Tags: dinner, weeknight dinner
What is your meal time like at your house? Calm and cool or pure chaos?
I am positive that it looks different for every family. For some, it happens on a regular basis and for some, they are lucky if they sit together for meals at all.
We definitely fall somewhere in the middle. I’ve always known that family meal time is important. My family wasn’t perfect at sitting down together growing up, but I have good memories of the times we did. I have a wonderful French grandmother who made meal time so much fun growing up. She was exuberant and had such a love for food that it rubbed off on everyone enjoying a meal with her. No one ever went hungry at her house. In fact, you were so full you could hardly move
What is it that keeps us from sitting down together? ……busy with the kids, school, homework, sports, other activities and everyday life. We are all guilty of it!
The struggles we face are trying to get everyone to sit down together at the same time. Between sports and homework I have yet to find a time that sticks. I think being flexible from day to day will help. I also want to work on having my boys help set up the table and help with the clean up. Some extra bonding time is always good right?
I am making a goal this year to be better at making meal time a priority. I know how important it is and that’s a good enough reason for me! I want my kids to remember the times we sit and talk together during the week and not being so busy that it never happened.
Currently, our family meal time is very simple and I mean simple. The picture above was actually me “trying” lol! I put some rosemary sprigs from our bush outside in a vase and set the table a little nicer than usual. The boys said, “Wow Mom, what’s the occasion?” If I’m being honest, I’ve got no problem using paper products. We actually use plastic cups from Costco on a regular basis. This is what works for us. I think we all need to be ok if things are not always perfect. I want to focus more on the connections and conversations we have at the table than what type of placemats I have.
Some of the things that we do well are definitely having home cooked meals on a fairly regular basis. Since I write a food blog, that one is pretty easy, there’s always food around I also love the conversations we have at the table. Aside from our daily conversations and discussions about school, as often as we remember, we like to ask the boys “What’s one thing you did today that helped someone or what’s one thing you can do tomorrow to help someone?” This way, if the boys didn’t help anyone, they can think about what they can do the next day.
Dr. William Doherty, who I had the pleasure of meeting at Barilla, has studied the importance of family dinner time for years and brought up a good discussion that having the kids help clean up was very important. I was happy to hear this! He also brought up really good points that having regular family dinner helps your kids do better in school, improves behavior and provides a safe home feeling. I am thrilled to be partnering with Barilla and Share The Table Family Project. I love that Barilla promotes and supports families to share more meaningful meals together. This is so important to my family as well.
I love that Barilla is helping support those in need with this program as well. For every post using #ShareTheTable, Barilla will help provide the monetary equivalent of tem meals to Feeding America, up to one million meals!
This is exactly how our table looks. Messy and happy, lol! Our 18 month old loves to throw is food and make a giant mess. We all sit together and get a good laugh watching Pax eat.
I am excited to make family meal time an even bigger priority this year. I think letting go of having to do things perfect will be a good step for me. As long as we are all together and enjoying our meal is good enough We will also have “family clean up” time as Dr. William Doherty has recommended. Yay!
What are your struggles with family meal time? Do you have any successes to share with the rest of us? Would love to hear it!
Be sure to help raise money for Feeding America by posting #ShareTheTable on your social media pages!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Barilla, however, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive sentiments towards Barilla or their products.
Tags: chit chat
It’s Friday! Yippee!! Let’s chit chat about what’s been going on
Before I get to our Spring Break trip, I’ve got to tell you about this new feature on Picky Palate that I am so excited about! It’s called CliqueMe that my good friend Amanda told me about. It is similar to Instagram but on your blog which is why I think I love it so much!
If you hover your mouse over a photo, down in the bottom right hand corner of the photo you’ll see a heart and a comment bubble. (Go ahead and try it with the photos below.) You can now easily click the heart or comment bubble to quickly “like” or “leave a comment” on any photo!
