The Little Things Newsletter #292 – Life, laughter, and lots of great food!

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Happy New Year, my friends, and hooray for new beginnings! Don’t you just love the fresh start after the holidays each year? I’ve always been a fan of Mondays (I know, I know, that makes me a little weird.) and the first of each month, but January 1st? It holds so much promise, doesn’t it?

We’re DEFINITELY going to ignore the fact that someone told me the other day that they realized 2022 could also mean 2020-2, aka the sequel. Nope nope nope. Not going to do that year again. Ha.

Here’s to fresh starts, new beginnings, and getting all the Christmas things packed up sooner than later! After the fun of holiday baking and the abundance of rich holiday foods, I’ve been happily setting up my salad boxes again this week.

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If you’ve known me for long, you know that I’m a salad every day kind of girl. I absolutely love my lunch salads. That said, I could never have too many delicious ways to enjoy salads and this collection of salad ideas has become a go-to resource not only for my own cravings but for many of yours as well.

My go-to lunch is a scoop of the Best Ever Taco Meat (I stash it in portion-sized amounts in the freezer, so it’s always available.) over a basic lettuce salad with a handful of Fritos. (Because, YES, Fritos make every salad better.) Squeeze some lime over that bowl and add avocado or cheese if that’s your thing, you’re going to LOVE it.

But there are countless tasty salad options! Southwest Chicken Salad with plenty of tortilla chips and a spicy ranch dressing? Yes, Please. And this bacon and egg taco salad? That’s a sure win too. The Bacon Bleu Cheese and Shrimp Chopped Salad gets rave reviews from my whole crew.

And if you like fruit in your salads, try the Blueberry Apple Walnut Salad, Peach Caprese SaladMandarin Broccoli Salad, Strawberry Spinach Salad, Orange Parsley Salad, or the Berry Spinach Pasta Salad.

What I’m CRAVING: Food with Family’s Pizza Salad is absolutely unforgettable and I need to make it again soon. 365 Days of Baking’s Couscous Chicken Salad is another favorite for me and it gets bonus points for keeping nicely in the fridge making it a terrific make-ahead lunch option. Last but definitely not least, How Sweet Eats’ Crispy Prosciutto and Charred Corn Arugula Salad is on my list to try this year as well. It sounds incredible!

My FAVORITE THINGS this week are these wireless earbuds. If you have ever wanted wireless earbuds and just couldn’t stomach the price, these are truly awesome. I picked these up as stocking stuffers for my older boys and bought a set for myself too. They’re beyond impressive at the $35 price point. I tried some fancy ones a couple of years ago at 8-10x that price and returned them because I just wasn’t impressed. These? I would still be sold on them at a much higher price. I’ve used mine for 12+ hours this week and my middle son has pretty much had his in his ears since Christmas.

What I’m WATCHING: Three Men and a Baby <- go ahead and insert ALL the laughter here. I stumbled on this one the other day on Amazon Prime and immediately told the kids we needed to watch it. We laughed so hard (probably half of the kids’ laughter was at the 80s fashion and other related choices – ha) and we all decided we need more of this silliness in our lives.

What I’m READING: Before and After: The Incredible Real-Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children’s Home Society by Judy Christie and Lisa Wingate. From the 1920s to 1950, Georgia Tann ran a black-market baby business at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis. She offered up more than 5,000 orphans tailored to the wish lists of eager parents—hiding the fact that many weren’t orphans at all, but stolen sons and daughters of poor families. This book shares the real life stories of the adoptees (now in their 70s, 80s, or 90s) and how they learned of their history and how many of them were reunited with family and met each other at a reunion in Memphis in 2019.

I lost count of the number of emails I received about the above book after I shared a few years ago that I’d read Before We Were Yours. I was hooked on Before We Were Yours from the very first chapter. At one point, I actually set it down and googled the original story. I’d never heard about any of it before picking up the book. It’s a fictionalized storytelling of the notorious real-life scandal in which a Memphis-based adoption organization kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country. If you haven’t read the first book, I highly recommend it!

“I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month.” — Harlan Miller

Wishing you a beautiful week full of little things that make you smile!


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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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