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. Jamie says:

    Hi Mel! Just wanted to say thanks so much for your website! I discovered it about a month ago and have found heaven! Your recipes are absolutely fantastic! Most have been an huge hit with my family (and me). You mentioned living in WI – I was born and raised in Kenosha, WI, but am currently living just over the border in Northern IL.

    Anyway, just wanted to thank you – please keep posting!


  2. Kim in MD says:

    Hi Mel- I love your blog, but for some reason I can’t view your photos now (since you re-did your site). There is a red X where the photo is…any idea why this is happening? Thanks!

  3. JJ says:

    Hey girl! A friend from work just turned me on to your blog last week when she told me about your caramel popcorn. We tried that and 3 other recipes of yours and they were all hits. Why couldn’t I of thought of the genius of mixing BBQ chicken with pasta? Brilliant! We’re making another one of yours tonight. I’m sure it’s gonna be great. Keep ’em comin’ girl!

  4. RC (i i eee) says:

    You look fantastic! What a beautiful family.

    I can’t tell you how much I love your site. I dream about having a kitchen like yours, and I follow your meal planning template, blah blah blah, etc. Praises! Managing and cooking our meals seemed very intimidating to me, as a new wife. But your site has been oh so helpful. And tasty.

  5. Nancy says:

    Hi Mel – I found your website through another website for multiples. I am a mother of 3 (triplets) 1year olds. First let me tell you – I love your website. I’m very much looking forward to trying these recipes. However, with that said, I’ve also seen the picture of you and your family (beautiful family, by the way), so I have to ask – when and how do you find time to cook? I love to cook and bake, but never have the time anymore! Third – I also have a challenge for you. I’ve been looking for slow cooker recipes, since that is the best for me right now, but haven’t been able to find a roast beef recipe that I can actually say WOW to. Do you know of any you could post?

  6. MelanieJ says:

    Hi, I found your blog while I was perusing some other foodie blogs, and just surfing around. I am hooked! BTW, my name is also Melanie, I am also the mom of 4, ages 5 and under (two sets of twins), and I’m not from WI but I did live in MI for ten years, lol! I can’t wait to try your recipes!! The cinnamon rolls are totally on my MUST TRY list! I have a pretty awesome recipe myself, but it doesn’t involve vanilla pudding and I really need to try it! 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing!! 🙂

  7. Atzimba says:

    Like the new blog look a lot! Thank you for sharing your kitchen! We are having muffins with cream cheese filling tonight! Keep up the great work!

  8. By the way, we just moved from Milwaukee after living there for 4 years while my husband was in medical school – I feel your pain, sister!!! If you are in Milwaukee, I might have a few ideas of things to do indoors during the 8 months of winter out there! They are TERRIBLE!!!! Are you there permanently? I guess if your hubby works at a cheese company, he’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Shoot me an email – I’d be happy to sympathize with you :o)

  9. Angie says:

    Amen, sista! I grew up in good ol’ WI and I agree the winters can be a bit harsh at times! But I love it there nonetheless… home sweet home. Hang in there – soon your skin will toughen up and the zero degree days will feel like a balmy 32. LOL

  10. Joann says:

    Mel, I don’t comment too often, but I am a regular visitor. I just wanted to say that you are doing an amazing job on your blog, and if I can’t find something for dinner here, we ain’t eating.

  11. Mariann says:

    Love the “about me” page. Love it, love it, love it.

  12. Janet says:

    Hi Mel! I’ve been following you for awhile and love your recipes. Simple and tasty. I like your ‘About Me’ page – its nice to get to know you! I’m from Michigan and share your feelings about winter! I work full-time during the day and have the great responsibility to feed my family. 3 kids: 11, 10 and 4 yrs; and a very hungry hubby. They have loved every recipe of yours I have made! Continued success to you and love the new dot com; site!

  13. mia says:

    Hi Melanie ~ how awesome to ‘see’ you and ‘meet’ your family too!! I’m so glad you decided to share, thank you!!!!!!

  14. Megan says:

    Great blog! Your boys are so cute. I have just two boys and life is crazy, I can only imagine how hectic it must be having 4! You’re amazing!

  15. Ann Walker says:

    What happened to Aunt Marilyn’s section in the recipe selections???? I love all of your recipes –the sweet & sour chicken has become one of my favorites, too!

    • Mel says:

      Ann Walker – Aunt Marilyn’s section is in the drop-down Recipe Category list in the right sidebar. Hope that helps!

  16. Ann Walker says:

    Ohhhhhhhhh——-I found it!! Thanks!