You’ll need to register first (one-time only) by clicking on the CliqueMe tab down at the bottom right hand corner of my blog, but then you can easily login with your Facebook, Twitter, Google, or Instagram accounts. Don’t worry, it won’t post anything to your Facebook or Twitter or anything! Then you’ll never have to register or do anything again.
When you’re reading a post, you can just quickly go through and like your favorite photos, or comment on your favorite one without having to fill out the name, email, and website form. It’s brand new, and there are not that many users yet, so you can be the first to claim your username! You might even be able to get your first name.
Be sure to click on the Trending button to see what the most popular photos on our site are right now. If you register, leave a comment on one of the photos in this post to let me know you joined!! Be sure to check out Amanda’s post for a full tutorial
For Spring Break we took the family to California to spend some time at Disneyland. If you follow me on Instagram, you saw some of these pictures. I bleeped out my son’s finger that somehow was up during that photo. Stinker!
I would NOT recommend going to Disney during Spring Break…..however our season passes are about to expire so we thought why not! We also stayed at the Grand Californian which is right in California Adventure Park, so when we needed a little down time we just headed to the hotel for an hour to re-group. By far my favorite hotel to stay in at Disneyland.
One of the nice things about staying at the hotel is you get a “magic hour” in one of the parks every morning. Only the guests of the hotel get to do this, so you get to go on a bunch of rides without so many people in the parks. Here we are on California Screamin’. Both of my boys first time riding the big roller coaster this trip. So fun!
A few family pictures at Disneyland. I waiting in line for Pax to see Pluto. He was staring big time, lol!
It was an eating frenzy to say the least. The Mickey cookies and cream sandwich was to die for. Can’t believe I hadn’t had it before. The cookies and cream cone from Clarebelle’s is always a good choice. Can I also mention that we have officially reviewed ALL of the restaurants at Disneyland and California Adventure?! Over the next few months we should have reviews for each and every restaurant on our Disney Eats Page. Quite the delicious adventure we’ve been on the last few years See our current Disney Eats Page HERE.
We tried a new bar at Clarebelle’s that had Pop Rocks on top! It was soooo good The chocolate dipped cone from Cozy Motel was a big favorite this trip.
I swore I would never get a leash for my child and here you see that I did. With so many people at Disney, I knew I needed a close hold on Pax. The boys loved walking him around like a little puppy, lol!
For the love of churros. I will not be admitting how many churros were purchases that week The strawberry brownie funnel cake from Stagecoach was out of this world delish!
The Cozy Cone Motel also has these churro bites with spicy chocolate sauce. To.Die.For. I was the only one that actually dipped the churros. The rest of my family is nuts.
On the drive home from California I had my feet kicked up and realized my neon Tieks had walked through New York City, Atlanta, Tulsa, Anaheim and Phoenix in under 3 weeks! I can’t tell you enough how much I have enjoyed walking in these comfy cute flats. If you are on the fence about getting a pair, take my word that you will LOVE them
So….my obsession continues. How could I resist these Mint Tieks for Easter?! No Easter dress for me, I’ll have the shoes, lol! Officially obsessed…and in big trouble!
Have a great weekend! See you Monday with a new recipe!
What a fun few days at The Pioneer Woman’s Ranch with the Land O Lakes® Kitchen Conversation bloggers!
Photo via Julie
If you follow me on Instagram, you saw that I was at The Pioneer Woman’s Ranch last week! Still can’t believe I was there, lol!
Kitchen Conversations brings together a really great group of food bloggers including myself, my pal Ree from The Pioneer Woman, Maria from Two Peas and Their Pod, Bridget from Bake at 350, Sommer from A Spicy Perspective, Brenda from A Farmgirls Dabbles, Julie from The Little Kitchen, Joanne from Fifteen Spatulas, and Jessica from The Novice Chef.
We arrived to the ranch last Monday evening and had a jam packed fun schedule ahead
I woke up Tuesday morning to this gorgeous view. The cows were mooing, birds were chirping and the sun rising. I could have stayed out here all day!
