Dinner: A Love Story [Cookbook Review]

Posted 31 January, 2015 by Trish in In the Kitchen, Mommyhood / 15 Comments

Dinner: A Love StoryTitle: Dinner: A Love Story
Author: Jenny Rosenstratch
Published: 2012 Pages: 336
Food Type: Family Friendly (but varied)
Rating: Total Adoration with a caveat

On Amazon | On Goodreads | On Indiebound

In Short: Half memoir, half cookbook – Jenny Rosenstratch takes a look at the evolution of her dinner table from before her two kids, during the baby years, through the time when dinner magic finally occurred. She and her husband (but mostly Jenny) also write a blog of the same title.

The Layout: I’ve owned this book for two years and found it absolutely overwhelming. When flipping through the book, it’s tough to find order to the recipes included (and there’s no index in the beginning that lists the recipes in order). I made a few interesting sounding dishes and they were OK but not mindblowing. My love for DALS came when I finally sat down with the book and read it cover to cover more as a memoir than a cookbook. Jenny takes her reader on a journey from when she and her husband courted and started their dinner tradition all the way to their current dinners with two middle age daughters.

While it still makes it difficult to pick up the book and just flip to a recipe, reading through the book in its entirety helped give the story and recipes flow and I found myself loving the look at Jenny’s family dinners. I don’t agree with all of her suggestions–for example she fed her kids separate or dumbed down meals until they were over three–often eating dinner with her husband after the kids went to bed. This is not how we roll in our house. We all eat almost the same foods and certainly all at the same time. By the time the girls go to bed (around 8), I do not want to be eating a separate meal. I want the kitchen to be entirely clean so that I can just sit down and relax.

Dinner: A Love Story

What I did love, though, was Jenny’s very frank discussion of motherhood, as a working mom and later as a more flex-work at home mom. It is exhausting, but it can be so rewarding. And while my kiddos are too young to be involved in activities in the evenings, I do greatly value the time at the dinner table and hope to continue to make it an important part of our daily routine for as much as I can. I loved the photographs that show real life. I loved her humor, her philosophy of getting everyone (especially) the littles involved, and her suggestions for how to make it all work.

There’s too much to talk about here. Pick up a copy from the library and browse through it, but if you buy a copy, do yourself a favor and actually read through it. I think you’ll appreciate the book on a much higher level.

What I made: And here’s the caveat. I didn’t love everything that I cooked. Mostly the chicken recipes. I struggle so much cooking flavorful and tender chicken breasts that I just don’t do it very often. We did have some homeruns, though, and several that I still have bookmarked to make. There is a TON of variety in this book!

Left: Bacony Chicken and Brussels Sprouts. Chicken lacked flavor and I’m the only one who eats Brussels sprouts. Whatevs.

Middle: Pork Ragu. Amazing. I froze half of it so we’ll see how it thaws. Plus, have I mentioned how much love my new Dutch Oven? Recipe on DALS Website

Right: Great Grandma Turano’s Meatballs (and sauce). Delicious and we had enough meatballs to freeze. Next time I’ll make more sauce to freeze. Recipe on DALS Website

Dinner: A Love Story

Also, Baked Chicken in Creamy Tomato Sauce (sauce was good, chicken was meh), and Chicken and Orzo Soup (good!). Seems like there should be more but my copy is in the other room.

Bottom Line: I have so much more to cook from in this book! But I’m so glad to have taken the time to sit down and read through this like a book. I absolutely recommend it to parents of young ones, but I think this book has pretty wide appeal.

 Are you familiar with Dinner: A Love Story? Do you have any family dinner time tricks?





Linking up with:

ook it up Challenge - small

I read and cooked from Dinner: A Love Story as part of Cook it Up: A Cookbook Challenge. The idea of the challenge is to dust off your cookbooks and put them to use. Link up the first Saturday monthly on Love, Laughter, Insanity.



weekend cookingEvery weekend, Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking.  “Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs.”  Hope you’ll join the fun!


