I bought my first cookbook when I was in the 3rd grade, from the book fair at school. I was 9 years old. The first recipe I made was Big Bad Wolf's Brownies on page 74 of Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Cookbook. It was at about that age that I realized I could cook stuff. I didn't have to wait for anyone to help me. If I wanted brownies, I had the capability to make brownies! And it really wasn't that hard.
Around that same time, I had my mom enroll me in a microwave cooking class at our local recreation center. It seems funny now, but 30 years ago microwave cooking was all the rage! I learned to make hot dogs and nachos and spaghetti and, I want to say, some sort of odd not-grilled grilled cheese. No vegetables though. I learned how to make zero vegetables in my microwave cooking class, which is also funny to me.
I especially loved cooking for my parents. I would always surprise them with breakfast in bed. The first time I made blueberry muffins I didn't realize you had to drain the blueberries from the little can that comes in boxed muffin mix. I burst into their room to surprise them with pipping hot BLUE blueberry muffins! The first time I made tuna, I didn't know you were supposed to drain the tuna. Oops! That time I was surprising my mom with homemade lunch. She was so sweet and totally stomached her way through tuna salad sandwiched between two very soggy pieces of white bread.
Some things I would make from scratch with a recipe, some things I would just follow directions from a box and others I would just try to emulate what I had seen my mom do. Those were the meals I loved best. A meal I had prepared all from memory of watching my mom do it so many times. Tacos, spaghetti, roast, tater tot casserole, chicken and rice... and her favorite... bundt cakes.
In those early years, Big Bad Wolf's Brownies were still the most frequently made dessert. The ingredients were pretty much staples in our house and I had done it so many times that I had the recipe memorized. In a deep, wolf like voice, my sister and I would run around the house saying "Big Bad Wolf's Brownies" over and over until they were finished baking.
Making them for this story was the first time I had made them in probably 25 years. They are just brownies, y'all. Just straight up, no frills, gooey chocolate brownies. The ingredients are simple and if a 9 year old can do it... surely you can ;)
I took this picture with glasses of milk but if I'm being honest... it would have been a can of Dr Pepper when I was a kid. That was a staple in our house too!
I love snack mix. I love snacking but I specifically love snack mix. I used to buy snack mix from the store, eat everything I liked from the mix and then be done with it. This was silly. About that time, Chex brand cereal started to print the recipe for Chex Mix on the back of all of their boxes. So, I began making my own chex mix from their recipe. I soon realized I was still putting all of those things in the mix that I didn't want! I was just following the recipe and still picking out all if the things that weren't my fave.
By this time, I was older and wiser and incredibly more confident and independent so I decided to make snack mix with ONLY THE THINGS I WANT IN IT! Y'all... game changer!
Until now, I had never really written this recipe down. I had just made it and added a little more of this and that each time. I'm sure I will still do that because I always find different snacks that I want in the mix. But for your benefit, I created the actual recipe for Melissa Tate's Homemade Snack Mix.
Oh, also, I recorded my first IGTV episode for this recipe! If you're on Instagram, take a look at it! I'm sort of digging the IGTV!
Fresh Peach Ice Cream is a perfect way to celebrate summer and make some sweetness from your harvest... if you have a peach tree! If purchasing from the store, you will need about 30-35 peaches or approximately 10 pounds.
Farmers markets are also some of my favorite places to buy fresh produce... and you support local!
Check out the recipe below and make sure your ice cream maker is frozen and ready... I may or may not have made my ice cream mixture and poured it into an unfrozen ice cream maker. MAY or MAY NOT!
And if you'd like to hear more of my words about step parenting hop on over to the blog section for the full post.
My first ever Sunday Offering to you! Every Sunday, I will give you something. Maybe a recipe, maybe a word of encouragement... whatever I have at the end/beginning of my week, to give you. Just like Sunday offering at church, sometimes you have a little to give, sometimes you have a lot to give... and sometimes you don't even make it to church! I have a good one for today because it helps to utilize some kitchen strays and it makes a meal!
At the end of the week, we always have these random things in the refrigerator. A half eaten rotisserie chicken, half an onion, some random baby carrots, a zucchini that I'm not really sure why I even bought and of course, some stale tortilla chips. Over the winter, I decided to make something out of these leftovers and it has turned into one of my favorite and easiest recipes. You can really use anything but these are the things I had!
This jam is so super easy... and if you happen to have a plum tree, it is the best way to preserve your harvest.
(Is that a pun? I think it is?)
Anyways, if buying plums from the store, you will want to get about 5 pounds. If picking fresh, just get what you can and adjust the sugar to accommodate the amount of fruit you get.
We ended up with 8 cups of fruit from this bushel of plums.
The recipe is below! And if you're in the mood for cute pictures of Ethan picking plums and lots of vulnerability from this step mom... hop on over to the home page for the full blog post.