About

About Mel
Who am I in a nutshell? A food loving, chocolate-obsessed mom who has a desperate need to share my favorite tried-and-true recipes with the world. That would about sum it up.

Almost a decade ago, I started this blog, thinking it would be fun to share recipes on the good ol’ internet with my sisters and mom who lived across the country. I remember the exact moment when I realized real, live, non-family persons were looking at the recipes, too. And commenting! And coming back. Once I got over being freaked out, I realized how fun food blogging could be.

Ten years later and this homegrown food blog has developed into so much more than I ever could have envisioned. Millions of readers each month, opportunities I never would have imagined, a chance to share scary personal experiences (and in turn be inspired by your stories), a whole lot of yummy food staring me and my family in the face, and so many connections and friendships with readers all over the globe.

Even now, all these years later, my motives for food blogging haven’t changed. I just want to share great recipes (and tips and tutorials and an occasion al funny story). I try very hard to keep this space unsponsored and genuine.

I currently reside in the southwest part of Idaho (recently moved here from Northern Minnesota by way of Wisconsin) with my brood of five children and my biggest supporter and husband, Brian (not to mention our 11 ch
ickens, 4 cows, 1 dog and 1 cat).

I am fiercely loyal to my little family. I have a strong belief in Jesus Christ. And I find tremendous joy in making other people happy through crazy delicious, amazing food.

The Recipes
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, work simple meals into hectic nights, and try my best to be flexible (my husband is laughing at that statement).

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 try hard 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.

Are my kids perfect eaters? Um, not so much (we have our fair share of gagging at dinnertime), but they are pretty adventurous considering I throw a lot of different foods and recipes at them.

About You
I appreciate you. So, so much. Thank you for taking the time to be here and make the recipes and leave feedback.

In a million years, I never would have thought when I pushed “publish” on that first post waaaay back in 2008 that I’d be sitting here today surrounded with millions of virtual internet friends. Thank you for making this fun, crazy journey possible.

Contact
If you have a specific question, check out the FAQ page; your question may be answered already!

If you’d like to contact me, please fill out the contact form here. Due to my insane backlog of emails, I may not respond right away (although I do try to get to each email eventually!), so if you have a specific recipe question, leave it on the comment thread of that particular post – I usually get to those comments within 24-48 hours, if not sooner.

For email updates (when a new post goes live OR for the weekly newsletter that often has free menu plans and exclusive recipes), sign up here!

Also, for more information on privacy policies and affiliate disclosures, click here.

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415 comments on “About”

  1. I’m looking around for some Instant Pot recipes, and one of my friends pointed me in your direction. She said your blog is her go-to. Imagine my surprise when I open your “about me” link and find a familiar face! We were missionaries together, and in the same group that left the MTC together (Sister Meyer). My best wishes to him and your family. Nothing beats having a Sons of Mosiah moment when you bump into a friend and find his family faithful and thriving. Off to find me some great recipes on your site!

  2. Good Morning, Mel!  Thank you for such a great blog & wonderful recipes!  I have been in a bit of a dinner rut, and feel so inspired after looking at all your wonderful meals.  A few years ago my SIL brought your brownies with chocolate frosting to a family dinner & they are now a staple.  If it’s my turn to bring dessert & I do brownies, my SIL will ask “are these Mel’s?”  Umm.. of course!! ;o)  Since I love your brownies so much, I decided to come browse your site.  I am printing like crazy, subscribed to your newsletter and started following you on Pinterest. :o)  It’s just so nice to find a food blog that has family friendly yummy foods!  Just wanted to say thank you! You’re doing a wonderful job!
    Amy :o)

  3. Hi Mel, 
    I love your recipes and your blog but I have been dying to ask, did you live in Ponca City, OK when you were growing up? 

  4. Your recipes look great. Can’t wait to try some out soon.

  5. Hi Mel!
    I recently made your lemon blueberry cake for our new-to-Oregon friends Nate and Kylie. (With no prior knowledge of their connection to you, it was pretty funny.) They loved it! I love your site but I love them even more. Cheers!

  6. Hi! My name is Becky. I live in CT. I have been married for 13 years, am a mother of two kids and a dog, and I am a first grade teacher. My friend from church showed me your blog about 2 years ago and since then I have been hooked. Every one of your recipes always turns out amazing. It is great having a resource that you do not have to try out a recipe to “see if you like it”. Every one is always a hit in my house!

    I tried your perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe early this summer, and my household was in heaven! Ironically and unfortunately, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease a few weeks ago. My entire lifestyle has changed. I am starting fresh with all new recipes and trying to adjust. I have to eat gluten free 100% of the time and my family is joining me. It is a challenge to try and cook this way for my family each day. I was so happy that you have a gluten free section in your recipes. I have tried two, and they were just as amazing as your regular recipes. I am pretty bummed though because I can not make most of your recipes anymore. I was wondering if you would be able to add more recipes to your gluten free section? It would be amazing if you could at some point!

    Thanks for all you do! I hope you are able to!

    Sincerely,
    Becky

    P.S. My hairdresser is named Susan CT. We were talking about Celiac and your website at my last hair appointment. In passing she mentioned that she once knew your sister-in-law or something and her name started with a K…from church? (I am LDS too). It was in passing, but it can be a small world!

    Thanks again!

    • Hi Becky! Thanks for the comment! I’m sorry to hear of your recent Celiac diagnosis! I’ll definitely keep the gluten-free meals in mind. I’ve heard from many readers over the years that they’ve had great success modifying most of my other (especially main dish) recipes to be gluten free. I hope you’ll be able to do the same. I think your hairdresser was probably talking about my sister-in-law, Kylie – she and my brother lived in CT for several years. Fun!

  7. Mel I have been following your blog for years and never commented. But I’m pretty sure I could be your Fan Club President! I make and  share your recipes daily! I’m not sure what my family would eat if I didn’t have your blog. Thank you for all the hard work you put into sharing amazing recipes. I love reading your witty, genuine posts just as much as the recipes!

  8. Hi Mel,

    I’m leaving the site, please remove me from your email list.

    This is because of the ads.