Ree is the sweetest around. She showed us around her gorgeous ranch and spent the day chit chatting, laughing and eating with us. Love love love spending time with her! How fabulous is this pantry by the way?! Love the ladder.
Had to snap some pictures of her beautiful kitchen that’s on her Food Network Show. That orange KitchenAid Stand Mixer is just sooo fabulous!
We had a big breakfast that featured many of our recipes. It’s safe to say that we did not go hungry, lol!
Photo via Brenda
We took a fun tour around Ree’s ranch. LOVE this picture of her sitting with the cows. We also got to tour Ree’s building they are renovating. See Ree’s post HERE.
Photos via Ree
Up next was our Butter Showdown! We had to pick two mystery ingredients and create a recipe using Land O Lakes® Butter. We had a great time.
Charlie came for a visit Wednesday morning. That sweet face just melted my heart. What a sweetie he is!
Photo via Ree
Had so much fun being roomies with Maria. So excited that they are having another little boy. Congrats Maria!
We had a lovely dinner featuring more of our recipes. Ree made us her Cashew Crackle to snack on, talk about to die for. It will be available later this year
I’ll never forget the gorgeous early morning sunrises on the ranch and my time spent there. I feel so lucky to be a part of such an amazing group of women!
Have a great weekend!!
Tags: chit chat, new york city, travel
Happy Friday! It’s been a crazy past couple weeks, lots to chit chat about
Last Friday I was on my way to NY to meet Amanda for a fun girls weekend. We’ve had this planned for a while and I can not tell you how excited I was to go back to the city! I had my magazines, Tieks and I was ready to go! Oh and can I just say that I walked ALL day in my Tieks and they didn’t bother my feet even once. They are the perfect traveling shoes. So excited to collect more colors
We met at the hotel Friday evening and headed out to dinner to “Parm.” Not even kidding the best Chicken Parm I’ve ever had. The baked ziti was to die for too. Keep in mind that it is a very small restaurant, so call for reservations to prevent long waits.
After shopping it was time for some late night Max Brenner. This 80′s Milkshake and S’mores Waffles are such a treat. Theres’ nothing quite like it.
We had some amazing breakfast during our trip. The picture on the left is from Laconda Verde and we had a Zucchini Fritatta and Lemon Ricotta Pancakes. Those pancakes were some of the best pancakes I’ve ever had. So excited to try and re-create them at home
The picture on the right was from the cutest little bakery/cafe called Sugar and Plumm. We ordered those crunch french toast sticks topped with fruit and lots of butter. Such a treat.
We made our way to Chelsea Market after breakfast. Seriously one of my favorite places to shop and eat ever. Such a charming place.
Had so much much fun walking around the city! Time Square and the cute Oreo Wall in Chelsea Market.
Later Saturday night we walked around Union Square. So gorgeous at night!
These are my favorite pictures….while we were walking through Eataly in Union Square Saturday night, for a split second, I made eye contact with Scott Foley….of Scandal….of Felicity walking through the busy walkways!! I stopped dead in my tracks and after I froze up I managed to tell Amanda who it was, lol! We turned around and followed him (In the green puff jacket, this is exactly what he was wearing). He and his friend walked very quickly into one of Mario Bataly’s restaurants so this is the best I got. We were dying.
So, the picture on the right is a bit out of sequence, but after I left NYC, I had to fly into Atlanta and I saw Ian Somerholder of Vampire Diaries! Not even kidding. I was talking to my mom at the time and could hardly even talk, lol! Can you tell I don’t do well around celebrities?! I wanted so badly to ask for a picture with him, but just couldn’t do it. Such a chicken!
We also tried some fun treats while we were there. Had an assortment of macarons from Dana’s Bakery like the left peanut butter and jelly then some amazing gelato from Amorino shaped like a flower! Love!!
Sunday morning, there was no question that we were going to Levain Bakery. I mean look at that cookie! Hot out of the oven, chocolate peanut butter heaven!