  17. Katie says:

    Hello Mel.
    I just found your beautiful website through a comment you left on mine. You have some amazing food on here, I could eat it all up. And I love that you have all boys in your family. Don’t you love being the only woman in their lives!
    You are now my dinner time resource, thanks for all the ideas!

    • Mel says:

      Katie – thanks for the comment! I’ve just been working on patching my boys jeans, thanks to your tutorial. They better nominate me for Mother of the Year after this one, since sewing is not my best talent, to say the least!

  18. Julie says:

    Hi Melanie! Just wanted to say what a HUGE fan I’ve become of your recipes. I need to start referring to you by name b/c my family has heard about “my recipe gal” so often that they know where I’m getting my ideas from. Absolutely everything I’ve tried has been a hit with myself, my family, and even some of my friends when we’ve entertained. I have a rapidly growing selection of favorites from your entries. Thanks so much for taking the time to explain what you love about each recipe and for the pictures – it truly makes me know exactly whether it will be perfect for our family before I even try it.

    • Mel says:

      Julie – what a great comment! Just consider us friends…seriously! Anyone is elevated to BFF status if they can make my day like that. Thank you so much!

  19. Camille says:

    Just came across your blog and I must say, I’m impressed! I already have made a list of the recipes I’ll start off making. Looks like you have a gorgeous family and I’m glad you have a supportive husband. If you don’t mind me asking, what is the age difference between your boys? They almost look to be quadruplets! Looks like you have your hands full 🙂 Keep up the good work!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Camille – thanks for taking the time to leave a comment! My boys are all almost exactly 18 months apart. My oldest was four when I had my fourth (but he turned five four months later). I get asked all the time if there is a set of twins in there but I think that’s mainly because they all have buzzed heads. 🙂

  20. Amanda says:

    Wow–I can really identify with this! I’m a scratch-cooker, McD’s avoider, and I’m a SAHM with 3 kids ages 5 and younger. I live near Seattle…and while I have specialty stores close enough, who wants to pack up the kids and worry about them pulling the $100 bottle of saffron off the shelf? Your recipes will be going into my Favorites folder–and probably, (eventually), showing up on my blog!

  21. Crystal says:

    Hi Mel

    I love your blog, and thank you so much for sharing!! Will be trying out your Bread recipe this weekend! Thanks again.


  22. Polwig says:

    Your blog is wonderful and I thought I had it tough with twins, 4 boys and blogging WOW. Don’t know how and when you find the time it seems like I am continously sleep deprived.

  23. Ruchita says:

    Hi Mel!

    I have been reading your site for a while, but this is my first time commenting. I just wanted to thank you for taking the time and effort to post recipes. This is one of my go-to sites when I’m doing my meal planning for the week. I have tried several recipes and they have all turned out great. Thanks again!

  24. Lark says:

    I just found this blog today. I am happy I did! cant wait to sit down, (for hrs. at a time) and go over all the recipes.

    thanks for sharing your talent!

  25. Joanie Harbor says:

    Hey Mel,

    Thank you so much for your wonderful blog! About 5 months ago my friend had me ( & my hubby and little boy) over for dessert and she served us this delicious peanut butter brownie triffle. WOW it was good. I asked her for the recipe and she told me about your blog. It is on my friends list on my blog, and I get super excited everytime it says it has been updated. I have tried probably 10+ recipes and loved them all. Tonight we ate the chicken tortellini casserole and it was super good. Thanks again for all the work you put into the blog!

  26. Cindy says:

    I love your blog. I’m very disappointed when you haven’t added anything new for that day!! I have made so many of your recipes and as a mom of 3 teen-aged boys, it is eaten before I get a chance to sample. I especially can’t keep up with bread and cookies. I have lived in SD and MN my whole life and still do not like the winters!

  27. ingrid says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said. I’m a Mom of twins boys and a singleton girl. I work full time and try my darndest to squeeze in good healthy homemade meals during the chaos that is our day. I’m looking forward to going through your archives and trying some of your recipes. I would venture to say that my skill level is on par or just below yours so, I should be good to go. 🙂

  28. Chelsea says:

    Hey Melanie! This is Chelsea Gopp, from Billings, now Jones. You are amazing!!!!!!!!! No surprise 🙂 I love your blog! You always were so talented! Your family is beautiful! So good to catch up with you! Hope you are well!

