and share a lot of laughs.

We created a list of 21 fun conversation starters you can use at dinner tonight. Don’t forget to download the free, printable version of the list too!

Dinner  Conversation Starters

  1. Tell about one of your favorite teachers.
  2. If you could be real-life friends with a fictional character, who would you chose?
  3. Which do you think is more important – music or visual art?
  4. Would you ever want to be famous? Why or why not?
  5. What’s one subject they don’t teach in school that you wish they would.
  6. Name a place in your hometown that you’d like to visit, but never have. Make plans to go!
  7. If you had out-of-town guests coming to visit, what would you take them to see in your town?
  8. If you could instantly be good at one thing, what would it be?
  9. What’s your most important possession?
  10. What is your favorite part of the day?
  11. How much time do you think people should spend on the internet each day? How much time do you spend online each day?
  12. What’s your favorite thing to do online?
  13. Do you think it’s good to be bored sometimes?
  14. What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re bored?
  15. If it was possible to book a flight into outer space, would you go?
  16. What’s one daring thing you’d like to try? It doesn’t have to be something that’s daring for everyone, just daring for you.
  17. What’s one of your favorite smells?
  18. If you could bump into a famous person during the day tomorrow, who would you choose?
  19. Would you ever consider living in a historic time period (if time travel were possible)? Which one and why?
  20. Do you think it’s better to binge watch a tv show or have to wait on new episodes to be released?
  21. Do you like starting things more or finishing them?

Download the FREE printable version of this dinnertime conversation list here. 

This post contains affiliate links. Your clicks and purchases help support this site at no extra cost to yourself! 

If you’d rather have something that’s already made up, TableTopics makes tons of fun options to get conversations going. They have everything from conversation starters for couples to conversation starters for family reunions or girls night out! This one is especially for family dinners though, and looks like lots of fun! I love how they are all contained in sturdy little boxes too.

Healthy Habits for Eating at Home

If you are just joining us and would like to catch up on the other topics we’ve covered including topics planning meals around your calendar, quick and simple grocery shopping tips, stocking your freezer, the 15-minute meal and a collection of tools and tips for mastering time-saving cooking methods.

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A Salad for Peace and Victory

Spinach Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Peanuts and Blue Cheese

Over the last few months, I’ve intentionally not paid much attention to the news.  Or maybe I should say, I’m very deliberate about the news and the sources I seek out.  But sometimes events happen and they demand our attention.  They come in with all the pain and confusion and helplessness attached.

There’s been a lot of that this summer.

Events that feel so big, so full of hurt and hate, that it’s hard to know how we should respond.  How can we make a difference or help in the face of such anguish and pain?

sweet potato spinach peanuts

Maybe it’s with the smallest actions that we are able to bring light to the dark world.   Maybe it starts with simple things.  Teaching our kids about people in the past who made a difference with their own quiet actions.   Gathering our family and friends around the table together.  Sharing a meal and a conversation may seem too small to matter, but I don’t think it is.

Spinach Salad with Sweet Potatoes

This salad is inspired by George Washington Carver.  Carver devoted his life to doing what he knew and loved best – growing plants.  That may seem a little too simple to make a difference, but the results of his life are dramatic.

I love the way Andy Andrews weaves George Washington Carver’s story in with several others to show us how the butterfly effect works.  Go watch that video now.  I’ll wait for you and I promise that it’s worth your time.

In 1942, George W. Carver wrote a short pamphlet titled, “Nature’s Garden for Victory and Peace”.  In it he outlines all kinds of things that can be grown in a small garden that will help feed a family.  My salad is based on a few of the things he mentions, but I’ve updated it for modern tastes and to account for buying the ingredients in a grocery.  I’m a terrible gardener.

I also flipped the name from his original “Victory and Peace” to “Peace and Victory”.  In our world today it feels like peace is the victory we need.

The recipe for the salad is below.  If you make it, talk with your family about Carver and his work with peanuts, sweet potatoes and victory gardens.  Talk about how his small actions made such a huge impact in the world.  Talk about Moses Carver and his brave action to rescue and raise the infant G.W. Carver.

Talk about Susan Carver, whose friendship with Mary overcame all kinds of things in that hate-filled world they lived in and how the seeds of that friendship between women eventually led to two million people being saved.