After breakfast at Sugar and Plumm and getting our nails done we made our way over to this fun Bowery Mural. Its a huge wall painted with these amazing colors. It also just happened to match my Tieks, lol!
Later Sunday afternoon we made our way over to Rockefeller center to watch the ice skaters and grab a bite to eat at Bouchon. How perfect is this?!
Can’t say enough about Ippuddo. We had the best steamed pork buns and Ramen I’ve ever had. You have to start lining up 1/2 hour before they start dinner at 5pm or you’ll be waiting a very long time. We got there about 4:45 and got right in. A must visit!!
You know we had to go to Serendipity 3 for Frozen Hot Chocolates! This time I tried the peanut butter frozen hot chocolate and it’s even better than the original if you are a peanut butter fan. Delicious. Keep in mind that even at 11pm there will be a wait. We got there at 10pm and had to wait 45 minutes to be seated. Good thing Dylan’s Candy Bar Shop is just down the street to browse through while you wait!
Amanda and I stayed at the lovely Omni Berkshire Place Hotel and had the best experience. They made sure we had everything we needed and then some. Highly recommend them!!
So much fun packed into 2 days in the city. There’s just nothing like a little trip to NYC! Can’t wait to go back again
Have a great weekend!!
Happy Friday! Chit Chat day here at Picky Palate.
I am on my way to NYC this weekend to meet one of my best traveling friends Amanda of Kevin and Amanda. We have been traveling together for years and one of our favorites is definitely NYC! Please be warned, my Instagram feed this weekend is going to have LOTS of food pictures and I mean lots. If you are on a diet, you might want to unfollow me, lol!
I’ve put together some of my favorite places to eat while visiting this weekend. I intend to eat every single one of these goodies, lol! Can’t wait!
Levain Bakery. Quite possibly one of my favorite cookies on the planet is this warm chocolate peanut butter cookie. Can’t wait to sink my teeth into it!!
Doughnut Plant! Heaven help me when I walk through these doors. There’s no telling how many doughnuts I will order, lol! That top one is a creme brûlée doughnut and there’s nothing like it. Amazing to say the least
Photo via Amanda
Bouchon Bakery, Columbus Circle location is a classic and has the best macarons I’ve ever had. The vanilla one is to die for!
Max Brenner! The best milkshake I’ve ever had. Period. It’s called the 80′s milkshake. A must order. Their breakfasts are over the top delicious too
Photo via Amanda
Chelsea Market is one of those places you could just move in and live in the walkways. So many fun places to eat and shop. Food Network Studios are here too. A must visit.
Inside Chelsea’s Market is Eleni’s Bakery. A must visit in Chelsea’s Market for whimsical sugar cookies and irresistible cupcakes.
Magnolia Bakery has all kinds of delicious baked goods to choose from. Famous for their banana pudding, and adorable store front, I can’t wait to go back
Photo via An Edible Mosaic
Another cupcake favorite for me is Crumbs Bake Shop. Their Cookie Dough Cupcake is one of my very favorites!
The Waffles and Dinges Food Truck is a must too! Belgian crispy sweet waffles. Mmm!
Photo via Amanda
I know I’m talking mostly sweets, but a trip to NYC wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Artisinal Bistro for the best mac and cheese around. Love!!
Have a wonderful weekend!! I’m going to live by the motto that there’s no calories when on vacation, lol! At least I’ll feel better
Happy Friday!! Feel like a little chit chat? Oh good, me too
Phew, the last few weeks have been busy, fun and busy again. Things got started on Valentine’s Day when we took a road trip back to CA to visit our friends and to visit Disneyland.
I love being a mom to all boys and all, but what is it with “being too cool” to stand for pictures for your mother?! You have no idea what I have to do to convince my boys that I am not kidding about taking pictures at Disneyland, lol! I swear it’s like pulling teeth to get them to stand by Mickey, lol! These knuckleheads need to know that you are never too old or too cool to get a pictures with Mickey. Sheesh!
It had been a few months since Pax has been to Disney with us and he was LOVING the rides this trip. Melted my heart watching him clap for the animals on the Jungle Cruise.