  29. Gwen says:

    Hi…just discovered your blog through my favorite couponing site. I can’t wait to start trying your recipes. I share your passion for cooking simple, healthy, delicious homemade food for my family of 6. I love finding new recipes, especially the tried and true. I must admit that I get a little prideful when my kids tell others how much they love my food. Makes it well worth the effort. Thanks for all your hard work.

  30. Carlee says:

    Just have to say… I LOVE your blog!! I love your creative descriptions of the recipes. I find my self laughing and my mouth watering. I love how each recipe includes a crisp and clear photo to tempt your senses even further. Between your narrative and the photos, I know I just have to try it! I made a list and so far I’ve made Thick and chewy choc chip cookies (SO good! My mom ate 4 in one sitting…believe me that’s huge!), Black and white cheesecake squares, Thick and chewy choc chip bars, chocolate toffee shortbread bars, classic oatmeal choc chip cookies, Ethereal chocolate angel food cake, french bread rolls, sweet and sour chicken, and southwestern cobb salad w/ green goddess dressing. Whew! Literally every single thing I’ve tried from your blog has been fantastic and made it into “my favorites” cookbook. That’s saying something seeing as how I’ve only known about your blog for a little over a month! Anyway, Thanks! Can’t wait to see more.

  31. Hi Mel! I love your blog. A straight up honest average food blogger!I am glad to meet you! 🙂

  32. Jenny says:

    Your blog is the bomb. I love it! You are a great writer and you make me want to make each and every dish with such amazing pictures and descriptions!!

  33. Martha says:

    I just found your blog. I love it. Mom of three boys (mine are bigger) I still love to feed everybody. Can’t wait to get started on some new recipes. Thanks for sharing.

  34. Bart says:

    Before I returned home from a church mission in Korea, my mission president said that of all the advice he might give, the best was to marry a good cook. My wife was a good cook before I married her, but she has really grown to love cooking and baking since then, in part because of awesome resources like your website. Thanks for sharing your experiences, recipes, and recommendations. We’ve never gone wrong here!

    • Mel says:

      Bart – I have to admit when I first saw your comment I thought you were my brother-in-law, Bart, and I was flattered he was leaving a comment (since I’m pretty sure he doesn’t even know this website exists!) but I was even more flattered after finishing your comment. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! I’m thrilled your wife loves to check in here and that you are reaping the benefits. Thank you!

  35. Deb says:

    Just came across your blog and have to say it’s kept me busy perusing all afternoon! Can’t wait to try some of these!!!! Look so good!!!
    Hit your about page and felt homesickness set in…. Born and Raised in Central Wisconsin (Rudolph) — 2 miles from a cheese factory — and you don’t know how much I’m craving fresh cheese curds right now!! I’ve been away along time now – but still have family there and it’s still “home”.

  36. Claudia says:

    I was turned on to your recipe months ago by a friend who frequently peruses food blogs for new ideas, and my cooking was, well, boring me. The first recipe I tried was your re-invention of the Hawaiian Haystacks sauce, and I was hooked! And then to find out today that you are a fellow Wisconsonite? That just makes me happy (I grew up in Milwaukee, then Green Bay, but now I live in OR). Anyway, thanks for your blog!

  37. Andrea says:

    I’ve been living in Madison for 3 years now and am still waiting for some kind of genetic adaptation to survive the winters. Thanks for sharing your kitchen, it has definitely improved mine!


  38. xiuxiu says:

    I love your blog. I’ve been following it for a year now. I used to live in Madison for 10 years (went to UW there), but now I moved to Bergen, Norway.
    Keep up the awesome recipes 🙂

  39. Steph says:

    cute family! I love just randomly coming to your website to see what’s new.

  40. Nicole says:

    Hi! I am so glad to have found your blog! Your kids are too cute.. I have 5 myself, so I know what cooking within craziness is like! everything on your blog looks wonderful 🙂

  41. Amanda says:

    Love this site! (I’ve told you before in a couple of e-mails– my husband is the contruction worker that takes your delicious recipes to work in the form of leftovers and talks about your blog to his buddies.) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… Most of my families favorite recipes come from this site. I made your Creamy White Chile last week and it was a big hit! I made your coconut cream pie several times over the Thanksgiving holiday and it was met with rave reviews by everyone who tasted it!

    Loved reading a little bit about you personally. I have 4 boys, too! Just wondering if you have a family blog, too, that you let just anyone look at?

  42. nicole says:

    Mel You are so cute! I swear if I lived in Wisconsin we would be great friends. We are so alike in so many ways. Thanks for always inspiring me your dishes often adorn my table.
    Good luck with winter, my S-I-L is there and pictures are enough to frighten me off. I am a California girl stuck in Boise and it is cold enough here.

