Hey there! I’m Janel (aka NellieBellie–a childhood nickname.) I’m a middle-aged mom of 2 teens with a back pocket full of great recipes, creative ideas, resources, and crazy life experiences. I’m using them all to tell anyone who will pay attention about the power sitting at the table with a home-cooked meal has to create memories, relationships, and solve world peace.
I’m totally serious right now. This world needs a good piece of chocolate cake.
I totally try to get myself dressed and to my office each day like a proper #girlboss. But a couple of times a week I’ll be curled up on the couch with my laptop, Say Yes to the Dress on, and a cup of coffee (one of many!) sitting on the coffee table. Yes, the same coffee table that I tell my family not to use because it’s on the beautiful white rug. So hypocritical!
The oldest of ten kids, I’m incredibly bossy. But am usually always right (no really, it’s true! I know when to pick a fight and that, my friend, is the key to seeming super smart). The rule in my home is that the oldest never has to give up their seat. Which means, I always have a comfy spot to sit while my kids (younger than my siblings. Well, my oldest is older than my youngest sibling.) often are on the floor.
Starting things. Getting “pretty good” at things. Cleaning. Talking. Being kind. Sharing. Dressing up. Decorating. Painting (gross!). Growing things outside (but I don’t currently have a garden.). Cakes. Soups. Cocktails. Breads. Salads. Coffee. Basically, all food. I’m crazy good at it. Being creative. Planning parties. Speaking. Making people feel comfy. Hosting parties.
Let’s not get into what I’m not good at. Pretty much everything. I am crazy good at starting to learn something, realizing I learned it and moving on to the next thing. Which means, of course, I never get really good at something. Just good at a lot of things. A Jack of All Trades…that’s me!
I’m not a proper chef. You aren’t a proper chef. But heck if that stops me from making the VERY BEST HOME-COOKED recipes my kitchen can produce. Don’t let it stop you!
My Minnesota kitchen is currently in the beginning stages of remodeling and is an utter mess. In fact, I have never had a kitchen with fancy equipment, upgraded appliances, or any of the “pro” stuff. Probably like many of you, my kitchen is simple, often cluttered, and always full of dirty dishes. My recipes aren’t fussy, or difficult. They are everyday meals we have in our home, or with our friends, or for a celebration. We make and eat everything on this site. I’m telling you, even if a contributor or guest writes a recipe my family makes it and tries it before it makes it way to the site.
Did I mention I love yoga :). It’s a good thing too with all the eating that happens for my job.
Anyway, I want you to know that these recipes are tried and true REAL parts of my family’s Minnesota life. They aren’t glamorous. They might not always be healthy. Sometimes they will. Because you and I live lives that require a bit of everything. I’m mostly healthy but sometimes I share a piece of cake with a friend. Or make pasta with my son. Or have a warm drink full of sugar (gotta survive these winters!)
I believe with all my heart that your kitchen can heal hurts, solve problems, start conversations, make new friends, mark victories, and more. Get in the kitchen with your family & friends and feed their bellies, hearts, and souls.
You don’t have to be a great cook or know how to read a recipe. Grab a frozen pizza and bottle of wine and share it with a friend. Learn how to bake a cake with your kids while laughing at how poorly it turns out. And then, of course, head out for a slice at your favorite cafe. Or, master a recipe here on NellieBellie and feel like a SuperHero (heck, I’ll send you a sticker!). I just want your family to utilize the simple task of making food for memories. However that looks for you.
P.S… We have a free kid’s snackbook for you. (you’ll find all sorts of cook books you can download around NellieBellie if you click around long enough). By the way, the readers of my newsletter get freebies and extras not available to website readers. They are special :). So sign-up below…