Sweet Potato Waffles with Fried Egg, Bacon, and Scallions

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Sweet Potato Waffles with Bacon, Scallions and Fried Eggs

Breakfast for dinner. When my son was little, we called it “upside-down day”!

Waffles for supper are an especially comforting way to end the day. They’re relatively quick to make from scratch and they change up the meal routine in an unexpected way.

Any break in routine feels slightly festive, no matter how simple.

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from RSSMix.com Mix ID 8174097 http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/sweet_potato_waffles_with_fried_egg_bacon_and_scallions/

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A Holiday Survival Guide for Sad People

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Christmas Snow

This post feels unpopular. Is it unpopular? I think it is. Because the holidays are happy! Why talk about sad things? Why dwell on the past? What is there to be sad about when there are TREES and LIGHTS and MASHED POTATOES?

But maybe that’s the whole point.

Last year, in a small room in the NICU, I held my infant son Afton as he died in my arms. He was one day old. My heart – I don’t even know what to say about it. It will never be the same. Just like that, my life had a Before and an After.

You know how people say, “I don’t know what I would do if (my son died) (my mom got cancer) (my partner left me)?” Well, guess what? Neither do we. Sad People, I mean. We don’t know how we’re even alive, much less how we are getting things done at work and going to friends’ houses and doing our laundry. It’s not like we got any extra special training in the surviving-the-sads department before we graduated from high school. We are not more equipped. We are not “God’s strongest soldiers.” We’ve just landed on the really crappy side of life right now, being forced to figure out how to survive this, and maybe make something good out of it, and so we try.

And we’re doing a decent job at it, I think. A lot of us are. We are high-functioning. Getting our jobs done. Dropping a pretty good fake smile when Susan complains about her salad dressing again. Finding joy in small things like watching YouTube videos of cats knocking glasses over. Just … as an example.

We’ve learned the routines, and we’re making it.

But then comes November and December and two words suddenly loom over our heads: THE HOLIDAYS.

Christmas Tree

Sad People and the holidays are totally awkward together.

The holidays are typically the most happy time of the year, which, in fact, is what makes them very uncomfortable for Sad People.

Our sadness is both magnified and silenced. We see everyone else being not just regular-happy but full-blown-HOLIDAY-happy, and we realize, in specific detail, what we are missing. A partner who will buy you that necklace you’ve been wanting. A Dad who can reach to put the star on top of the tree. A baby who will smile at the Christmas lights. That pain is sharp. It is biting. It will knock the breath right out of your lungs.

If you are not a Sad Person, I hope you can gain empathy for your Sad Friends by reading this Survival Guide. Try to understand. Be gentle with us. Remember our lives right now. We are not Scroogey, not really. We are just very tired and very, very sad, and we need you to love us.

And if you are a Sad Person this year, my heart is so with you. These words on the page get a little blurry when I think of all of you who will stumble upon this post in hopes of a little encouragement, and about the people and dreams and futures that you’re grieving while the rest of the world will go on celebrating. I’m so sorry. I get it. I’m a Sad Person this year, too.

We’re gonna survive these next few weeks, okay? Maybe we can even find a tiny little bit of enjoyment and peace somewhere.

Table

Here’s my Holiday Survival Guide for Sad People.

Say No.

Number one, above all else, I think we need to establish that when you’re really sad and your Great Aunt Betty calls you up and asks you to host Thanksgiving this year, it’s okay to say no.

I don’t know about where you live, but in the Midwest, WE HAVE THIS BIG PROBLEM and it’s called Minnesota Nice. And it’s really nice until it’s not nice, because you are doing all these things that you never wanted to do just because you’re bad at saying no and worried about hurting someone’s feelings, but then it all comes out eventually anyway in some form of passive-agressive emotion, and then you realize you should have just said what you meant from the beginning. Here’s a revolutionary thought: you can say no. And you can still be nice about it.