  43. Marian says:

    Love the cooking from scratch philosophy! Too many of my old recipes have opening cans as the main task in the recipe (especially all those containing cream of mushroom soup!! eekkk!!) So…everything you suggest works! and works well! and some of the recipes are ones for foods that we love, but can’t buy in a restaurant here in Australia (for example: pulled pork!!! and those buns!! – the best!) Anyway, thanks and keep them coming-can’t wait to try the roca!

  44. Gail says:

    I can’t actually remember how I found your blog but I am so glad I did! Your posts actually make me WANT to cook…which is not an easy thing to do! 🙂 Since becoming a devoted reader I have converted both my sister and mom (both in states closer to you than me sadly). Thanks so much for the from scratch ideas. I’ve had to drastically change the way I eat after finding out that I have food migraine triggers (msg, high fructose corn syrup and red #40). This of course has limited my use of “easy” recipes since the majority of them contain at least one of those if not more. Thanks again for the awesome (and very tasty!) recipes!

  45. Brenda says:

    Hi Mel – I just wanted to say you have an awesome blog!! My neighbor introduced me to it and I have tried so many recipes from it and they are alwasy a HIT!! I too live in Wisconsin. Born and raised, but have moved SEVERAL times. Lived in Stevens Point, Kenosha, Eau Claire area and now “back home” in the Appleton area.

    Thanks for sharing and keep them coming.


  46. corrie says:

    what a lovely blog you have and can’t wait to try your recipes! I’m a mummy to 4 kids under 5 so I’m sure your recipes will be a hit here.

    just this week my 4 year old said to me ‘I’m going to take a picture for your blog, mummy’….we’re starting early in this house!

    you have a gorgeous family, adding your blog to my favourites right now!


  47. ROBIN says:

    I found your FABULOUS website on Tasty Kitchen as I am a HUGE fan of the Pioneer Woman!! Your site is too going to quickly become one of my favorites judging by the incredible recipes I see just skimming over the list!! You and your family are soooooo ADORABLE!!! I am in Kansas so I get what you’re saying about Wisconsin. The winters are crappy and year round the weather is pretty much unpredictable. Anyway, just want to say KUDOS on the website and the cute cute family you have!!
    By the way, I am 39 and learned just about everything I know about cooking, baking, and all other domestications from my dear Grandmother who baked her first loaf of bread at age 7 in her tiny Oklahoma kitchen. You are soooo young and I am curious how you got to be such a great cook!!

  48. Emily says:

    Just wanted to drop a line to say thank you for making my life easier! I have the hardest time deciding WHICH recipes I want to cook for the following week! I’m 6 months pregnant and ALL you recipes sound SO AMAZING! I wish I could eat dinner 10x’s a day! To say the least, I’m so grateful I’ve found your blog. I’m VERY inspired to become a much better cook! No more frozen dinners or eating out! Thank you!! Happy New Year!

  49. Marla Solano says:

    love your blog – keeps me sane at work!
    take care and have a great day!
    Marla Solano

  50. Kathy in Greendale says:

    I just found your blog and as a fellow Wisconsinite I agree! I don’t love the winters, but I do love the rest of the seasons in our wonderful state! Love your blog, and can’t wait to start trying the recipes….starting with the Heath Bar Cake!

  51. Heidi says:

    Hi, Mel! I have been following your blog for about a year (or more) and have fallen in love with EVERYTHING I’ve made. I have adopted your meal templates and love what it is doing for my food budget. I’m spending less and the stress of “what’s for dinner?” is making me an amazingly more happy mom. I can’t thank you enough for that!! Of course, all my meals come directly from this site 🙂 I love you for sharing your recipes and talents. I for one feel personally grateful.

    Oh, and I’m originally from UT but we are in MI right now and I can agree with you on the winters. I was just thinking today that January is almost DONE! 3 more months to go! In June we’re moving to Minnesota, not much better, rather COLDER! HA! We do it cause we love ’em don’t we?

  52. Auntie Patch says:

    I broke my leg at Disneyland (first ride!) so I’ve spent a lot of time on your blog in the last 6 weeks! Love your family pictures! What a cute bunch: they must keep you busy.

    We are moving from San Diego to Il. sometime this year & your readers are starting to make me rethink this. We lived there in the early 80’s but I don’t remember it being that bad.

    Anyway, thanks for keeping me occupied & laughing.

