Author Archive: Rachel

  • 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.

    Chocolate Chip Blondies

    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. What are blondies? Well, if a brownie and a chocolate chip cookie made a baby, you …Read More

  • 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.

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

    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 …Read More

  • Real Food Menu Plan for January 9-15: Easy and delicious meal ideas that the whole family will love. Posted every Friday at Thriving Home.

    “Real Food Meets Reality” Menu Plan: January 9-15

    The New Year means a renewed commitment to eating healthier for many of us. This week I’m sneaking in loads of veggies and fruit into our menu plan with the likes of Cancer Fighting Soup, Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal (like apple pie for breakfast!), and Slow Cooker Whole Chicken and Veggies. Even the Mini Italian …Read More

  • One Small Change to Save Money and Waste {Plus a Mighty Deal for You!}

    Sponsored by MightyNest Small changes around the house can really start to add up when it comes to living healthier, saving money, and preserving our environment this year. But, sometimes it’s hard to know where to even start, right? One small but very doable change we’re both working toward is ditching the paper towels and using reusable dish …Read More

  • Real Food Menu Plan for Dec. 26-Jan 1: Easy and delicious meal ideas that the whole family will love. Posted every Friday at Thriving Home.

    “Real Food Meets Reality” Menu Plan: December 26-January 1

    I hope you’re enjoying the holiday break. For my post-Christmas plan, I’m focusing on some warm, cozy family favorites to keep the everyone happy over break. One surprisingly simple yet delicious meal is the Turkey, Pesto, and Swiss Paninis. Give those a try if you haven’t yet. P.S. Did you know you can have these menu plans emailed …Read More

  • Jesus' Birthday Cake

    A Birthday Party for Jesus on Christmas Night

    When the gift opening frenzy is over, all toys have been played with, and everyone has sufficiently stuffed themselves on Christmas dinner..there’s still one more Christmas tradition my children can’t wait for each year: our birthday party for Jesus on Christmas night. I love that our celebration ends with setting our hearts on the true meaning …Read More

  • “Will you and Daddy ever get divorced?”

    “Will you and Daddy ever get divorced?” My 6-year-old’s anxious question pierced my heart. It wasn’t the first time one of my children had asked this of me. I remember asking my parents that same question around his age. How do I want to respond his question? What does my child want me to say? “Never, …Read More

  • Real Food Menu Plan for Dec. 12-18: Easy and delicious meal ideas that the whole family will love. Posted every Friday at Thriving Home.

    “Real Food Meets Reality” Menu Plan: December 12-18

    Meatballs are a win every time in our house, so this week I’m doubling the recipe and creating two meals out of them. Do my kids need to know they are loaded with sneaky spinach and other vegetables? Nope. Then, I’m looking forward to trying out a new recipe from a food blogger I really …Read More

  • Real Food Menu Plan for Dec. 5-11: Easy and delicious meal ideas that the whole family will love. Posted every Friday at Thriving Home.

    “Real Food Meets Reality” Menu Plan: December 5-11

    Happy December! In the midst of pre-holiday chaos, a menu plan can help keep your sanity and keep your family eating well through the holidays. This week I’m going easy on Monday and Tuesday with some 15 minute meals. Then, later in the week, I’m making a super simple, comforting recipe my husband’s mom taught me …Read More

  • Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal (For a Crowd)

    We are baked oatmeal fanatics around here, as you may know. Both my kids and Polly’s kids eat the stuff by bushels. I find myself making the Brownie Baked Oatmeal repeatedly, while Polly probably makes the original Baked Oatmeal with Fruit recipe the most. But, all the baked oatmeal recipes on here are worth trying. …Read More

  • Real Food Menu Plan for November 28-Dec 4: Easy and delicious meal ideas that the whole family will love. Posted every Friday at Thriving Home.

    “Real Food Meets Reality” Menu Plan: Nov 28-Dec 4

    Sponsored by Hy-Vee (Columbia). Our family enjoyed the holiday respite and over-the-top good food, but it’s time to get back to the “real food meets reality” basics. This week, I’m focusing on some leaner dinner options like Hearty Vegetable Soup and Baked Chicken, but also throwing in some old family favorites like Beefy Baked Ravioli and …Read More

  • Simple and Delicious Boiled Baby Potatoes

    Simple and Delicious Boiled Baby Potatoes

    Looking for a incredibly simple side dish for the holidays? Although these boiled baby (or new) potatoes take very little work and ingredients, they look stunning and will please everyone at the table. I also make these for weeknight meals along with dishes such as Oven Fried Parmesan Chicken Tenders, Slow Cooker Balsamic Shredded Beef, …Read More

  • “Real Food Meets Reality” Menu Plan: November 14-20

    Sponsored by Hy-Vee (Columbia). This week on the menu it’s back to the slow cooker for a delicious, vegetarian lasagna (yes, it works in the crockpot!) and my favorite pot roast recipe. Plus, your family will love you forever and ever if you make them Blueberry Pumpkin Baked French Toast for dinner one night. As …Read More

  • Real Food Menu Plan for November 7-13: Easy and delicious meal ideas that the whole family will love. Posted every Friday at Thriving Home.

    “Real Food Meets Reality” Menu Plan: November 7-13

    Sponsored by Hy-Vee (Columbia). We aren’t fancy eaters around here, but we do like home-cooked meals that are easy and made mostly with whole food ingredients. Italian Baked Meatballs, Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken, and Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes are evidence of our “real food meets reality” philosophy in this week’s menu plan. I think you’re going to …Read More

  • Real Food Menu Plan for October 31-November 6: Easy and delicious meal ideas that the whole family will love. Posted every Friday at Thriving Home.

    “Real Food Meets Reality” Menu Plan: October 31-November 6

    Sponsored by Hy-Vee (Columbia). My favorite menu this week is on Halloween night! Take a look at all the festive treats I have planned. Then, the award for easiest, crowd-pleasing recipe goes to Cheesy Baked Spinach Tortellini on Tuesday night. Always a winner around here. P.S. Did you know you can have these menu plans emailed …Read More

  • Hy-Vee's Market Grille restaurant pleasantly surprised us in 5 ways.

    5 Ways Market Grille Surprised Us

     Sponsored by Hy-Vee Columbia. If you’re a mid-Missouri local, this post is for you. Maybe you heard that two of the Hy-Vee stores in Columbia have now opened a restaurant called Market Grille. And, maybe like me, you were skeptical when you first heard it. A restaurant in a grocery store? Really? Why would I go …Read More