Tomato and Mozzarella

As you know I'm not a big fan of tomatoes. I happened to mention this at work and someone shared how they spruce up a fresh sliced tomato...add balsamic vinegar and olive oil, then top with a nice piece of mozzarella cheese. That actually sounds good and might prompt me to try one from the garden this year. {thanks Denise!}


The Snowman Mug

To make hot cocoa just a little neater serve it in a special mug. The favorite mug at our house is the snowman one. We love to top it off with whipped cream and sprinkles.


Cucumber Tomato Swap

I love cucumbers and my husband loves tomatoes, but neither of us like the opposite. The result is the "swap". When we are at a restaurant peering into our mixed salads, we each poke the appropriate vegetable (or fruit to some) with our fork and gently place it in our spouse's salad. The result is a salad monoculture making us both happy.


Bosc Pear

I was just in the mood to draw another pear. Bosc pears are so beautiful...but hate to say I've never tried one. I've heard they are delicious.



An Apple Snack

I feel pretty lucky sometimes that my kids actually crave healthy snacks. One thing they love is apples. They are happy to just crunch into them whole or we use that snazzy metal cutter that creates perfect little apple slices. Either way its a nice juicy treat. {sold}



At work each staff member is assigned a staff meeting to bring treats. Last Friday a co-worker brought three different foods and labeled them with cute little notes accordingly...a bowl of fruit ("good for you"), a raspberry danish ("okay for you"), and a really great cheesecake ("TGIF"). It was a good laugh and a nice way to end the week. {thanks Nathan!}


Kool-Aid in a Jug

When we were kids my mom always had two beverages in the house: iced tea (for her) and kool-aid (for us). Both were always in their own re-used plastic milk jug. I had a little too much kool-aid as a kid and prefer to not drink it now. The irony is that my husband now makes kool-aid for our kids and himself, because he never had it as a child. Ah, the circle of life.


Cheesecake Rich

I learned what the word "rich" meant when I fell in love with cheesecake as a child. It was something that I craved, but could sadly only handle eating one piece a seating. To clarify my inability to eat the second one, adults would explain the cheesecake was too rich. If richness is my obstacle to eating more, then so be it.


Ranch Dressing

This amazing potion works wonders when introducing kids to fresh vegetables. Ranch dressing was the magic that made my kids fall in love with salad and raw carrots.


Sliced Bananas

Sliced bananas floating in my cereal is such a special morning treat. We don't always have bananas in the house, but when we do its a great way to add another food group to breakfast. {sold}


Pepper Bacon Egg Sandwich

This past Monday I had the delight of breakfast with my mom at The Cafe in Ames, Iowa. I love that restaurant...not only because they use locally-grown foods, but mostly because their menu changes constantly. I had the treat of their Pepper Bacon Egg Sandwich (I think that was the name!). It was definitely an upscaled version of a fried-egg sandwich. Besides the typical egg it also included romaine lettuce, some yummy creamy sauce, black pepper bacon, some incredible cheese (I should have copied the menu!) and wonderful bread to boot. It also had a pretty strawberry gracing the plate. What a nice way to start the week.


The Four-Layer Birthday Cake

Its always a treat when you pop over to someone's house finding them eating cake. My husband and daughter did just that this past Saturday. They needed to pick something up at a neighbor's house and inadvertently stepped into their daughter's seventh birthday family get-together. They not only got cake, but brought home a piece for me. Four layers no less! {thanks Mary & Lauren} {available}


Six Pieces of Toast

It seems my skinny ten-year-old son just can't get enough toast for breakfast. Its not just one or two pieces requested...lately its been six! I have a feeling its the draw of the butter and not the bread.



Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Today's lunch was the famous grilled cheese and tomato soup...requested by my ten-year-old son. The son who has to dip the sandwich into the soup until the latter is gone. If the sandwich is gone first, he must have another to completely empty the bowl...which means more work for me. Its a trip back to the frying pan and another dip into the cheese and butter. You'd think by now I'd just make more than one in the first place. {available}


Crock Pot Magic

I only discovered crock pot magic a few years ago when a co-worker mentioned the fabulous roast she was cooking at home (MJ!). It was amazing to think you could throw some meat and vegetables into a large porcelain container, turn it on, then return eight hours later to a wonderful meal. Today my favorite crock pot meal is vegetable soup - something I can actually cook from scratch and still taste good. {available}


Cottage Cheese

Salad just isn't complete without cottage cheese gracing the top. My mom started me on this habit and now I've started my kids on the same. Though my son will eat a plain lettuce salad, he always has his ceremonial complaint when the cottage cheese is absent.



