Easy Gluten-Free Entertaining (Recipe: Black Forest Brownie Trifles)

Even if you aren’t eating gluten-free it’s easy to entertain gluten-free guests without having to buy a lot of specialty items.

Although most of the people I know who eat gluten-free truly don’t mind if there are certain items on the table that they can’t eat, it’s nice to make the extra effort and have all the food able to be enjoyed by everyone. It’s just more fun if all your guests can partake in every part of the meal – that way there are no temptations and nobody feels left out.

It doesn’t have to be stressful to cook gluten-free. With these few quick tips, you can have a great meal on the table in no time. [Read more…]

How to Survive Grocery Shopping with Your Toddler

Today I’m excited to be guest posting for my friend Annie and her popular blog PhD in Parenting. She’s created a Carnival of Toddlers and is addressing issues had on that we all face as parents of toddlers. Discipline, food, fun and survival are just a few of the topics that Annie and a line-up of guest writers are covering.

I’m keeping it real in today’s post on How to Survive and Thrive While Grocery Shopping with Your Toddler. I give my best tips for making the best possible grocery shopping experience with your toddler and offer suggestions for making the outing a learning experience.

From the post:

We must have looked a sight, my three-year-old, Mateo and I. It was my last minute attempt to hit up a grocery store before beginning my serious holiday cooking and baking blitz. My shopping list was lengthy and detailed, my time limited, and my energy flagging even before I unbuckled my son and stepped toward my local IGA.

I shivered in the December winds, my winter coat not giving much protection to my 6-month pregnant shape, and inwardly cursed myself for –yet again- forgetting to bring a couple of reusable shopping bags.

Once inside, Mateo shrieked and his little snowsuit-clad form staggered across the wet floors and lurched into a massive red plastic fire truck shopping cart. As I tossed my purse into the top of it, my iPhone dinged to let me know that my email was piling up as I ran errands.

Continue reading How to Survive and Thrive While Grocery Shopping with Your Toddler on PhD in Parenting.

I’ll see you in the comments section over on Annie’s blog!

Weekend Links: Eat Well, Spend Less Wrap-Up

The countdown to Christmas is really on now and we’ve got plenty of tips for the festivities ahead.

This month in the Eat Well, Spend Less series we took a look at simple holiday entertaining and how to keep the budget under control. Seven contributors weighed in on topics such as easy appetizers, do-ahead breakfasts, and stocking up on essentials.

I’m sure you’ll find this recap helpful as you head into holiday mode!

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Savory & Sweet: Two Holiday Brunch Menus

Hosting a holiday brunch has never been so attractive for me now that my friends and I have small children. It’s just a much more enjoyable get-together than having an evening party and trying to keep the little ones up late – or put them down early.

Instead, we socialize in the late morning while the children are rested and then in the afternoon, after the guests leave, our household naps! It is the holidays, after all. Later, we can have the evening to ourselves, or invite our friends who are not quite yet in the kids stage over for a simple cocktail hour.

Brunch can be as simple as brewing a pot of coffee, baking a batch of the best muffins ever and setting out a bowl of clementines. It should be fun and enjoyable to plan, which is why I’ve given some suggestions below for simple sample menus with plenty of do-ahead tips.

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A Simple Holiday Cocktail Hour (Recipe: Cookies and Cream Cocktail)

Written by Kristen.

This time of year it is so easy to get caught up in the elaborate and forget all about the simple. We host a much anticipated holiday party each year with friends but to be honest with you, although I love our holiday party, I have really been struggling with how I was going to fit it in with our already crammed packed schedule.

Our party is typically big, with a full dinner, dessert, cocktails, presents and games… but it was more than I felt like I could handle with life being so crazy this year. So instead of completely cancelling the party, I had to simplify.

A simpler option to a full holiday party is to host a simple holiday cocktail hour. This way we can still see our friends, celebrate the season together, yet I won’t be so stressed about losing an entire day devoted to planning and preparing for a big party.

Our friends are also busy, so they have welcomed the opportunity to socialize yet not eat up an entire evening. [Read more…]