  53. Christy Hillebrink says:

    Just happened to come across your blog via FoodGawker and added it right away to my favorites. Being a fellow Wisconsonite, but living in Europe, I am always on the lookout for good recipes from “home”. Will certainly be following you, great blog!!

  54. Catherine Rich says:

    My sister-in-law found your website, started trying websites, another sister-in-law tasted some of her fare, and a new fan club was born! Now several of the women in my husband’s family (there are 8 of us) have tried at least one recipe and I am anxious to try more. You have done a great job on your website presenting the recipes with explanations and pictures, both of which make me want to try to cook!
    I made homemade pizza crust and sauce yesterday for the first time and again today. A few days ago I made your French Bread Rolls and they were wonderful! I can add that this is the first time I have made decent dinner rolls, in my life! It was very exciting for me! And so I am doing my part in the family fan club and passing your website on to MY sisters and MY mother.
    Thank you!

  55. Catherine Rich says:

    My sister-in-law found your website, started trying recipes, another sister-in-law tasted some of her fare, and a new fan club was born! Now several of the women in my husband’s family (there are 8 of us) have tried at least one recipe and I am anxious to try more. You have done a great job on your website presenting the recipes with explanations and pictures, both of which make me want to try to cook!
    I made the homemade pizza crust and sauce yesterday for the first time and again today. A few days ago I made your French Bread Rolls and they were wonderful! I can add that this is the first time I have made decent dinner rolls, in my life! It was very exciting for me! And so I am doing my part in the fan club and passing your website on to MY sisters and MY mother.
    Thank you!

  56. Hi Mel,

    My family just arrived in Trempealeau, WI 3 months ago. (today, in fact!) We came from SLC, UT and are adjusting to our town’s 1,350 population! I was sent a link to an earlier post when you were discovering the new lingo here. My husband and I have laughed because it’s certainly been a learning experience. We have 3 kids under 5, so the easy and yummy recipes are needed for sure!

    Thanks for the wonderful ideas and motivation… especially as you are in the thick of the craziness & fun of life with young kids yourself.

    Lindsey Montague

  57. Stephanie says:

    I just stumbled across your blog the other day, and I’m hooked! My husband will be jealous when I tell him that your husband works for a cheese company. He’s from WI, and I can’t go wrong when I cook something with cheese!

    Thanks for all the great ideas! I’m looking forward to what’s to come!

  58. Teresa says:

    Hi Mel,
    Inadvertantly came across your website and I love it!!!!! I am a tried and true foodie. My mom was from Italy. my dad Swedish, what a combo huh? Anyways I grew up in the kitchen with both sets of grandparents. I currently am a kitchen manager and teach cooking classes to limited resource families here in Bowling Green, Ky. I am gonna turn them on to this website. Right now I have a project in the works to go on Local Access t.v. and possibly Sky Angel with my own cooking show hopefully this year. I have a lot of support with my community and my church. I wanted to know if you mind if I incorporate some of your recipes into my classes and possibly the show if it all works out?

  59. Teresa says:

    Hi Mel,
    Inadvertently came across your website and I love it!!!!! I am a tried and true foodie. My mom was from Italy. my dad Swedish, what a combo huh? Anyways I grew up in the kitchen with both sets of grandparents. I currently am a kitchen manager and teach cooking classes to limited resource families here in Bowling Green, Ky. I am gonna turn them on to this website. Right now I have a project in the works to go on Local Access t.v. and possibly Sky Angel with my own cooking show hopefully this year. I have a lot of support with my community and my church. I wanted to know if you mind if I incorporate some of your recipes into my classes and possibly the show if it all works out?

  60. Kim says:

    Hi Mel! I love your blog! And having grown up in southwestern Quebec, I get you’re dislike for Wisconsin Winters! Thanks for sharing!
    Feel free to check out my blog!

  61. Sarah J says:

    Hey Mel!

    Love the website as well. I’ve been checking out your website for a while now, but never really searched too much….just looked at the new recipes when posted. I didn’t realize you were so close to me! I’m in Wisconsin too….the Fox Valley Area. Winter is too long here 🙂 I’m born and raised though…only escaped momentarily while my husband and I were stationed at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. The winters never get easier!

  62. Jean Braten says:

    You and your precious family are delightful! God Bless you all.
    In Christ’s Love,
    Jean Braten

  63. Carrie R says:

    Hi Mel!! A good friend of mine directed me to this site. Since then, I have to tell you how much I love and utilize your website – all the time! I am a busy single mom of two little boys and work full time, so I am constantly looking for good, hearty, HEALTHY and QUICK meals. Kudos to all of your hard work and attention to detail in the kitchen. I wholly appreciate you getting it organized – and being my “go-to” girl! God’s blessings on your work! 🙂

    PS – I live in Michigan, and I feel your pain in the winter, especially this winter!

