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If I am anything, it is a rule follower. When I was younger my parents once brought snacks into the movie theater and I worried the entire time we would get kicked out for breaking the rules.

I used to apply my strict rule following to cooking by not varying off of a written recipe…..at all! I had my handful of dishes that I knew by heart and could make with my eyes closed but give me something new and I craved guidelines. Luckily I married a man who is a little more flexible with following the “rules” when it comes to cooking (or driving the speed limit). Cooking together over the past 5 years has allowed us to learn from the other and I am now more comfortable in using a recipe as a starting point and adding my own twist.

This recipe started off as an idea I saw on Pinterest (that is an entirely other post) because my wonderful sister-in-law had just made us heaps of homemade jams and butters. I hope you are inspired as well and break a few rules in the process.
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Savory Apricot Lemon Sauce
Adapted from myrecipes.com

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One of my favorite days of the week is Sunday. Sleeping in, going to church, coffee and the newspaper, farmers market, grocery shopping, phone calls with the parents and in-laws, and weekly menu planning!

Along with trying to have a fully stocked pantry, a key to being prepared is planning out our meals for the week. This helps, not only with planning leftovers, but with fewer stops at the grocery store during the week and taking advantage of sales and coupons. We are then well prepared to deal with the week ahead until the next lazy Sunday!

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Be prepared

Yes- I was a Girl Scout. And the daughter of a highly organized mother which means I like lists, plans, backup plans, and when things happen as I plan. When it comes to cooking I like to have a plan but have made the best discoveries when I allow a little flexibility in the kitchen.

If you came into our house on any normal day you would not find much in our fridge. Cooking for two doesn’t take much planning especially when the hubby passes by the grocery store on his way home for work. I try my best to plan out our meals for the week but life gets in the way and sometimes an unplanned meal is the best (a.k.a. only option).

The following is my list of what I like to have on hand at any time to quickly throw together a meal or to doctor up our leftovers for lunch or dinner the next night. A little bit of planning now will save you time during the week. Real advice from a real Girl Scout.
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Changes

“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change -”
― Heraclitus

How true is this statement. So many changes since my last post- new job, a European vacation, more classes completed towards my degree, and just completed my longest-race yet (10 miles!). No matter how large or small the changes one thing that always calms my mind and spirit is spending time in the kitchen. I thought it was time to get back to sharing my latest cooking adventures- with a bit of a change.

While I love to try new recipes, a majority of creativity in the kitchen comes from the day to day reinvention of our leftovers. My new job allows me to work from home but when I was commuting I would bring my lunch almost every day and the hubby continues to do so. I have always found new ways to transform last night’s meal into something new for lunch and even beyond. My ideas, while simple, keep us from eating the same thing constantly and (I hope) will inspire you to do the same.

I look forward to sharing my latest creations, tips, tricks, and (who are we kidding) special treat recipes that you can incorporate into your  busy schedule full of changes.

We have had a few teasers of warmer weather approaching- a day in the 80s, tulips starting to bloom, and the first ice cream recipe in the ice cream mixer. Unfortunately snow flakes returned to the air and the recipe wasn’t quite there. Just a few reminders of the warmer weather and better ice cream recipes ahead.

What is better than ice cream? These cake pops that look like tiny  ice cream cones are a close second! I first discovered Bakerella’s wonderful blog a few years ago and received her cake pop cookbook for Christmas. Take some time and make these treats and dream of summer that is oh so close!

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I had never had red beans and rice until I went home with my hubby. This recipe is a specialty of his mom’s and she was nice enough to pass along this recipe to me. We survive on this meal in the winter as it warms the house and our stomachs with spicy goodness. I have to admit that I also make this during the warmer months when I am seeking a comforting, full meal. It is also great as leftovers the next day. Set aside some time to make this meal and your stomach will thank you!

P.S. Sorry for the poor photo below. I was really excited and started eating before I remembered I needed to take a photo!


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My hubby and I do not have kids but we do  not let that stop us from occasionally snacking on goldfish crackers. Sometimes those “snacks” turn into eating an entire bag for dinner. So when I saw this recipe for homemade goldfish on Smitten Kitchen’s blog I knew I had to try them. My hubby actually surprised me with them one night after I got home late from work. We  made another batch a few days later. These are just as addicting as the store bought crackers if not more so. Make some today for a snack- or your dinner- I won’t tell!

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