The Little Things Newsletter #367 – Life, laughter, and lots of great food!


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Welcome to the weekend, my friends! Our summer has already been a whirlwind of visits with friends and family and I have been enjoying all of the company. Sean and I have plans to finally see the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie tonight and I can hardly wait.

Psssst – don’t miss today’s giveaway at the bottom of this newsletter!

ON THE BLOGS this week: With a little bit of sweet and salty goodness in every bite, GORP is a snack mix that my family devours every time we make it. Lucky for all of us, it’s an easy hassle-free trail mix to make.

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The BEST chicken tetrazzini recipe begins with chicken, mushrooms, and pasta tossed together with a creamy, garlicky sauce. Layer that deliciousness in a baking dish and sprinkle it with just a handful of cheese before baking just long enough to melt everything together. Served with warm bread and a salad, this meal is a hit every time.

This cake. Hershey’s Chocolate Cake is the most versatile and the easiest perfect one-bowl chocolate cake recipe I have ever made. (traditional and gluten-free variations are included with this recipe)

Chock-full of bacon and beef, sweetened with molasses, and simmered until thick and sweet, Cowboy Baked Beans are sure to impress!

Sweet bits of pineapple and spicy jalapeño combine to make this easy pineapple salsa one of our favorite condiments and snacks.

Infused with the flavors of balsamic vinegar, garlic, and fresh herbs, you will want to pour these mouth-watering Marinated Tomatoes over everything.

The bold flavors of ripe, juicy tomatoes marinated in balsamic vinegar with plenty of seasonings make this delightful Tomato Pasta Salad an easy winner.

Gooey mozzarella, juicy tomatoes, and fragrant basil on toasted sourdough are going to make this Caprese Grilled Cheese your new favorite lunch option.

This creamy, sweet, fluffy three-ingredient peanut butter spread was a fun discovery when we moved to Amish country a few years ago. The kids fell in love with it as soon as they tasted it.

Nutty Bars Ice Cream is a rich peanut butter ice cream loaded to the absolute max with chunks of Little Debbie’s classic Nutty Buddy Wafer Bars.

What I’m CRAVING: Salads, salads, and more salads! While I definitely eat salad year-round, I crave it madly in the warmer months. This Israeli salad with za’atar dressing and this Thai crunch salad with peanut dressing are both on my must-try list for summer. 

What I’m WATCHING: 13 Going on 30. I introduced my cousin Hannah to this one this week. A little bit fantasy, but mostly just clean rom-com fun, this is one of my favorite feel-good movies. 

What I’m LISTENING to: Pour it Out Into The Night by The Revivalists. This is a brand-new release that I stumbled on yesterday, and I played it on repeat while working in the kitchen. It’s a different sound from what I’ve heard from them before, but I’m definitely enjoying it.

What I’m READING: I’ve been on a roll with books I don’t care to recommend lately. There have been quite a few that I haven’t even finished. So, it’s time for a mental reset with my beloved Anne of Green Gables. I still can’t believe that the entires 8-book series is available on Kindle for less than 100 pennies. And that’s been the price to the best of my knowledge for over 5 years now.

I realized as I was writing the date on today’s email that this is the 7th anniversary of the very first Little Things Newsletter that I sent out. 367 newsletters later, writing to you all has become one of my favorite things I do every week.

I love hearing from you and I appreciate all of the book suggestions you send my way. To celebrate 7 years of awesome books we’ve shared, I’m giving away 7 Kindle Paperwhite e-readers. Winners will have their choice of the (2023) 8GB Kindle paperwhite or the (2022) 16GB Kindle paperwhite.

To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment on this post with the name of a book you love, a book you’ve been meaning to read, or a book you are reading now – and I’d love it if you take a moment to leave a description too! 

Giveaway sponsored by Barefeet In The Kitchen. Giveaway ends on Sunday, June 11, 2023 at 11:59pm EST. No purchase necessary. Must be 18 years of age or older and a resident of the U.S. to enter. Seven winners will be randomly selected and notified via email. GIVEAWAY CLOSED – ALL WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13 ESV

Wishing you a beautiful week full of little things that make you smile!


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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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192 Comments Leave a comment or review

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  1. Jane Hegstrom says

    My favorite book right now and always is the Bible!! It is calming yet exciting, ancient yet up to date, and oh so true!

  2. Carol Paulsen says

    A book that impacted my life in the late 70’s is Passages by Gail Sheehy. I was in my 20’s at the time and she was spot on with what I was feeling at that time in my life. As I aged, I realized that I did indeed go through those passages. I also got hooked on travel books by “Without Reservations” by Alice Steinbach. I found myself traveling vicariously through the book. Loved it.

  3. Gisele Laplante says

    The Red Dahlia By Lynda LA Plante

    Earth shattering thriller! There’s a copycat killer from the 1940’s The Black Dahlia needs to be caught before more will die. Detective Inspector Anna Travis is on his heels before it’s too late
    5 star rating

  4. Sky says

    Julie and Romeo, Jeanne Ray – modern day Romeo and Juliet-lovers over age 60 – loved it-funny, laugh out loud-easy summer read.
    Two Old Women, Velma Wallis – maybe hard to find, but a gem-An Alaskan legend of betray and courage. A survival story, -no limit to one’s ability to accomplish in life what one must.
    Women of Independent Means, Elizabeth Forsyth Hailey – a book of ‘letters’
    Widow’s War, Sally Gunning – 1761 and Lyddie becomes a widow – intelligent, strong and independent, but a strong women when one was not suppose to be!