  64. scrappysue says:

    man, you must be so busy! your boys are adorable! any of them twins?
    just wanted to know that i use your recipes at least once a week – i really should do a blog post on you! i can’t believe i’ve been getting your rss feed all this time and i didn’t take the time to look around and find a photo of you!!! love your work! 🙂

  65. Chelsea Scott says:

    Wow, you are an angel! I have been struggling for awhile to find recipes that my children will love and are good for them at the same time. Your website is an answer to my prayers – thank you SOOO much! I am now going to recommend your site to all of my friends and family as I know they too will be thrilled with all your fabulous recipes!

  66. jennifer says:

    oooooh, I love the picture of your boys!! I had six boys in nine years, so seeing your four little guys brought back memories. 🙂 Crazy, but so much fun!

    Love your blog!

  67. Anjenette says:

    I just have to say that as Lesli’s sister in law, I’m jealous! I want a new baby basket from her too! LOVE the website. I know how you have time to cook. I just don’t know how you have time to post!

  68. Lucy H. says:

    Just tried your recipe for Giant Cookie for my grandson who turns 10 this week and his response was “this cookie is awesome”. Great web site. Can’t wait to try more of your recipes. I was so excited to have found your site that I had to scan all the recipes tonight. You definitely have a talent! I’m also originally from Kenosha. Left back in 1971. Don’t miss the feet of snow that fell each year!! Keep up the great job!

  69. Lindsay says:

    I just recently stumbled upon your blog….someone recommended you on the comments section of this post….

    And I am a FAN for LIFE! I love home cooked meals just like my Mom makes but I have no clue how to do it! Your descriptions are wonderful, your recipes are healthy and for the most part look easy! I can’t wait to start following your blog daily! I am getting married in August–when we move in together we are going to eat more at home I’m sure! Your blog is a great start for ideas for me!

    Lindsay in Kansas

  70. Sandra says:

    Hi Mel,
    I´m also a mum to four little boys and I´m so impressed on how you manage to keep up with your blog. I´m spanish and live in Madrid and although I am a huge fan of spanish cooking I always feel that the cakes and cookies here are just not right…maybe this is only because I lived in the States when I was a kid and have so great memories of the huge super sugary cakes that arent popular here that I just miss them.
    I discovered your blog searching for a home made cake mix…which I still haven´t found or at leats the perfect one moist and fluffy like a box one…..but then I discovered what has become my favourite cake of all times…YOUR CARROT CAKE…its just amazing and I keep making it all the time.
    I cant thank you enough for this recipe. ´
    You have a great blog …I hope I finally find my time to start my own and share it with you.

  71. Straight up, Love the blog, recipes are great, feel like ive found a gold mine!
    Thanks for all your hard work!

  72. Catherine Rich says:

    Dear Mel,

    I have commented once before when I learned how to make your favorite dinner rolls. I’ve made them many times in the 2 months since I found your website and they are delicious every time. The experience has inspired me with confidence to cook, not just your recipes, but I feel more confident and interest in cooking in general. That is good for my family’s diet, I know. I appreciate that you are trying to cook from scratch. My goal now is to cook more often and use less boxed stuff. I just thought you’d want to know.

    Thank you,

  73. Heather says:

    Wow- you have my exact philosophy! Home cooked, easy meals with ingredients easy to find, and you are fairly healthy and love cheese! This is perfect, and the photos you take of the food look really awesome! Do you have a cookbook we can buy? YAY!

  74. Michelle says:

    Um Mel? This is about the best About Me take on a blog ever. What you’re normal? What you’re not trying to fill your house with free crap that you’ll be bought to talk about on your blog? What you admit to having bad days too? This is a breakthrough for the blogging community (one of the reasons you’re the only girl I’m faithful to…hehe). You are awesome and are making pretty much everyone I know’s home’s healthier and happier (because really, when you’re eating good food you’re happy).

    Take care and lots and lots of love.

  75. Lindsay says:

    I love your blog and have tried several recipes which have all be hits with the fam. My only question is where’s the seafood? We love seafood and need more recipes! Does your family not feel the same way? Darling boys by the way. I have 3 myself.

