The Best Rice Pilaf

The Best Rice Pilaf by Foodtastic Mom

I need a personal assistant some days, but I can’t afford to hire one. Luckily I have my mom and dad, who might possibly be the most selfless parents in the world. Yesterday, they drove down early from my hometown (almost two hours away) and stayed until well after dark. My dad helped me deliver my catered lunch for 80 deserving teachers at a local elementary school while my mom stayed home tending to our sick son (he came home from school yesterday with a fever and turns out he has the flu) AND stamping and sealing my Christmas cards! She did a bunch of laundry for me too. And my Dad ran various other errands throughout the day for us. If they hadn’t helped, this past especially busy work week for me could not have happened.

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A few of my favorite things this holiday season…

Holiday Favorites by Foodtastic Mom

I actually can’t remember the last time I sat down to watch The Sound of Music. Our kids haven’t even seen it once yet! Add this to my ever-expanding list of things to do… seriously, it’s one of my favorite movies and I used to make time to watch it every year.  I’m thinking of it because as I typed “my favorite things” Julie Andrews voice popped up in my head and now I’m singing, “brown paper packages tied up in string…”

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It’s all about BALANCE + $100 Giveaway

  American Beverage Association Mixify

I am proud of both my children, but thanks to BlogHer, I get to focus on my son Caleb today. He’ll be ten years old in January and has been an active child since he was born. Biking with the family and especially with his Dad, sledding (he’s tried skiing a couple of times), shooting hoops, tossing a football, acting out NFL plays as he watches the Cincinnati Bengals on TV, and now as a second-year member of the swim team, he is not a sedentary child. He does not own a hand-held device, though he and his Dad do enjoy playing Lego Star Wars on the Wii.

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Potato Ham Croquettes with Chipotle Tabasco Sauce

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SeasonedGreetings #CollectiveBias

Potato Ham Croquettes with Chipotle Tabasco Sauce by Foodtastic Mom

I have so many favorite holiday party recipes, don’t you? Some of my “usual suspects” are Chex Mix, artichoke dip, bruschetta and hummus. Croquettes are a new one for me but I think they’ll make it into the permanent rotation. The potato and ham mixture can be made several days ahead, then fried right before serving. 

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Holiday Gifts from IKEA

ikea pic

I live in Cincinnati and we got our IKEA just a few short years ago. It’s a 45 minutes drive from where my family actually lives, but it’s so worth it. Our home now sports a glass-front cabinet where I store all my blogging supplies, a bookshelf and two office chairs for the kids’ homework station, a cozy chair for me and several light fixtures – all from IKEA. So given the chance to write about their Soft Toys for Education program, I jumped at it. My kiddos are going to LOVE opening their velvety puppy (for Caleb) and elephant (for Hannah) on Christmas morning. I may still go back and purchase a broccoli and carrot for myself, just because!

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White Chocolate Cranberry Cheesecakes

White Chocolate Cranberry Cheesecakes by Foodtastic Mom

So I finally finished decking our halls this afternoon. And after baking a batch of these festive cheesecakes, which started by giving those sugared cranberries a bourbon bath, I’m feeling a little less Scrooge-like than I was the other day. Also after several days of dark and dismal afternoons, I’ve had the sun shining brightly in my kitchen all day, which always helps lighten my mood.

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