Free food: Coffee and Tomatoes

It seems there is always an abundance of two things...coffee and tomatoes. This overpopulation often results in free giveaways. Why, oh why do I not like either one?! Why can't I walk into an office and have someone offer me a piece of cheesecake or a bowl of ice cream? Or have someone leave a bowl of brownies, day after day, in late summer with a sign that says "free for the taking." {available}


Suishi and Beets

While making my daily salad with cottage cheese I realized it was missing the all important tangy beet topping. A quick trip to the store later I found myself with a jar of beets...and suddenly a small plastic box of cucumber suishi also. I needed a snack, walked past the deli, saw the little white circles and thought, its got to be healthier than chips. Suishi is a great snack, but don't worry, I didn't eat them with the beets. {available}


Mustard and Mayonnaise

I had the most profound experience in junior high. A friend invited me over and while there her mom made me a life-changing sandwich. It was bologna, cheese, mayonnaise and mustard. The insightful combination was the latter two. I had never mixed these before and the result was absolutely wonderful. Luckily I discovered this early in life. {sold}


The White Frosted Brownie

Before one of my presentations last week I deliberately snuck a white frosted brownie from the snack table to enjoy after my talk. I gently passed it on to one of my most trust-worthy co-workers for safe-keeping. After I set my microphone down and answered a few questions I wandered over to my delectible treat...to find it gone! It was inadvertantly thrown away, while my guard had stepped off for a couple of minutes. Both my peer and the person that tossed it felt horrible, but you know, it was probably meant to be. I really didn't need it, as pretty as it was, white frosting, sprinkles and all. {available}


Peanut Butter

Its like deja vu...seeing my daughter secretly pull out the silverware drawer, delicately lift out a spoon, then tiptoe over to the cabinet where the peanut butter jar lives. She scoops out the sticky, brown heaven, then jumps back guilt-stricken when caught. Its not like I haven't done that before, though its been over 20 years. Its just weird seeing it through a mom's eyes. {available}


I am Water

Water is my first beverage of choice. Its not that I don't like other drinks, I just really like water, especially with a meal. It doesn't muck up the taste of food. I started drinking it regularily in 8th grade and the rest is history. My secondary favorites...orange juice, hot cocoa, skim milk, good iced tea and, ah, root beer. Don't drink these as much, but good options nonetheless. {available}


Hot Cocoa

I hate to disappoint many of you, but I'm not a coffee drinker. I like the idea of holding that symbolic mug, looking down at that dark liquid, and having steam roll out of it...but mine is always hot cocoa. For me its about getting that sugar kick (as small as it is) and most importantly, warming my insides when its cold. I don't drink hot cocoa in the summer, its just a chill-buster. Luckily there are more cold Iowa months than warm ones. {available}


Potato Soup

A kind lunch invitation to our neighbor's house this past weekend resulted in a warm bowl of potato soup. As our hosts said, "its a comfort food." Oh my, it sure was. So comfortable we ate and talked until almost dinner-time. We then politely scooted out. We have to keep it even-keel in hopes for a future soup invite. By the way, does anyone out there have a great (easy) potato soup recipe? {available}


Bread and Pasta

I was so hungry last night. With our cupboards almost bare, spaghetti was one of the few items left to eliminate that pain. To make it more filling, I love it with bread and butter (b&b). Though I moderate the pasta and bread well, my son tends to weigh heavy on the latter. For him its a b&b dinner with some noodles on the side. {available}


Pears in a Can

It seems the only way we get pears in our diet is through a metal can. I guess the can bypasses the small window of pear freshness. As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "There are only ten minutes in the life of a pear when it is perfect to eat."



Love that Pear

I just love drawing pears. I love the color, the form, and simplicity of them. The odd thing...is that I really don't eat them. Its not that I don't like them, we just never buy them...unless they're in a can.




Pickles are such a wonderful thing, especially the light-green crunchy ones in the grocery store's refrigerator aisle. I've never been good at making them myself, but have fond memories of the ones from my great-grandparent's garden in Indiana. A bigger pickle fan than me...my daughter. {available}


The Waffle House

During one of our snow days last month we celebrated the sweetness of waffles. The kids and I had waffles for breakfast, then again for lunch. Hate to say, I didn't make them from scratch, but pulled them from the freezer instead. {available}


Peanut Butter & Jelly

One of my favorite weekend breakfast foods is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, plus a glass of milk. Its a great source of protein and fruit (sort of)...why not start your day this way?




What a way to start off the year...with a scotcheroo. Honestly, I've never made these before, but they taste really good. Our friends brought them over last night for our New Year's Eve get-together and the kids snarfed them down. My son says his 4th grade class jumps every time a classmate brings them for treats. How can you go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate?

1/6/09 UPDATE: Okay, Cary B. just gave me her Scotcheroo recipe if interested:
(1) Cup Corn Syrup, (1) Cup Sugar, Melt together over low heat, add 1/2 cup peanut butter until melted, add 6 cups of Rice Krispies. Melt chocolate chips and pour over the top! {available}