  9. Great grilled pork chop recipe – simply delicious. Thanks Mel!

  10. I just want to say how glad I am that I found your blog. You are such a blessing with your wonderful recipes, fun writing and enthusiastic advice. You’re a down-home mom and I appreciate you! You are an inspiration to me. Thank you for doing this site. I rely on it for ideas! Everything I make from your site turns out amazingly.

  11. Trying to find your recipe for spaghetti sauce that is canned. 

  12. Made your strawberry freezer jam and it’s the best freshest flavored jam we’ve ever had.  Even my husband who doesn’t normally eat jam raved about it. This was the first recipe I’ve tried from your blog. I’m excited to try many more. Thank you!  

  13. Sooooo happy!!  We just found your website while searching the Internet.

    Immediately my daughter searched for and made The Best Blueberry Muffins — mini muffins without the topping. They were the best blueberry muffins ever…melt in your mouth!

    This will now be our new go-to recipe website. Thanks so much for the menus, as well.

    How am I just finding this website? Truly a hidden gem.

  14. Hello from New Brunswick Canada. Came to the realization that I’m often choosing your Pins so why not join your blog site? It’s a no brainer right? Love your site. Keep up the great work.
    Linda

  15. I love your new website, it’s beautiful and so functional! I use it everyday and tell all my friends about it, you’re the best!!

  16. A haiku for you:

    Just want for you to know, Mel
    I heart the new site
    and wish for Little Lemonies.

  17. LOVE the new site Mel!! Extremely easy to navigate, very fast to load, and not cluttered in any way. That…is the mark of excellent web design.

    I’ve been haunting your site for years, your cranberry/cream cheese dip is now a holiday “must do”, and there are so many recipes I’ve made with great success – thank you SO much for what you do, and the refreshing attitude with which it’s done.
    (You’re one of 2 bloggers with their own directory on my computer…that oughta tell ya somethin’!) 🙂

  18. Mel- just wondering why “rock star” is the highest thing anyone can aspire to. You’re always saying this will give you rock star status, etc, etc, But if you think about their lives-
    shallow hopeless, strung out on drugs and alcohol, some are godless in their faith,i don’t think that”s something to aspire to. From what I see in the emergency room, the life of drugs and alcohol is far from glamorous.

    • Do you not have anything better to do than be critical of one of the most harmless, generous food bloggers around? I actually have a world famous rock star family member, and I still take Mel’s verbiage as a huge compliment, with or without the stereotypical labels attached. 

    • Hi Rhonda, it’s just a fun expression I use – not meant to be literal. 🙂

  19. First of all- I LOVE your website! You bring me so much inspiration for healthy, easy meals and anytime I’m in a cooking “rut” your site never fails to bring me something new and yummy!

    Second of all- I’ve noticed many of your recipes call for olive oil (as many of mine do as well) and I have JUST discovered avocado oil as a substitute. Now- maybe I’m way behind the times on this but… it is odorless, flavorless, full of healthy fat, and can be cooked up to 500 degrees without burning- much higher than olive oil! I substitute it anytime a recipe calls for olive oil now and my food tastes SO much better- the flavors of the food come out so much more!! I’m a believer. 🙂

    Anyway- I know you’re always looking for new things to try so… thought I would throw that out there!

    Thanks again for all your fantastic recipes and musings on life in general!

    • Thanks, Amanda! I agree, avocado oil is amazing! I started using it a year or so ago after Costco started carrying it and I’ll be so sad if they ever stop! I use it almost exclusively now. Glad you love it, too!

  20. I am going out on a limb here but I think I am speaking for a lot of people by saying this. Through you I have learned to cook and even feel like a rock star in the kitchen. The other day it occurred to me that I’ve never even noticed a typo or unclear direction. I’m not quite sure you have been able to be so reliable in providing recipes that can be trusted and consistent in addition to mind blowing. In any case, this is a round about way of saying I think we should all write in you for president in 2020! In all seriousness you are a household name and you have created something that one day your children will truly understand. You go girl! Keep it up and if you ever dreamed one day as a child of changing the world- well, you for sure have. I’m happy there are people in the world like you. Thanks for all the great recipes.

    • Haha, Mary, you made me laugh! No thanks to the presidential nomination, but THANK YOU for such a heartfelt, sweet comment. I have to be honest, I’ve been a little burned out lately, and your comment was exactly what I needed to keep going. Thank you!

      • I second all that was said by Mary!! I’m sorry you’ve been burned out lately. 🙁 We all get that way at times. You do an AMAZING job and seriously your blog is my own personal cookbook. I go to it very first anytime I need a recipe (either for something new or something well-loved that I’ve made 20 times). We love your recipes at our house, and even my extended family and lots of my friends!

  21. I am a Mother of 3 Boys (Grown) Step Mom of 4 Boys and one Girl (Mostly grown now) Grandmother of 14 and Great Grandmother of 3. I spent a lifetime working and now I at last have time in the kitchen!! And while I am already a good cook, I have the worst time figuring out what to cook!! Ask anyone who is home at dinner time what they want I get “I don’t Know” then someone always complains that they wanted something else. Since I found your blog last year I started cooking at least 2 of your recipes a week and everyone loves them, I still make everything from bead to Pasta from scratch and grow most of my own herbs and spices But I have to THANK YOU for giving me a break I no longer ask what they want (since I seldom get an answer) I just look at your Blog and cook what ever sounds interesting at the moment and no one is saying they wanted something else

  22. Hi Mel! I love your story and your buttermilk biscuits. We have made several recipes and these are by far my favorite.

  23. Your blog is wonderful and I thought I had it tough with twins, 4 boys and blogging WOW.

  24. Love your blog and recipes!

  25. A woman after my own heart! I have five adult children, 4B-1G and we joke if it’s not full fat we don’t want it… As for Mickey D’s well coffee is all I buy once in a blue moon. I had to comment ‘ you are amazing !’ God bless you!

  26. Wonderful blog, careful and mindful consideration to the preparers and cooks. Thank you four your gift of culinary organization!

    Steve Weston- Author of In The Wild Chef

  27. Hi! I found your blog while searching for a cinnamon roll recipe~this one looks great! My question is….I wanted to make mini rolls…you mentioned you tried to change the size once~ did they not turn out? Please let me know if you think this is possible because I am hoping to try for a grad party brunch. Bake and freeze!

    Thanks so much!
    Cheryl (fellow Minnesotan!)

