Strawberry Mint Ricotta Tart

Strawberry Mint Ricotta Tart

“I can’t do it,” he said, crouching down low enough for his head to slump to his knees.

I sighed, dropping another strawberry into my box. At 6.5 years old, this is normal behavior for my son. The new normal, until it’s not. (I hope.) “OK,” I said. “We’ll keep picking, and you can just wait for us.”

My friend and I carried on with our task, pulling strawberries off the plants and adding them to the ever-growing mounds in our boxes. This is my fifth year picking strawberries, and I’m no slouch in the field. Even though it’s tough on the legs, it only takes 10 minutes or so to fill an 8-pound-capacity box.

Suddenly my son popped up, grabbed his box, and ran past me toward the end of the strawberry row. I smiled to myself, seeing that he had decided picking berries was much more fun than pouting and poking at the dirt, after all.

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Carrot Cake with Lemon Frosting

Celebrate spring with a simple, not-too-sweet Carrot Cake with Lemon Frosting. 

Carrot Cake with Lemon Frosting

Cooking at my house means often multi-tasking and working in shifts. Whisk together flour and dry ingredients in the morning. Grate veggies during lunchtime. Frost cakes late at night, after everyone else is in bed.

I like it this way, the non-rush of the task. Being in the kitchen trying to get a project done as the rest of the family jostles for my attention doesn’t usually result in the most cohesive of recipes. When the house is quiet, and the only sound is my chopping, I can get focused. I like to think it’s “me” time, even though I’m cooking for the rest of the family to enjoy. But at the very least, it allows me to think while I work.

The other day I realized that Easter is soon approaching. It’s not that I really forgot — after all, I do freelance marketing for every single holiday — it’s more that I remembered we should do something for it. Sure, we do the egg hunt thing, but other than that, not much, especially because our families live so far away.

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Copycat Starbucks Breakfast Sandwiches

Save time and money by making these copycat Starbucks Bacon Breakfast Sandwiches at home.

Starbucks Bacon Breakfast Sandwich

The alarm clocks go off, and we drag ourselves out of bed, groping our way in the dim light through the house to the baby’s room, stepping on errant cereal bits or cat food along the way. Hopefully nothing worse.

Once in a while I get to stay in bed as the others get ready for school and work, drifting in and out of sleep that is punctuated by a whine here or there, or tears I inevitably have to soothe. Hugs and kisses happen, and eventually it’s just me and the baby.

Somehow, no matter when I get up, breakfast is a struggle. When the baby was younger, it was a matter of just getting something in my mouth before I had to feed or change or rock him to sleep again. Now that he eats his own food, I have a pair of eyes watching me like a  hawk, hoping for a share no matter what I’m eating.

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Chili Beef Pie

Comforting, hearty, and still simple to make, Chili Beef Pie tastes like home.

chili beef pie

It’s Friday. Can I get an amen?

At our house, Friday means taking the big kid to soccer practice, and making sure that he has enough to eat before and after. It’s kind of astonishing how much food a six-year-old can eat — he scarfs down more than I do on most days and clamors for more. And those are on normal days, when he doesn’t spend an hour just running back and forth on a field.

I’ve taken to making big, hearty meals that are sure to fill him up on Fridays. At this point in the parenting game, not having enough food on the table frustrates me, especially if I’ve carefully planned to have all our food groups covered.

We dug into this Chili Beef Pie, enjoying the combination of chili and biscuits. It’s basically a skillet version of a Frito pie, which, as someone living in Texas, I’m required to adore. In fact, the original recipe calls for big handfuls of Fritos on top, so you can itch that craving.

I’ve recently joined the blogging team over at Recipe.com, which I couldn’t be more excited about. I love sharing simple, delicious foods with other busy folks, so be on the lookout for my posts there a few times a month.

Now, do you need to get a dinner plan ready? Go check out the post:

Chili Beef Pie: A Hearty Tex-Mex Meal

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Weekly Meal Plan, March 24

Quick meal plan! I spent the weekend in College Station learning a lot and eating a ton of amazing food – I’ll be posting a recap as soon as I can parse all my thoughts into something cohesive.

I got a couple review copies of new cookbooks last week that I’m excited to try out, so depending what I get at the markets, the menu might change (as always). A couple of the meals I hope to be able to blog about, so keep your eyes peeled.

One of these weeks I’ll just make meals from recipes that already exist on the blog. (Ha, ha, says every other food blogger out there.)

Monday: Mac & Cheese

Tuesday: Beef Taco Bake

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Grilled Salmon and beets

Friday: Homemade Pan Pizza

Saturday: Roast Chicken

Sunday: Chicken Pasta Salad

What are you making this week?

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Carrot Fritters

We love carrots around here. Even though they’re a root vegetable and therefore meant for colder times of the year, we are lucky to be able to get fresh local carrots practically year-round. The sweet carrots we get from the farmers market can’t be beat, especially if you enjoy the varieties that come in hues other than orange — white, yellow, and purple frequently make appearances at the farm stand.

Carrot Fritters

I don’t fry foods much at home, mostly because I make a terrible mess and invariably end up burning myself with hot oil. If I’m going to the trouble of it, I want the end result to be tasty, but also have a layer of nutrition to it to (so I don’t feel quite so bad about the oil). When it comes to fritters, carrots are a natural fit because they’re easy to shred and crisp up easily.

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