As a rule of thumb, I ask myself: “What would I tell a friend who was in this situation?” If my sad, grieving friend was worried attending a big holiday party with co-workers, what would I tell her to do? I would say, FRIEND. Stay home and watch a movie and order takeout. Take care of yourself.

That’s easy to do, right? Now turn around and treat yourself with the same compassion that you would treat a friend. It’s okay to say no.

It’s Okay to Leave Early.

But sometimes you *think* it’s gonna be okay, so you say yes, you’ll be there! and then you go, and then you walk in, and then you realize: CRAP. This is not okay. I am not okay here. I need to go home and be sad with my dog.

At which time you should remember the second rule of holiday survival: it’s okay to leave early. Really, it is. It’s okay. Your dog probably needs to be let out, anyway, right?

Have an Escape Plan.

Always, always, always. This rule applies to holidays and non-holidays. This can be really simple. For example: don’t host the annual cookie baking party. Because if you host, you can’t leave. If you’re already stuck hosting, plan where you will go (a walk, maybe?) if things get too hard to handle. Come up with a variety of good reasons why you might need to leave a situation. “I’m just not feeling that great, I think I’m going to head out,” is totally valid. It is truth. It’s maybe not the full truth (this holiday work party is overwhelming me and I would rather be with my cats right now), but it’s still truth, and it’s still exactly what you need.

Sometimes when I feel like I might be letting people down in situations like this, I always try to remember that my family and friends want me to be happy and cared for. So when I say I have to leave, what I am doing is just helping them know what I need to be happy (well… happy-ish) and cared for. And that is what they would want – they would want me to be happy and cared for, even if that meant leaving their party a little early.

You’re Allowed to Change Your Mind.

You said you would volunteer for that thing and now it’s coming up and you’re dreading it. Guess what? You are allowed to change your mind. Next year, or maybe the next, you will be a stronger person who can keep their commitments more regularly. You will be the champion. People will depend on you like the rockstar that you are. This year, you do not need to be that person. You need to let others care for you and put some real weight on your support system. You need to be honest when you’ve overcommitted.

You are allowed to change your mind. People will still love you. Pinky promise.

You’re Allowed to Do Weird Things.

You want to put Superman stickers on all your Christmas presents because it reminds of you of your son? Put Superman stickers on all your Christmas presents.

You make the rules. You are fully free to be who you are – sad and grieving and everything else that you are. There is no such thing as “should” during sad holidays. Do what you need to do.

Only Be with The People You Actually Want to be With.

Sometimes it can be hard to be with family. Or extended family. Or groups of friends at Christmas parties. Or… basically anyone normal. People forget you are hurting, and/or they want you to be happy, and the resulting conversations (“So, you guys are going to have more kids, right?”) can be so completely exhausting.

But you know who it’s awesome to be with? Other Sad People. The ones who get you. Lean into those relationships hard during these lonely holiday months. The shared, cumulative sadness actually has a reverse effect – spending time with these people will fill your heart up and help you know that you’re not alone.

Leave Town.

Full-on Christmas with the Kranks style. Even a road trip an hour away would be a win. We are not running away from people here. People are actually really good and they are trying hard to love us well. It’s just that distraction and tucking in for a few days can be so, so good.

Do Something Special.

Donate time or money in memory of a loved one. Give a gift that your person would have loved. I fully intend to buy Afton a little gift this year. It makes me so sad to think about, but also so happy. I can’t not. I feel like I need to somehow mark his presence in our lives even though he’s physically not here. See also: you’re allowed to do weird things.

Do Something Un-Special.

My vision includes watching really bad funny Christmas movies (I mean REALLY bad – we don’t need any precious Christmas moments to spoil the mood), eating a lot of fudge, and wearing pajamas all day. Byeeee.

Light a Candle.

