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. Radhika says:

    Hi Mel,

    I found your blog thru Michelle of BEB, and loved your recipe for homemade cake mix. It is delicious!!!


  2. Valerie Rodriguez says:

    Hi Mel!! I love your website I come on here frequently to look at new recipes and use many in my meal planning. You are awesome! Keep up the delicious cooking.. Love the new look 🙂 God Bless

  3. Sierra says:

    I love your site so much I can’t even stand it! Bless you for putting such good food on my family’s table! Love, love, love your style and your food.

  4. Heather says:

    Thanks for your website. I love to cook and bake from scratch but get tired of the same old recipes. Thanks for the great kid friendly recipes!

  5. Alyson says:

    Love love love the new website…particularly the mobile version addition. Love your recipes, keep up the amazing …well, the amazing everything. 🙂

  6. Rachel says:

    That comment about hiding in the pantry stuffing chocolate chips in your mouth was so funny because I have done it myself and I only have 3 wonderful children!

    • Dorothy Beall Griffin says:

      Who among us that have our children with “cookie memories” (coming home from school with the scent of chocolate chip cookies soon to be served warm right out of the oven with a glass of milk and today’s school stories tearful and joyous, have not stashed chocolate chips that we munch on when nobody’s around to catch us.
      “Now where did I put them? No, not in this cupboard up high, no, not in this drawer. Darn, where did I put those chocolate chips when I need that little pick-me-up while I am cooking dinner?”
      Can anybody else relate?

  7. Jessica says:

    Hi Mel – love your website. Love your recipes too! We are soul sisters in so many ways. It’s almost like I wrote your above “about me” post….except I’m only on my third kid and well I live in the hot heat of Arizona. I love your approach to cooking…I’m the same, stocked pantry, less processed foods and experimenting with recipes all the time, working hard to make and plan menus that my family with love and not turn up their noses….oh and mcdonalds, yeah that makes me barf too. 🙂 thanks for inspiring me 🙂

  8. Karen says:

    Mel, you are my new hero! Just came across your website today (just started my NEW diet yesterday!) and I am so going to bake this afternoon!

  9. Jessica Flake says:

    Hello! So this is crazy. I have been using your recipes forever now and just now realized who you are!! We all grew up in Ponca City together! Does the last name Jorgensen ring a bell? I was friends with Emily! Anywho… Thank you for your website! You make dinner time our favorite time of the day!

  10. Kari says:

    After reading a few of your recipes and making the Killer Krunch Brownies, I knew you were my kind of girl! I was checking out your “about me” because, honestly, you sounded too normal and not pretentious at all (“My children have NEVER eaten carbs!-Gweneth Paltrow)!! Of course you are from Minnesota. Who else could make all of these normal meals with BUTTER, none the less, and still look the way you do!! Born and raised in White Bear Lake, now residing in Roberts, WI, after living in Colorado. Great site! Keep up the work! I’ll keep making ’em and eating ’em!!

  11. Michelle says:

    Love all your recipes!!!! I have your website saved and constantly refer to it for ideas. I am in Ontario, Canada. I will pass it on.

  12. Kerrie says:

    Just another thank you from a new reader. How refreshing to find a site with delicious, FREE, healthy recipes! Adding a whole passel to this week’s menu and next week’s once a month cooking day! I’ll be sharing your site! 🙂

  13. Leslie says:

    Hi, Mel! What a beautiful family you have! I’ve been happily stalking your blog for a few months now, and wanted to say hi, and thanks! I hate cooking. I’m not domestic, at all. But I do like to eat, and like you, I despise McDonald’s. I’m married with a little boy so I decided to dig in and learn to cook. Your website has been a lifesaver! Your recipes are easy, don’t use crazy ingredients or kitchen utensils I’ve never heard of, and best of all, they are delicious! I have just printed out several more recipes to try this week. I especially love the make ahead and freezeable ones, and the way you describe how to reheat them. You are a kitchen goddess, I swear!

  14. Aisha says:

    I am so glad I found your website. There are many things on here I am eager to try. Thanks again for all your effort. Keeping up with kids and maintaining a website can be tough. But you’re good!! 😀

  15. Suzanne says:

    Wow, I’ve just spent the last 2 hours finding recipes on your website! I love each one of them! I’m so excited to start cooking. The best part – is these are real recipes, stuff I have (or can get easily) and food we would actually eat!

    Thanks for your hard work!

