In this {relatively} new series, I’m talking about all those little tidbits constantly on my mind that I need to tell you about right.this.very.minute. It’s casual, it’s random, it’s like we’re sitting at my kitchen counter sharing our best ideas. And some of them will be pretty up close and personal. There will probably be some videos and I’ll be recruiting some help from my favorite, most talented friends. New Let’s Talk posts will be posted hopefully every couple weeks so I can start sleeping at night instead of laying there thinking of all things we need to talk about.

77 Responses to Let’s Talk

  1. farouk patel says:

    Hi Mel – im attempting your perfected yellow cake recipe and very excited. I have duck eggs instead of chicken eggs though which are much larger. I was thinking after reading your “lets talk about egg size section” Id just whip the eggs and measure out 150g (3x50g) and 32g (2x16g) for the yolks. What do you think? Or shall I just take a trip to the supermarket and get chicken ones.
    What Ive read is that duck egg yolks are richer but the white has more protein and the entire balance creates a loftier but fluffier cake. Intriguing.
    Id really appreciate the speediest response you can manage. Thanking you in advance!

    • Mel says:

      I think you could definitely use the duck eggs and use the weight measures. I haven’t tried it myself, but sounds like it could definitely work!

      • farouk patel says:

        Mel thanks so much for responding so promptly. I tried the duck eggs with the measurements you specified in your eggs section and WOW this cake was fantastic. I actually made it with your best frosting recipe. Everyone said it was one of the best cakes I had ever made. Finally a cake that is just the right amount of moist, fluffy, and tender. Thank you so much for taking the effort to explain things in such detail. You really deserve an award!

  2. Hi there! I’ve heard great things about your Sweet & Sour Chicken recipe. May I feature it on our website with a link/credit back to your site on it?

  3. Pam says:

    Hi, Mel, I have relied on your site for delicious, workable recipes. When I read about your battle with skin cancer I was shocked by the diagnosis and awed by your bravery. I have watched my own face much more carefully because of you, and Tuesday I saw two spots that were never there before. The doctor will look at them on the 20th of March. Thank you for making us all more aware.

    • Mel says:

      Thank you, Pam! Your kindness is very much appreciated, and I’ll be hoping all goes well for you at the doctor. Keep me posted if you can!

  4. RossC says:

    Good morning Mel..
    I want to comment on this weeks Newsletter..
    For the past month or so, I have been, casually concerned about a couple of spots on my face.. I haven’t been to my dermatologist in a year or so.. I tend to procrastinate because, I’m kind of used to changes in my body as I age..
    This morning I opened my email and read about your experiences with skin cancer.. While contemplating my own concerns, I opened another email from a blogger I also follow.. To my amazement, she also wrote of her current experience concerning facial skin cancer..
    Tomorrow I will make an appointment to have the spots on my face evaluated.. After reading two separate accounting’s of skin cancer experiences, in one morning, I look at it as a sign that I have to get my act together and find out if I am at risk..
    Thank you for posting your experiences…

  5. Sarah says:

    I would love if you made a “Cheap Cooking” meal plan. I’m a college student and I love your website, but I can’t always afford all of the ingredients. Could you make a week plan that feeds two for $30 or under (if that is possible…)?

  6. Juliann says:

    Hi, I am a long time fan of your blog and some of my greatest meals have come from your site. On a total other note, I was so incredibly touched by your skin cancer journey you so bravely shared. It really stuck with me all this time, and I have urged others to read it, to try to scare them straight. I was just wondering how you are doing. I apologize if I have missed an update.
    Hope you are well, and continued prayers for good health

  7. Lynne says:

    Hi Mel,
    A long while ago I filed in the back of my mind a blog post of yours where you were talking about a great meat thermometer. I had just bought mine and said to myself when this one dies, I’ll check out the one Mel recommends. Well, mine has died and I can’t seem to find the post that tells me all about your thermometer choice. I’d love a recommendation.