My girlfriend Brandi and I snuck out for a quick breakfast before we went back home and shared these lovely blueberry pancakes. If you visit Southern California, go try Champagnes French Bakery and Cafe for these pancakes. To die for
I was making my Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies last week and had a tiny bit of cookie dough left in the bowl. I stuck it inside an extra Oreo. Just do it. Not kidding. Yum!
Loved this thread on Instagram when I posted this picture of my spaghetti noodles. We probably have spaghetti once a week and my boys don’t get sick of it. Does spaghetti show up on your dinner table weekly like it does ours?
Sometimes you catch the perfect picture. I found Pax and Mason snuggling on the couch last week.
Cullen and I had a weekend to ourselves with no kids in Park City with some friends. Barely had time to unpack and re-pack our bags from California. We hit up Paradise Bakery in the airport before our flight and my grilled cheese was extra cheesy! I wasn’t complaining
We made it to Park City! It.was.COLD…but so pretty. Cullen and his friends went snowboarding. I went skiing, or I should say tried to ski. It had been over 15 years for me, so let’s just say I’ve got some lessons to take, lol! Loved it anyway
Had a snowy fruit and yogurt breakfast one of our mornings. Love!!
Got to go to dinner with Maria and Josh at Deer Valley’s Fireside Dining. What a treat!!
Stopped for breakfast before heading to the airport and shared these Utah Scones with our table. Hot fry bread dusted with powdered sugar with a elderberry sauce for dipping. Gulp.
I recently tried a new soda called Dry Soda. It is a less sweet, all natural soda made with just four ingredients, including a little bit of pure cane sugar. Each of DRY’s eleven unique flavors is perfect to sip on its own or paired with a meal. Check it out!
Had some fun peek a boo time with Pax at the breakfast table. This little boy is such a joy. Happy mom.
Pax is just about 18 months and loves to say “what’s that?!” at everything in the house. He loves to point at airplanes in the sky, roar like a lion, moo like a cow, say “woof woof” like a dog, give kisses and say thank you when you give him something.
Have a great weekend!!
Happy Friday! Happy Valentine’s Day!
We are at Disneyland today, be sure to follow me on Instagram to see the fun Talking about the Top 10 Things You HAVE to Eat at Disneyland today!
Since we are spending the weekend at Disneyland I thought it would be appropriate to highlight my favorite eats at Disneyland. Let’s take a look shall we? The castle just never gets old does it?
First and foremost Disneyland is not Disneyland without eating your fair share of churros. There’s just something about Disneyland’s churros that are irresistible and highly addictive
Likely my favorite treat at Disneyland…..the chocolate peanut butter sandwich. You can find this at a number of places at Disneyland, however my favorite is at Pooh Corner Bakery in Critter Country. It’s just kind of a tradition and I would hate to break tradition
Nearly as delicious is the chocolate s’mores bar. Crispy chocolate with a layer of soft marshmallow and graham cracker at the bottom. Mmmm! Ordered this at Pooh Corner Bakery as well.
I don’t get these much, but I do love looking at all of the cute apples that Disney offers. These are displayed from Pooh Corner Bakery as well.
One more from Pooh Corner Bakery is the White Chocolate and Chocolate Chip Cookie. I have to say, there has been times it’s a bit on the dry side, but if you happen to get a fresh one…..sooo good
My husband’s favorite thing to order is this flaky Baklava from Paradise Grill in California Adventure. I know it’s not technically Disneyland, but we always do both parks when we visit! Be sure to try this one! Totally surprised us. We are not even baklava fans and this completely changed our minds :) UPDATE: 3/2014 – on our recent trip to Paradise Grill we ordered a baklava and was disappointed in it. Upon asking the workers, we found out they recently changed the recipe. Now, there’s a thick pavement like layer of walnuts that ruins this once desired treat. NO LONGER RECOMMENDED!!! Go HERE to see a new item we recommend.