Tags: ,


Day in the Life as a Working Mom

Posted 29 January, 2015 by Trish in Life, Mommyhood / 28 Comments

day in the life


Several months ago I did an installment of A Day In the Life as a Stay at Home Mom. When I wrote the post I knew that I was going to be going back to work full-time. Once our routine fell into place I started thinking about recording a typical day. Except the holidays. And then lots of sick days. Or days when I wouldn’t remember until I was already at work. I finally recorded a morning and then at 10:00 got a call from the school to come pick up Elle because she was under the weather. Figures! So the pictures below are actually a mixture of two mornings.

All in all the below represents a fairly typical day for us. I am blessed to have a super flexible work arrangement–though every day seems to be an internal struggle between getting to work at a decent time and being able to eat breakfast with the girls. We should get up earlier in the morning, but…well…we’re working on it. Sort of.

The following is from Monday, January 19th. It is decidedly a much more boring day than when we were all at home…  And for the record, Elle is almost 4 and Evie is 17 months.

7:25 – Up and in shower. Admittedly this is much later than I would like to be getting out of bed, but most times laziness and those extra five minutes of sleep win. Especially on a Monday morning. I can’t remember what time Scott left for work, but it’s while I’m getting ready. Many mornings Elle comes downstairs while I’m getting ready–or I’ll have Scott go get her so it’s one less thing I have to potentially wrangle with in the mornings.

7:55 – I’m finished getting ready (which really just includes pulling my hair up since I didn’t wash it today, brushing my teeth, and putting on a bit of makeup). Elle is still not downstairs so I head up to wake her up. I take her back downstairs where I quickly get her dressed, put her into bed with her milk and a TV show (lately she’s been loving Octonauts and Chuggington on Netflix).

day in the life 1

Run back upstairs to give Evie her milk (she’s still fast asleep as well). I rock her while she drinks her milk and then I change her.

8:10 – Everyone is downstairs again and I prepare breakfast and get lunches together. Both the girls want oatmeal (well, Evie didn’t say as much but she usually wants what Elle has).

8:25 – I sit down to eat. I have banana and peanut butter on toast. Honestly I’m not sure how it takes me 15 minutes to get lunches packed and breakfast made (it’s instant oatmeal). The girls have a headstart, though Elle is the slowest eater ever. I have to set a timer to get her into gear. I eat quickly and start taking things out to the car and make sure everyone is wiped down and has shoes and a jacket on.

day in the life 2

8:38 – Leave home. I feel pretty good about this considering our late start. It’s still not ideal. I drop off Elle first (she cries and clings on to me) and then Evie. Evie is hit or miss–sometimes she cries when I leave and sometimes she doesn’t. I love all of the girls’ teachers, though.

day in the life 3

8:54 – In the car. Exhale. Take a sip of hot coffee. And audiobook time!! I’m currently listening to No Land’s Man by Aasif Mandvi.

9:16 – At work. Work. Group meeting. Eventually eat lunch (SmartOnes freezer meal, though I try to take leftovers if I have any) and catch up on some blogging/blogs because my Nook is dead. Of course. Work. Pretend to work. Working on CE courses. Group meeting…which ends up running really really long.

day in the life 4

4:45 – Leave office. I actually usually leave a few minutes before 4:45, but since the meeting went long it was the soonest I could get out.

5:02 – Get the girls. I always get Evie first and she’s usually thrilled to see me. Then we go get Elle and she usually is not thrilled to see me. Even despite her protestations in the morning.