George Washington Carver salad ingredients

Whether you make this salad or not, do whatever it is you do best.  I share recipes.  You may help people with banking or teach kids in school or take care of sick people or…

And know that whatever you do, however small it may seem, it is making a difference for good in the world.

Keep flapping your butterfly wings!  Gather your family around the table and show them that they have butterfly wings to flap too.  If we all flap our wings enough, we’ll bring good into this hard world.

Spinach Salad with Sweet Potatoes and peanuts

A Salad for Peace and Victory

Serves: 4-6 servings

Spinach, sweet potato salad topped with peanuts and blue cheese
Ingredients
  • 1-2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2-3 Tbs. olive oil
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 6 cups baby spinach or turnip greens
  • ¼ cup peanuts
  • ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese or goat cheese
For the dressing
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook sweet potatoes in olive oil in a skillet over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Add diced onion and garlic to the skillet. Continue cooking about 5 more minutes until sweet potatoes are tender and browned.
  3. Make the dressing by combining all the dressing ingredients in a container with a tight fitting lid. Shake well.
  4. To serve salad, top spinach with sweet potatoes, peanuts and blue cheese. Drizzle with dressing.

 

 

 

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Who You Are – Results From the Reader Survey

Last weekend, I posted a little survey to find out more about all of you on the other side of the screen.  I’m overwhelmed by your responses for several reasons.

First, so many of you filled out the survey – 547 of you, to be exact.  Wow!  I know this blog has lots of readers.  I can tell that from the traffic stats, but sometimes I have a hard time getting you to comment here.  You’re chattier over on Facebook 🙂

There were only 11 questions, but after reading your responses, I wished I’d asked more.  Let’s go through the results together, so you can see who we are as a group:

You can see from the chart above that we are mostly female around here.  No big surprise there!  [Read more…]

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Potato Salad Loaf – You Have to See It to Believe It

“What a beautiful new way to serve potato salad. And the luscious glaze you make with Hellman’s keeps it fresh and moist to the last slice. That’s real mayonnaise. Whole-egg Hellman’s.”

This post originally appeared 4/1/09.  I don’t usually re-publish posts, but I couldn’t resist this time.

I found this ad in an old recipe box that belonged to my Grandma. She was a great cook and I have no idea why she thought this should be cut out and saved.

What were the folks at Hellman’s thinking? They lost me at the word loaf. “Moist to the last slice”? Yuck! Who wants to eat a slice of potato salad? But you’ve got to love the radish and carrot flowers decorating the lusciously glazed sides of the loaf. So cheery, so Spring-like, so ’70s.

I hope you got a good laugh out of this.  Happy April Fool’s Day!

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Homemade Doggie Treats

doggie-treats-pet-rock

I have a young friend named Abby, who has started a business this summer making and selling homemade doggie treats.  I bought some from her and told her I would feature her recipe here on Eat at Home, but I don’t have a dog or any pets at all.  So, I let my daughter’s pet rock introduce the treats.  And I borrowed my neighbor’s cute little dogs to sample them.  Maybe you’ve got a dog you’d like to make treats for.  Or maybe you’ve got a child who would like to start a little business themselves. 

[Read more…]

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Sugar Scrub

I’ve been feeling a little flaky lately. My skin, that is. Cold weather makes me itchy and the perfect solution is Sugar Scrub. The store bought variety is expensive, but it’s very easy to make at home and it’s much cheaper too.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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1 cup sugar
1/3 – 1/2 cup olive oil
essential oil

The amount of oil you use depends on how oily you like it. Obvious, I know. You can use the cheapest olive oil you can find. I used peppermint essential oil. I also keep lavendar and orange on hand. There are lots of yummy scents to choose from though. Again, the amount is just personal preference. You really don’t need the essential oil at all, but it does make it nice.

Mix it all up in a glass bowl. You don’t want to use plastic because the scent would be absorbed by the container.

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This makes a great gift. Just put it in a small plastic container (you wouldn’t want to use glass in the shower) I like to use those Ziploc bowls, but this time I was just making it for myself and didn’t have a nice container so I used an old yogurt container. Recycling at it’s best.

Smooth it onto your skin while you’re in the shower, working it into your elbows, knees, feet and other rough places. Rinse off in the warm water and you’ll be smooth as silk.

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