I fully embrace the cheesiness – there is something just so magical about a flame. Since it gets dark so early now, every night I come home from work and I light a candle. It feels special and sacred and spiritual, and I don’t need to explain anything to anyone. As it burns gently through the night, I am always thinking of Afton and the hope I have that the light of his tiny soul is still alive, glowing bright, safe and warm and held. And that from this broken and harsh earthly realm, mine is, too. Keep that candle lit.

Remember: It’s Okay To Be Sad.

You don’t have to love everything about the holiday season. Not everything is rosy. A lot of it is hard. Remind yourself that it’s okay to be sad.

Remember: It’s Also Okay To Be Happy.

When I was in the hospital, a grief counselor came into our room to talk to us the day after we lost Afton. I remember sitting on the edge of the bed, freshly showered and crying and saying, “I don’t want to get better. I want to be sad forever.”

And she said, “Lindsay, that’s not Afton’s legacy in your life. Afton’s legacy is that you’re going to live a beautiful life in spite of all this pain. You’re going to carry him with you and honor your grief, but Afton’s legacy is not for you to feel sad forever.” And then I cried harder. But that was really helpful.

It helped me understand that it was okay to get better. That getting better didn’t mean I was getting farther away from him, but that I was making something beautiful in honor of my son. And that making cinnamon rolls and decorating a tree and laughing with my family at Thanksgiving won’t mean that I’m forgetting him or that I’m “okay” with him dying. I’m not okay with it. I will always be sad about it. But I’m not limited to sadness. Our happy selves and our sad selves can live side-by-side.

You’re Not Alone. ♡

You’re not alone. You’re not alone. You’re not alone.

Love you guys lotso. Thanks for leaving space for these posts in your hearts and blog feeds and inboxes. The holidays are great, and sad, and a great time to take care of our sad people.

To taking care of ourselves and others. XO

I wrote this post for people who have experienced life situations – loss, separation, trauma, grief – that may trigger situational sadness or depression. If you are in crisis, stuck in depression, or can’t see a way out, please call 1-800-273-8255. It’s free, it’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and it’s available to anyone and everyone. xo

If you want to read more about our journey through grief and love and loss, you can check out my personal Instagram account here.

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Creamy Ziti Florentine

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Creamy Ziti Florentine
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Florence, the capital of Tuscany, is known as the birthplace of the Renaissance. But art is not its only treasure.

The food of Florence is renowned, albeit simple and with roots in peasant cuisine. One famous dish, a hefty Tuscan steak, is grilled and often served on a bed of spinach with a few lemon wedges.

In fact this dark, leafy green is so frequently found in dishes from this region that seeing the tag “Florentine” in the name of a recipe usually implies that spinach is involved. Chicken Florentine, Quiche Florentine, and now this one – Ziti Florentine!

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from RSSMix.com Mix ID 8174097 http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/creamy_ziti_florentine/

Spiralized Winter Veggie Gratin

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Spiralized Winter Veggie Gratin is the perfect holiday side dish! Made with spiralized vegetable gratin is made with sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, and parsnips and topped with a white sauce and Gruyere cheese.

Spiralized Winter Veggie Gratin is the perfect holiday gluten-free side dish! Made with spiralized vegetable gratin is made with sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, and parsnips and topped with a white sauce and Gruyere cheese.

Spiralized Winter Veggie Gratin is the perfect holiday side dish! Made with spiralized vegetable gratin is made with sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, and parsnips and topped with a white sauce and Gruyere cheese.

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from RSSMix.com Mix ID 8174097 https://www.skinnytaste.com/spiralized-winter-veggie-gratin/

Because Christmas Shopping from the Couch is The Best Ever

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NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Tis the season already?!?

Yep. TIS THE SEASON. This week it will be Thanksgiving. That is… a lot of things.

As you might remember from the Holiday Survival Guide for Sad People, the holidays are complicated for me this year. And as such, I am 100% dead set on maintaining a low-key holiday presence. Christmas shopping from the couch, under a blanket, in my pajamas, with every type of holiday candle burning in a relaxing, introvert-friendly Christmas shopping shrine around me is exactly how I’m imagining this going down.

