recipes + food

If you've listened to The Girl Next Door Podcast or know me in person then you've probably heard me talk about ... TRADER JOE'S! I started shopping at Trader Joe's about six years ago after a good friend kept mentioning all the great things she bought there, especially as she made us delicious meals. Conveniently, it turned out there was a Trader Joe's just a few miles from our house. (Thank goodness!) After being used to the big grocery stores, it took me a few shopping trips to "get" Trader Joe's . But then I saw the magic. Instead of... Read more →


One afternoon last October I was at work and needed a break from the project I was working on. So I checked my blog feed and a post from one of my favorite blogs made my heart skip a beat. The post, A Secret to a Happy Marriage, describes a long-married couple's weekly tradition of dining together al fresco at a pretty overlook in Brooklyn– which they have been doing for 24 years! The couple said that having a way to connect everyday, without distractions, is key to a happy marriage. How simple and true is that? Instantly I loved... Read more →


When Chris and I have a date night planned I find the time leading up to the date night a tiny bit stressful. We're trying to get the house tidy, prep the boys' dinner, get pajamas out, and get ready ourselves. On top of that the boys started getting clingy and emotional when we would leave them with a babysitter. A crying child is not the ideal way to start a fun and relaxing date night. Enter: the snack pack. Based on the logic that a little treat can go a long way with toddlers and preschoolers, we started putting... Read more →


When Cedric was tiny and new and up all night I would get up in the morning and be far from ready to be awake. But Chris would hand me hot coffee and I would remember that I had a stash of freezer breakfast burritos and I would feel like I could make it. Recently I remembered the glory of freezer breakfast burritos when Chris was preparing to go out of town and Sarah gave me some sage advice to "be sure you eat!" And so I assembled the ingredients and spent a surprisingly short amount of time in the... Read more →


A year ago I brought my favorite chocolate ice box pie to my friend Becky's Fourth of July party (it's her favorite holiday, which I love about her). It was a patriotic hometown affair where chocolate pie was right at home and I promised her the recipe and I do believe I've been teasing you, lovely readers, with it as well. Well, I'm here to finally make good on that promise! I have this recipe handwritten on a folded sheet of lined paper in my recipe binder and it is boldly titled Kelsey's Favorite Chocolate Ice Box Pie. I know... Read more →


Have I told you about my dinner dream? Not the slumbering kind of dream but the wistful daydream sort of dream. Here it is: Around 4:30 or 5 pm I make my way into the kitchen. The boys play independently or might even want to help and we make a work station for them at the learning tower. I pull down my recipe binder and flip to a recipe, perhaps an familiar one or something new. I gather ingredients from the pantry and fridge and pour myself a small glass of white wine (nothing too sweet) or open a beer.... Read more →


I am a fierce believer in packing a lunch and lately I've been toting giant salads to work. Mornings go infinitely more smoothly when we prep the night before so this weekday salad is made ahead of time and patiently waits until lunchtime the next day. I used to find that I enjoyed eating hearty salads when I went out to eat but could never recreate such enticing salads at home. And then I figured out the magic salad formula! There are several components but flexibility within each to use what you love or have on hand. It's a choose... Read more →