Cafe Orleans in New Orleans Square has some of the best french fries in the park. They are the Pomme Frites. Pleeaaase order another side of the dipping sauce. It’s so good and isn’t nearly enough
If you are a Disney goer you have heard of the famous Monte Cristo Sandwich. You can order it at Cafe Orleans as we did here, or also at Blue Bayou. It is absolutely sinful. Deep fried ham, turkey and cheese sandwich dusted with powdered sugar, dipped in a berry puree. Weeeeee!
The beloved Dole Whip from the Tiki Juice Bar! A must!
You can’t beat The Corndog Truck on Mainstreet! The greasiest, crispiest best corn dogs you’ve ever had. Gotta try these!
I know it’s not food, but I can’t wait for Radiator Springs this weekend! Such a fun ride at Disneyland…..worth the long line.
Disneyland wouldn’t be the same without my crazy family of boys. This was one of the last trips we took before we moved to AZ. We’ll see if I can bribe them to take pictures with me this time, lol!
Have a great weekend, I’ll be sure to eat some extra churros for you! See you Monday with a new recipe
Oh, did I miss any of your favorite Disney eats?? I’d love to hear your favorites
It’s another chit chat day! I thought it would be fun to look at some of my favorite things this week that would make great Valentine’s Day gifts!
How cute is this Forever 21 Love Stacked ring?! For $4.50 I seriously need this!!
This Forever 21 Necklace too! $6.80? I need this too, lol!
I was in Bath and Body Works last weekend and on my way out I saw these adorable little clutch/bags that say “Smell the Roses” and “Hello Sunshine.” How cute are they and they are neon?! Under $10 each. I couldn’t pass them up. I’m actually going to get a few more for gifts. Love them!!
Drugstore find of the week!! My sister told me about this Maybelline “Pink Pop” lipstick and it is fabulous. The pink is perfect and it’s under $6! We found ours at Target.
Love this simple print from Etsy!
Ok, this is funny!!! Found on Pinterest.
Looking forward to treating myself to a new manicure with a nice red color like this.
Want to order some prints from Yellow Bungalow. I have a few of her prints in my guest room and they are soooo cute!
With Valentine’s Day coming up, my Kiss Pies are a fun little treat to make. Only 2 ingredients!
My friend Shelly at Cookies and Cups posted the cutest little snack mix ever this week! Go check it out
Have a great weekend!
It’s Friday! It’s Chit Chat Day, yippee!
Angie of Bakerella has outdone herself yet again! I am dying over the cuteness of her Whale sugar cookies that work for Valentine’s Day and really any time. Check out her post. Amazing Angie!!
I have been on the hunt for the perfect chapstick for a verrrry long time. There’s nothing worse than chapped lips right?! Well, Burt’s Bees came out with a new flavor….Blueberry Dark Chocolate!! Not only does it smell like a dream, it works wonders! Go check it out. I think it was under $3.
I made my husband take these photos of me and my pizza dough. Kind of love how they turned out!! Funny thing is I had no make-up on and my hair was still in a messy bun from the gym. Haha! Funny what a dress and red high heels can do
LOVING Your Home Based Mom’s Vanilla Cherry Ice Cream Float!! My boys are going to go nuts for this!!
Since moving to AZ and having a home to decorate, I have been obsessed with positivity quotes, photos, chalkboards….the list goes on and on. I love surrounding myself with great quotes and uplifting words. Found this cute text from Pinterest. Love it!
Loving Stella and Dot’s new collection, especially these charm necklaces “Love” and “You are my sunshine.” How fun! I think I need both, lol!
I am thinking the hot pink Tieks for Valentine’s Day?! Haha, probably not going to happen, but I REALLY want a pair!!
This Donut Apron!
It’s Superbowl Sunday this weekend! I will be honest, I am not a football fan, but I love the food, company and commercials. I will definitely be making Cooking Canuck’s Healthy Mediterranean 7 Layer Dip! Mmm!
Hope everyone has a great weekend!!