Hodge Podge and Recipe Reviews

Good morning all!

The beautiful thing about having this little spot on the internet is the outlet it gives me. I write to share and connect, but also to process, to unload and to calm myself. I don’t always publish everything I write, but more and more I’m getting comfortable stepping outside my healthy living bubble from time to time. So thank you for allowing me to filter through my thoughts this weekend. I’m still struggling to make sense of it all, but I’m coming to understand that it will never make sense. So instead, I continue to deal with the emotions as they come up and continue on living the best way I know how.

It only makes sense that today’s post is a hodge podge. I’m a bit all over the place, so bare with me, will you? Let’s start with something sweet.

cookie exchange

Hailey and I attended Susan’s play date cookie exchange Friday and had a blast. Her play room is a toddler’s dream and it’s always fun to catch up with friends while the little ones are safely corralled and allowed to go bonkers.

Plus, we left with an impressive variety of cookies! David, my official cookie sampler, did me the “favor” of trying them all. Many were competitive, but he still says these butter pecan cookies take the cake! (…take the cookie?)

Christmas party

Hailey, Me, Jenny, Christie and Susan

Hailey and I also enjoyed a gorgeous Christmas party at Jenny’s. She makes hosting look effortless, even while 37 weeks pregnant!

I’m also noticing a trend that all (ok, maybe just a lot of) my mom friends are pregnant again. I’m beginning to feel left out. But then again, David and I enjoyed hot toddies this weekend. I’m OK waiting a while Smile

hot toddies

We also braved the masses for a day of shopping. I don’t think in all our years together we have ever spent a full day shopping.  We hit up Concord Mills, starting at Bass Pro Shop at 10am (they have a great Santa!) and ended with AC Moore Arts and Crafts at 5pm.

concord mills shopping

It was tiring enough to even accomplish a rare feat- a solid stroller snooze. 1.5 hours in a stroller. Never happens.

But now all our shopping is done, which makes this week before Christmas more relaxed. If you still have a list to tackle, help yourself out with some crockpot meals. Here’s my honest reviews on a few I tried last week.

slow cooker chicken tikka masala

Table for Two’s crock pot Chicken Tikka Masala. The flavor was authentic and the heat was perfect (I used 2 tsp of cayenne). It makes a lot and even with eating leftovers, David and I couldn’t quite finish it. Cut the chicken into small pieces before cooking it. The directions don’t mention that, but it’s important. Cooks for 8 hours, which makes it a nice one to throw together before work. It was a little too spicy to be kid friendly, but you could always reduce the amount of cayenne.

slow cooker turkey meatballs

Skinny Taste’s Crock Pot Turkey Meatballs. Loved the bold roasted garlic flavor and simplicity of the sauce, but the meal takes a while to prep- maybe 25 minutes? It cooks for 4-6 hours, which may be good for a weekend, but I’m not sure how it would do if you had to leave it all day. I liked the turkey, but David found in a bit dry. I am going to try these again with beef. Bonus- the house smelled SO good and it was kid friendly. Hailey gobbled them up.

taco soup dip

The Comfort of Cooking’s Chicken Taco Chili. This one is pretty easy to throw together and cooks on low for 6 hours, but I think you could get away with cooking for another hour or so and be ok. The flavor was good, but I think I was expecting more of a chicken tortilla soup, which this is not (duh, it’s called taco chili, not chicken tortilla soup, Brittany). David and I used it as a warm dip, though, and it was REALLY good! I think I’ll omit the chicken and use it as a party dip in the future. Also, kid friendly. I used a small jalapeno so it wasn’t too hot for Hailey.

This week I’m looking forward to Butternut Squash Soup that I made during my evening with Chobani and I’m also excited to try out Emily’s Hearty Lentil Vegetable Soup.

Clearly, I’m on a comfort food kick. Well, my kind of comfort food- warm soups.

And just to end the post with a smile…


Try any good recipes lately?



  1. Paulina says

    Can I just say how thrilled I am to see three new crock-pot recipes?!?! I use mine all the time and am always looking for new recipes. Hailey is such a doll in that last picture.

  2. says

    Thanks for the shout out! So glad you and H made it to the party. Do you think you could email me the pictures you took? I completely forgot to take a single one! I don’t have any favorites lately but am looking for recipes to use leftover ham so if you know any feel free to share!

  3. Christina says

    Thanks so much for the crock pot recipes! Between running around after our 11 month old and both my husband and I working demanding jobs, I’ve been relying on the crock pot more and more. The chicken tikka masala looks yummy. I must be on an Indian food kick – I just made Peanut Butter Runner’s chana masala (so good! and so easy!). And tonight we are having a BBQ chicken pizza, using your homemade pizza dough recipe!

    • says

      I want to eat dinner this week at your house! Sounds like so many of my favorites. I’ve been on a crockpot kick lately, too. I love that happy feeling I get at 6pm knowing dinner is DONE :)


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