  28. 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!

  29. 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.

  30. Mel,
    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!!!

  31. 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,
    Jim

  32. 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.

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

  34. 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.

  35. 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

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

  37. 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.

    • 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!

  38. 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. 😉

  39. 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.

    Mandy

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

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

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

  43. 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,
    Ellen

  44. 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!! 🙂

    • 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

      • 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 🙂

  45. 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!

  46. 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!!

  47. 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!

  48. 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.

  49. 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 !

  50. Mel,
    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!

    Bethany

  51. 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.

  52. 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.

    • 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!

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

    • 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.

  54. i like your pages nice thanks for the post

  55. 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!

  56. 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!

  57. 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 …

  58. 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!

    • 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.

  59. 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.

  60. 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

  61. 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

  62. 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.

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

  64. 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.

  65. 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.

  66. 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?

    • 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!

  67. 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.

    Thanks!
    Camille

  68. 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!!

  69. 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!

  70. 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!

  71. 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!

  72. 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!

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

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

  75. 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!!!! 🙂

  76. 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 *_*

  77. 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!

  78. 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!

  79. Pingback: 12 Tasty Thanksgiving Side Dishes to Make With Your Kids | My Kids' Adventures

  80. 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!

    • 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!

  81. 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.

  82. 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!

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

  83. 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 🙂

  84. 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

  85. 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.

  86. 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 :).

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

  88. 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 🙂

  89. 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!!

  90. 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.

  91. Hi,
    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

  92. 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 !

  93. 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!!

  94. Mel,
    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)

  95. 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!!

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

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

  98. 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 🙂

  99. 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!!

  100. 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!

  101. 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!

  102. 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!!
    Della

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

  104. 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;)
    Tamra

  105. 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 =).

  106. 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!!!

  107. 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.

  108. 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!

  109. 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.

  110. 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.

    Blessings!

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

  112. 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

  113. 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!!!

  114. 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!!

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

  116. Mel,
    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
    Lanie

  117. 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.

  118. 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!!!

  119. 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! 🙂

  120. 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!

  121. 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.

  122. 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!

  123. 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!

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

  125. 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!

    Thanks!

    • 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!

  126. Hi, I have mentioned your blog in a post that I just did on my pottery blog at:
    http://www.marianwilliamspottery.com/2013/08/12/slow-food-on-slow-pottery/?fb_source=pubv1
    Hope that is ok!
    All the best,
    Marian

  127. 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.
    Mahalo

  128. 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
    interested.

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

  130. 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!

  131. 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.

  132. 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!

  133. 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!! 😀

  134. 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!

  135. 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! 🙂

  136. 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.

  137. 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!!

  138. 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!

  139. 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!

  140. 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 🙂

  141. 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!

    • 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?

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

  143. 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!

  144. 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.

  145. 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

  146. Hi Mel,

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

    Radhika

  147. You have the cutest family! Thanks for the recipes!

  148. Hey Mel, just want you to know how much I love your recipes. Thank you for all of your work and passion! The next thing I need to know is where is the “Aunt Marilyn” section now that you’ve redesigned. I can’t find it!

    Thanks, Roni

  149. I love your new website! You have helped me with many meals and none of them let me down. You are the BEST!!! 🙂

  150. Hey excellent web-site! Gentleman. Wonderful. Excellent. I’ll take a note of your site as well as consider the for additionally? Now i’m pleased to locate countless valuable facts in your send, we want grow much more methods about this respect, appreciation for giving.

  151. You have never let me down on trying your recipes. I think since the beginning!! Just think of all the calories….but sooo worth it to be able to make homemade food for my family and friends. I have turned on my daughter and best friend to your website. I love the new you!!!! 🙂

  152. You did it! You are now not only my “go to cooking” girl, but so many others. Really happy for you and your success in the kitchen. It’s a real talent to be able to cook and TEACH others how to do it so well. I love your style of writing, makes us all feel confident and excited in the kitchen. Well done girl! I will keep sharing your blog 🙂

  153. My daughter is getting married in August and we are having a hog roast. I want to prepare some small desserts(cookies,bars other similar items) but I need to be able to pre cook and freeze for about a week. Can you recommend anything that would freeze well? I can do any final decorating steps on the wedding day but just looking to make life easier for all involved.

  154. I think you are my new best friend! I have made the sweet & sour chicken several times (and tonight . . . ) – and am printing several of your recipes – and love your menu plans! Wow! And you like some of my favorite flavors!! Thank you 🙂

  155. Hi Mel!

    I stumbled across your site in search of an easy way to make Cheese Manicotti and I must say it truly was easy! And so began my adventures of finding new receipes, bookmarking or printing them. The latest one I made was the Tortellini Spinach Salad with Balsamic Tomato Vinegarette and my husband loved it some much that he went to work talking about it! And I made it again the following day.
    Thanks you so much for this lovely blog and keep up the good work. I look forward to trying many more of your receipes.

  156. Hey Mel!
    That’s a cute family you got there. I just stumbled on to your website since I was looking for some lemon cupcake recipes. I am from India and not much of a baker and I don’t cook everyday, but I love to do so whenever time permits. I am going to try and use your lemon cupcake recipe tonight. All I read are wonderful comments on this blog and so I am copying some more recipes 🙂
    Will tell you how it went!

  157. Just wanted to say that I bookmarked your page. Your recipes look great it’s organized well, true to life pictures and food that folks actually eat. So in reading your blog I had formed a picture of you as a slightly pass middle age pear shaped earth mother type in an apron and rolling pin much like
    http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20081218140409/eq2/images/e/ea/Denmum.jpg
    Which you are far from 😀 So I guess I should never judge a cook by her recipes ?
    Thanks for continuing your blog and Cheers to you and your family .
    Dwayne B.

