The funny thing about not having traveled anywhere in nearly a year ..
is that even the most ordinary of excursions would feel like a thrill right now.
I’d give anything to be planning another trip to New Orleans. All of the Waffle Houses I could eat at along the way(!) I'd love to wander around the French Quarter, sipping on a smoothie, browsing at Falkner books, and loading up on hot sauce for my husband. Turkey and Wolf's for dinner – possibly the Blue Cheese Wedge Salad? It's hard to go wrong ..
Maybe a long weekend to visit a friend in Iowa City? We could sit in the window and eat dumplings. Or spend an afternoon making pelmenis like her Russian grandmother.
Heck, even a day trip would be a luxury. I'm in the market for some new glasses and thought about driving to Minneapolis on a Saturday. (I ordered on-line instead).
While it's fun to follow their blogs, it's so much better to meet everyone in person and hear about the parts of their lives that they don't write about online. But until we're able to again, I've been doing the next best thing – cooking from their archives.
Today, I thought it would be fun to share a few of them here with you ..
Val Plagge at Corn, Pigs, Beans & Kids. You'll enjoy all the stories about life as a farmer, wife, volunteer, and mom of four (who taste-test all of her yummy recipes). If you haven't tried her ham balls, you're in for such a treat. They're truly an Iowa classic.
Jenni Ward's Gingered Whisk is a love letter to everyone attempting to raise adventurous eaters. If her Sourdough Chocolate Chip Cookies haven't drawn you in, her Family Eating Adventure Food Kits surely will.
Michelle Marine's Simplify, Live, Love is so much fun. There's a little something for everyone; homesteading, gardening tips and tricks, sustainable living, and recipes, like her Instant Pot Hamburger Soup. Not to mention her Instagram, which will make you want to sell everything you own and move to an Iowa homestead (complete with a peacock!)
Kristen at Iowa Girl Eats proves that gluten-free eating can be delicious and far from boring. I've been cooking from her site since my kids were in high-school. Her Copycat Chick-Fil-A-Bites have been a long-time favorite, as have her goulash and pot-sticker noodle bowls.
Linda Hindman's Siouxland Families is guaranteed to make you smile. Especially if you're a fan of weather like we've had lately (think sub-zero temps and lots of snow!) I couldn't help but smile at all of her ideas for snow days. Are we ever too old to build forts in the middle of the living room? I sure hope not
Kelli's The Sustainable Couple is the voice of authority when it comes to sustainable living. My goodness, I sure take my hat off to them. You'll never grow tired of photos of their log cabin, adorable toddler son, chickens, honeybees, growing the majority of their food, composting, and life from an urban farm.
Whoever said life was a picnic needs to meet Anita. Her Picnic Life Foodie blog is all about simple food, good company, and comfy places. Recipes like her Hot Italian Beef Sandwiches are an invitation for people to cook more and make mealtimes a priority. What's not to love?
Reading Kim's This Iowa Girl always reminds me of home. The kind of recipes I grew up eating – comfort food made with basic ingredients that never fail to please. Her Cheesy Hamburger Casserole is a meal like my mom would have embraced when I was a kid on our family's rural Iowa farm.
Last, but certainly not least, is Ally's Sweet and Savory Eats. There's a little something for everyone; coffee, books, walks, funny stories of her kids, and (of course) yummy recipes. Guaranteed, you'll become addicted to her daily Instagram stories. While her Air-Fryer Donut Holes have been a huge hit with her followers, I have to admit, the lasagna soup is the recipe that's won my heart.
I love a good pot of soup, and her recipe is exactly what I've been craving. I've cooked it so many times, and it's the perfect comfort food recipe in the middle of winter.
What you see here, is herbed tomato-based broth filled with ground beef and finished off with a generous amount of cheese that melts nicely into the steaming hot soup. All the flavors of lasagna in comforting soup form.
I followed Ally's recipe almost to the letter for this one. Truly, there's none better.