  5. Paula Macdonald says

    I love to listen to Brad Thor or Vince Flynn books in the car while I’m driving. Currently, I am listening to Terminal List by Jack Carr.

    A Navy SEAL has nothing left to live for and everything to kill for after he discovers that the American government is behind the deaths of his team in this ripped-from-the-headlines political thriller.

    On his last combat deployment, Lieutenant Commander James Reece’s entire team was killed in a catastrophic ambush that also claimed the lives of the aircrew sent in to rescue them. But when those dearest to him are murdered on the day of his homecoming, Reece discovers that this was not an act of war by a foreign enemy but a conspiracy that runs to the highest levels of government.

    Now, with no family and free from the military’s command structure, Reece applies the lessons that he’s learned in over a decade of constant warfare toward avenging the deaths of his family and teammates. With breathless pacing and relentless suspense, Reece ruthlessly targets his enemies in the upper echelons of power without regard for the laws of combat or the rule of law.

  6. Ginny Renaud says

    Hi Mary, I simply love everyone of your posts from recipes to books & more. My favorite book lately is SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME. Written by two men who became life long friends after a most unusual meeting fostered by the wife of one. One black. One white. One rich. One poor. Both need the other. This true story will move mountains when you read it.

  7. Mo Parrow says

    The Rocking Chair Prophet by Matthew Kelly. I just received my book and I can hardly put it down. This is a book I will read again and find something new each time to think about. I recommend it to all.

  8. Heather says

    I have so many favorites, I wouldn’t even know where to begin! But Kristin Hannah’s last couple of books really drew me in. The Great Alone is her best work, in my opinion. When I began reading The Four Winds, I was not initially very excited about it. But once I started reading, I could not put it down. I don’t know that I learned very much about the Dust Bowl in school, but Kristin Hannah clearly did her research for her book, and I found it extremely fascinating (and sad). Even just now while writing this comment, I Googled the Dust Bowl, and the pictures are both incredible and heartbreaking. The Four Winds might be fiction, but I feel like I got a very good sense of the desperation and perseverance of the people who had to live through it.

  9. Angie says

    My favorite book is the Bible, I crave each day to spend more time with The Lord in His Word. I also like The Scarlet Letter.

  10. TAMMY says

    I love your book recommendations. Right now I am reading Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult. I am about a third through and it has me intrigued.

  11. Kelly says

    My all-time favorite book is Pillars of the Earth. I am really looking forward to reading Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese.

  12. Mary Eman says

    Oh boy, how to choose just one favorite book: impossible. I love Rosamund Pilcher, especially her short stories. (“Flowers in the Rain” and “The Bluebedroom and Other Stories”) Just read “The Marlow Murder Club” and “Death Comes to Marlow” by Richard Thorogood. British, great characters. Dee Macdonald has a series, beginning with “A Body in the Village Hall” and continuing with 6 others. All good. Have just finished “The Cazalet Chronicles” by Elizabeth Jane Howard. It’s five volumes, but what a read! Iwas sorry to reach the end. A new series by Emily J. Edwards is enjoyable, “Viviana Valentine Gets Her Man” and Viviana valentine Goes Up the River”. It’s set in New York, after the end of World War II. Jenny Colgan’s “School by the Sea” series. I could go on and on and on…….

  13. Cara says

    Just reading “Anne” again, and remembering why I loved the Anne books. This is such a refreshing change from the current books written–it is funny & sweet & has teary moments too! Love the series (by Lucy Maud Montgomery). A new book about LMM has just been released, and that looks interesting also: “After Anne” by Logan Steiner.

  14. Teri says

    Maisie Dobbs by Jacgueline Winspear
    I’ve read all the others in this series and need to read this as it is first.

  15. Jeanette says

    Saving My Assassin: A Memoir by Virginia Prodan

    This captivating read is the true story of a woman who looked for the truth in communist Romania. When she found the truth in the Bible she makes the courageous decision to defend Christians and churches in the legal system in Romania – a decision that leads to her persecution.

  16. Sue Androsko says

    Starting a new book by Marie Bostwick “Esme Cahill Fails Spectacularly “. She’s a great writer and following her you get an inspired recipe from the book 😋

  17. Sandra Wall says

    I just finished “Lessons in Chemistry” by Bonnie Garmus which my book club is reading this month. It’s engaging entertainment about an extraordinary woman who through her televised cooking show conveys a message to women beyond the realm of good food. Message hint: She pushes against the stereotypical view of women’s limitations in the early 1960’s. The storyline is edgy, sometimes iconoclastic and cynically humorous, insightful, with laugh-out-loud moments.

    P.S. I recently began following your blog and recipes, and I have a little pile of printed ones ready to try!