  16. Kimberly says:

    I have found this website through a recipe posted on Pinterest. As a single mom working full time and going back to school at night to finish my nursing degree I have had a great sense of panic as to what to cook for my teenage boy to eat in the afternoons to early evenings. I am normally the one that cooks every single night of the week. No matter what. So these recipes have really helped give me some peace of mind. Having the menu’s to switch around based on he wants. Thank you so much for all of the hard work and time you have put into this. Thank you again.

  17. Michelle says:

    I recently discovered your website and all your recipes look/taste AMAZING! Any chance you have a cookbook I could buy?! If not, you should consider publishing one! I’m always looking for good, quality home cooked meals that expand the variety in my kitchen. Lets just say your website has become my go-to for meal planning! Thanks for sharing all your delicious meals!

  18. Highly energetic article, I liked that bit. Will there
    be a part 2?

  19. Do you have a spam problem on this site; I also am a blogger,
    and I was wanting to know your situation; we have developed some nice procedures and we are looking
    to swap techniques with others, why not shoot me an e-mail if

  20. Roger says:

    Aloha Mel,
    I found your website about a year ago and now that I am retired and seem to be in charge of whats for dinner I have used alot of your recipes and everyone has been a success, now when I make something of yours for dinner my wife asks “is this a Mel recipe” and I happily answer yes.

  21. Hi, I have mentioned your blog in a post that I just did on my pottery blog at:
    Hope that is ok!
    All the best,

  22. Almarie says:

    Hi Mel

    Lovely website you have! I love all the recipes! Feel like a kid in a candy shop!

    I have a quick question – I printed the Easiest Brownies in the World recipe – definitely on the ‘to-do-list’. But just to be sure on the measurements – when you say 1 1/2 cups sugar – do you mean 1 x half a cup or one and a half cup (1 12 ounce bag – does that mean 1 x 12 ounce bag right?)

    Sorry if this is a silly question but don’t want to mess the world easiest recipe up! Trust me – I mess up the premixed stuff that comes from boxes!!!! So I’m definitely not the handiest person to have around in the kitchen!


    • Mel says:

      Almarie – I’m a little confused about what you are asking but just to clarify, the 1 1/2 cups sugar is 1 cup plus another 1/2 cup. I don’t know how many ounces that is, though, so just make sure to measure with your cup measures and you should be good to go!

  23. Trinity says:

    I just made these and they are truly PERFECT!! Thank you so much!

  24. Jenn A says:

    Hi, Mel. I just came across your blog from a recipe on Pinterest. I’ve already pinned a few that I want to try. I live in MN too – Twin Cities area – and I have four boys, but no princess. =) We moved here from the south 10 years ago and had to adjust to the long winters. I love to cook from scratch to feed my family, and I’m looking forward to using your recipes!

  25. Becky says:

    Hey Mel,
    My mother in law sent me your site url about 3 years ago, saying it looked like good healthy meals and I might want to check it out. Since then, I have fallen in love with your site and you. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. Seriously. I reccomend you to anyone I can. I’ve tried probably 80% of your recipes and they are what you say they are–tried and TRUE. Thank you for the wonderful recipes, witty posts and lovely pictures, its a treat to visit your blog. I find myself more excited to cook and utilize your recipes in literally every weekly menu I make. I love how I can not only count on your food being tasty, but also being most of the time healthy (I love your desserts too!) with easy to find and buy ingredients. This is my first time posting on your blog but I’d be ungrateful if I never let you know. Lots of love to you, you go girl!

  26. L. I. says:

    We were looking for an “L” dessert for family night and found this link. FABULOUS blog. Thank you. My 12 year old and I are making these for the fam tonight.

  27. MaUreen says:

    Just wanted you to know how much I love your website!! I’ve read dozens of blogs and sites over the years and have always been a lurker but felt really compelled to send you some encouragement today for all the effort you put into this site. Your recipes are awesome and family friendly (I’m cooking for 7), your general kitchen information is extremely useful and your photos the best. You are my go-to gal for sure and I really appreciate you! THANK YOU for sharing yourself with us and keep up the great work!

