I love putting together a festive looking table for meals with family and friends. It’s something I love to do so much, I might even call it a full-on hobby. When I post pictures of these entertaining spreads, people often say that they love the idea of a tablescape, but don’t want all of the fuss and expense that comes with setting a fancy table. Well, my favorite way to do it is with a few a little tricks that make it inexpensive and easy — and I thought I’d share a few of my tried and true methods with you today so you can recreate it at home on a budget!  read more

The most frequent question I get asked by readers is what do I feed Jane at mealtime? All us moms are in the same boat –toddlers are complex, finicky little creatures and feeding them things they’ll actually eat can take a whole lot of energy and creativity! For the most part, Jane is a great eater; she tries lots of things and enjoys a good variety of foods. We’re very consistent with breakfast – she eats eggs and a smoothie everyday. For dinner, she will generally eat a broken-down version of what the adults are having. read more

Grilled pizza is a weekend staple at our house, the perfect Friday night treat! We mix up the toppings each week with leftovers from the fridge — it’s a great way to use up extra veggies and other ingredients. My most recent grilled pizza experiment used up the end of a batch of my hidden-veggie bolognese sauce. It’s a heart meaty sauce that I pack with carrots and spinach — a perfect way to sneak veggies into toddler meals! It made for a super tasty pizza, and the best part is that a big batch of this sauce will get you a few meals. I use it on pizza, on pasta, in casseroles and even freeze the leftovers to save for future dishes! Get the recipe below.  PS: there is a whole chapter dedicated to grilled pizzas in my new book with recipes for homemade pizza dough, a simple tomato sauce, my favorite pizza seasoning, and lots of grilled pizza combinations — pre-order it here!  read more

With the last few days of August here, everyone seems to be talking about the end of summer. Yes, school is starting and a few leaves have started to drop off the trees in our yard. The weather is still warm though, and I’m determined to stretch out our summer days for long as we can. I keep reminding people that the official first day of Fall isn’t until the end of September; let September have it’s summer days too! One way I’m keeping the season alive is with a bit more al fresco dining — I’ll do it every chance I can get until the temperatures drop — and pulling together festive summer tabletops with my favorite color scheme: blue and white. read more

I usually share my download posts at the end of each week, but this one got pushed out a few days later because we snuck away for the weekend to celebrate some of our best friends getting married! It was the most beautiful weekend for a wedding, and we had a crazy amount of fun drinking and dancing and partying it up with our best buddies. It was proof that I can still party like a college girl, but also very solid proof that I recover from partying like a 30-something mom of a toddler. I’m moving a little bit slower than usual on this Monday morning; strong coffee and the promise of an early bedtime are keeping me motivated. While I recover from my bridesmaid duties, I hope you’ll enjoy my stream of consciousness on recipes, books, and the end of summer:   read more

Last week I wrote a big blog post about my favorite cookbooks that I use for dinner inspiration — especially when I’m in a dinner-planning rut. I heard from so many readers that they were often in a similar spot, uninspired and stumped about what to make for dinner. More than that, everyone seems to be looking for ideas that quick and easy because dinner time can be downright hectic (we have our fair share of toddler meltdowns right before dinnertime too!). I decided to dig into my recipe archives this week and pull out over 20 of my tried-and-true dinner ideas that I lean on when I need to get something tasty on the table after work. I hope this list helps make planning dinner a little bit easier this week!  read more

I was going to save this post for later in the week, assuming people were more likely to get excited about making cocktails over the weekend. It’s Monday though, and man, Mondays can be rough — a good cocktail just might be the perfect solution to send this darn Monday off into the sunset. (Side note: I think summer Mondays are the hardest because summer weekends are SO fun and awesome that they just magnify how Mondayish Mondays can be). Okay, onto cocktails! I have made this simple summer sangria on several occasions this summer and it has been a hit. It’s really tasty, like, the pitcher is magically empty in 15 minutes kind of tasty. The best part is it’s super easy to make — just chop up some fruit, add tiny bit of sugar and lemon juice, and top with white wine before chilling and serving. You can mix it up and add in whatever fruit strikes your fancy — I made one batch with some juicy pieces of watermelon, and another where I muddled in a few raspberries. Get the full recipe below, and cheers! read more

I think we can all agree on one thing: sometimes you just need a pasta night. I felt in a bit of a funk earlier this week (a little bit of stress can be amplified by gross sticky humidity, right?) and if there’s one thing that can bounce me back it’s usually a big bowl of pasta. I wish I was one of those people who combats a bad mood with exercise but that’s just not me, pasta is my healer. I did go to spin class to earn this bowl of pasta, because my metabolism just isn’t quite pulling it’s weight these days (weight jokes! ha!) and it was so worth it. read more

I’ve been buckling down this week on a long list of tasks for work and life and the book! A busy week is just the kind I like though, it makes the weekends (especially summer weekends) feel all that much sweeter. I am crossing our fingers the forecast brings us a bit of sun so we can soak up these last summer days with some beaching and al fresco dining. Before we get there, I’m sharing a few links, recipes, and products to wrap up the week! read more

I find that at the end of each season (ugh yes, it’s the end of summer, SIGH), I get into a bit of a dinnertime rut. I lean on a handful of go-to recipes each season – in the summer, lots of grilling – and they can feel a bit tired after several weeks in the rotation. As I sat down to do my weekly plan this week I was itching for some inspiration and dug into my cookbook collection in our kitchen. As I flipped through a few of my go-to cookbooks, I thought I’d start a list of the favorites I use for dinner ideas again and again. This list has several dinner-idea classics, a few that I use in specific situations (like when I’m looking to eat healthier) and a few that are totally new to me that I’ve been using for recent inspiration. I hope they spark some dinnertime creativity in you too!
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