Snowballs

Snowballs

Snowballs

I used to make these with my Mom when I was a little girl. This Christmas, my daughter and I made them together. We bundled them in little bags and passed them out to anyone who’d ever talked to us in our new Belgium neighborhood – my new mom friends at her school, the principal, the secretary, our babysitter, and the old man who always waves at us when we open our garage. These little goodies will bring a smile as big as a West Texas sky to anyone who gets a nibble. Whatcha Need 1 cup (225 grams) butter

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Dirt Cupcakes

Dirt Cupcakes

Tasked with a Halloween cupcake bake sale I’m perusing websites looking for ideas. . . there are so many cute ones out there, which can take a lot of time and with ingredients I just can’t find around here (without a lot of effort or money, anyway) Reese Pieces? Uh no. Candy corns? Um. . .an arm & a leg at the American Store. . . I even saw adorable skeleton cupcakes using twisted pretzels for the ribs and a flattened marshmallow for the face. (Mine would end up looking like stick men – no pretzel twists around here!) Then

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Jeweled Cranberry Bread

Jeweled Cranberry Bread

Those red jewels are on display in grocery stores everywhere – yes, even the Netherlands and Belgium stock fresh Ocean Spray cranberries. Just as the fall leaves exchange their green hues for an explosion of color, nothing quite says autumn like those tokens of sweet and tart. With glee, I rushed home with the bag and placed it in my fridge, excited about the visions of turkey alongside blue-cheese mashed potatoes, and my to-die-for sweet potato casserole. But then I stop. It’s still October. It’s too early for my mom’s Thanksgiving cranberry jello mold! What am I going to do

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AWCA Gala Evening

AWCA Gala Evening

The Indian summer air shimmies through the wide boulevard of the Meir – leaves on the towering trees dance. Shop lights glow in the twilight as the final shoppers are deposited, hands full of bags and eyes wide with excitement – the Saturday evening beckons. My dress bounces around my knees and high heels click on the pavement I’ve so often passed over – always pushing a stroller laden with cups, snacks, and a discarded jacket, shoe, or both. Tonight, a tiny gold purse dangles from my wrist. Freedom. I grab my husband’s suited arm and we sashay towards the

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Grandma

Grandma

The day, thick and heavy with grey drizzle irritates like a soaked wool blanket. My restless children cling to my sides, whiny and needy from being inside all day. I shiver – trying to shake off the damp creeping from under the gap in my patio door. I shake – trying to free myself from the children. My task of the week – toilet training my 2-year-old – was a failure, cleaning up messes off the floor, dragging rugs out to the porch to be hosed off, and washing his hands after playing in his own pee. A true holiday

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LamberMontMartre

LamberMontMartre

The depressed clouds had been crying off and on all morning – their tears flooding our patio then drying just as quickly. Like a confused husband, we shrugged and decided to move forward with our plans. It was a once-a-month outdoor event (only occurring during the summer months, at that) and promises had been made to our daughter. We skipped the tram and drove into the city – to the free parking lot just a few blocks from the impressive but lonely museum. We’d seen the museum the week before – after a visit to Antwerp’s newest and (in my

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Blue-Green Beans

Blue-Green Beans

“Hum, so you add blue cheese to green beans in order to make me eat them?” my husband eyes the bowl and twists his lips. Visions of my mother smothering broccoli in velveeta to get my brother to eat them when we were young pop into my head. I shrug, cast a sideways glance in his direction. “I guess. Will it work?” and I raise an eyebrow as I chop carrots for the couscous. “Uh. . . yeah!” he says, and he loads up his plate. Just like the Lemon Herb Couscous, it just takes a few simple ingredients to

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Lemon Herb Couscous

Lemon Herb Couscous

If you can boil water, you can make couscous, it’s that easy. Rice and potatoes are pretty standard, but couscous makes a simple meal, just a little fancier! I’ve made this recipe with traditional couscous, but I think I like the pearl better. Just follow the directions on the box, and add these few ingredients to really wow your family, and your guests. Preppin’ 1 box Pearl Couscous (or 2 cups water and 1 ½ cups traditional couscous) 1 chicken or vegetable bullion cube 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 Tablespoon olive oil Zest from two large lemons ¼ cup

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Karate Chop Steak

Karate Chop Steak

Chopped steak, basically a pan-fried hamburger sans bun, is the ultimate man food. Salisbury Steak has been a Hungry Man frozen dinner option for decades. Simple, but tasty, I used to make this recipe years ago when my husband and I were first dating and he always loved it. Paired with Lemon Herb Couscous and Blue Green Beans, it transforms the meat patty TV dinner of our youth into something grown-up-dinner-party-worthy and female friendly. The meat is given a surprising flavor of soy sauce, to make this not only my husband’s, but one of my kids’ favorite as well. Enjoy

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Alice

Alice

“Why sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” – Queen of Hearts, Alice in Wonderland. Droplets of wax pool at the base of an antique candlestick holder. An orange flame breathes and extends towards the painted ceiling. Rows of teapots smile from the shelves – winking and whispering to the suiker and sucre jars across the dining room. Glistening chandeliers cast a glow over tea-sippers and bounce rays of warmth off walls the color of a rain-kissed rose. This is Alice. I’ve found my new favorite tearoom in Belgium. We’ve come to Gent for the GentseFeesten,

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