Never have I ever been a night or morning person, run a marathon, or liked queso. Drippy cheese is not my thing despite growing up in Texas (home of the best Tex Mex and queso), despite growing up with a mom who made queso with Rotel tomatoes, despite marrying into a family that tops their tacos with white queso. After being away for two years, I flew to Texas twice in the span of two weeks, consuming a diet of chips and salsa like a bear before winter. Never have I ever liked queso until Austin, TX at Picnik over a bowl of creamy vegan queso and almond flour tortilla chips with my sister. That’s when it all changed. Read more

family style chicken gyro salad from the faux martha

Twice a year, on cue, I clumsily transition from winter to summer cooking and back again, as if I’ve never cooked through it all before. Fall and spring are such short blips, I count them out in the bulk of my mental meal planning, though I consume as many red ripe strawberries as a spring can produce. It’s June, and the amnesia of summer cooking is slowly wearing off. It’s that season where the majority of the meal can be eaten raw and served out of a single bowl to be passed around the table family style, like communion, like a bag of unnaturally yellow movie theater popcorn, like a tall bottle of opened red wine. It’s a holy time unless I forget to set the chicken aside from the Family Style Chicken Gyro Salad. Hallie, my tiny vegetarian, protests loudly. Maybe that, too, is holy. We say amen, cheers, and eat together outside on a 65°F evening. Read more

The first year we moved into our urban lot, I started a vegetable garden knowing next to nothing. “Don’t worry Kev, I’ve got this.” I planted in May, where the sun stuck to that sunny sliver running along the driveway, when the snowglobe promised to stop shaking, when the plant store was flooded with humans again. By June, the sun slid high into the sky and stayed there for the rest of the season, throwing complete shade at my small vegetable garden. Despite all odds, produce produced, and Hal learned that food comes from the dirt that summer. The next year, though, I packed up my expensive idea, splintered cedar, and trellis, leaving it on the curb for another optimist, hopefully an optimist with some sun in her garden. Read more

Homemade Corn Tortillas

It’s Friday. And by Friday afternoon, we have, what Daniel Tiger calls, mixed up feelings. Tired from the week yet excited for the weekend, with a nearly empty fridge, but an always stocked pantry. What will we make of it? Isn’t that always the question? We pull out the bag of masa from the pantry. Add a generous pinch of salt and some warm water. And somehow, we make something special out of our scraps, enough to yield a thrill, a delicious dinner, and homemade corn tortillas on a Friday night. Enough to remind me of my teenage weekends growing up in Texas—steamy tortillas, crispy chips, smoky salsa, and a hot sizzling skillet around the restaurant table with my family. Read more

cleaner skin care and makeup from the faux martha

Years ago, I started to think about what I was putting in my body—food. Lots of years later, that question morphed into what I was putting on my body. I gave myself a parameter, that once cleaner skin care started showing up at Target, a place I could easily return things if they didn’t work out, I would give it a go. The day has come; it came. And it feels like I’ve tried it all, outside the new line they just launched. You’ll have to let me know what you think because I’m officially, mostly, done with the process of converting to cleaner skin care and makeup. And what a process it’s been. Read more

Spicy Zucchini Spaghetti recipe

Kev’s doing a 34-day fitness program, which includes changing up your macros, your carb intake. I’ve been a little grumpy about it all. Mostly because I’ve had to change my cooking habits. Let me clarify. I didn’t have to change a thing. “Mel, you don’t have to change a thing. I can eat around what you serve,” he said. But I’m the dinner maker around these parts. He does the laundry. Dinner is my job. And dinner is communal. And we sit together at the table to eat, eating mostly the same thing. I can change my dinner-making rhythm for 34 days, for Kev, I told myself. It hasn’t been without a grumble or two. Read more

Make Ahead Thai Mango Salad from The Faux Martha

After eating my way through a couple diets in my late teens and early 20s, I now have one mantra for feeding myself—lead with vegetables. I’ve heard this advice a thousand ways over the past 10 years. From Michael Pollan who said, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” And from Bringing Up Bébé, where a French mother recounts putting vegetables on the dinner table first to feed the grumbling children begging to eat. (Maybe she didn’t say grumbling. Maybe only mine grumbles?) Let them fill up on that, she said, before setting down the next course, which has led me to believe that a 2-course meal does not need to be fancy. For us, that looks like a salad before pasta or pizza. For me, that looks like a salad before dinner, at lunchtime. And a salad at lunch only really happens if I prep in advance. So I’ve added this Make Ahead Thai Mango Salad to the menu.  Read more

Well, the verdict is…still out for us. To hire deep cleaners a couple times a year or do it ourselves? That is still the question. At a minimum, we will be maintenance cleaning over here, which means we need to keep our cleaning supplies around. But what supplies do you actually need? Are they reusable and durable? User-friendly and efficient? Affordable and effective? Compact and easy to store? Below is a list of the cleaning supplies I’ve landed on to make this mundane task of cleaning more doable + a giveaway from OXO. Read more

 
 
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