  158. I stumbled upon your recipe for Southwestern Chicken Wraps on pinterest a week ago. My family LOVED THEM! I just made another of your recipes, Baked Penne with Chicken, Broccoli and Smoked Mozarella…another HIT! I felt compelled to read about you and saw you and your beautiful family! As a stay at home mom of 2 teenagers, I look at your picture and am amazed that you manage to do all that you do! Keep up the good work! I look forward to trying more of your recipes!
    Janean Myers

  159. Hi Mel,
    I’m a blogger and food photographer from the Twin Cities! I often make it up north and have family in Brainerd. Just how far north are you?
    Kind regards,
    Annie Hayes
    http://www.willowcottage.wordpress.com
    http://www.facebook.com/willowcottage

  160. You need a cooking show (once you finish raising kids!). I just discovered your blog before Thanksgiving. Every single recipe I have tried for the holidays has turned out perfectly! Who knew that sloppy joes could be such a hit? I thought they would assume they were from a commercial can….but even the teens came to me and said “those are not your average sloppy joes!” I have tried the key lime bars, oatmeal chocolate chip and lots of the bar cookies…the mint brownies, and many others…anxious to try more. I have to get better at stocking my pantry! Thanks for taking the time out of your busy life to share these recipes with us!

    Cindy

  161. Hi Melanie,
    Love your website and I’m going to be making the chicken on rock salt next week when the grandkids are here for a week. I see you are now living in northern MN. I live by CrossLake, MN. I don’t know how far north you are but how are you liking MN.
    Happy Holidays
    Karen

  162. Mel,
    Just made your Ground Beef Tacos. Yummy, the recipe was easy to follow and the results and terrific. I also appreciate how you organized your best recipes. I’m trying the chocolate chip cookies next. Thanks again!

  163. You know I always say how much I love, love, LOVE your blog and ideas… and I still do… hence the question coming! I looked a little (not totally thoroughly) for a Christmas Menu or tab for holiday recipe ideas… didn’t see one. I feel like you have one but maybe I am missing it! Will you please direct me to it, or create one?! I always enjoy what you do!

    We’re having a large group over for many days and I am trying to organize my thoughts on menu and thought that your site could add some much needed help to my slightly overwhelmed brain 🙂

  164. Hi there Mel,
    I had to comment and thank you so very much for the many awesome recipes. So far, I’ve made like two weeks worth of dinners (and with great success)! I found you on pinterest and am so glad 🙂 Thanks again!

  165. Stumbled on your blog and LOOOOVE how organized it is! 🙂 I made two of your 30-minute meals, two nights in a row, and my husband had to verify that it was actually me cooking. I despise it! I’ll bake until I’m blue in the face, but put a skillet and some chicken in front of me and I’m clueless. But yours were so easy, with NORMAL ingredients. Thank you thank you! Can’t wait to try more 🙂

  166. Hi Mel, this is a great website! I can see myself coming back often. Keep up the good work.

  167. Mel, Yesterday I stumbled upon your blog looking for a bread recipe for paninis. Tried your Rustic Crusty Bread (could not have been any easier to make) and it was an instant HIT ! ! ! First loaf was consumed in a day, the other I gave away knowing I would make a 2nd batch the next morning – which I am doing right now. I live in Jamaica (my winters are nicer than yours) in a modest town on the north coast. Bakeries and specialty food stores are a two hour drive away so I do the best I can out of my own kitchen and the limited resources that are close at hand. I am excited about exploring your recipes, and maybe offering up one or two of my own favourites.

  168. I love dis bloggie, ve been bloggie for while love blog. thenks reciepies for,

  169. Hey Melanie! I have been reading your blog for a few years now and somehow never actually read this page! And now I can see who you are (I don’t know I had you pictured as a blonde for some reason!) And I wish that you were in my ward because I think that we sound a lot alike, but I don’t know if I could move from sunny California to almost Canada! Your recipes have brought so much joy into my life since there is so much stress when I can’t figure out what to put on the table and have four hungry boys asking for food! 🙂 Thanks! And, it was great to finally put a face to your name! 🙂

  170. Hi Mel,
    I just found your website looking for appetizers for Thanksgiving. My sons would rather have appetizers than the actual dinner. I made the Hot chorizo and cheese dip to try out first…yummy! My dh and I will enjoy that tonight with a cocktail. Im also going to make your Lion House dinner rolls, another item my sons “will” eat. Thanks for a great blog. Ive already pinned a lot of items so Im sure others will be pinning them too.
    Janice (from Mass.)

  171. just thought i’d say HI. I too have 4 boys and a baby-girl caboose. i also hate the hours of 3:30-6:30. it’s just nice to know there’s someone out there who probably is going through something very similar to what you’re going through, right? 🙂 anyway…great blog, cute pics and awesome crew of kids!

  172. I love your blog. I love it so much! I’ve been following it for a couple of months now and just finally had to post and tell you thank you!! Thank you for all of your recipes with the detailed instructions I need and for your encouraging pre-recipe posts that inspire me and give me that little boost of courage . I’m newly married and as it turns out, my husband expects me to cook for him. Well lucky for him (and me) I came across your blog. Thank you again a million times over!!

  173. Just found your blog from another site and can’t wait to try the recipes. Thanks for sharing.

  174. Hi Mel, I found your site through Pinterest. I have sworn not to subscribe to any more blogs, but……I am your newest follower. Your recipes look delicious, and I appreciate the notes and tips that you give.

  175. Just found your blog, and so look forward to reading more.

    I’m a Mama of 12 Children (ages 10-28), and love trying new recipes. 🙂

    Two of my daughters live in Brainerd, MN . . . and they are getting used to the winters there.

    Be BLESSED!

    Laurel
    mama of 12 (ages 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, 19, 22, 23, 23, 25, 27, 28)

  176. Love your website so much. I was telling my family where I get all these recipes (from my best friend, Mel), and the kids were a little confused. Hey, if you haven’t tried the apple cider float on Pinterest yet, please do. I think I have a good idea of things you like, and I think you’ll like it. It may be my most favorite fall treat ever, and I’ve only had it once. It’s on my Pinterest board “Fall” under Teresa Reber Bell. All my best!

  177. Mel-Thank you so much for your collection of amazing recipes! Whenever I can’t think of what to make for dinner or need a new recipe, I get on your site. My co-workers love this too! We get recipes for eachother, especially the make ahead meals 🙂
    I’m from Wisconsin too and the winter’s just give me more of a reason to use the oven to bake something delicious!