  8. Rivi Niron says:


    My name is Rivi Niron and I’m a Media Manager at Sekindo.
    I’m interested in buying traffic from your site.

    We are an online international network and officially part of the global agency- Universal McCann.
    We manage campaigns for top brands and we look to buy quality traffic.
    After going through your site I think there’s a very good potential here and I would like to discuss with you some options of doing business together.

    Looking forward to hearing from you. 🙂


  9. Angela says:

    I know you hear this all the time, but I just have to thank you so much for all of your amazing tried and true recipes.
    I have a house full of critics, and now when I tell them I trying a recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe they get excited. You haven’t disappointed yet, and I’m sure I’ll be referring to you from here on out.
    I’m a working mom of five living in Saudi Arabia and I’m truly inspired by you. Thank you so much for sharing all of your gems and jewels with the rest of us. Best wishes!

  10. Hayley says:

    Hey, Mel! I see you guys are raising chickens now. Any chance you would consider doing a post about what it’s like to have them? What kind of work/cost/benefit analysis you have found in having them would be helpful. We have been throwing around the idea (it’s somewhat popular here in eastern Washington), but we know next-to-nothing about doing it. I’d love to hear your take… because, let’s face it, you are one of the few practical-thinking busy moms I trust for this kind of information. 🙂 Thanks in advance for any info!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Hayley – I’ve thought about it every once in a while but have hesitated to put anything together because there is so.much chicken info out there on other blogs. But I have a lot of pictures and info to share, so maybe I can get something up in the next little while. 🙂

  11. Patricia Owens says:

    I love your recipes and I save most of them. I would like to know where do you buy gluton — I want to try the outback bread. Also is regular molasses unsulphered? Thank you.

    • Mel says:

      Yes, regular molasses is unsulphured molasses. I usually get gluten on Amazon (Bob’s Red Mill brand) but have seen it at my grocery store too in the baking aisle.

      • I am new to your site, but would like to know if you use the flour from whole soft white wheat berries to make your chocolate chip cookies and do you grind flour for all of your baking recipes? Just wanted to know before I tried the recipes! Thanks, Glenda

        • Mel says:

          Hi Glenda – I mostly use my freshly ground whole wheat flour for breads. Occasionally I’ll use it for cookies and such, but mostly I use unbleached all-purpose flour for cakes and cookies. Hope that helps!

  12. Stacey says:

    Hi Mel!
    I just wanted to say I really enjoy your food blog and your fun posts on your family and favorites. I have been disappointed with some food blogs(like Annie’s Eats) that have become political and just have so much negativity about our recent election results. I rarely post but I just want to say thank you for keeping it about food and family.

  13. Iris says:

    Dear trusted food source. Can you please tell me what is white whole wheat flour and what I could best use as a substitute? It’s not available in Canada for some reason and many have never heard of it. Thanks from Ontario.

  14. sweetpea says:

    I think I’m going about this wrong, but can you refer to your Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup and let me know if I should use the box seasoning on the wild rice blend.
    I’m thinking so. Thanks so much.

  15. Leah says:

    Mel – I love your recipies. My daughter has requested strawberry cake for her 9th birthday next week. Do you have a recipe? One that doesn’t include a cake mix and a pack of jello?

    • Mel says:

      I wish! I’ve toyed with a few recipes over the years and one came pretty close but I was never able to get it just right. Sorry I’m not more help! I should add a strawberry cake recipe back into my must-perfect list!

      • Leah says:

        It seems to be quite the illusive cake. I live in NC and you would think there would be a bevy of southern women who have made a strawberry cake but so far I have not come by a tried and true version. However on this occasion, we were both saved because as I was walking through the grocery store buying ingredients for this cake I wasn’t sure how to make she changed her mind to Grasshopper Pie! Ha! Will keep watching your site for strawberry cake perfection!

  16. Jenny says:

    Just want to let you know that your blog is my absolute favorite blog!
    Thanks for all the great recipes and the detailed tips and tricks. I live in Chiang Rai, Thailand, and I love to bake. Tried out several of your recipes, my fam especially love the Classic Oatmeal Choc Chip Cookies and so do I. Appreciate all your work and honest recipes. Cheers!