  28. Tammy says:

    Mel, I am so excited to find your site, specifically about bread baking with the Bosch! I have had a Bosch for close to 30 years, and recently purchased the newest one and am renewing my love for bread making. I have had a Magic Mill for 26 years, so grind my own wheat berries into flour, also. However… I have been VERY frustrated with my last few rounds of baking- and we’re talking between 5 and 8 loaves at a whack. The dough rises beautifully, then FALLS while baking. Not cool! My pans are big, so the loaves have come out really flat. 🙁 When I read your high recommendation for the Chicago bread pans (1lb size) I got on Amazon and ordered them immediately! They came today, I made Darcy’s bread, and they came out BEAUTIFULLY shaped, with no falling!!! I am VERY happy, and thank you very much for sharing that pearl of wisdom. I sprayed them with nonstick spray and the loaves slid right out.
    Thank you, thank you, and God bless you and your lovely family! 🙂

  29. Trixie says:

    Wow Mel! I googled the best manicotti ever and found your site. The manicotti were FABULOUS and I just put the San Francisco Chops in the slow cooker. House smells wonderful already!!! Thanks so much for sharing your recipes – I am a fan and have already shared your site with friends 🙂 You have a beautiful family!!!

  30. Shangrla says:

    Please make it possible to print off your recipes that will fit in my Recipe Box. The way it is, is way tooooo big. Thanks.
    PS: Most other Food sites already do this.

  31. Lanie says:

    Hi, I am new to your blog. I heard you have really great recipes from someone in my church. I was reading the information that goes along with two of your peach desserts and noticed on one of them you said you were living in a motel and kind of homeless. I just wanted to see if you and your family have found a new home. I know I don’t know you but it made me a little concerned for you and I hope you and your family are well. I look forward to trying the peach and cream sensation or the peaches and cream cake. I am making it tomorrow if you have a chance to get back to me and let me know what one you think is better 😉 I am taking it to our church peach fest.
    Take care

  32. Heidi says:

    I thought today I wish Mel had an app!! I’m always on your site and love your recipes to the nth degree.

  33. Kelly McMahon says:

    Hi Mel, Just stumbled upon your blog yesterday after bemoaning my boring weekly menu selections for dinner during my morning walk with a friend. I have been in such a rut! Anyway, googled sweet and sour meatballs and found your blog! I made the teriyaki meatballs last night and my family went nuts! Tonight I cooking the smothered chicken with mushrooms and I just discovered Big Fat Greek Tacos which are on the menu for tomorrow. Thank you!! I’m so excited to have discovered your blog!!

  34. Julie Frey says:

    I just discovered your blog tonight while trying to find a recipe for a great pasta sauce that was very “tuscany” tasting. Then when I read about you I find you are from my home state of Minnesota!! I was thrilled!!! I will be following you now!! Thanks for sharing your pasta sauce!!!

  35. Amy Palmer says:

    Just wanted you to know that your cooking blog is my favorite place to look for meals. Thanks for all you do, I have no idea how you do it all with five little kids. But I have never had a bad recipe from your blog, and I love knowing everything I make is a guarantee.
    Thank you, I think you are great!
    Amy Palmer

  36. Gisele says:

    hey Mel, your blog is absolutely cute ! Loving it 🙂

  37. Ruth says:

    Hi Mel :),

    Just wanted to drop a note saying that I think you’re an excellent mom doing this for your family! And sharing it also with the rest of us ;)! I’m a newlywed and my husband and I love to cook, but mostly cause we love to eat :). We tried your syrup for the waffles and plan on trying the cinnamon rolls next :D. I’m also thinking of starting a cafe so if you have any advice on that please let me know.


  38. Kristi A. says:

    Thank you for your time to share your recipe research. Our family is busy living in an RV in CO while we build our house with our own hands. I don’t have time for elaborate recipes that flop. Straight up, simple, healthy, reasonable recipes to fill up all the cracks on three teenagers that taste good—that’s what I find here. I get up from our little trailer table after almost every meal and thank God and Mel’s website for another meal…many of which I’ve prepped ahead of time and pulled from the freezer. I am determined that while we build (or any other time), we are not filling our bodies with doughnuts and Dominos pizza! Thank you again.

  39. Tiffany says:

    Hi Mel, Sorry to take up more of your time…but I have searched your sight for a list of your favorite things (it used to be on the old layout) and can not find it. You had things listed like favorite bread pans, vegetable stock, vanilla(real vs imitation). Is that still around? It would be great to have, thanks! I love you website and use it all the time, but don’t stress because life happens and your family comes first so don’t pressure yourself. Thanks again!

  40. Zara says:

    Hi Mel!! Thank you for the hard work to share your wonderful recipes with such detail. As a busy mom of 4, with no ideas most of the time, I love that I can try something new from your website and its been no fail!! God bless you and your wonderful family.

  41. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Mel, Thank you soo much for your recipes! I’ve been making your recipes every night the last two weeks and have not found one bad recipe yet. Everything has been soo delicious thank you again!!!