5:23 – Home! Scott isn’t home yet and it’s nice outside so we play for a little bit. I don’t remember exactly, but Scott probably got home around 5:35? Fairly typical.

day in the life 5

5:45 – I start on dinner. I won’t admit to you what we ate for dinner except for the roasted veggies. I try really hard to limit the amount of processed foods that we eat and to make as much as I can from scratch, but occasionally I don’t win. Scott plays outside with the girls a bit while I prep the veggies and then he comes in to make the “main dish.” Mostly because I don’t care for this “Hawaiian steak” and don’t plan to eat it.

day in the life 6

6:30 – sit down and eat dinner. I always mean to eat before 6:30, but it never ever ever works out. By this time Evie is usually a grumpy mess (who we’ve been feeding bits of prepared dinner or snacks) and it takes Elle freaking forever to eat her dinner (often with a timer involved or a bit of bribery).

Sometime in between…  I get up to clear the dishes (Elle usually helps me with this) and wash up. We break into an unopened Christmas gift of a musical instrument set. We sing and make a ruckus and Evie gathers up everything she can find and puts it in a bag (I discover this bag a day later which includes half an orange and some roasted carrots…). I tidy the kitchen while Scott wipes down all of the surfaces and puts leftovers away. I make the lunches for tomorrow (I take the girls lunch every day–not by choice. They get a meat, fruit, cheese, and applesauce. Everyday. Well, sometimes pasta in lieu of the meat. I loathe coming up with lunch ideas).

day in the life 7

7:37 – Upstairs! Usually we aim to have the girls IN bed by 7:30 (or at least almost in bed), but since tonight isn’t a bathnight we have a bit of leeway. Scott gets Evie in her jammies while I coax Elle to do her bathroom duties and brush her teeth. Then Scott gets her jammies on while Evie “brushes” her teeth.

day in the life 9

7:50 – Scott reads a story to Elle while I give Evie some milk and sing her a song. No lie, she requests “Let it Go” by holding her hand up in the air and singing GO! over and over. Sometimes Evie will cuddle with me and sometimes she’s squirmy, so putting her to bed is usually pretty quick. She doesn’t like to be read to before bedtime (sad face).

7:57 – I hope into bed with Elle and she decides she wants to read the Peter Pan golden book (I agree to read half of it). Before I get started reading, though, we have a quick conversation about what it means to be a good friend. She complains a lot about her friends being mean to her so I’ve been trying to stress ways that SHE can be a nice friend to others. Sigh. We end with as many kisses as I can steal. My heart cries a bit when she tells me she doesn’t want my Mommy Germs. I assure her that mommies never have germs.

day in the life 8

8:10 – Wine poured! Book opened! I’m reading Dinner: A Love Story while Scott watches Top Gear. Normally I find it difficult to read while he’s watching Top Gear (it really is quite entertaining), but I’m totally totally engrossed with DALS.

8:16 – Elle comes down because Daddy forgot to give her a kiss. It is rare that she goes to bed and stays in bed. I ask her for a kiss before Scott takes her back up to bed and she reminds me that I already got my kisses. Sigh. Shockingly she doesn’t come down again–I’m guessing that this is because Monday wore her out.

More reading of DALS.

day in the life 10

9:43 – I mindlessly scroll FB and twitter before realizing that I’ve just sucked up several minutes and I could be in bed with my book.

10:06 – Get in bed with my book. Yes, with a Breathe Right strip on my nose. I sleep with one of these most nights as I seem to be perpetually congested in the nighttime. I’m reading Sister Carrie by Theordore Dreiser.

10:24 – Scott comes to bed and turns on the TV and my reading mind doesn’t feel like competing. Lights out….


Wake up and do it all over again…


Tags: ,


Book Picks for Book Club

Posted 27 January, 2015 by Trish in Reading Nook / 30 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday

Book Club. Oh how in a perfect world I love you! I’m not currently in a book club (insert tears here) and I miss being part of a book club. In the past year I lost both my work book club and my “bookstore” book club. I loved loved loved getting together and gabbing–mostly about books and sometimes not about books. However, when it came time to choosing a book to read as a group, I often found that I wanted to read what I wanted to read and wasn’t always so enthusiastic about some of the books others picked. Though, truly, Dear John by James Patterson did provide a surprisingly excellent book club discussion. No joke.