  17. Jane says:

    Thanks for all your info on wheat and grinding your own. Bought the Fidibus
    KoMo and love it.

    Also had a question about a post I thought was yours about fitness and
    starting an exercise program. Did I really read that on your site? If so,
    how can I find it again?

  18. RossC says:

    I have just found your blog (from a FB recipe someone posted) and I have been having a wonderful time reading from page to page.. We are older empty nesters and I enjoy simple, flavorful recipes and interesting tips to make quality dishes for my wife and myself.. Looking forward to exploring your entire blog..
    Thank you… :O)

  19. Nancy Greenblatt says:

    Just read your recipe for Chocolate Frosted Swig-Style Cookies. Can’t wait to make them! I am wondering why the directions call for storing them in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Can they be stored in a covered container on the countertop? Why do they need to be refrigerated??

    • Mel says:

      They do better in the refrigerator because of the creamy frosting, but you could keep them out at room temp (as long as it isn’t hot) for probably a day.

  20. Karen Hills says:

    I made your vanilla caramels, and tried to follow directions precisely. However, at the end of the cooking – when the temp was about 240, the butter started to separate from the sugar part. What did I do wrong?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Karen – usually butter will separate from caramels if there’s a sudden shift in temperature or they are stirred too quickly. But usually, they will come together again…did it work out?

  21. Rich and Nancy says:

    Starting to make your thick and chewy gingerbread cookies. The first ingredient calls for 3 cups of flour (15 ounces). A cup is 8 ounces. Which should I use?

  22. Diane Foss says:

    Hi! I have been following your site for some time now and I love it. We especially love your overnight pancake recipe. We make it almost every weekend. I am wondering if you could do me a favor. I recently started a blog focused on juggling a career and a family. I would love for you to check it out when you get a chance. I also have a FB page setup that I would love for you to like and share on your feed.

    FB @workingmommydiaries.

  23. Marci says:

    I went to your presentations down at BYU today and quite enjoyed them. Need I say, I made a friend EXTREMELY jealous that I was there and she was in AZ missing you. She is a groupie of yours if you can call them that. Or maybe a stalker. Ha.
    Anyhow, I wanted to know more about your garlic press….can I get it on Amazon (cause you should be able to get everything on Amazon)? And what’s the brand?
    Also, the knives you like. I didn’t catch the name.
    I’m headed to Harmons in the morning!!!!
    Also, will you be posting a link to the BYU link for your handouts? I missed out.
    Thanks so much! Totally enjoyed you tonight and have enjoyed for years!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Marci! Thanks so much for coming! Ok, so the garlic press is the orblue brand and I got it on Amazon and my knives (love them!) are from New West Knifeworks; I can’t recommend them highly enough. Also, all the handouts will be on BYU women’s services webpage.

  24. Keri says:

    I remember reading at some point that you don’t like using canola oil anymore. I can’t find that post. I’m trying to figure out different oils and when to use what and why some aren’t good for us anymore. i’m curious about your opinion and if you had a post somewhere you could direct me too. Thanks so much! made your Loaded Broccoli Cheese & Bacon soup last night. It was a huge hit! My kids are always excited to try your recipes.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Keri – I do try to avoid canola oil. I know it’s impossible to avoid all GMO’s and their byproducts (corn is especially bad hence avoiding canola oil), but I’m trying to slowly eliminate those types of things (even though I list them as options in my recipes since I know people still widely use canola and vegetable oils). I use avocado oil a lot since it’s relatively inexpensive at Costco (although still more than canola/vegetable). I also use melted coconut oil in a lot of recipes. I hope that helps a little!

    • Jennifer says:

      Jumping in here…I have replaced canola oil with Sunflower Seed oil (cold pressed) for some cooking. It works great for salad dressings that call for canola or salad oil. Works for frying too. Also use avocado oil, coconut oil and olive oil depending on what I’m making.
      The Sunflower Seed Oil is inexpensive at Trader Joe’s.