  178. Mel- Hey, love what you have done! It inspires me to cook, although I can’t. But I am trying! I don’t know exactly what minute tapioca is. I looked it up on google (you can google anything). It said it was a thicken agent…I was wondering if you could use corn starch? I have never used that before and I really didn’t want to buy a box and only use it once but I will. I have made two other of your recipes and i trust you! Ha. Oh…this was pertaing to slow cooker beef stew. Thanks for all! Katie

  179. Mel, are you located at Inwood and Forest next to an antique store in Dallas, TX?

  180. Hi Mel
    I live in Pretoria RSA and I found your Best Frosting Recipe last night. I will be using that for cupcake decoration for my youngest grandson’s christening. I have browsed through your blog and want to compliment you on what you are achieving with the blog and rearing 5 beautiful little children. I shall continue to read your blog.
    Best wishes
    Rosalind

  181. Hey Mel!

    It’s Joby’s wife, Elizabeth. So this website has been a favorite for a while for me and my cousin. Our daughter loves your breads and all the recipes I’ve tried are fantastic! I do a lot of cooking and am a dietitian so I definitely appreciate good recipes! I had no idea that you were the Mel that does this website!!! Nice job and glad I made the connection!

  182. You have inspired this tired of cooking 70+ year old to cook again. I am going to make your pork chops (at least get them ready for hubby to grill) and your sweet and sour chicken. I love how easy your recipes seem to be. We have lived in IL since 1973 but grew up in Wisconsin and we have always loved living there despite the winters. We have season UW football tickets so still feel connected after living in Madison for many years. I plan to visit your blog often although you have so many recipes that I can check already and wonder how many more you can add. haha Your family is adorable and they are lucky to have such a great mom.

  183. beautiful family! im a mom of 3 boys, and i love it.

  184. hi, Mel

    I´ve just discovered your blog, and i´m in love if, must about the fact that you have five childrens to take care, must be a blesing! i´ll try some recipes and give you a return!
    XO

  185. Your blog has changed the way I cook! I have always lacked confidence in the kitchen and stuck to the same few dishes over and over. But the way you organize your recipes and give cooking instructions (with photos!) have allowed me to seriously expand our family menu….all with newly discovered enjoyment in the kitchen most nights.Thank you!

  186. Hey Mel! I have to say I am in love with all of your recipes! I have your angel food cake in my oven right now and I made you cheezy zucchini rice for supper this evening, which turned out very well if I say so myself!! I can not wait to try more of your recipes! Thanks!
    You have a beautiful family as well!

  187. Hi Mel! Just discovered your blog and it’s fantastic!! Can’t wait to read more. I love your food philosophy – cooking from scratch. Would you mind if I made it mine too? I think getting back to the basics and cutting out as much processed and refined food as possible is really what cooking should be about. I’m looking forward to trying some of your delicious looking recipes. Laura x

  188. I just wanted to tell you what a beautiful family you have:) I am the youngest and only girl in my family and have four older brothers too. Lucky girl to have 4 big brothers! And you’re a lucky mama to have a daughter:) I consistently love your recipes, as does my family, and I’m grateful for the time you take to do this job. . . . it’s not like you don’t have other stuff to do! So, thanks, as always!

  189. You look fabulous!!

  190. So great that you updated your family pictures. Are they cute!

  191. Hi, I just found your blog and I share the same philosophies about food and cooking- so glad to have stumbled upon your site. Thank you!!!

  192. Omgosh Mel,
    I just stumbled upon your blog today. So glad I did.
    I knew my Pinterest addiction would lead to something good! I am reading your info and already think you are amazing. Don’t know how you do it all… A mother of 5, and I have to mention each one of your children are just as adorable as the next. Just have to throw in a ‘you go girl’ and let you know you have another fan.
    Thank you for all you do,
    Tina

  193. Well I definitely liked reading it. This subject offered by you is very constructive for correct planning.

  194. Mel! I love, love, love, love your website!! I am the only child in a single-parent household which I am the main chef at 15 years old! Your step by step recipes make delicious dinners come way more easily for me! Thank you for putting your heart and time into your blog! You are an inspiration to me as I try to grow my personnel blog! Thanks again! Did I mention I love your blog?!?

    love, Rachel
    Dash Of Southern – ruralrach.blogspot.com

  195. Oh my goodness! Pinterest has brought me to your blog, and I just finished bookmarking tons of recipes to try. Imagine my pleasant surprise when I clicked on the about tag and saw all those faces I recognize from years of Christmas cards! How is it that I never heard about your amazing blog? The photos are gorgeous, and the recipes look divine. I’m so glad I found you on the web.

    Has your little girl arrived? We’re expecting baby boy #4 which will make 4 boys and 1 girl. Our girl came a child earlier than yours but the numbers are the same. 🙂

    So glad I found your blog. I’m sure it will become a frequent resource for meal ideas. Thanks for sharing your talent.

    Take care,
    Melanie Fulton

  196. Hi Melanie!
    I just stumbled across your blog in my search for a truly delicious easy to make cornbread for a BBQ tomorrow. Whoo-hooo I found your Best Cornbread and the bonus is the honey butter! I LOVE honey and butter makes everything better!

    Raised by a chef Dad and an amazing cook Mum, I have a life long passion for anything culinary and a firm belief that food can only satiate the belly and nourish the soul if it is seasonal, fresh, tasty, from a sustainable source and if it has a dash of creativity all the better! Not surprising, I married a talented chef and I am always looking for recipes that wow over and over again. I am so HAPPY that I found your blog. Based on what I’ve read so far about you and the recipe reviews, I think I found treasure trove! THANK YOU for sharing your passion!!

  197. In my endless quest to find the best Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe I found your site. Can’t wait to try your recipes and many of the others you have posted. You have a beautiful family and congratulations on the birth of your daughter.

  198. Hi Mel,
    I have been a fan of your blog for awhile. I just realized that you are living in Wisconsin. I grew up in Manitowoc and currently live in Fond du Lac for the past 21 years with my husband and three daughters. Can I ask what part of Wisconsin you are in?

  199. Mel, I LOVE your blog! I, too, am trying to purge my kitchen and have my family eat healthy. We just moved to NYC from little Kenosha Wisconsin for my husband to do his med residency. You are not a pansy! We had to shovel our cars out last winter lol and the lake makes it feel like you’re walking down the street naked because it’s so cold! I love your recipes and you sound like such a fun person! Thanks for all the kitchen help! I definitely need it at times!