  76. Amyj4kidos says:

    Mel~ Thanks for sharing your wisdom, recipes and advice on here! I love it! I stumbled across your website while planning my weekly menu and refer to it often. I am the mother of 4 kidos as well, and life can get a bit crazy every now and then. When I was reading your personal info and looking at your pictures of your family, I thought hummmm…now they sure look like an LDS family too me! 🙂 Just curious if you were? I did see also that you are living in Boise, so that was another hint. We are LDS, from the West but we live in the South.
    Anyhow, I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog, thanks!

  77. Kalynn says:

    This is the best cooking blog I have ever read! I happened onto it when smelling a cookie bar (I’m on a diet) at a church meeting. I think I printed every recipe on this site. I’ll be looking for a cookbook. The pictures are fantastic and recipes well written.
    You are living the dream – So very talented and beautiful too. Thank you for sharing.

  78. Shannon says:

    Dear Mel.

    Hello! I just wanted to tell you I really enjoy your site and recipes!!! I’m also a fellow Wisconsinite! I live in Osceola, (Western WI). This year our little town is having a Rhubarb Fest, the first for our state! I believe it will be the first weekend in June. If you live somewhat close, I’d love to meet you! I am trying to decide what to make and enter in the rhubarb contest! Just thought I’d mention that to you, a fellow cheese head and foodie!! It should be fun. Keep up the wonderful job you’re doing with your family and this lovely site!

  79. Kristyn says:

    Hello, I just found your blog and made your sweet and sour chicken for my family the other night. It was a hit! We recently moved from San Francisco to Malaysia so I really appreciate the variety of meals you have on here. It’s really hard (or expensive) to find a lot of the things we take for granted in the stores in the states. Just a block of cheddar cheese is close to $10. I never really learned how to cook before and I’m struggling a little with my new surroundings. I usually would throw together things that called for cans of soup mix and meat in the crockpot! I have already booked marked several of your recipes and I’m going to start using your menu planning template. I can’t wait to try the Chiang Mai Noodles and the Green Curry Chicken. Thank you so much!

  80. tanya says:

    Thank you. Thank you.
    I’ve really treasured your blog and recipes. There are so many out there, but after finding yours, the search is over. I appreciate your ideas, wanting to care for your family inside and out, and your humor. I too want to care for my clan in as healthful and yummy way as possible. And I occasionally find myself stuffing chocolate chips into my mouth too. And when the kids see it, I hand them a few.
    Thank you so much for sharing! 5 big stars from me.

  81. Allie says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your recipes! I found your website a couple months ago and keep coming back to find great things. Thanks for keeping it simple, reasonable, but still healthy and wonderful!

  82. Lara says:

    I just found your website today by searching Google for a chicken condon bleu casserole, and I am so inspired! I’ve just started a cooking blog of my own and your blog is what my blog wants to be when it grows up! I’ve really enjoyed browsing around, and I see LOTS of recipes I’ll be trying. It looks to me like we have very similar cooking philosophies, and similar families, too. If you have a little time and could pass on any blogging advice, I’d love to learn from you. I am especially impressed with your food photography. It’s beautiful!

  83. Val bateman says:

    What a great find! Hopped over to your blog from “a day in the life too” and am so glad I did! I’ve got one of your pork chop recipes in the oven as I type. Enjoyed your “about” page. You and your family are darling! I’ll be back!!

  84. Val bateman says:

    What a great find! Hopped over to your blog from “a day in the life too” and am so glad I did! I’ve got one of your pork chop recipes in the oven as I type. Enjoyed your “about” page. You and your family are darling! I’ll be back!!

  85. Jackie Brown says:

    what cuties (the boys), I’m impressed, cookin with four little ones under your feet. I have four too, two boys and two girls and it’s a challenge at times. I’ve enjoyed reading about you after subscribing to your recipes for about a year and not knowing anything about you. We have the healthy cooking amibition in common. I try to make almost everything from scratch and freeze it to feed our hungry crew. Still working on the crackers/snacks, but getting there. Great recipes and posts, keep it up!

  86. Kendall says:

    THANK YOU for posting! Ever since I found your site, my family will ask, “Is this a Mel’s recipe?” If I respond in the affirmative, they will gladly try anything I put in front of them. And we have yet to try a recipe from your site that we all don’t LOVE! You are amazing! Thank you for taking the time to do what you do and then share it with the rest of us. We appreciate your talents (and LOVE reading your humorous remarks as well)! Thanks for bringing a smile to my face and good food to our table.

