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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  1. Beverly Whiteley says

    Love most the recipes and enjoy your chats and information. I am an avid reader and enjoy all genres. I am reading A Magnolia Summer at the lake this weekend.

  2. Mary Kiley says

    I am reading the latest book from one of my favourite authors Jacqueline Winspear. The title is The White Lady. I loved her Mazie Dobbs books but this one is a stand alone. It takes place in post WWII London and involves an ex female British Secret Agent. I stayed up half the night reading last night…

  3. Carol Dee says

    I’ve been in a bookclub for 15 years and my favorite book by far is Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.It’s a true World War 2 story about Louis Zamperini (an olympian) and his life after being shot down in the Pacific, surviving on a raft and eventually being captured. He suffered immense cruelty in concentration camps was eventually rescued and later found the Lord in a revival tent and came to forgive his captors. Absolutely an amazing story and so much better than the movie.

  4. Mary Fisher says

    And Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santmyer is a book about a book club in the 1868 about a college town in Ohio. The book is very long in length but very interesting about life in the 1800s Very interesting story lines. Iv read this book a couple of times. Life in the olden times. Im 80 so I remember how hard it was to be a woman in the old days. I enjoy your emails and recipes. Thank you so much.

  5. Amy Bleile says

    Can’t wait to try your zucchini ideas !

    My anytime read is Forever by Pete Hammil. It’s a mystical journey of a young Irish man from The Famine all the way to the Twin Towers. Great history of Manhattan too.
    On my shelf wait is The Orphan Collector.

  6. Christy Palmer says

    A book I just finished reading and thoroughly enjoyed is, “The Lost City of the Monkey God” by Douglas Preston.

    It is a true story and a fascinating read about a journey to explore archaeological sites in one of the most dangerous areas in the world, La Mosquitia, a region in Honduras. The area has been a mystery for hundreds of years, and much of the land has been uninvestigated. From learning about the technology used to discover the sites to the ground-truthing expedition to the medical diseases encountered, this is a book you won’t want to put down.

  7. C.W says

    Caddie Woodlawn is one of my favorites. Yes, it’s for kids, but the humor and wisdom are great for all ages!

  8. Susan Juggert says

    Hi Mary, The book I am reading now is The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks. I have wanted to read it because I love watching Bull Riding for the Bulls along with the Cowboys. The Bulls seem to know it’s a job for them just like it is for the riders. It is not only about Bull Riding but about life and 2 couples who lives cross. I’ve just started the book and it’s I can tell it will be a beautiful love story also. At the same time I just started a book titled Girls of Flight City, novel of WWII and women pilots, I love all subjects.

  9. Kristen says

    I read the Mitford series during COVID quarantine because of your recommendation. It was such a lovely way to “escape”. I will come back to them for my reset books. I also love most of Katherine Reay’s books (esp. Dear Mr. Knightley).

  10. Patricia Wright says

    Best book I ever read is so hard because there are so many great books. However, the one I have been recommending the past 5 years or so is “A Gentleman from Moscow” by Amer Towles. Engaging, interesting enjoyable, just a great read. What I am reading now — I just finished “Demon Copperfield” by Barbara Kingsolver. I bought it before she won the Pulitzer Prize. I thought it started slow but wow. I loved the book. Great read. The book that I’ve wanted to read and it is sitting on my nightstand is “John Adams” by David McCullough. I promise I will get to it! I love history and it has great reviews.

  11. Jacquelyn says

    I love receiving your emails with recipes, book suggestions, etc.! I recently read Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt. It was wonderful! I had a hard time putting it down each night. This book is about family, loss and community. You will fall in love with one of the most intriguing characters I’ve ever come across — an octopus by the name of Marcellus! You will fall in love with him! This is a “must read”!

  12. Joann Hair says

    I’ve just finished the first novel in a series of seven titled “The Seven Sisters” by Lucinda Riley. The book was excellent and am looking forward to reading the second on in the series titled “The Storm Sister.”

  13. Ruth says

    I really love Lisa Wingate’s books. I started with “Before We Were Yours” which is based on a true story of a baby selling operation run out of an orphanage in the south. The sequel tells the true stories of some of the survivors.
    Wingate’s, “Tending Roses” series is also excellent, as is the “Blue Sky Hill” series. She writes very interesting characters and complex and thought-provoking family situations.