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.

363 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!

  11. Barbara says:

    I can’t seem to find out how to join your blog????

  12. Joyce Lockyer says:

    I want to thank you for such a nice family centered site! I enjoy your recipes and so does my family. Thank you! Joyce Lockyer

  13. Eileen Unger says:

    I’m a cottage food baker in the Houston TX area and sell my products at farmers markets. I make 6 kinds of yeast bread to sell along with cinnamon rolls because yeast is my passion.

    One of my customers suggested that I make Monkey Bread and I stumbled on your blog when looking for a recipe that didn’t use canned biscuits (Yuck). I knew basically what it was and have eaten it before, but wanted something that was viable for selling in a farmers market.

    I buy as much as I can locally from people I know and trust as in other vendors at the farmers markets I vend in. I’m all for knowing what’s in your food and I tell my customers that there’s nothing you can’t pronounce in anything I make.

    I’ve enjoyed reading your personal information and trying your recipes. I found the one for the orange sweet rolls and that could be the next product in our market line up. After the Monkey Bread of course.

  14. c says:

    Would you consider doing a post on biscotti? i’m looking for a great recipe and i know i can trust whatever you post.

  15. Debra says:

    Thank you for meal ideas that are so full of homey goodness! The ingredients are usually what I have on hand or what I can easily get. This week I planned 4 meals all from your site! I thought white sauce was hard to make until I tried yours..who knew it was so easy! I made seasoned chicken, onion, garlic, portabella chunks, asparagus, and noodles. Then covered it in the white sauce. Delish!

    I try to keep a low-sodium diet so sometimes I just switch products to a lower sodium version and everything is still delicious. Just had to tell you thanks again.

  16. Jim Gatteys says:

    Hi Mel! I don’t know why it took me so long to find this site but I’m glad I did. I don’t usually use recipes but it is so nice to have this collection all in one spot, and I just tested an import to my Paprika app and it worked flawlessly. Thanks for a great site. I’ve managed a couple of sites and I know what hard work it can be. Thanks,

  17. J Marie says:

    I know you hear how amazing you are everyday by your followers. I must say it again… YOU ARE AMAZING! I have been coming to you now for about a year to find recipes. I wish that I could truly make you understand how much of an impact you have had in my life by your food. I truly get enjoyment out of watching people take that first bite then the second or even to hear them ask for the recipe. You have helped me grow in the kitchen and I am forever grateful. I do not look anywhere else for ideas or recipes since I have found your blog. I actually sat down last night after making your awesome bagels and a scary thought crossed my mind, what if the web went down and I could not access your blog????? UGHHH what a scary thought I need to get printing and coping down all of them haha. I hope that you always keep a smile on your face and know how much people appreciate and love what your doing for them. THANK YOU!!!

  18. amber says:

    I love your blog. It is so nice to find someone else in the same spot I am. Five kids, all boys till the princess at the end and trying to do my best as a mom. While I love your recipes, my favorite thing is your values that come out in your blog. I love that I can cook great food without using alcohol. I can read a blog that talks about how great it is to be a mom of a large family and that disasters are just part of the plan. I have really enjoyed cooking your recipes and feeling like a superstar in the kitchen. Which we all need after watching your kids thrash on the ground pretending they are being poisoned by green beans.

  19. Sara says:

    Just wanted to say I love your recipes! The fact that you also have a house full of young children and have time to cook has given me incentive to do the same. Your website is now my “go to” for recipes. Thanks for sharing!

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