  42. Alexa says:

    Hi there! I just stumbled across your blog from good old Pinterest & wanted to say how wonderful it is. I’m not a momma yet, but am hoping to be one soon… In the meantime, when I’m not working, I love to cook for my husband & for friends/family. Thank you for all of the wonderful recipes & awesome weekly menus. Going to make your spaghetti sauce tomorrow night for a family dinner with my in laws =).

  43. Tamara says:

    Love your website your a hot topic at the montreal royal vic ER lunch table, the nurses have discussed alot of your meals. GReat website love your recipes, my husband loves you too;)

  44. Brenda says:

    I’m not sure where else to put this feedback but the print button for the recipes is longer working for me.

  45. Della says:

    Hello Mel
    I wanted you to know that I am having the same problem as Brenda. When I click on “Print” the address in the webpage line says “blankpage” and that’s what I get! A blank page :o( I’ve tried coming in directly from your email message and from your website. . .neither works. I like to print your recipes so I can simply take them to the grocery store with me. Hope it’s and easy fix.
    And Happy Thanksgiving to you and your beautiful family!!

  46. Diana says:

    I have been enjoying your site for a few weeks now. The recipes I have tried work out perfectly. I currently have your breadsticks in the oven, and plan to try the orange rolls during the holidays. Thanks for your perfected recipe obsession! 🙂 I appreciate you!

  47. Nancy says:

    I just discovered your site this week, and I am totally blown away!! (I DO NOT know how I didn’t find you earlier!!!) You are amazing and inspiring!!! Thanks for sharing all of these recipes and for all of your hard work. What a great service you give to the world through your recipes. Thank you!

  48. Tracy says:

    Your site is wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful recipes and you need to write a cookbook 🙂 Real food from a real Mom! As a Mom of a 12 year old girl and a surprise 5 month old son all I can say is wow and thanks!!

  49. Nicole says:

    I just happened to stumble upon your website last week (can’t remember how i got here, but i am glad i did) and i am in love! I have made a few things already and they were a big hit! There are many more lined up to be made in the very near future as well! I have also told pretty much everyone i know about this site and many of them have become hooked too! Thank you for putting up these recipes and tips for everyone to enjoy. i hope you and your beautiful family have a wonderful holiday season 🙂

  50. Kirk says:

    I would love to see you add a section of recipes for pressure cookers. Just a suggestion.

  51. Sharon Ingerson says:

    Just discovered your site, thanks!!!!! Loving it!

  52. Melissa says:

    I just discovered your blog and I can’t wait to start trying your recipes! They are so family friendly, it’s the first site I’ve looked at multiple recipes and actually liked all of the ingredients! Thank you!!

  53. Dorothy says:

    I was drawn to your website because I have a Mel (Melanie Katherine) in my family, my 35 year old daughter who lives in Asheville, North Carolina, while I was googling oven sweet potato fries. I call her “Peaches” affectionately (I even have “Peaches” in my phone contacts. My Melanie is also a wonderful cook and baker. When she was in elementary school and they had book check-out day in the library, she would always come home with all these cooking and baking books. I guess that was a hint-hint.
    Hope you pass down your love of cooking and baking to your “princess” (of course to your boys too) as I did. She is also an organic gardener, and does better than I do with many of her skills. (Hey, she sent her little brother (29) homemade oatmeal raisin cookies along with packages of sour cream & onion, plus salt & vinegar CRICKETS for Christmas – yes she has my dorky sense of humor). i’m recommending your website Melanie to Melanie.
    I did the email signup – thanks so much for the sweet potato oven fries recipe – best I’ve seen. Love and Light, Dorothy from Coral Springs, Florida, (Grandma Dot)

  54. Jennifer says:

    My friend Christine just led me to your website!! Love, love, love it!! I will be 50 yrs. old in 2.5 months and FINALLY realize that I don’t know how to truly budget for our groceries every month. We have a 12 yr. old, I’m trying to loose weight and my very active/in-shape husband just wants to eat healthier. So with all that I really don’t know what is a good amount to set aside monthly, that’s the other thing, my husband gets paid at the end of every month so we have to take our food $$ out of that paycheck, which can get frustrating at times!!
    My family is really tired of the same things for dinner, so just looking at your recipes are giving me some great ideas!! Right now, on my stove is the White Bean Chicken Chili. I so can not wait to taste it tonight for dinner. I didn’t have any white beans so I’m using pinto’s so it will be somewhat different, but I’m adding the spices that are in your recipe and very excited for the results. This recipe reminds me of the Mexican soup recipe called Pozole.
    I feel the same way you do about being frustrated about not having anything planned for dinner and in a mad scramble trying to figure out what to fix and quite possibly having to make a special trip to the store and spending $$ that you weren’t planning on spending!! I think I am finally to that point where I know I need to do something about this situation and am finally ready to do something about it!! sure hope you can help me with this Mel!! but really, NO PRESSURE!! 😉
    Thank you for listening and keep up the great work!!

