Chocolate Chip Blondies

Imagine a cross between brownies and chocolate chip cookies. With basic ingredients in any pantry and a recipe that's easy enough for kids to make, Chocolate Chip Blondies make the perfect afternoon snack to enjoy and then share with others.

School’s out for a giant ice storm that never hit. So what do you do? Make a treat, of course! My 9-year-old flipped through one of my staple recipe books, The New Best Recipe (Cook’s Illustrated) and landed on Blondies.

Best Recipe Cookbook

What are blondies? Well, if a brownie and a chocolate chip cookie made a baby, you might end up with this special little bundle of joy. A cake-like, chocolate chip cookie bar might be another way to think of this dessert.

Imagine a cross between brownies and chocolate chip cookies. With basic ingredients in any pantry and a recipe that's easy enough for kids to make, Chocolate Chip Blondies make the perfect afternoon snack to enjoy and then share with others.

With a few small adaptations of our own, he and I whipped these up in about 10 minutes and popped them in the oven. Within 25 minutes, we had a warm, chocolatey snack that hit the “snow day” spot! This is a great recipe to make with a child or to have your older kid make on his/her own. And, I bet you have all the ingredients for our version on hand.

Imagine a cross between brownies and chocolate chip cookies. With basic ingredients in any pantry and a recipe that's easy enough for kids to make, Chocolate Chip Blondies make the perfect afternoon snack to enjoy and then share with others.

After enjoying a piece of this snack bar ourselves, my son cut up a few pieces and delivered them to the neighbor. Occasionally I remember (wish it was more, to be honest!) to look for opportunities, no matter how small, to help cultivate grateful and generous hearts in my kids.

Imagine a cross between brownies and chocolate chip cookies. With basic ingredients in any pantry and a recipe that's easy enough for kids to make, Chocolate Chip Blondies make the perfect afternoon snack to enjoy and then share with others.

I hope you can enjoy these Chocolate Chip Blondies right out of the oven on a cold day yourself or deliver some to a friend soon.

Publishing a Cookbook: Food Photography (Part Two)

As promised, we are doing our best to keep you in the loop with our upcoming cookbook that is set to be released this fall. So far we have shared about:

1. What our cookbook is all about

2. The First Steps to Publishing a Cookbook

3. Editors and Closing Day

4. Recipe Development

5. Lifestyle Photoshoot

After we finished up our lifestyle shoots, our attention turned to the food photography.

What most people don’t realize is that we actually weren’t on site for the food photography. Because it was more convenient for the photographer and stylist, Rodale handled the shoot up in Pennsylvania at their own studio.

The first step to planning for this was deciding which recipes they would photograph. We collaborated with our editor and art director on which recipes we really wanted to have a picture of and which ones we could skip over. Some recipes, while they taste great, are difficult to make look pretty in a picture. After going back and forth a few times with the team, we landed on which 50 (of our 75 recipes) they would photograph.

The food photography shoot took 5 days to complete. Each day they would make 10 of our recipes in their kitchen and then stage it for the photo. On site there was a photographer, food stylist/chef, food stylist assistant, prop artist, and art director all working together to make each photo beautiful.

“Real Food Meets Reality” Menu Plan: January 16-22

Real Food Menu Plan for January 16-22: Easy and delicious meal ideas that the whole family will love. Posted every Friday at Thriving Home.

Every week we put together a menu plan stocked full of family-friendly, mostly-real food recipes. Extra bonus if you live near a Hy-Vee, because we build the plan around their sales. Regardless of your Hy-Vee proximity, taking the step to menu plan will save you time, money, and headaches. If you try one thing off this week’s menu, it’s hard, but I’d say try the Farm Fresh Quesadillas. No, the Homemade Chicken Nuggets. Oh, nope maybe the Mini Ham and Cheese Sliders. Ok, they are all yummy. Enjoy!

P.S. Did you know you can have these menu plans emailed to you to weekly? All you have to do is sign up here.

A Video Tour Through Rachel’s Freezer: Healthy Recipes + Money Saving Ideas!

A video tour through Rachel's deep freezer, including tons of healthy freezer recipes and money-saving tips.

My 4th grade son is all about watching unboxing videos on YouTube these days, especially when comes to Rubik’s cubes. It’s a whole new universe for me. Who even knew “cubing” was a thing? Anyway, it got me thinking that it could be fun to do my own version of an “unboxing” video. Except, mine is a peek into my freezer.

I’ve been working hard in the New Year at restocking (and organizing) my freezer so we can eat healthy and eat at home all together, as much as possible. Here’s a quick 5 minute look at what freezer meals I’ve been stashing away and some super simple tips for cutting down on food waste (which means saving money!).

Links to all the recipes from the blog that I mention are below. Let’s take a look into my ice box now, shall we?

Publishing a Cookbook: Photography (Part One)

As promised, we are doing our best to keep you in the loop with our upcoming cookbook that is set to be released this fall. So far we have shared about:

1. What our cookbook is all about

2. The First Steps to Publishing a Cookbook

3. Editors and Closing Day

4. Recipe Development

We are now tackling a topic that we get the most questions about: photography!

This was a fun, yet surprisingly exhausting part of the project. There was a lot to it, so I’m going to break it down into two different posts: Part One: Lifestyle Photoshoots and Part Two: Recipe Photoshoots

Lifestyle Photoshoots 

Since we had a lot to cover in these lifestyle shoots, we actually broke it up into two different days. I’ll let Rachel tell you about our first shoot here…