You too?

Today’s Christmas shopping list is a hotbed of Amazon items, because Prime. Obviously. When shopping online, your Christmas shopping looks like this:

  1. Click.
  2. Open the door for delivery.
  3. Shower optional.

No going out. No lines. No traffic. Just quiet and comfort and low-to-no-stress. This year especially, this is exactly what I need and want.

Okay! So here goes my favorite gifts to give (and receive) from Amazon. Grab your steamy cashew coffee, light that candle, slide into your slippers, and let’s get that low-key Christmas shopping done.

The Thing On Nine Million People’s Wish list

You knew it was coming, right? Because I know at least nine million people with this modern device on their Christmas list. Remember our Instant Pot series? Tender beef in 45 minutes. Lentil soup in 30. Rice in five. Life changing mac and cheese in three. I fully support this gift.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

This Warm-Fuzzy Mini Backpack

Um, hello, this is life. Perfect for a little girl, or a middle school girl, or a college girl, or ME. I would wear this. It’s a fox. It’s so cute.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

This Swaggin’ Beanie

Also so cute, and the right amount of chunky. I envision this on a bookish, hipster college student, but I also envision it on myself and I am neither of those things. Universal appeal, is what I’m saying.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

A Red Dutch Oven, Because Holiday Cheer

We talk about it every year because it really is a staple. It’s the more traditional, classic version of the shiny new Instant Pot. This beauty is just made for the cozy food of the holidays.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

This Fancy (Pretty) Marble Mortar and Pestle

For the foodie and spice-lover who makes her own curries AND likes her kitchen to look flawless.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

This Hanging Shelf That Makes Your House Look Modern and Cool

A little shelf that you can hang and put your plants on? Perfect for someone who loves the outdoors almost as much as the modern indoors.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

OMG These Forest Whiskey Glasses!

Um, I don’t drink whiskey, but maybe I should start? I need these.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

Every Good Instagrammer and Quote Lover Needs One of These

Again with the modern home lover. These are the cutest.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

The Sleek and Sexy Coffee Game-Changer

For the coffee nerd! It makes the best pour-over style coffee and doubles as a modern piece of kitchen decor.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

A Grinder For The True Coffee Snobs

Again with the coffee nerds. For the person who not only wants to brew their own coffee but wants – needs – to grind their own beans.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

 

These Modern Concrete Succulent Planters – With Gold Tho

Hello adorable. College student, maybe? Apartment dweller? Succulents can survive with minimal sunlight and I go for weeks without watering mine. #win

Click here to see this on Amazon.

This Essential Fireside Reading

For people who live in the north and love to be cozy. LIKE ME. How great is hygge?

Click here to see this on Amazon.

This Sophisticated and Simple Espresso Maker

A less expensive version of those thousand dollar espresso machines that screams modern, minimal, sophisticated, smart. You know the person.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

This Candle From Yum Town

Soy wax, made in the USA, scent that I would eat. Check, check, check.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

 

 

These Smooth Marble Coasters

Pretty, sleek, minimal. Perfect for that coffee-drinking, cocoa-sipping, modern millennial.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

 

This Cocoa-Sippin Mug Situation

Channeling the inner wanderer and lover of hot drinks.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

This Cat Bed Which is Goals

I don’t even have a cat and I need this.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

This Essential Headband for Looking Good on Non-Shower Days

For the yogi, work-from-homer, or stay-at-home mom. A chic way to say, “I know how to look cute even when I don’t wash my hair.” NEED.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

These Basic, Wonderful Slippers

I have these slippers (x2) and they are life.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

This Magical Rainbow of Baby Headbands

I mean, those rainbow colored felt bows? Come on. Heart eyes.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

This Affordable Essential Oils Diffuser

An affordable diffuser for beginners.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

This Starter Pack of Essential Oils

Speaking of oils. How about an affordable variety pack to kick it off?

Click here to see this on Amazon.