  55. Dawn says:

    Came accross your recipe for sweet and sour chicken. Best thing I have ever cooked ! My son said “WOW, you made this ? Where did you learn to cook chinese food” I now make it for guests and for my entire extended family on Christmas eve. Thank you so much. Can’t wait to try some other recipes. Your awesome !

  56. Cindy Liebau says:

    I like your website and thought I would send you a little info.

    I went back to culinary school, ar 45…did accounting first in my 20s, not as much fun. LOL
    Learned quite a bit scientific information that I found fascinating. In regards to the butter, anytime you have sticky dough you may refridgerate it until it is the firm texture you would like. When mixing cookie dough in the mixer, instead of by hand, you heat up the butter and the fats within start to melt and seperate.. By using the softened butter like you said and not mixing long, the fats stay together. If the butter is softer or melted the fats seperate spreading the cookie out to a more inconsistent shape. If the dough is sticky, from too soft butter or from mixing too long, since you took a phone call or helped a child or whatever, just pop it in the fridge to re- harden the butter fats and all will be well with the cookie, therefore the world.

    Another cool experiment to try is to see the difference between using 1. baking soda, 2. baking powder, 3. no levener and 4. baking amonia. When I did this for a school project the majority of people actually preferred baking powder. (odd, I thought. They were fluffier and softer) The no levener was not bad just more like the soft butter cookie in your experiment. The baking amonia (old time levener) was kind of cool smelled funny before baking but cooked off and left the cookie with a bit of a tingle when you ate it. Kind of fun to try!
    Hope you are well and staying warm.
    Cindy Liebau, CPC

  57. Susan Cornish says:

    Found your recipe for the shrapnel dip on pinterest while looking for different party ideas that didn’t contain mayo- gets hot here in Charleston, S.C. Love, love, love this recipe-looking forward to following your blog.

  58. Gayle says:

    Hi Mel. I just discovered your blog and my mouth is already drooling. Looking forward to making a bunch of your recipes. Thanks for sharing!!

  59. Janet says:

    I tried your sweet and sour chicken recipe last week and made it for my family. I can confidently say I will never buy this as take out again. And the knowledge that I know what went into it is simply amazing. I’ve recently started to hate not knowing what goes into my food so I simply LOVE your blog. Thank you for all of the amazing recipes!! My future husband and children thank you lol.
    Massive fan from London 🙂

  60. Celeste says:

    Hi Mel. So glad the universe has brought you into my family kitchen. You Rock!

  61. Amber says:

    I love your blog! My family and friends always told me about it, but this last month I have started using your recipes almost exclusively! Thanks! After having so many failures in the kitchen, it is nice to finally make something good, and I have you to thank for that! We are also under the polar vortex right now in Wisconsin, so it is nice to try to forget winter in the warmth of the kitchen :).

  62. William Tillis says:

    I am retired and enjoying life and cooking for my second wife, Linda, a 911 operator.My youngest daughter lives with her family in Germany, my oldest, in California. Both daughters cannot eat gluten, so I am constantly looking for good recipes for them. You have a lovely family and I admire your passion for life and feeding your family wholesome tasty food. I look forward to seeing what the future will bring on your site.

  63. Jennifer says:

    I just wanted you to know that thru your blog I have finally found the tipping point of diving right in and starting my blog. I love yours and simplicity of it. I appreciate all of your hard work that goes into it. I have been a nanny /house manager for over 23 years so I know how very busy your life can get. Thank you

  64. Stephanie says:

    Hey Mel!
    How have I not commented on your site yet?! I LOVEEEE your blog, it’s SOOOOO good I can’t stand it. I started my own food blog back in November (ugh, I still have sooooo much to learn)- it makes me appreciate the (ridiculously) hard work you put into yours. I almost don’t want to visit because it makes me feel bad about mine, ha! I can’t believe how long you’ve been doing it. I clicked on one of those “3 years ago today” links to try to see if your photography was maybe not as good then, but NOPE, the picture was ridiculous. I’ve read your discussions on how you’ve learned and improved as a photographer and blogger over time and that’s made me feel better- so you ARE human! 😉 Well keep it up, you’re an inspiration to so many, I hope I can one day MAYBE be half the blogger you are 🙂

  65. Rebs says:

    Your website and recipes are so inspiring!! Thank you for sharing your talents with us. I did have a question about what elevation you live / bake at? I live at around 7000ft and find I have to tweek recipes. I wanted to know your elevation so I could avoid some of the guess work. Thanks and keep posting!