  200. Just found your web site and love it. I am planning next week’s menu using some of your recipes!!!

  201. Thank You so much for your beautiful and inspiring wesite! I’ve only recently ever had acsess to the internet, and I’m so glad I stumbled upon your’s after needing a really good recipe for “Manicotti with Meat Sauce!” I also love sharing great recipes!

  202. I love your website. I came across it on pinterest.com. I simply love your recipes and this past week I’ve cooked four of your dishes. Very easy and scrumptious. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  203. (And PS congrats on finally getting a girl!)

  204. Hi! I’ve been a stalker of your site for a few years now and never looked at your “about” page! Silly me! Your favorite sugar cookies have become my go-to sugar cookie recipe. Which is super big… you replaced my family recipe because yours tastes just like my family recipe (no other recipe has ever even come close!) but doesn’t require 3 hrs in the fridge. Bonus! Congrats on your new coming baby! I, too, have all boys, three of them. And all very close in age (2 years, 10 months and 27 days from first to third). I’m expecting my fourth in October though we have yet to KNOW that it’s a boy (we highly suspect with our track record that it is). I always think it’s fun to see someone who knows the joys (and pains!) of mothering all sons. Thanks for your recent tutorial… I figure stuff out pretty well, but I’ve never been able to take the time to explore more than just the blog and recipe index. It’s fun to see the other stuff that is available and I plan to take more advantage of it! Thanks for an awesome site and I hope your new one comes soon!

  205. Hey Mel I am a huge fan of your website and cook something from it at least once a week. Do you have a delicious recipe for a shortbread cookie? I am looking for something soft and chewy not so much hard. Any ideas?

  206. Hello Melanie~I just found your site and have saved it as “The BEST Recipe Index EVER!”
    I will take time later to peruse all your wonderful recipes. I admire all your efforts to record on the computer…..mine are all in little wooden boxes and notebooks from days long past.
    Being a Grammie now to 5 little ones, I am too busy to RE-record the oldies into a new format, but will find great ideas here for my little “grands” and all our special occasions on those “Mimi-house days”.
    Thank you again for all your great ideas.

  207. Hi Mel,

    your website is amazing! every recipe sounds delicious .. I’m from Bavaria (Germany) and love U.S. cooking and bakery .. fantastic 🙂 I’ll try out one of your recipes as soon as possible

    Kathrin

  208. Mel, Love your site and so glad I came across it! You are now one of my FAVs! I am in North eastern IL and have 3 boys so I know your pain about the winters and boys, tho I have to be thankful for this last winter, as calm as it was. Nothing too crazy thankgoodness. You’ve got some great recipes and I can’t wait to go through them all! I made the taco seasoning and it’s work great for my recipes, though my husband wants HOT HOT HOT, so once we are all done, I spice his up with hot stuff.

    Looking forward to alot more recipes!

  209. Hi Mel!
    I just ran across your blog on Pinterest a few weeks ago and I think you are fantastic! You’re personality just shines through your passion for food…it’s really a joy to read. Thanks for the GREAT recipes and inspiration!
    Amanda

  210. Hi Mel,
    Just wanted to tell you how much I have enjoyed your website over the last couple of years! The recipes turn out perfect everytime. The first recipe I made was the lo mein and it was fabulous – I have been hooked every since. I also admire the fact that you find the time in your busy day with your family to post so many tried and true recipes and with a baby on the way to boot! Blessings to you and your family! Take care! Lisa X.

  211. Melanie,
    I have fallen in love with your website! Just read your philosophy, and it’s just like mine! I’m all about making my own food, so I know exactly what my family is eating. I’ve tried a few of your recipes so far, and my family has loved every one! I’ve got smothered pork chops in the crock pot and I just got done making vanilla pudding for desert, a special treat for the husband, hoping they both turn out. Thank you!

  212. When you said that you got the smoked salmon at Woodmans…I figured you for being in WI. I am in NW IL…a very small town…where the shopping is a challenge to say the least. I look forward to perusing your recipes for interesting ideas. I found your site when I did a search on ‘recipes using roasted asparagus’ and found a wonderful recipe which I fixed for lunch today.

    On a side note…I moved from CA back to IL because…I missed the change of seasons. There have been snow related challenges, but I am glad to be back in the Midwest. There also have been heat related challenges that have been overcome with a/c. As I said, I am glad to be back home in the Midwest.

  213. Just found your blog on Pinterest…love it! I live in Sheboygan, Wisconsin so I’m very excited that I found you:)
    Your boys are gorgeous, by the way!

  214. Pingback: Chipotle Chicken Tacos « Plating Up

  215. Hi Mel!
    So I wanted to thank you for your blog. It makes me look like I can actually cook! haha!

    I just moved to the Midwest with my husband—Iowa. Your ABOUT ME section made me laugh so hard. I hate recipes that call for ingredients that are incredibly difficult to find!

    I’m still adjusting to the weather changes too, I lived in California for 24 years. I look forward to trying more of your recipes!

    ~Jolie

  216. Melanie-

    I just wanted to say thank you SO MUCH for taking time out of your chaotic schedule to do this blog. I found it about 3 Weeks ago and all I can say is that I’ve pretty much made your recipes every night of the week. This is the first blog that I have found where i’m sure I will be getting an amazing/tasty meal every time. Your best recipe section is great and I have tried a ton of them already! I get so exited to see what you are cooking next that I will go to your website numerous times a day to see if it has been updated yet! I am a new mom and have been married for 3 years and now trying to figure out how to manage a son and a husband.. And you have 4 sons!

  217. Your about page just put a huge smile on my face. I love your “realness”. 🙂

  218. You are the cutest! I love your website and frequently check it out for recipe inspiration. PS – I’m in Madison and I agree 100% – summers are perfect and the winters are just dreadful…although I guess we’ve been “blessed” this year by the heat wave of 40 degrees in january. 🙂 Hang in there, summer is just around the corner!

  219. In the grand pattern of things you’ll secure an A+ for effort. Where you confused me was first in your details. You know, it is said, the devil is in the details… And that couldn’t be more accurate in this article. Having said that, allow me inform you what exactly did deliver the results. The writing is actually very engaging which is possibly why I am taking the effort in order to comment. I do not make it a regular habit of doing that. 2nd, while I can certainly see the leaps in logic you come up with, I am not necessarily sure of just how you seem to connect your details which inturn help to make the conclusion. For now I shall subscribe to your point but trust in the future you actually connect the dots better.