A Home Brew Kit, Because That Hipster Life

You know the person, right? This has hipster, beer-lover, or dad written all over it.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

One of These Fun Things!

One of the most fun kitchen tools of recent memory.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

 

 

This Cookbook for Food ‘Grammers

Part cookbook, part coffee table art. This is for the foodie who is snapping their meals on the gram all day long. Jenna (our office manager) swears by the al pastor enchiladas.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

These Subtle But Glam Personalized Necklaces

I have one of these. It says Afton’s name on it. I wear it all the time. I especially like these for a way to honor the challenges, losses, or changes of the last year.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

This Luxurious, Fancy, Handmade Dead Sea Soap Bar

Is it just me or does this have Mom, Grandma, and/or Stocking Stuffer written all over it?

Click here to see this on Amazon.

 

Wait Though, These Cat Earrings.

You absolutely know who these are for.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

More Cat Earrings Because You Need Options

In case you’re more into sterling silver.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

This Cool-Vibe Camera Bag

For the person who has all the gear and just needs a bag to carry it all around in.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

This Yummy Aromatherapy Perfume Roller

Okay, I have this (like, three bottles of it, to be exact) and I love it. It’s all natural perfume made with essential oils. Perfect for the beauty-conscious, semi-crunchy girl in your life.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

These Adorable Puzzle Piece Ornaments Which Can Be Personalized With Names

You and me. Mom and Dad. Bride and Groom. Lindsay and Her Dog. Just for a few inspiring ideas.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

This Woodsy Monogrammed Bag

Also a passive-agressive way to encourage someone to be more organized with toiletries. And also a good way to gift a trip! Tickets tucked inside?

Click here to see this on Amazon.

This Cozy Book for Cabin Lovers 

This one is for people who have wanderlust for flannel, thermoses, and a remote log cabin in the woods. aka Bjork. He lays awake in bed at night reading this book.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

These Moose Pint Glasses, Because All Beer TASTES Better Out of a Moose Glass

I would like moose on all my glasses moving forward, please.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

My Personal Fave COokbook

MY FAVORITE COOKBOOK. I gifted it to myself for Christmas two years ago and I have made so many recipes. Good for foodies.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

This Cool-Casual Trucker Hat For The Guy Who Does Not Want Brand Names On His Hats

Because I can think of at least one.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

Obviously, The Amazon Echo Dot

I’m not even going to tell you how many of these we have in our house (three). Awesome gift for moms and dads and other relatives who might just prefer for someone to buy and set up their tech for them.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

The Sleek Kindle Paperwhite

Have it, love it, use it all the time. How do people keep track of actual books?

Click here to see this on Amazon.

Hold Your Horses – This is a Literal Heated Dog Bed

Heck to the yes. I own this already. It is HEATED. Dogs are life.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

Um, This is Ridiculous and Your Dog Probably Needs It

This is an automated gaming treat machine, and we have this, too. It dispenses treats after your dog solves a puzzle, and there are ten levels of difficulty. Ten! After about a month and a half, Sage is currently on Level Three. What a good girl. ♡

Click here to see this on Amazon.

This Tiny Modern Polaroid-Like Camera

I gave one of these to my sister for Christmas last year annnnd got kind of jealous that I didn’t give it to myself.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

This Portable Photo Printer For People Who Have a Million Pictures on Their Phone

Perfect for the iPhone photographer.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

That’s all! Happy early Thanksgiving, and happy Christmas shopping from the comfort of your very own couch. xo

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

The post Because Christmas Shopping from the Couch is The Best Ever appeared first on Pinch of Yum.

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Simply Recipes Favorite Cookbooks of 2017

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2017 Favorite Cookbooks
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Cookbooks. We anticipate their arrival. We love them and cook from them, splattering their pages. They pile up on our counters, bookshelves, and nightstands. They become our trusted advisors, friends in the kitchen.

Mercifully, even in the age of the Internet and websites like ours, people are still buying – and loving — cookbooks.

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