    • Mel says:

      Rebs – I live right about 1,000 feet but many of my recipes (especially the ones 2009 and before) were from 6,500 elevation.

  66. Amber says:

    I just came across this website today, and I have to say, I love it already! It’s wonderful. Everything looks delicious and making my stomach growl just looking at these recipes. I love to cook/bake/grill and I can’t wait to make some stuff from here.

  67. Sandra says:

    Hi Mel! I discovered your website a couple days ago as I was looking for the perfect yellow cake to make for my son-in-law’s birthday. And my daughter told me he always likes to have Strawberry Shortcake (I’ve made other cakes for him but never knew SSC was his favorite.) on his birthday. So I needed the perfect yellow cake to start with. Being in the baking business myself (home-based), I have to confess that I had never made SSC (shame on me-ha ha), so this had to be really spectacular. And apparently it was. I used your recipe for Perfected Yellow Cake and all I know is that when I asked them to save me a piece they said it was already gone….in ONE DAY! Thank you sooo much for such a great recipe. Guess I’ll have to make another one just for me! BTW, just love your sight and trust me I have discovered many good ones, but yours is by far one of the best! And…your family is beautiful. Had six myself but they’re all grown-up and on their own. But I still love baking for them as well. Keep the great recipes coming!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Sandra – I’m so glad you found your way here! And I’m thrilled the yellow cake was such a hit (what a great idea to use it as a base for strawberry shortcake!). Thanks for taking the time to check in and let me know!

  68. […] Mel’s Kitchen Café is a food blog that’s full of family-friendly recipes. Mel’s priority is to give her kids healthy food they’ll eat on a budget. Here, she gives you tips on getting a cheesy, creamy potato side dish. […]

  69. Paula says:

    Hi, Mel, I’ve been following your blog for awhile now and I love it! Whenever I need a recipe for something, I check your blog first because all your recipes are yummy! Thanks for taking the time to share!

  70. Mandy says:

    Mel I just love you!! I found your orange rolls on pinterest, I just finished sticking them in the fridge to sit until tomorrow morning for a pre-church brunch. I tasted the filling and glaze and swooned, so of course I had to come peruse your blog! It is after midnight but I can’t stop browsing, you just seem like the sweetest person that I would love to be country neighbors and momma friends with, so glad I found your blog, keep up the good work!

  71. Momina says:

    I love food just like you do xD Same goes for chocolate !! I wish to be an outstanding cook like you 😀 That’s why Im here 😀

    P.S U are blessed with a beautiful family *_*

  72. Alex Z says:

    I just stumbled upon your blog and I am so glad that I did! These are all of my favorite food recipes and many more I cannot wait to try!!!! 🙂

  73. Tacy aka Wrinkleyold says:

    Wow! What a beautiful family you all are! I had 7, have 8 grands, and a lovely ggd! Good recipes! Love your blog!

  74. Sonya Bankester says:

    I have a question about your gf chocolate cake recipe. Will you contact me through email?

  75. kay43026 says:

    Oh.My.Goodnes. I’ve been making baked caramel corn for decades! (recipe almost exactly like yours). Never once did I think to make I cinnamon roll flavored!! I’ve drizzled with chocolate…but the addition of cinnamon is next to genius!!!! Can’t wait to try it!

    I like popcorn so much, one year hubs/kids gave me a ‘theater’ popcorn machine!

  76. Mandi L says:

    Oh my gosh! I just stumbled upon your site after a friend shared your back to school 4 week menu on Facebook. We’ve been in a horrible eating out pattern for the last year or so, and reading through your posts has me excited to get back into the kitchen! I’m not even sure where I want to start–so many great recipes and tips!

  77. Holly says:

    Just wanted to comment to say thank you! I absolutely love your blog and appreciate the time you put into it! I look at your weekly menu every week and also really like the side dish suggestions at the top of many recipes. My family has loved so many of your recipes, thanks for saving dinner at our house!

