recipes + food

In addition to the best pimiento cheese, there's one other family recipe that I crave around the holidays: my Aunt Peta's spicy-sweet pecans. But first we need to clear up a couple of things. For one, my Aunt Peta wants to make sure I tell you that this is not actually her recipe. She remembers having these pecans at a school or church function and then asking for the recipe. But for all of my life I've associated these spicy-sweet pecans with my Aunt Peta and so I think of this recipe as hers. Plus I always love a recipe... Read more →


One of my 2019 goals was to have "one family meal" meaning that more often than not we are all eating roughly the same dinner each night. At the beginning of the year this felt like a struggle. Often I was making two meals and didn't feel like we had any meals that everyone would eat. I'm happy to report that as 2019 wraps up I'm feeling really good about our family dinners! We've found meals, or at least combinations of food, that work for everyone at the table, and my meal planning/grocery shopping/cooking systems are working well. Having more... Read more →


Thanksgiving might be my favorite holiday because it's a day all about loved ones and food. It's also a really fun holiday to plan and planning is one of my favorite things. There's browsing recipes, thinking about table decor, deciding who will make what, and planning fun things for the kids to do. We're hosting Thanksgiving this year so I have lots to plan! I love keeping a Thanksgiving Pinterest board for collecting recipes and ideas. Who's gathering There will be our family of four, Chris's parents, and Chris's sister's family. All together that's five adults and five kids (ages... Read more →


This month my daily health challenge is to not eat any added sugar. Foods with naturally occurring sugars, like fruit and plain yogurt, are okay but nothing with sugar, honey, maple syrup, or even Stevia or sugar alcohols (a newer sweetener common in protein bars and all those high-protein ice creams). I knew that would eliminate a lot of foods but I was surprised by just how many! In the week before the challenge started, as I started reading food labels in earnest, it was disheartening to realize sugar is in e v e r y t h i n... Read more →


From now through the new year, going to Trader Joe's is not just a trip to the grocery store – it's a seasonal excursion. Pumpkin products are hitting their peak and soon Thanksgiving and Christmas/winter holiday items will start rolling in. It's the most wonderful time of the year! Speaking of seasonal shopping, are you listening to the Inside Trader Joe's podcast?? The most recent episode is all about holiday items and they mention a few new ones heading to stores this year! I am very excited for a bûche de Noël ice cream and an apple brandy cheese. There... Read more →


Fall is arriving at Trader Joe's and I don't think I can overstate the happiness that aisles festooned in leaf garland, with orange and yellow products peeping out, bring me. Every week new goodies are arriving. Some are old friends and quite a few are newcomers to the party that is autumn at TJ's. I will definitely be piling lots of these into my red cart this season and sharing what I try but for today I am sharing two simple fall snacks with a common ingredient. One is an annual favorite. The other one I just discovered and –... Read more →


Friday is my Trader Joe's day and I love starting the weekend with a full pantry and fridge. I used to go on Friday afternoons on my way to pick up the boys from daycare but now I try to go as early as possible after school drop-off. Nowadays I have a sidekick shopper to boot. Luckily Cedric is a helpful and fairly courteous shopper. Although he did accidentally ram my heels with his little cart today, ouch! The seasonal fall items are starting to arrive at Trader Joe's which is verrrry exciting. Especially since we have little weather indication... Read more →