  87. Deb says:

    I feel as though I’ve found a friend in you and the beautiful blog you’ve put together here. I stumbled on it about a month ago and have devoured it. Thank you for all the time and effort you put into sharing your food and your life with us. You are truly making a difference.
    ps – I have spent the better part of my life in Northern IL and Southern WI and winter is only fun until New Years, then it should fast forward to spring 🙂

  88. melanie says:

    Hey Melanie,
    I am hoping to be making 100% of my own bread starting this fall. can you tell me what kind of bread bags you use to store/freeze your bread in and if you find this to be much of a cost savings. I don’t grind my own flour like you do so I would have flour/yeast expenses at the grocery store.
    Melanie (jolyn b’s friend and HUGE fan of your blog :))

  89. melanie peterson says:

    Thanks for the reply Melanie. I will order the bread bags you suggested. Do you use these for freezing your loaves. Tell me how you freeze them to prevent any freezer burn! thanks!

  90. Deanna says:

    I just discovered your website and what a discovery! Cooking is my #1 hobby; especially breads and anything sweet. I feel like our tastebuds are exactly the same as my collection includes many of the same recipes! I love the way you go into detail describing textures, appearances etc.
    I am already testing many new recipes for the upcoming holiday season and hope you will continue to update with new tried and true recipes for the whole meal.

  91. Natalie says:

    Hi Mel! I just found your blog through a friend’s link on Facebook – after looking through your pics I think I grew up with your husband in Flower Mound, TX! I was good friends with his sister Angela. I’m not sure if he’ll remember me, but tell him that Natalie Roach (now Wright) says hello! I’m living in AZ with my husband and two boys, and I’m excited to try some of your recipes. And you have a beautiful family 🙂

  92. […] Cookie Dough Topped Brownies (Thanks Mel from!) […]

  93. Jessica says:

    I’ve recently stumbled onto your blog and I am so glad I did! I love your recipes 🙂

  94. SUSAN says:

    Love your website! My daughter got me tuned into your recipes. I love to cook too and appreciate anyone sharing such delish recipes with me. Thank You!

  95. Kristin says:

    Hi Mel!! I have been keeping up on your blog for awhile now and come to really enjoy it! I now have at least 15 recipes printed off from your blog!
    I am impressed with your creativity and passion for your family and food. I agree with your philosophy as I have a great husband and 5 boys to feed myself and enjoy making it healthy and yummy at the same time.
    Your boys are adorable! Gotta love them boys!
    Keep up the good work!

  96. melanie says:

    Hey Melanie,
    the bread making is going great! my kiddos and hubby (and me too!) love it. I made your parker house rolls today and my 5 year old had one and said “ohhhh mom….I wish this was the bread of life..then it would be everlasting!!!” What a hilarious thing to say about a piece of bread! 🙂 There you have it….your rolls are awesome 🙂 One question…I want to make your wheat bread that calls for vital wheat gluten..can’t find it at the store though. Is it essential???
    melanie (jolyn’s friend)

  97. […] Cookie Dough Topped Brownies (Thanks Mel from!) […]

  98. Leslie says:

    I just stumbled upon your site and amazing!! I am a mother of 3 boys and love to cook simple meals. Your pictures and recipes are great and something I hope you are very proud of. Already made my grocery list for at least 3 recipes!!

  99. Jen I says:

    I have never before commented on a blog of someone I don’t know. Nor have I spent an hour perusing a food blog. Apparently I am a changed woman. A friend recently just sent me a link to a recipe from your blog that I’d been begging her for – and wow, what a goldmine. Today I made the black bean and mango quinoa and the rosemary buttermilk chicken. My husband literally was hunting around the kitchen after dinner for the quinoa saying, “THERE’S NO MORE?!?!?!” I have tried quinoa a couple times and backed off of it when I wasn’t falling in love with it (but darn that Costco-sized bag of it taking up my kitchen space). So I was so happy to see some great recipes in here I’ll have to try with it.
    I loved when I looked at your profile – I have 4 little boys as well and we lived in Wisconsin a few years ago too! You’re a great writer (probably why I could spend more than 2 minutes on a food blog), with great wit and humor that I totally relate to – as well as a similar food palate! I couldn’t see anything on here I wouldn’t want to try. Bless you for having the time to blog all this. The more boys I seem to have the less time for blogging. Thanks again!

  100. Sarah Keller (Beckstrand) says:

    Hi Mel! I just finished having lunch with Leslie and her cute kids here in Boise and we had a fun chat about you and all of your accomplishments! I had to come and browse your blog. Sure miss you and can’t wait to try some of these great recipes!

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