  25. Donna Bush says:

    Mel I just want to thank you for all your wonderful recipes. The thick chocolate squares are a hit with all.
    One thing I have noticed all your recipes turn out like they should but I have been on other sites and have wondered about some of the recipes. I have been baking for years and love baking and I have found that some recipes on the net are just not up to par.
    I am now just sticking to recipes that I know come from good sources.
    Thanks again and happy baking. My favorite pastime.

  26. Debbee says:

    Silly question but what is your email address? I have no luck in emailing you. Thanks.

  27. Marilyn says:

    Just to double-check (Silly question) – No tomatoes in the enchilada sauce?

  28. Regina says:

    Hi Mel, I found your Jalapeno Jelly recipe online and made double recipe yesterday. LOVE the taste! However, they didn’t set up. Very liquidy. Any idea what I could’ve done wrong? Thanks in advance for your insight.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Regina – sorry the jelly didn’t set up! You aren’t the only that’s had that problem. I think it might have something to do with the liquid pectin (I heard the formula changed since I posted that recipe). I’ll post a note on the recipe to give others a heads up. You can either leave it soft (to pour over cream cheese or something like that) or you can reprocess it using powdered pectin.

  29. Adam P says:

    Request a super tuna salad.

  30. Ellie says:

    Oh my Gosh these buns are insanely good! I’ve never tried a water bath before but it’s clearly worth this all important step. I’ve made them 6 times and those 16 buns disappear fast! Anyone I’ve shared them with has asked for the recipe. After a few batches, I tried a move of my own. Instead of pinching the bottoms to make them extra round, I actually flattened them out to make them wider so that they cover a little more ground with a hamburger or sandwich. It worked great and they freeze so well, I just take them out when I want. Thank you Mel…you and your buns are amazing!

  31. Charla says:

    You gave a demonstration for our church group last Tuesday and talked about some favorite kitchen tools. i am asking about the mixing spoon that you purchased at Harmons. Well, since Harmons is not in Idaho, I want to see if it can be ordered onlin (what can’t you get online?). Can you give me the brand name?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Charla – the name of that spoon is The Spoon by Zeal. Unfortunately it really is difficult to find online (used to be available on Amazon but they aren’t anymore). I have my in-laws in Utah pick me up some whenever I know we’re going to connect soon!

  32. Mel, I received a cakelet pan but don’t know what recipes to use to fill it. It seems a regular cake mix would be too soft. Can you help me?

  33. lilymaygren says:

    I am always on your blog like every day and I love baking solo much. My mom is always on hear every day. 🙂

  34. Nancy Greenblatt says:

    I made your Triple Chocolate Zucchini Cookies and they are delicious! Question: Are they supposed to be VERY soft after baking? Mine turned out this way and I need to know if I did something wrong in following the recipe and baking times??

  35. Jill Smart says:

    I have really enjoyed your recipes and blog. I don’t know if it’s really ok to make a tutorial request but…here goes: I would really like a tutorial (pics please) of how to sharpen knives. Yes, I’m in my 40s and have yet to figure this out (sheepish face). I recently bought the colorful knife set you recommended and instantly my life is easier -but I dread the day they grow dull because I’m not sure the best way to sharpening them… any direction would be greatly appreciated!

  36. Bill says:

    I’m sure you already know, but your readers might like to know that the #- designation of a cookie scoop is the approximate number of scoops per quart.

  37. Prisilla says:

    I really like your wordpress theme, also great content.

  38. Lauchlan Nelson says:

    Made your yellow cake. It came out perfectly. It is fabulous!! I am impressed with the effort you put into coming up with this delicious recipe. Thanks for sharing it with all of us!!
    I made a chocolate buttercream icing for the cake. My husband wanted nuts sprinkled on the iced cake. I wish I could send the pictures that I took of my finished product from your recipe. Will try to do that.
    Thanks again!
    Lauchlan Nelson

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