What makes a good book club book? I’ve found that we’ve had the best discussion over books that push personal boundaries and even those that aren’t ones that everyone loves. Though I am a firm believer that the first question at book club should never be “So, what did y’all think about the book?”  Some great book club books that we’ve had include East of Eden by John Steinbeck, Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (we talked about this one for months after the initial discussion!), A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, and The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. Honestly, sometimes you don’t know if you have a winner until you’ve all met as a group–even the group dynamics can greatly influence how discussion goes!

Today the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish have asked us what we would love to read with our book club. I’m separating this into two categories–the first includes books I’ve already read but wish that I could have discussed them with a group.


Books I Wish I Read with a Bookclub

book club books

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell – To be fair I did read this one as an online readalong, but I would have loved to get together with a group and hashed this one out. The structure of the book is so different and lends itself to lots of discussion!

Quiet by Susan Cain – Nonfiction! Quiet is all about introversion–and you’re either an introvert, partial introvert, or know one. I can see Quiet leading to lots of great personal discussion.

Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald – This novel has many heavy and difficult themes–perfect discussion pieces for a group.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver – Multiple narrators, unreliable narrators, postcolonial themes. So much to chat about in this chunkster. I would gladly re-read The Poisonwood Bible with a book club.

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss – Again, lots to discuss in The History of Love. It wasn’t one that I loved immediately, but it punched me in the end. Plus multiple perspectives–seems to be a win for book groups.


Books I Would Love to Read with a Bookclub

book club books

Ok, Ok. If you’ve read more than a few book posts from me, you probably could guess that I know very little about these five books. So, my reasons for wanting to read them with a group are that they all seem like they would be interesting and varied reads that stretch the mind and provide a lot of food for thought. This was my problem when I was in a book club: Them: “Trish, why do you choose that book?” Me: “Because bloggers really love it?” Them: “What’s it about?” Me: “Hmmmm, I dunno.” #truestory

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

White Teeth by Zadie Smith

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

But really–I’m guessing that all five are amazing reads. Also, insert any Adichie or Atwood here. I can’t speak to the others as they would be first author reads for me.

What would you love to read with a book club? If you’re part of a book club, which book sparked the best discussion for your group?



Tags: ,


Um, Ya…So.

Posted 25 January, 2015 by Trish in Life / 30 Comments




This is me, not really wanting to write a post. Except that I missed yesterday’s Weekend Cooking post (which I totally had planned!) and I’m afraid that if I miss another then I’ll miss another and then I’ll miss another. I’ve been in a bit of a blogging funk of late. Likely because I let myself be overwhelmed time and again. You would think that after eight years I would have a good system down, but nah.

And to top it all off my blog stats have been in the dumps. And I can’t figure out why the heck this should weigh on me so much. So what if my only visitors are the ones who are stopping in to actually say hi? That’s good, isn’t it? So…I’m going to try to just not look at all for a month and see how that does. Nevermind that everytime I log into WP it tells me…  But really, I don’t want to care. I don’t! Ok, I do. But I don’t! I shouldn’t let silly numbers dictate my blogging.

So basically I’m just trying to convince myself that I do want to write a blog post. And that maybe just typing out these words will give me the kick in the butt that I need. Really I think I’m just having one of those existential blogging moments WHAT IS IT ALL FOR?! #headdesk

The below was taken on January 11th. The first time I got the girls “dolled” up and put them in front of the tree. This is almost the best picture we got. The best picture we got needs to be edited so that I can remove the snot from below Evie’s nose. So.



Um, that’s it.


sunday monday reading


…linking up to Kimba’s Caffeinated Book Reviewer and Sheila’s Book Journey

Books Recently Finished: I finally finished reading through Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach. Yes, I read the entire cookbook (which is really more of a memoir) like a book. And I loved it. The recipes have been hit or miss for me but the actual book has all of my adoration. I also finished listening to No Land’s Man by Aasif Mandvi. Loved his narration and it’s going to be a tough audiobook to follow! Not sure what I’ll listen to next.