  220. Hey Mel,
    Just wanted to let you know I just happened upon your site while eating lunch at my desk..searching for something healthy to make out of chicken (I know right?). 1-1/2 hours later (promise I will make up the hours), I am hooked!
    I threw about 6 on to my favorites bar and texted my hubby that he is in for a surprise tonight! (yeah, I am a tease but know he will be thrilled to try something yummy and new regardless :))
    Just wanted to say thanks…you have a sweet family. I have 4 kids too but they are big and hairy- (3) in college…really love your blog!

  221. Luckily found your website today to add to my bookmark “Food Blogs.” I cannot tell you how glad i am about this! I am probably not your usual reader (17 year old male athlete) but blogs like this fuel my love for cooking and baking. Thanks so much for supplying me with endless amounts of delicious sounding recipes. I wish i could try them all!

  222. Hi Me,
    I just found your Blog recently and have really enjoyed it so far!
    Baking is my Hobby so I hope to try lots of your delicious recipes and find some new dinner ones to.
    I love homemade everything!
    What a beautiful family you have and 4 boys your so lucky I raised three and what a joy they were!
    Thanks for sharing,
    Diane

  223. Hi there! I also adore your site!!! I just found it today. I had googled ” Brown Sugar cinnamon almonds” and I decited on your recipe. I’m still stirring the nuts.:) they smell amazing though!! I too, have all boys. 3 boys, ages 4,5, and 6 years .I love to bake and cook, and also find time to do so by keeping my kids in the kitchen with me. Thank you for the super cute blog!!

  224. Hi Mel, I’m so happy to have found your blog. We seem to have very similar taste 🙂 I have flagged sooo many recipes that I can’t wait to try!

  225. Melanie,
    I just discovered you through Homebased Mom’s blog. I am really inspired by your “about” page. I am so often intimidated by cooking (I’m a baker) and I’m doing it for one most of the time, so I cheat myself with short cut meals. I tried one of your recipes with great success and think I will start cooking for myself more than I have.

    Thank you for being…so down-to-earth and “average”!

  226. So….have you published a cookbook yet? I want to buy one. I started looking at recipes on Pinterest last week and so many of them are yours!

  227. Mel
    that food sure looks good. As the old folks say, “Girl it looks like you put your foot in that. Did you stir it with your hand.” I plan to prepare a lot of these recipes. The lasagna soup seems much like a comfort food. I guess, I can diet next year 2013. I need to spend 2012, sampling recipes.

    Thank s for sharing,

    Dr. Moore

  228. Love your recipes! But I’m trying to get the recipe for the picture in the upper right hand corner. are they blondies? I tried searching it but didn’t find it. Thanks!

  229. Oh my heck! How do you stay so slim and trim with all those yummy recipes? I was just reading the cookie dough cheese cake and the chicken and veggie soup recipes and gained 50 lbs. I just found your blog today but have bookmarked it and will be back often.

  230. Someone on facebook linked your site on cupcake day and we have been reaping the benefits ever since. Thirteen year old made the soft pretzels this weekend and the spinach side dish. I had to stop myself from eating most of the pan! Understand about winter. We are in Iowa, small house, three boys, four girls (one has moved out) and winter seems like it lasts six months!

  231. I will give you an “Amen” to hating Wisconsin winters! I’m a born and bred Wisconsin girl, and the winters still completely terrify me 😉 I just discovered your blog ~ I’m looking forward to exploring it!

  232. One word: lifesaver! I’ve been searching and searching for a source of healthy but cost-effective recipes … and this is the first place where I have found both PLUS recipes that actually taste amazing! Your writing style makes me feel like maybe I can do some of these too! Thanks!

  233. I just stumbled upon your blog and I am anxious to try out many of your recipes! Top that with the fact that I also live in Wisconsin (born and raised), I can’t stand the winter cold ( you are not a pansy), and I’m pregnant with #4! We share pretty much the same philosophies on food and healthy eating. Making from scratch is a lot of work but like you, I want to know what is going into our bodies. I look forward to making and sharing your recipes with family and friends.

  234. I JUST found out about your blog now, and I’ve been scanning your dessert recipes. I HATE you. You have sooooooooooooooo many AMAZING & DELICIOUS looking dessert recipes that I want to try but I know I can’t. 🙁
    Lots of your chocolate desserts look fantastic, and you describe them sooooooooo nicely!
    Keep up the good baking!
    From, your newest fan.

  235. Melanie,

    I love this blog. Your photography is great, the recipes, even greater! My family loves everything I find here. It’s just my style. I know when I’m bringing something to a party if I found it here, it’ll be a crowd pleaser. I have four children too and live in a place that gets mighty cold. See? The reasons that your cooking style works for me are a plenty. Keep it up. This is the best. I recommend this blog all the time.

    Elizabeth

  236. I just wanted to thank you for putting out an awesome blog. I have tried probably 10 recipes from here and have loved every one of them! I love that you use real ingredients that are easy to find. Also love that the ingredient list isn’t a mile long. Who knew so few ingredients could be so deli cious! I feel like I should just throw away my other cookbooks away , nothing compares to yours!
    We also live in Wisconsin and I am bookmarking some soup recipes for winter, which will be here before we low it.

  237. I just discovered your site today and I can’t get away from it. I can’t wait to get into the kitchen!

  238. mel, just found your website through pinterest, and am such a major fan. love the best recipes list,and love that i found this in late October, when – in central Wisconsin (yea, me, too) – it’s time to huddle down for the big winter sleep. sigh.

  239. Hi Mel,

    When you get the chance, will you please tell me what podunk means? In all my years I have never heard that. Maybe because I live in British Columbia? I think I live in a podunk too!? Hilarious.

    I really haven’t looked at too many food blogs but I was immediately attracted to yours because Foodista twittered your Halloween worms! I can’t stand to eat stuff like that myself but I just Had to know who made them. Great job.

    I love your blog and I think you may have started me on a new path. Already checked out Pioneer Woman on your recommendation and I am sure that this could become a problem since I Love to read, yes read, cookbooks. There are over 12000 food blogs and will I ever have enough time to read them all?

