Ashley Judd

PHOTO: Ashley Judd visits Portage.
Our whole family walked a few blocks (some of them a bit grudgingly, but they’ll remember it forever…) to see Ashley Judd at the local Democratic Campaign Headquarters. I have always been a fan of hers and she cemented that for me when she wrote an amazing piece on her web site regarding women and the public discussion of our bodies in response to negative public comments about her appearance. (She is still stunningly beautiful even without photoshop!) Women should read it regardless of your political leanings: http://ashleyjudd.com/2012/04/10/the-conversation/.

My favorite tidbit of wisdom from her yesterday was her reminder, “What comes from the head goes over the head, but what comes from the heart goes straight to the heart.”

So from my heart, I encourage you to read her essay “The Conversation” and consider how often you have critiqued other women both publicly and privately and consider how the knowledge of those critiques BY other women OF YOU have shaped who you are today. We have all experienced it and we may not be able to stop anyone else, but we CAN have the personal integrity to set the example ourselves from here on out.

Today’s recipe is the last one for this year’s booklet. Sorry for the delay, but I’ve been trying to get a teensy bit of sleep on occasion.

This recipe comes from my friend Becky’s Mom, JoAnne. I spent many overnights at Becky’s house growing up and her Mom always had great treats and meals. JoAnne made this recipe at a get together my Mom was at, and then my Mom made it for our family. It reminds me of the Black Bean Hummus at the Willy Street Coop in Madison and it is very good!

Black Bean Dip

Weary of turkey leftovers? If so, you can try out these non turkey recipes from Krista that sound excellent!

I think that we are near the end (or at the end) of our submissions for this year. I’ll double-check tomorrow and make sure I didn’t have any others lurking in my in box. If you sent one and haven’t seen it yet, send me a message or post a comment here so I know to look for it.

And remember to post and check the comments connected to these recipes. If you love something, let us all know :-) Or if you made a great substitution or modification, share that as well.

I will pull all of the recipes into one file and post that on the exchange page in the next week or so.

Pork Chops with Red Onion Balsamic Sauce & Hawaiian Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Some couples seem to have no problem merging their holiday traditions together and everyone is happy. Not to say that we aren’t happy here (oh because, yes, that’s ALWAYS the case ;-)), but it’s been a challenge to provide our kids with a regular holiday tradition for our own little family as our plans change every other year. Good, bad or otherwise, I wanted to find some way for our kids to have a tradition to remember that was just “us” four.

And thus, our expanded Advent Calendar tradition began. As a kid I remember the fun little paper calendars with pictures behind the little doors, or sometimes the ones with the waxy chocolates inside. I think I ate that chocolate then, but even then knew it wasn’t “good” chocolate. No our new Advent tradition calendars are less waxy chocolate and MORE activity and togetherness (in theory)! I think I started this either the year after we moved here or the following. There are TONS of resources on the internet for this kind of activity. One of the early years, I just used paper chain rings and the kids could pull one off each day to find out what the activity or item of the day was. We’ve been lucky to crossover our tradition with good friends here as well so some days involve activities that build in our friends as well.

In one of his better gift shopping moments, my husband picked up this fun “Santa’s Stockings” Advent Calendar on a Christmas Eve shopping trip with my Dad at Bekah Kate’s. (That’s one of their traditions together too!) Since then, we’ve used it every year.

Want more great Advent Activity Calendar ideas, check out Skip to My Lou for more.

Generally, I plan out the activities for the whole 24 days in advance. Yet, it starts tomorrow and I’ve only gotten so far as to hang up the Advent Calendar and not fill it with anything yet so this might be a “midnight the night before” kind of year, I guess. Either way, the kids look forward to it and honestly, so do I! You know what I’ll be up to late tonight after I return from Zumba class.

May the spirit of the season and all the little things about it fill you with joy!

Somehow, when the weather is cold and the wind is crisp like it is here today, soup seems like a good idea! (I know, I know, I am a recent soup convert and NEVER would have said that even just 10 years ago.)

Nonetheless, today’s recipes give you a couple of great options! Enjoy:

Barley, Cabbage and Mushroom Stew & Hearty Minestrone Soup

Yes, as of today there are actually only 18 weekdays until Christmas……

I’ll give you a moment to process that.

OK, so Kristin at Iowa Girl Eats is running a Challenge to exercise on those remaining weekdays as the holidays approach. Care to join her?


Here are today’s recipes. It’s fitting they are treats as my friend and Zumba fanatic Suzie is always generously providing treats for us! She’s been coming to my classes since the very start! I’m not sure how she found out about it originally, but I’m glad she did:-)!!!

By the way, did you know that if you “follow” this blog (at right) you’ll automatically get updates in your format of choice? And, you can certainly comment if you particularly liked a recipe, or had a good modification to one. I’m pretty sure this whole blogging thing is supposed to be interactive, so I’ll try to do a better job encouraging that ;-) !

Have a great day!
Here are some tasty treats to sweeten it:
Crunch Bars and Rhubarb Pie Bars recipes


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