  78. Peggy Kubic says:

    Thank you Mel! Even though I have been cooking 41 years, I want new recipes to liven-up our meals. Discovering your blog (yesterday) has given me new hope. I made your Fabulous Orange Chicken last night and it was just that…FABULOUS! I will be checking your blog often for new recipes and can’t wait to see what I will find. Thanks for giving new life to this “senior” cook’s cooking!

  79. Tamar says:

    Hi Mel, I love your blog!! I live in Israel- I make your recipes all the time (although I wish my picky eaters would be better at eating them sometimes …) last night I made your fudge brownies and they turned out great (and so quick to make too- which was great)! A huge thank you for all you do- your passion shows!!

  80. camille says:

    Hey Mel…
    We at Studio 5 with Brooke Walker love your cinnamon roll recipe! Can we feature it on our show with the pictures you’ve provided?
    Please let me know.


  81. Sheri says:

    Just stumbled across your blog thru a search and will be perusing your recipes! I’m also in mn tundra by Ely! Curious to where you are?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Sheri! I need to update my bio page…we just moved from Northern Minnesota (way up in the Roseau area) out here to Idaho. Love to hear from Minnesotans; we loved our time there!

  82. Kami says:

    Welcome to Idaho. I enjoyed meeting you at book group and now I’ve found your blog! I look forward to trying your recipes. I’m certain my teenage boys will devour them! Thanks! I’m forwarding your site to the whole fam damily.

  83. Catherine says:

    I don’t know how you did it, but your website, and yours alone, somehow transformed me into someone with a reputation as “a good cook” in the eyes of quite a few people, most importantly my kids. Now I like cooking much more than I used to and the food is, wow!, delicious. And from scratch. I love it and I love sharing your website with my friends. So many recipes to choose from. I don’t even go browse anywhere else. I get my fill right here. I am so grateful you are putting your time and energy into cooking and sharing it with us. It has really, really helped me.

  84. sarah says:

    I absolutely LOVE your recipes 😀
    Your no bake cheesecake was Beyond compare
    Thank you sooo much

  85. Mark says:

    Hi Mel. Great website. I’m an Italian-American and like some of my Calabrian ancestors try not to eat dead animals. Your mushroom and salsa balsamella lasagna from May 24, 2012, is going to be the centerpiece of this year’s Thanksgiving spread. I wish you and your great looking family a Happy Thanksgiving. Mark Florio.

  86. Louise hunter says:

    Mel, I am so impressed with this website, your receipes and also also all about you. I found your website looking for a receipe for the Brazilian cheese ball things ( having had them about 15 years ago in Brazil) and now I am hooked. We have just cooked the classic tomato soup which was also yum. Your theories around trying to limit the processed stuff and cooking for the kids go hand in hand with mine. I am hooked! I find it hard to find time to cook but I have a great incentive now. THANK YOU Louise from Australia x

  87. Tara says:

    Hi Mel,
    Just wanted to drop a note to let you know how much I appreciate all you do. Here on Long Island Friday we had another snow day on the first day of Spring. What to make? My son and his girlfriend were taking the train out from the city, late…we were all tired and cranky after a week of work and Hw..And the thought of five more inches of an endless winter of snow….dinner for seven included your black bean taco soup and corn bread and a salad…. Can I tell you about the happiness at our dining room table Friday night when we were eating and laughing by candlelight to your glorious, hearty, comfy meal? My teenage daughter and her friend scoffed it up with (recommended by you!) taco chips…reheated, the cornbread was breakfast the next morning, and everyone requested it for Sunday’s corned beef dinner….thank you for all you do….from a real family who appreciates the ease of your recipes, the real ness of ingredients, and the guarantee it will please! keep doing what you do, it is wonderful! hugs-Tara

  88. Cali says:

    Thank you!! I’ve tried other recipe sites and things just didn’t turn out. . . yummy. First try with one of yours and my husband thought that perhaps I wasn’t a lost cause after all. (I’m teasing. . .I hope! LOL!) We’re only 2 1/2 right now and yesterday I made your spaghetti sauce. . . I’m SO glad you said it freezes well. I’m excited to try the manicotti and the bacon wrapped chicken, which are both on the menu this week. Thank you! Thank you! for making meals worth looking forward to, especially since I’m often the cook.

  89. Terry says:

    Hi, Mel! Love your recipes! You haven’t failed me yet! It would be very helpful if I could enlarge the words when I’m reading or cooking. (Sixty+ year old eyes.) I use an iPad, and for some reason I can’t do the finger pinch zoom on your website. Do you know if this is something you can help with? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Terry – thanks for your email! Because my site is mobile-friendly, I don’t believe there’s a way to enlarge the text using the finger zoom action you are talking about. Most websites are going away from being able to have that zoom functionality but just to be sure, I’ll check with the technical people who work on my site occasionally and ask them.

