It’s The Little Things: The Best Of The Pre-Prepared Meals


My husband’s shifts at work vary. I usually make a meal when he is home about five times a week. There are those nights though when I just don’t want to cook. Either it is just me and the kids and I don’t want to make a huge meal for just the three of us or my kitchen might be clean and I don’t want to mess it up. I can’t be the only one who feels that way about a clean kitchen, right? Please tell me I’m not alone.. Or maybe I am just plain ol’ tired. Whatever the case may be, I have tried many a prepared meal from the grocery store. Here are some that I go to again and again that I felt were worthy enough of sharing:


Raviolis by Rana. I think these are the most authentic tasting Italian items at the grocery store.

I love their lasagna noodles. I use them exclusively for my lasagna. A few months ago I was at the grocery store and a woman was blocking my access to the noodles.

I waited and waited for her to move but she kept studying the packaging.

Finally, I decided to intervene. I assumed she was undecided upon the product.

“They’re really good,” I said.

She looked up at me in surprise.

“Oh! Yes! This is my brother’s company,” she proudly proclaimed. “I didn’t know it was in stores yet.”

We chatted some more and she recommended the pesto product which she used to help sell at the farmer’s market. I am so glad I ran into her because I loved the pesto she recommended and now I purchase it whenever I need it for a recipe.

Isn’t it a small and funny world?

I buy the family ravioli version which is around $8 a package. I add a can of marinara sauce that I have heated on the stove to the drained ravioli. Easy peasy.


Indian food.

Hands down. Feet down. Any old body part you want to throw in right now would be down. Whatever that means. Down is good here. Maya Kaimal’s Indian sauces in a two pack from Costco are the very best preprepared dish I can find. The flavors are so intense and wonderful. I love Indian food and these little containers of curry taste like sauces I would find in a restaurant.

I shred up a rotisserie chicken and add it to the simmering sauce. I also add a half of a stick of butter to it. Because why wouldn’t I? One container serves my whole family of four with no leftovers. I always have these in my refrigerator. I serve them over steamed white rice (perfect white rice is double the water to your amount of rice- I do 2 1/2 cups of rice and 5 cups of water, 2 Tbsp. Butter. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cover with a lid for twenty five minutes. Turn off heat and allow to rest for five minutes before removing lid).

I also serve it with naan bread that I always have in my freezer. And I also chop up some cilantro (another refrigerator staple) and sprinkle it over the top.

My family loves everything about both of these sauces. We cannot decide which flavor is our favorite. They are both amazing. Very spicy but good.


Trader Joe’s Pastas

My family and I actually find Trader Joe’s dry pastas gummy and feel they have an odd off-putting flavor (if I were to guess, I would guess cinnamon). However, their frozen pastas are actually pretty good.

They are not amazing but they are good for a frozen pasta. I am not a fan of frozen pastas with meat in them. I like that these are exclusively noodles and sauce. That is surprisingly hard to find. I buy two and serve them to my children. My daughter likes the marinara version best. My son likes the Alfredo. As for me? I like to mix them.


Of the five brands that I have tried numerous amounts of times, the best pre-packaged spinach is found at Von’s. I know that seems odd, but there it is. The flavor at Von’s is always mild and just fantastic. I use it in my favorite salad at least twice a week.


Foster Farm’s Chicken Tenders

I know. Frozen chicken strips? How original, Jenni. This is more of a comparison recommendation than something that is unique and special. This brand is my family’s favorite. I have tried many brands. In my opinion, these are simply the best. They stay crispy cooked in the oven. The calorie count is not bad compared to fried chicken strips in restaurants. They also make a glutten free version. I serve them with baked potatoes and salad. It does not get easier than that.


Last, these french fries from Trader Joes are amazing. They are oven baked so they are not as bad for you as other fast food fries. I used to grab bags of these from the San Diego Trader Joes because I had never seen them at my local store. The other day, my store had a few bags. I exclaimed to the man stacking them in the freezer section, “Yay! You finally got these fries in!”

He looked at me puzzled and said, “We’ve always carried these. They just sell out.”

So, if you don’t see them at your local store, now you know why. They go quickly!

What are your go-to pre-prepared meals? I am always looking for new ones to try. I was madly in love with Albertson’s frozen manicotti and they discontinued it a few months ago. Do you know any store that sells frozen manicotti with no sauce? Just stuffed shells or noodles? They are more expensive to make than I used to find frozen. Any leads would be very much appreciated. : )

Vintage Kantha Ensemble


Two years ago, Anthropologie came out with a dress made from vintage Kantha fabric.

At the time I had just lost sixty pounds (I would go on to lose more) and I had very little clothing that fit me. It felt like a miracle to find this dress that seemed like it came from my dreams.


The dresses were by my favorite designer, Vineet Bahl.


Each one was different and unique as they were made from vintage fabric.


I paired the Vintage Kantha Dress with these kantha clips I purchased this year from Free People. I love that they match the dress perfectly.


I own four of these dresses.


Yes. Four! Each one is more amazing than the next. The inside of each dress is done in a different vintage Kantha fabric. This one has a purple Kantha inside. I have been trying to figure out how to wear them inside out, too.


