Introducing my niece Kara, who helps me test the recipes so I know they’ll work perfectly for you!

I’m not sure why I’ve been so slow to share a photo of my gorgeous niece Kara, who’s been cooking with me for close to a year now.  I guess mostly it’s that when she comes to cook, we’re focused on photographing the food and not taking a picture of her.  But a few weeks ago Kara’s mom (my sister Pam) retired, and at the party I shot a good photo of Kara to share with you!

I’m lucky to have nieces and nephews who want to help with recipe testing, and Kara switches off every other week with Jake, who’s been cooking with me for over three years now.  Both Kara and Jake are great cooks, and the recipes you enjoy from this site are often improved by suggestions that come from one of them.

Kara’s three darling kids are among the 75+ great-nieces and nephews who occasionally stop by Aunt Kalyn’s Kitchen.  Pre-teen Cooper isn’t too interested in cooking, but ten-year-old Sophie doesn’t mind helping out with the Spiralizer!  (Cooper and Sophie also made an appearance on the blog back in 2009, along with some other cute kids in the family.)

And even Quinn (age four) likes to have her turn turning the handle!

Now, here are a few more things I’ve been thinking about . . .

I was inspired by this list of 15 Resolutions for 2015 from Brain Pickings. Each one is connected to the ideas of great thinkers from literature.
When I wrote this post about How to Cook Dried Beans in a Crockpot, I was surprised that soaking the beans beforehand didn’t make much difference in the cooking time or the quality of the crockpot beans.  Now the LA Times food sections takes it a step farther and says Don’t Soak Your Dried Beans!  Do you agree?
And for slow cooker fans who like the type of carb-conscious slow cooker recipes I share on this site, I just posted a round-up of 25+ Amazing Low-Carb Slow Cooker Dinners on Slow Cooker from Scratch.
Love, love, love this fantastic list from Bustle of 12 Ways to Make Yourself More Attractive that Have Nothing to do with Your Appearance.  
And finally from via She Knows, the 10 Most Inspiration Ads of 2014 (for women and girls.)
That’s all for this time, but you can use the label Things I’m Thinking About to see more round-ups like this one.  What have you been thinking about this week?  If you saw something fun or inspiring, please share in the comments.

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