Family Picture

About Me and The Fam
I’m a food loving, chocolate-obsessed mom who has a desperate need to share my favorite tried-and-true recipes with the world. Food makes me happy; dark chocolate makes my soul sing. I reside in Southwestern part of Idaho (recently moved here from Northern Minnesota by way of Wisconsin and Utah) with my brood of five children, four boys and a little girl, and my hard-working husband, Brian (random Snapshot Saturdays give a glimpse into the non-food happenings of our lives as well as Instagram updates). I find a lot of joy in making other people I love happy through delicious food.

The Recipes
I make real food in a real world with a real family. The recipes here are family-friendly (cause, you know, I’ve got myself a family to cook for) but also worthy of entertaining or special occasions. And some are just pure decadence. I often get asked how I find the time to cook. Like many homes, our lives center around the kitchen. My kids are always right in there helping me. A blessing and a curse, as many of you will understand.

Boys Cooking

My sanity is controlled because I work hard to plan my menus in advance, stock a pantry and work simple meals into hectic nights. I’m not going to lie: the hours of 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. are my craziest and often most dreaded, but we give it our best shot (and sometimes end up with sandwiches on the table while I’m hiding in the pantry shoving chocolate chips in my mouth).

We are trying our darnedest to limit most processed, prepackaged ingredients and I’ve learned we haven’t had to sacrifice flavor, time, or doubled grocery budgets to make that happen. If you think that means I don’t make cookies or treats then we need to have a long talk. I use butter and sugar and consider myself a moderate, omnivorous eater; I simply like knowing what goes into my food which is how the whole cooking from scratch thing comes into play. And when my 4-year old asks me, “Mom, does this have high fructose corn syrup in it?” you better believe I am bursting with pride (it’s worth all the flak I get for teaching my toddlers that McDonald’s makes mommy want to throw up).

About You
I appreciate you. So, so much. Thank you for taking the time to be here and make the recipes and leave feedback. I read every single comment and do my darnedest to respond in a timely manner; however it might behooveth us all to check out the FAQ page. Your question might be answered there already. Sweet! Also, for more information on privacy policies and affiliate disclosures, click here.

If you’d like to contact me, please fill out the contact form here.

348 Responses to About

  1. Elise says:

    I am so happy i stumbled across your blog! I had a recipe years ago for a pie crust made with sour cream and i absolutely LOVED it, and promptly misplaced it. So I thought I would finally do a google search for a good one and found yours. Can not WAIT to try it with all of my yummy fall pies and tarts. Thanks!!

  2. Sara says:

    I have a “Recipes – tried and true” board on Pinterest, and SO many of them come from your blog. I think I could read your blog only and feed my family forever :) I love how your recipes are healthy but still delicious. And I love that you lean towards real, unprocessed food but are still moderate in all things. THANK YOU THANK YOU for so many good recipes!

  3. Lisa says:

    Mel, I am having troubles getting your contact form to work–I’ve tried multiple times on multiple devices since Sunday to send you a message on this site (on the Contact page) and it keeps giving me an error message saying the message failed to send and please try again later. Any tips? Thanks a million!! :)

    • Mel says:

      Hi Lisa, sorry you are having troubles. Do you mind letting me know what devices and more importantly, what browser(s) you are using when submitting the contact form? I can troubleshoot and hopefully get it fixed. In the meantime, feel free to send an email to contact @ melskitchencafe . com

      • Lisa says:

        Sorry for the delay–the power supply went out on my desktop and the screen on my laptop quit working so it’s been quite the week. I’ve tried both desktop and laptop with both Chrome browser and Mozilla Firefox and none of them are working for submitting on the contact form, I just tried again and get the same message. (btw feel free to delete these comments, won’t hurt my feelings a bit as they aren’t related to this page I’m commenting on). thank you :)

  4. Ellen says:

    Your recipe for toffee blondies in a jar looks so cute and yummy. I can’t wait to give it a try then give as gifts this Christmas. Looking forward to checking out the rest of your blog and fab recipes.

    Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your good family,

  5. Germaine says:

    I was given your site and am just new. Why not put nutrition info and pictures when coping?

  6. Nadja Selah says:

    Just discovered your blog. What a beautiful family!! I love your recipes!

  7. Fun to find your blog!! I’m making the pecan maple salmon tomorrow. thanks!

  8. Amanda kitchens says:

    Dearest Mel,

    Whenever I make something new and yummy, one of my kids or husband will ask, “Is this Mel’s?” Yes, you are a household name around here. And we love you!!!

    I have been a scared cook my whole adult life. For the first ten years of my marriage, I only cooked my Mom’s recipes so I would know I was doing it “right.” Not too much variety and a whole lot of expensive processed food already half made. Then I had an epiphany: I didn’t have to cook things that tasted “right,” I could cook things that tasted “good.” I stared to get recipes online and from friends. That was when I found you. I had dinner at a friend’s house (9 kids and both husbands deployed to Afghanistan made for a crazy night) and she made your sweet and sour chicken. It was amazing. In fact, everything she ever made was so so yummy (salad and desserts included). I asked her what her secret was and she showed me her “Mel notebook.” And now, my life is forever changed. Slowly, I started trying your recipes (que kids cheering sound bite) and gained confidence in the my culinary skills. I’m not a scardy cat anymore in the kitchen, I’m a rockstar! My family loves all the new food I am making and I am loving cooking it. I’m not scared when a friend has a baby and I have to bring a meal over or when I have to cook for 40 teenagers for youth group. I’ve got Mel. Thanks for having my back. Thanks for being an amazing cook and then sending recipes out to the world so that lowly moms like me can make amazing food.


  9. Brittany says:

    Wow, I feel so lucky! A friend of yours told me about your blog and I LOVE IT! Every recipe I’ve made has been delicious. It has made my life so much easier. No more wasting food or money trying new recipes. Whenever I’m looking for a recipe, I search your blog first. My family thanks you for the great food. 😉

  10. Janice says:

    Yours is my go-to website for trying a new dish or planning a menu for dinner parties. Everything I’ve made has been delicious and some recipes I made several times. Is there any chance that you might put out a cookbook? I would sure appreciate that, rather than looking through my assortment of loose pages of printed out recipes. Thanks.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Janice – I haven’t had time to do a cookbook up to this point but perhaps sometime in the future! So happy you love the recipes; thank you!

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