These dresses are my favorite pieces of clothing in my closet. If I had to choose one item to personify me, this would be it.


The coin necklace seemed like a good fit on this day (similar here).

Look at that detail on the dress.

I just love it so much.


I cannot wait to share the rest of my Kantha dresses. They are so special to me. I own them in orange (shown here), pink, maroon, and green. I would buy more if they were available.

I bought mine on a discount. The maroon one was a steal. But, regardless of price, they are the pieces of clothing in my closet I would save in the event of a fire (after family, pets, documents and art, of course).

What one item in your closet personifies you? How long have you had it? Do you own more than one?

Honey Vanilla Ice Cream


The summers of my youth could be described in three flavors. Grape juice, cheddar cheese and homemade honey vanilla ice cream. Being from a long line of beekeepers meant that my family had learned to incorporate the very nectar of their labors into almost every food they ate.

I have mentioned that as a young child, a spoonful of honey was a snack. A few drops of pollen, a special treat.

But nothing compared to my grandma’s honey ice cream. And nothing ever will.

I have tried to replicate it the best I could. I also wanted to make it a bit less rich. I believe my grandmother used mostly cream. I decided to use half milk. Half cream.

If you have never had honey ice cream, well, I don’t know if you should try it now. You will never go back. It is that good.

Seriously knees-dropping-to-the-ground-as-you-pay-homage-to-a-passing-bee good.

The person who invented the saying “you’re the bee’s knees,” may or may not have been referring to this phenomenon after just having eaten honey ice cream.

I mean, that makes sense right?

Well, it makes more sense than comparing someone to bee’s knees. Which, while they are quite cute and fuzzy for knees, do not come close to comparing to this treat.

Let’s make some heaven!


2/3 cup honey
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Caviar from one vanilla bean
5 egg yolks


Pour your milk and cream into a large pot on the stove. Add your honey. Turn heat to medium-low.

While that is heating up, separate five egg yolks. Whisk the egg yolks for two minutes continuously. Or bust out your stand mixer if you have one. And let it do the work for you on medium speed for two minutes.


Add the caviar of a vanilla bean to the steeping milk mixture. Whisk. When milk mixture comes to a light boil, turn heat to low. Very slowly add a ladleful (about 1/2 a cup) to the egg yolks while you whisk them. Now add that mixture back into the hot milk mixture. With a wooden spoon, stir continuously until the mixture begins to thicken. This should be about three minutes.

Turn heat off. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Add vanilla extract. Stir.

Cover bowl and refrigerate at least two hours to overnight.


Follow your ice cream maker’s churning instructions. For my machine, I simply dump in the chilled ingredients.


Freeze your ice cream in a freezer-safe container. And then indulge the next day. I like mine covered in Trader Joe’s Fudge Sauce.


I warn you. You will never look at vanilla ice cream the same way again.

Or a bee for that matter.

Now let’s get some padding for those knees.


*I adapted the vanilla ice cream recipe that came with my Cuisinart Ice-100 (a super fancy name for a big ol’ ice cream maker. The link is an affiliate link) to incorporate honey. Seriously, next time your husband makes the brilliant mistake of not asking for anything for Christmas, you might want to get him one of those babies. I might love it more than David Beckham.

Past Cards: Rubber Mops

I’m introducing a new blog feature. It is kind of similar to my monthly post “Overheard In,” but instead of eavesdropping on individuals via listening, I am eavesdropping into the past through old postcards.

One of my many collections consists of old postcards that people have written on.

It is like a peek into that family’s soul sphere. Yes, I did just write “soul sphere.” And I made that word up. Blame my thighs. They are responsible for most of my bad decisions.

I pick the postcards that speak to me.

Only my thighs can understand the words, though.

Today we have:



This post card was posted on September 12, 1947.

It reads:

Dear Jean, and all.

It is now 12:30 a.m. Just got in this is where I stayed last night and again tonight. Lots of people at fair today (Thu). I am out of rubber mops. Just taking mail orders now. Lots of love.

S. H. M.

Me too.

Or rather, what?

I looked up “rubber mops” to write this post, but cannot find anything on them in the 1940’s. I think it is a good thing that he ran out of rubber mops. I think S. H. M. was a rubber mop sales person or invented rubber mops? What could the initials S. H. M. stand for?

Swiffer Hater Man

Sells Hoarders Mops

Spanks Helper Monkeys (Sorry. Wrong post.)

Saves Happy Maids

I wonder if Jean received this letter and was excited that all the mops were sold. I wonder if she was going to get some of the mop money.

Had she been doubtful of this venture? Was he like, “Honey, I’m going to invest all of our money into mops made of rubber. And sell them at a fair.”

Did she cry into her mop made of yarn as he left for the fair?

So many questions.

I do not think I have ever used a mop.

I certainly have never purchased one (Swiffer user).

S. H. M. would be so disappointed in me.


Oh great.

Now my thighs are crying.

Where’s a rubber mop when you need one?

I guess they were all sold out at a fair in the summer of 1947.


P.S. I shared this on Savvy Southern Style.

And My Romantic Home.