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Three-bean vegetarian chili

chili

When the New Year rolls around, I notice an increase in published recipes for legumes – lentils, black beans, black-eyed peas are all popular online searches. This vegetarian chili combines three kinds of beans – red, kidney, and black – nicely into one pot.

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chixsoup

Welcome to 2017! January’s frosty nights had me hankering for a comforting bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup. Ordinarily I wouldn’t think twice about making a simple soup out of broth, noodles, and a few vegetables.

But now that I’m a stepmom to two fairly picky eaters, presenting a homemade meal and having it met with approval or faces that don’t look like I’m asking everyone to eat fried worms has become an achievement on par with completing a triathlon from my single days.

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Hermit cookies

hermits1

Spicy and sweet cookies packed with dried fruit and sometimes nuts, hermit cookies are a classic New England treat.

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Pumpkin ice cream pie

pumpkinpie

Growing up in New Hampshire far from relatives in the Midwest, we would occasionally join church friends at their home in Woodstock, Vermont, for Thanksgiving.

Safely tucked in my childhood memories is the image of their classic, white colonial house with black shutters and a thin blanket of snow covering the lawn. After crunching up the gravel driveway we entered the house through the back door that led straight into the kitchen. Inside the room was warmed by a wood burning stove and a braided rag-rug on the polished floor. A copper lantern chandelier hung over the oval kitchen table. It was a quintessential New England scene.

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choccake1

Talk of a Chicago Cubs victory party started way before the Cubs actually made it to the World Series this fall. (This is what happens when you marry a fourth-generation Chicago Cubs fan.) And at this party, it was promised that Italian beef sandwiches would be ordered from Chicago’s iconic Portillo’s restaurant.

I said I’d take care of the chocolate cake.

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Basic banana bread

bread1

A simple banana bread recipe is a quick way to make a new kitchen smell like home.

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FullSizeRender

I’m in the process of having my kitchen renovated, which means I’ve been limited to my electric tea kettle and my microwave to make something hot to eat or drink when at home.

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