    I will start by trying to read all your recipes and I hope you don’t mind that I copied a few already. I really appreciate all the work you have put into your blog so that someone like me can be inspired. Thank you very much.

  240. Mel, thanks to a post from Cook’s Illustrated, I now have your blog bookmarked. Like you, I’m also married to a wonderful spouse, who my sometimes misadventures in the kitchen. However, there almost no other place I want to be. I have been cooking since my first job — too, too many years ago. I grossed $167 a week and paid $250 in rent, so there was no spare change for fast food. My mom gave me and old Reader’s Digest cookbook and I started to cook for survival. Eighteen months later, I landed a job at a local newspaper where I became its food editor. I no longer work for a newspaper and food no longer is central to my occupation, but my passion for good food made from fresh ingredients has only grown.

    Sorry for the long post, but I guess I just wanted to say thanks. You have a new fan!

  241. Hi to a fellow Cheesehead! I love your blog and your recipes. Thanks for the inspiration. we’re making your wild rice hot-dish tonight! 🙂

  242. Hi! I have spent more time than I care to admit over the past few years looking for food blogs I actually like, only to find one that I’d actually frequent. I was starting to think that all my searching for another blog I really liked was in vain. Imagine my delight when I was looking for a Hawaiian Haystack recipe for a luncheon I’m helping out with and stumbled across your site–proving to me that blessings really do come from serving others. Let’s just say my search is over! I feel like a kid in a candy store right now.
    Also, I’ve lived in and loved Wisconsin my entire life and have spent years defending my love for just about everything related to my homeland to all my non-native friends…that being said, hating the winters here in no way makes you a pansy!

  243. Hey,

    I love your site. Where are you in WI? I’m in Madison. We’ve been here for 6 years while my hubby is working on his PhD at the UW. He’s currently writing his dissertation and it’s a loooong process! But we do enjoy being here.

    I’m making your sweet and sour chicken tonight. It takes a little while to make (I’ve made it once before), but it’s so worth it cause I LOVE it!

    Thanks for your website and inspiration!

    Ginnie

  244. Hi Mel-
    I have only been on your site for approximately 3 minutes, but I feel like you are writing my story, and I’m so glad, because I don’t have the time! I do have a couple of ‘go-to’ websites, but yours is going to the top of the heap if the ‘yellow cake mix’ works out. I, too, have been working toward more healthful, sustainable eating and thankfully my girls, 12 & 15, are in full agreement. My husband is tolerant (he’s a work in progress – aren’t they all?), but as the ‘provider of meat’ (hunter!) – we appreciate his contributions of organic, healthy-by-nature, wild game. I’m looking forward to perusing the rest of your site – congratulations on all your accomplishments! As I like to say, I want to be you when I grow up…sadly, looking at your pics and the ages of your kids, I think I’ve got you beat in the age department – but nevertheless – Kudos!
    Jane

  245. Mel, thanks for keepin’ it real! You’re dishes are SUPER yummy and help my family (and several of my friends’) achieve kitchen success on a regular basis! Your writing is incredibly entertaining and just as enjoyable as your recipes! Thanks again for sharing your life and your treats with the rest of us!

    M

  246. Just found your fantastic blog through Money Saving Mom. I was looking through some of the recipes and thought, “Hey! These are totally the same kinds of things my family would eat!” Except you are obviously a waaaay better cook! I am also in WI, probably just north of you. A fellow cheese head! Yes, we use a lot of cheese in this house, too. Can’t grow up on a dairy farm without a love of the ingredient that makes all things taste great — cheddar! And definitely no specialty food here either. Mostly just trees. 🙂 I look forward to being inspired by your blog!

  247. 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!
    -Sarah

  248. 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!

  249. 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!!

  250. Pingback: Cookie Dough Topped Brownies | This is Life with Jess

  251. 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???
    thanks,
    melanie (jolyn’s friend)

  252. 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!

  253. 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!

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

  255. Pingback: Sunday Baking Day – Cookie Dough Topped Brownies – This is Life with Jess

  256. 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 🙂

  257. 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.

  258. 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!
    melanie

  259. 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.
    thanks,
    Melanie (jolyn b’s friend and HUGE fan of your blog :))

  260. 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 🙂

  261. Mel,
    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.

  262. 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!

  263. 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!!

  264. 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!!

  265. 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!

  266. 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!

  267. 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.

  268. 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!

  269. 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!
    Shannon

  270. 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.

  271. 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!
    Amy

  272. 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.

  273. 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.

  274. 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!

  275. 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,
    Catherine

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

  277. 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.
    Thanks

  278. I just recently stumbled upon your blog….someone recommended you on the comments section of another blog 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!

    THANKS!
    Lindsay in Kansas

  279. 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!

  280. 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!

  281. 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!

  282. 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!

  283. 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! 🙂

  284. 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!

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

  286. 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!

  287. 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!

  288. 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?

  289. 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?

  290. 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!
    Steph

  291. 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

  292. 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!

  293. 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!

  294. 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!!

  295. 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.

  296. 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?

  297. 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!

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

  299. 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!

  300. 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!!

  301. 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!

    Corrie:)

  302. 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.

    Brenda

  303. Mel,
    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!

  304. 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!

  305. 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.

  306. 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?

  307. 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 🙂

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

  309. 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 🙂

  310. 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!

    Andrea

  311. 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!

  312. 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”.

  313. 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!

    • 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!

  314. 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.

  315. 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!!

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

  317. 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.

  318. 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.

  319. 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!

  320. 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. 🙂
    ~ingrid

  321. 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!

  322. 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!

  323. 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!

  324. 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!

  325. 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.

  326. Hi Mel

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

    Crystal
    Malaysia

  327. 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!

  328. 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!

    • 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. 🙂

  329. 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.

    • 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!

  330. 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!
    Cheers.
    +Katie

    • 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!

  331. Ohhhhhhhhh——-I found it!! Thanks!

  332. 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!

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

  333. 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!

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

  335. 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!

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

  337. 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.

  338. 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

  339. 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)

  340. 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!

  341. 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!! 🙂

  342. 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?

  343. 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.

  344. 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!

  345. 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!

  346. 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!

    Jamie

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