Family meal times have always been important to my husband and me. Except for the beginning of our marriage when we worked opposite schedules (so we weren’t together at dinner time), we have always sat down and eaten an uninterrupted dinner together. Sure, we have had the occasional pizza dinner in front of a movie (or there was that time we decided to have popcorn and brownies for dinner and watch TV on the couch together:)), but those are rare exceptions. Even after our daughter was born, we felt it was important that she was part of our family meal time from the very beginning. We had a chair that we could attach to one of the dining room table chairs and reclined back so she even sat at the table with us while we ate dinner until the time she could join us in actually eating with us.
The Hour that Matters Most is all about the importance of the family gathering every night to eat dinner together. Since this is something that I personally believe in and practice, I really loved this book. It is written by relationship experts Les & Leslie Parrott along with Stephanie Allen and Tina Kuna, creators of the Dream Dinners franchise. Sprinkled throughout with personal stories from the Parrott’s, Stephanie and Tina, and packed with research and realistic advice, it is a fantastic resource for any family to have.
I didn’t need to be sold on how important the family dinner is, but I was still blown away by all of the incredible benefits something as simple as sharing a meal on a regular basis is. This topic is explored in depth, but what I love is that they acknowledge that this can be difficult to do with our fast-paced lifestyles these days AND endeavor to help the reader to do it instead of just preaching at you. There are several chapters with practical advice like how to get dinner on the table (including each chapter ending with a delicious recipe and a picture of it), get your kids talking, diffuse conflict, learn manners and pass on family values, hone listening skills, etc. The book ends with a great chapter on how you can start your own fix-and-freeze club with your friends and family.
One of the things I appreciated most about the book was the focus on truly communicating with your family in a real and meaningful way. It is so easy to go through the motions of our day-to-day life and not even really hear what those most important to us are saying and feeling. This book really teaches the reader how to go deeper to know your family inside out and to truly hear them. It’s something that takes a lot of patience and practice but the right tools make a big difference in tackling this important skill.
If you are looking for a tool to help you create a safe place for your family to communicate and for real life advice on getting everyone to the table for a wholesome family meal, this book is definitely for you! I highly recommend it! (Their website also has some neat things, like the toolkit section with some fun downloadables to get conversations started and a place to sign up for their 90 Day Dinner Challenge.) You can purchase the book at Amazon.
I wanted to leave you with my favorite recipe from the book. Enjoy!
Ratatouille Fondue ( serves 6 to 8 )
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup diced yellow onion
8-ounce jar of roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1 cup chopped artichoke hearts
2 cups chopped precooked chicken sausages (we like the spicy ones)
1 cup canned diced tomatoes, with juice
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup nonfat sour cream
1 cup chicken broth
Mix all ingredients and seal in an airtight container. Refrigerate overnight or freeze. When you’re ready to use, thaw completely if frozen, and cook in a slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours. You can also simmer the thawed mixture on the stove top in a large pot over medium-low heat for 3 to 4 hours, stirring often, or cook in a covered Dutch oven in a 325 degree oven for 2 to 3 hours, stirring once every hour. Serve warm with sourdough bread or as an appetizer with pita chips.
Taken from Hour that Matters Most by Les and Leslie Parrott with Stephanie Allen and Tina Kuna. Copyright © 2011 by Les and Leslie Parrott and Dream Dinners. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.
Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post but did receive a complimentary book for the purpose of this review. I was not required to give a positive review and all opinions are 100% my own. I only review products that I either have purchased myself and love or products I have been given a chance to review by the company that I believe are products my readers would benefit from. The Amazon links are affiliate links which means if you make a purchase using these links I receive a small percentage from the sale. Thank you for your support!