New Books in the House: I ordered Once Upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers based on Rhapsody Jill’s glowing review. We haven’t read it all the way through yet (the humor is a little old for Elle), but we picked a few letters and read the stories and it’s a delight.

New Books on my E-Reader: When was the last time I told y’all about new ebook orders? Sigh. The Luminaries, The Bone Season, The Memory of Love, and The Southern Reach Trilogy. And Sister Carrie. I know. I suck.

Books on the Nightstand: Even though I kind of want to, I will not cheat on Sister Carrie (by Theodore Dreiser). I’m about 62% in and am still quite surprised at how readable the book is…but boy is it long! Especially when you can only read a chapter (or a couple percentages) a night. Now that I’m between audios I’ve been thinking about listening to this one (on Librivox, which can be pretty hit or miss), but we’ll see.

Sister Carrie

So what’s the good word today? What’s on your agenda? I plan to do a little Sister Carrie reading and maybe work on some quilting. I’ve been dying to cut into a new project!




TV Bingefest

TV Bingefest

Remember when you wanted to watch a television show but you weren’t going to be home during the scheduled time? Before DVR and TiVO. Before Netflix and On Demand. You know, having to grab a VHS tape and making sure that you had your time correct on the VCR. And heaven forbid that you recorded over another show that you hadn’t yet watched! Just me? Surely not. But I do remember that when we got […]

Posted 22 January, 2015 by Trish in Life / 33 Comments

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

Title: Tiny Beautiful Things Author: Cheryl Strayed Published: 2012; Pages: 353 Genre: Advice/Memoir/Self-Help Rating: And then my heart burst with all the feels On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible In Short: “Advice on love and life from Dear Sugar” (Dear Sugar was an advice column on The Rumpus and was originally anonymously written by Strayed as Sugar). Why I Read Tiny Beautiful Things: I had heard this book mentioned here and […]

Posted 20 January, 2015 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 29 Comments

Determining Favorite Authors

Determining Favorite Authors

Certain bookish questions make me a little nervous when asked–namely “What is your favorite book?” or “Who is your favorite author?” I recently saw a banner on Pinterest that said choosing a favorite book is like choosing a favorite child…except there are many many more books to choose from than I have children. How can I pick just one? Is it possible to have just one favorite book or one favorite author? And what if […]

Posted 18 January, 2015 by Trish in Reading Nook / 31 Comments

To Be a Helicopter or Free Range Mom?

To Be a Helicopter or Free Range Mom?

“What are you thoughts on how “on top” of your toddlers/children you should be? Are you a helicopter parent or are you on the other side of the spectrum where the children run free with minimal supervision?” Raise your hand if you often feel like you have no idea what you’re doing. Hopefully I wasn’t the only one who cautiously looked around and timidly raised my hand. Um, because 90% of the time I have […]

Posted 15 January, 2015 by Trish in Life, Mommyhood / 31 Comments

Bag of Bones by Stephen King

Bag of Bones by Stephen King

Title: Bag of Bones Author/Narrator: Stephen King Published: 1998; Pages: 752 Audio Duration: 21 hr, 21 min Genre: Fiction/Thriller? Rating: Good storytelling, but not a King favorite of mine On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible Bag of Bones In Short: A man grieving over the loss of his wife returns to their summer cottage and becomes entangled in a young single mother’s custody battle over her young daughter. Plus a […]

Posted 13 January, 2015 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 20 Comments

Tallying Book Stats the Easy Way

Tallying Book Stats the Easy Way

  Hello Hello!! Have you all survived the first third of the first month of the new year?? What–you don’t want me to remind you of how quickly time is going? Ok, ok. Raise your hand if you’ve finished your first book of the year! No need to tell me if you’ve already finished half a dozen…show off. ;) I finally finished Tiny Beautiful Things last week and when I was entering my numbers into […]

Posted 11 January, 2015 by Trish in Reading Nook / 38 Comments