We have been spacing out our grocery store visits quite a bit during social distancing, so getting creative with what’s in my pantry and making use of every-last-ingredient in my fridge has been a big part of mealtimes lately. We started the year off with a resolution to eat a bit less meat and swap in a few more vegetarian meals in an effort to have a lighter impact on the environment. It turns out our meat-free meal idea has translated pretty well to the current hunkered-down situation. This recipe is a winner for one of those meatless Monday lunches or dinners because it only takes about 15 minutes to make and uses a few simple pantry ingredients and my favorite Little Leaf Farms greens mix! read more

It’s fair to say that Easter celebrations are going to look quite a bit different this year as we’re hunkered down at home. While I’m sad we won’t be with our larger family for a traditional gathering, I’m putting on my thinking cap and figuring out how we can still make it a special day for just the three of us. I’ve got a few little surprises from the Easter Bunny tucked away for Jane’s basket and am hoping the weather is in our favor for a mini egg hunt in the back yard.  One tradition that was always my favorite as a kid was having a big Easter brunch. It was such a fond memory from my childhood that I dedicated a whole chapter to it in my cookbook, New England Invite. I thought I’d share a few of my favorite ideas from the Easter brunch chapter that would be easy to recreate at home on a smaller scale for this year’s celebrations. read more

I have an endless number of variations of this pasta dish I make every spring – something simple yet buttery, a bit of white wine and pasta water for a silky sauce, and full of fresh veggies that speak to the season. My friends at Better Homes & Gardens magazine challenged me to create a recipe using delicious California Walnuts and I thought they would be a delightful and unexpected addition to a dish like this! This dish comes together quickly, so it’s perfect for weeknight dinners. read more

Soup is on repeat here the past few weeks. It’s been great for using up leftover veggies and pantry staples, pairs perfectly with all of the bread we’ve been baking, and feels like the right kind of comfort food to have during all of this social distancing. Plus the weather has been terribly cold and rainy recently: the ultimate soup weather. This soup is one that I tested a few weeks before we hunkered down, and it felt so appropriate for the times since there are lots of modifications you can make with what you have on hand. I opted for frozen fire-roasted corn, but canned works too. I used up a few pieces of bacon I had in the freezer but you can omit it if you want to make it vegetarian. You can use any kind of stock you have available, and the milk that gets stirred in the end is optional if you prefer a dairy-free version. We ate ours with some garlicky buttered naan bread that Jane and I made together using this recipe  — scroll down for the full recipe!  read more

I am quickly realizing during social distancing just how much we take for granted on a daily basis. But as I mourn the convenience of popping out the store for just one thing, I’m also energized by being creative with what we already have at home. That means digging into our pantry and making use of leftovers in the fridge (I’m pretending I’m on a cooking challenge show, what can I make with these ingredients!?). I’ve also been more resourceful with the projects I’ve been thinking up to keep Jane occupied and learning while we’re at home. The recycling bin has been fueling our imagination (see what we created last week out of paper towel rolls and egg cartons in this toddler craft round up). read more

I’m not exactly sure what Easter celebrations are going to look like in a few weeks, but I started to work on some table ideas before we hunkered down and felt like these cheery images were worth sharing even if the holiday ends up looking quite different this year. We could all use some happy tables full of velvet ribbons and champagne coupes filled with jelly beans, right?  read more

I woke up this morning and realized I had no idea what day of the week it was. Is it the weekend? Is it a school day? It’s all blending together. We are doing our best to maintain some level of normalcy around here, and one of the things that helps with that is keeping Jane busy. On nice days, we’ve been going for long nature walks by the beach, exploring trails, and going through our fair share of sidewalk chalk. On the cold and rainy days (ugh, there’s been a lot of those!) I’ve been trying to fill the morning with a creative project. I thought it would be helpful to share a few of the easy, toddler-friendly craft ideas that have worked for us.  read more

With all that’s going on around us, I’ve been leaning a lot more into cooking. On a good day it’s my way of showing my family (who I’m in very close quarters with!) that I love them. But on a bad day, it’s also always been my escape. I find a lot of calmness in cooking, focusing on the task at hand, and embracing my creativity. This time of year, my cooking starts to lean into the change of seasons, and I love getting to see some of the first fresh spring ingredients appear –I was at a bridal shower a few weeks ago (before all of this social distancing started!) and the event had a delicious, spring-inspired menu. One dish was a beautiful green salad with big shaved slices of parmesan, and a grains salad that fulfilled my carb-needs. I mixed them both together on the plate and it made me think about how silly it is that we always separate green salads and pasta salads – why not mix them together?
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Whenever I get super overwhelmed, I find that writing usually helps me feel better. I’ve been writing this blog for over a decade, but long before that I used to keep hand written journals. I find it gets all of the jumbled mess out of my brain, helps me organize thoughts, clears the slate. I think it’s safe to say we’re all feeling it this week as we roll through the first handful of days of social distancing. Even if no one reads it, open a journal or a word doc, get it all out on paper — I find it really helpful. This post today is just that — a release of all.the.feelings — emptying my brain, a little writing therapy, and sharing what’s helping us stay sane. read more

Like many people, we’re looking at least a few weeks of school and activities being cancelled. I am a little stressed trying to figure out how I’m going to get work done and keep Jane occupied at home for that time. I took a deep breath after my mild panic and surveyed our closet where we store toys and craft supplies, and even dug into my “snow day” stash I was saving for snowstorms that never arrived this year. As I was wrapping my head around how to pace out these projects and activities over the next few weeks, I thought I’d share some of my ideas and favorite toys and craft supplies with the hope this list might be helpful to others in the same situation! I linked everything below with some context for how we use, play, and extend the time on each activity, and included a few of my favorite sites I use for kids activity inspiration as well.  If you have good ideas or resources for keeping kids busy during this time please share them in the comments! read more

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