For the Love of Family

At our house, when dad is in charge of dinner, the meal of choice is what our girls like to call a “special daddy sampler platter.”   It’s a cute tradition he started with the girls while I was working + has continued every since.  It usually begins with pulling a variety of elements from the fridge. These pieces then transform into bite size parts of a greater scene. With the addition of toothpicks + anything else deemed necessary the scene is ready to take place. We have seen spaghetti become the hair of a self portrait while tomatoes + cucumbers become the eyes.  A mixture of vegetables + fruit are strategically placed as a garden with trees, flowers + grass. The possibilities seem endless + the girls adore this special time. The most important thing about this simple tradition is the fun the girls have while dad imagines new + creative works of art.  Following the special sample platter we all gather around the table or bar to talk about what happened that day.

Below is a great menu to start your own sampler platter that includes some of the girls favorite foods.  It’s perfect for the whole family, with something mom + dad can also enjoy!


  • Cucumber hearts w. ranch
  • Mangos + Pineapple hearts
  • Roasted sweet potato hearts – because if you have met my girls you know there isn’t a sweet potato in the world that they wouldn’t gobble up!
  • Tomato soup
  • Grilled cheese hearts  (Make regular size sandwiches for mom and dad if you want.)

Tomato Soup
This is an incredibly simple soup that can come together in under 10 minutes. Perfect for a busy weeknight Valentines dinner Or if you are really pressed for time, I love Trader Joe’s soup in a box. They have a great organic roasted tomato soup!
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  1. 2 medium carrots – scrubbed, ends chopped off and cut in half – no need to peel
  2. 2 celery stalks – preferably some with the leaves on from the middle
  3. ½ onion
  4. 2 garlic cloves
  5. 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano
  6. 1-2 Tablespoons fresh basil
  7. 3 – 14oz can of diced tomatoes
  8. Juice of 1 lemon
  9. Salt + pepper to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend for about 6-7 minutes or until smooth.
  2. Adjust seasoning if needed.
  1. The blender will make the soup hot, but feel free to throw it in a saucepan if you need to keep it warm.
  2. Make your favorite grilled cheese to serve along side.
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Here is the shopping list to take along on your trip to the store

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