Chili Lime Chickpeas

It’s late August and that pit in my stomach is settling in again. The very first of the leaves have started to fall. It’s most noticeable in the backyard. Like a greying beard, I’ve spotted tiny patches of color change along our tree-lined streets. The sun, that sits so high in the sky throughout the summer, is dipping lower and lower. And the late sunset we boast about living this far north is no longer a topic of conversation. This is also the time of year when summer squash and hearty winter squash line the grocery shelves at the same time. And when the apple trees are heavy with fruit. It’s happening. Read more

Italian Raspberry Cheesecake Popsicles

“We have been warned that ordinary is less than, a sign of inferiority, an indicator that so much more awaits if we could just get the mix right. But the truth is, most of life is pretty ordinary, so it is precisely inside the ordinary elements…—career, parenting, change, marriage, community, suffering, the rhythms of faith, disappointment, being a good neighbor, being a good human—that an extraordinary life exists.” I had just finished giving the start of my speech about finding beauty in the ordinary by putting down your iPhone when this quote from Jen Hatmaker’s book, Of Mess and Moxie, popped up on my screen. I was looking at Facebook in my office, the same place I was delivering my speech to a crowd of one—myself. There’s something oddly cathartic about hearing your thoughts spoken. But it should be noted: I could never be a public speaker. I need backspace too much. Read more

Easy Pasta

“Hey Melissa, we have some exciting news! Will you send me your email address?” The message was in my Facebook inbox from Ian who works at Saveur. This must be the meanest scam ever, I thought. I sent my address anyways. In my email inbox the next morning was the craziest email of my career. I guess that’s what you call this thing. A career. “Congratulations, you are a finalist for the Best Style & Design Blog category for the 2017 Saveur Blog Awards.” My hands trembled. They’re still trembling. I took a screenshot of the email as proof and sent it to Kev and my sister. Read more

“What are you in the middle of?” my neighbor asked at one of our recent happy hours. In our tiny pocket of houses, where the streets come together like spokes on wheel, homes line only one side of the street. With a city address, we have plenty of privacy due to this street formation. But it’s not conducive to seeing your neighbor, unless you count the blurry sightings in the periphery. So a couple neighbors organized a permanent happy hour every third Thursday of the month. Women only. We sit across a table so we can actually see each other and answer question’s like: what are you in the middle of? Starting an Airbnb, hosting a graduation party, finding a new home for aging parents, writing a book, memorizing medical devices.  Read more

I seem to have my most “profound” thoughts after watching an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Though, maybe they’re the thoughts of Shonda Rhimes, spoken by the character Meredith Grey. Despite the tall story lines, Shonda manages to inject the shared realities of being human into the plot. I love, too, how circular she writes for the show. Each episode ends exactly where it begins. “Freezing, choking, getting tongue tied. It’s what we call it when your mind goes from brilliant to blank. You can prepare all you want. But the feeling can still hit you out of nowhere. So when it hits you, when your mind shuts down, when you open your mouth and no words come out, the good news is, it happens to all of us.” That’s how the episode begins, triggering another one of those profound thoughts. This time the mouthpiece was Jackson Avery. Read more

In April, I tackled the topic of How to Shop for Good Produce. It’s something we all do everyday, and yet, there’s a bit of an art to buying and storing great produce. This week we’re tackling the large topic of How to Shop the Farmers Market. This is a daunting post for me to write. I’ve been shopping the farmers market since I moved away from home, 9 years ago, and it still makes me nervous. The market is full of the unfamiliar. I’m leaving you with a couple tips that help me navigate the market, followed by two interviews with the experts—the farmers. I hope you add your tips to the conversation too!

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If you had told me that dinnertime would be one of the harder tasks to accomplish as a parent, I never would have believed you. Maybe it was because I was more worried about the lack of sleep. I am a monster at 2 am. But for years, literally four years, I’ve been clawing my way through dinnertime as a mother. I’m not a planner. In fact, planning makes me feel like I’ve lost all spontaneity in my life. And when you’re not all that spontaneous to begin with, it’s a huge loss.  Read more

When it rains, it pours. Sometimes hard enough to make the window well in your basement swell to the point of flooding. Sometimes so hard it requires all the towels in the house. Only then do you reach for a roll of Bounty, the quicker picker upper, because that’s all that’s left. Sometimes it storms so loud, the electricity shudders, administering a final blow to the ancient hard drive in your computer. Sometimes the farmers market gets rained out, and the farmers call their weeks worth of produce, of income, a wash. Read more