Life, Inspired ❦ The Weekend Review – December 21, 2014

Welcome to Life, Inspired — The Weekend Review. This is the weekly column where I take a step back from the recipes so you can have a wider look at what’s been inspiring me, moving me, or just catching my fancy out there in the life beyond my kitchen.

My Morning Walks

This week the weather here was unrelentingly dreary, drizzly, gloomy in the extreme until Friday morning when I opened my eyes to a strange glow. My first thought was that I’d fallen asleep with the lamp on, but then I realized it was sunshine. Sunshine! So welcome and gratitude-inspiring. Since I didn’t make it out for any walks this week, other than on the decidedly non-photogenic treadmill at the gym, I thought I’d share a picture from early November, when there was still brilliant green to celebrate amidst the ever more golden landscape. Looking at this photo I swear I will never take such fresh green for granted again!

Lingering Green Amidst the Gold | © Marlene Cornelis



Most of the writing I did the past week was confined to catching up on a huge backlog of bookkeeping (it’s been that kind of year). I assure you there was no creativity involved with that. Now that it’s behind me and I’ve vowed never to fall behind again {pause for laughter}, I’m free to return to a few writing projects I have in mind. I’ve done some pitching which I hope will result in assignments in the new year, and will be entering a competition in January, so there’s lots on the go behind the scenes. But first, the holidays.

Holiday Preparations

My family celebrates Christmas, and this year I will have have all the Offspring here for dinner on the 23rd. Given the challenges of finding a time that works for everyone due to shift work, in-laws and other family complexities, I’m thankful there was a date so close to the big day that worked. After some polling (turkey or prime rib this year?), I have an organic turkey on order, destined to be the centrepiece of a traditional Christmas dinner. Nothing extraordinary from a recipe point of view, but extraordinarily special to us nonetheless.

Around the Web


Two posts on two different blogs caught my eye this week. They were both for tray or sheet pan dinners, where the meat and all the vegetables are roasted together on a single baking tray. If this is now becoming the rage, then I was ahead of my time, because this has been one of my longtime secrets to getting good meals on the table easily while also giving myself a break during the roasting time. In fact, one of my earliest posts in December 2011 was how to make just such a meal after a strenuous afternoon of shopping. There it is, roasting away in the photo above. I’ve made these versatile meals with chicken, pork tenderloin, pork chops and sausage along with various medleys of vegetables.

To see what’s happening elsewhere in the easy dinner department, head on over to Family Bites for an easy weeknight sausage dinner, or to Simple Bites for a somewhat more elaborate version of Christmas dinner on a tray.

Weekly Recap

I was determined to publish three posts last week, but alas, my estimate of the time needed for my bookkeeping proved overly optimistic. Still, I shared two dishes with you, Strawberry Marshmallows and Frikadellen with Cherry Sauce, which is a family tradition. Check them out in case you missed them!


  1. I agree, I’ll never take our green landscape for granted again, nor a white one! All of our snow has melted and our city is a decidedly ugly brown color everywhere. I think we’ll get a wisp of white just around Christmas, I sure hope so!! I enjoyed your Review today! xx

    • Oh, I know what you mean, Barb. While I’m grateful we’re not under three feet of snow like we were this time last year, it’s been uncharacteristically mild and wet, and that doesn’t make for the most appealing winter landscape. There’s still beauty to be found (you might have seen my Instagram post of a red and gold stand of sumac yesterday), but it seems you need to make an effort to find it. We just might get a wisp of snow on Christmas day, but no matter … the important stuff happens in the home and in the heart. ❤️ So glad you enjoyed this post!

  2. They’ve been reporting that we’ve had a total of 33 minutes of sunshine over the 10 days prior to today. Luckily, that streak ended and today was a sunny, relatively warm day. Who knew?! Zia has been roasting veggies and meat in the same pan for years. I’ve even taught a couple friend how to prepare it, giving them a repertoire of 1 thing that they can cook. (That’s another story!) It sounds like you’ve got the makings of a wonderful Christmas, Mar, with the whole family present. Yay! I hope you all enjoy a very memorable Christmas together and much happiness in the New Year.

    • Thank goodness we had some sunshine to counter all the dreary days lately! Such strange weather we’re having for Christmas — it’s incredibly mild and raining hard here right now, but with the tree lit, and my family here for our celebration last night, that doesn’t seem to matter all that much. Merry Christmas to you and Zia, and best wishes for the New Year from your friend on the other side of the lake.

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