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Looking back on 2020, it would be easy to get hung up on all the things that didn’t go the way we would have wanted. The pandemic, the economy, the inability to come together and socialize even within our closest circle of friends. Me? I’ve never been a glass-half-empty or even a glass-half-full person; my approach each day is that my glass is simply running over. For me, it’s easy to appreciate all the incredible blessings this year has bestowed upon us all.

Yes, because of pandemic precautions, we’ve all had to stay home more, but spending more time with family – especially more quality time – has been a true blessing! And those few occasions when we do get to see our friends and loved ones are cherished now more than ever. Today I embrace every interaction I get because I realize how special it is.

I think we should all spend more time being grateful for whatever time we get together. So many out there are barely getting by; depression is on the rise, people have lost their lives and livelihoods, so many are struggling in so many ways. And yet I see people coming together more than ever to share what they have and give to those in need. It inspires me and makes me want to do more. Last December, my daughter (who resides in Paris) was home for the holidays. We spent a crazy lazy day in our PJ’s as a family, laughing as we pieced together an especially challenging puzzle. She won’t be with us in our home this year due to travel restrictions, but I’m still filled with gratitude for that special day we had together.

Part of our new normal is that more of us are cooking and eating at home. We’re experimenting with sourdough starter, roasting our own coffee beans, making elaborate and detailed meal plans. I believe it’s a trend that’s here to stay. A study by Bloomberg News and Morning Consult showed that almost a third of those surveyed say they plan to cook at home even more once stay-at-home restrictions are lifted.

It’s this renewed interest in culinary exploits that inspired my husband and I to launch a new business offering our hand-crafted collection of spices, marinades and sauces. These kitchen (and grill) additions were designed to help even the most inexperienced cook be able to create simple, wonderful meals. We’re also putting together monthly how-to videos to help answer your questions and provide useful cooking tips and techniques. You’ll be surprised how much a great meal will liven up your family table.

On that subject, one of our favorite traditions is to pass around Family Talk cards. These conversation starters feature funny little questions that get everyone talking and laughing! They’re inexpensive and fun (available on Amazon) and we’ve found that they even make teenagers active participants in the conversation.

I hope you enjoy our videos and are inspired to sample our spices. Meanwhile, take a deep breath and embrace the time you get to spend with family and friends. They’re more special to us than they’ve ever been!

Here’s a virtual hug from our table to yours!

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