  90. Daryle in VT says:

    Hi Mel,

    One might wonder if Mr. Redford has ever tasted his namesake dessert. But, his name got me to look. It does look good! Probably as good as Red Capped-Black Bottom Cake …

  91. Julie says:

    Just wanted to comment and say that I LOVE the new search feature on your website! It makes finding recipes so much easier. That was the one thing that I thought your website was lacking and I’m so happy that you have it now!

  92. molly says:

    I’m only eight(yup, no kidding)and I love cooking!I love love love Cooking and whenever I need something to make I just turn on the computer and look on your website. You are the best!

  93. i like your pages nice thanks for the post

  94. Lucy,10 yrs says:

    Do you have any tips for a bake club?
    Thanks!! 🙂

    • Mel says:

      A bake club sounds so fun! I’ve never participated in anything like that so I don’t know what to suggest but perhaps you could choose monthly themes and have the baked items center around that.

  95. Teresa R. says:

    Mel, I’ve been a loyal reader of your blog from the beginning. Well, I actually started reading your blog on about the fourth post. I have printed about three fourths of your recipes and I keep them in a notebook with the letters MKC on the front. During the time I’ve been reading your blog, my son and daughter both got married. My daughter and daughter-in-law constantly ask me for your recipes. They both follow your blog, but they call to ask me the name of a recipe so they can find it in your index. When I wake up each morning I check my email and then your blog site. In the past I have left comments about how much you have helped me feed my elderly parents. I was having a horrible time coming up with a variety of meals for them. Your blog changed that. Cooking for them became a pleasure because I was so excited to try each and every new recipe I discovered on your site. Thanks so much for making my life easier! I know it can’t be easy to maintain a blog, but your efforts are truly appreciated.

    • Mel says:

      You have been such a wonderful, kind, loyal reader, Teresa! I have lots of “Teresa’s” that leave comments but I always recognize yours and smile when they pop up. Thank you for sticking around after all these years. I love hearing about the changes in your family – it’s been a lot of years and it sounds like you’ve had a lot of changes with your kids, too, since the beginning of this blog. Thank you for leaving a comment – I appreciate you!

  96. Stephany says:

    Hi Mel, I thought I’d add to the recent comments of 2015. Your blog is absolutely one of the best. A mother of five kids myself (4 girls and 1 boy:) I need your great recipes. You’re instantly trustworthy and relatable. It’s great to come here and pull up anything and know it’s going to be great. Thank you for making our lives easier and yummier and our houses smelling awesome.

  97. Bethany says:

    I’ve always lacked confidence in the kitchen and have dreaded trying new recipes simply because so often they don’t turn out. Your blog has changed that for me!! I love picking out new recipes each week to try from your site for two reasons: 1) They have regular ingredients already in my pantry and 2) They turn out and are SO good!! Some of my personal favorites: foolproof pizza dough (always get rave reviews from people on it), cookie dough ice cream sanwiches (won the favor and love of my father-in-law forever with those ;), ALL your slow cookers that I’ve tried, creamy tuscan pasta sauce and I REALLY could go on and on. Just tried the grilled Teriyaki Chicken recipe and my picky eater husband loved it (as he always does with your recipes). Thanks for giving me confidence in the kitchen! Love reading your blog – it’s the first place I turn when I need a recipe or if I’m not sure how to cook something. So glad we’re friends!


  98. Victoria says:

    I have just only now found your blog through a pork chop recipe (haha!) but I just had to tell you that your family is precious and I am so happy for you! I have raised 3 (two more left at home). It is a difficult but rewarding journey! Blessings to you and your family !

  99. Diana says:

    I’m long overdue to reach out and express my thorough enjoyment of your blog. Over the last two years I’ve tried and my family has loved so many of your recipes (the San Francisco Chops is our absolute favorite!), and I have really loved you’re writing. Your posts make me smile and laugh, and inspire me to cook great food for my family.

    I’m excited for each new post! Thank you for all that you create, test and share – all with a fun voice and personality.

  100. Lindsay says:

    I am your newest, biggest fan. I really feel I should be paying you directly. I am clicking on every ad! Thank you for making me excited about meal planning…I guess that’s because you’ve basically done all the work! I’ve loved your recipes! Bless you!

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