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Hello, Gorgeous

This is cereal that tastes (and looks) like a s'more.

While I was in LA, four boxes the approximate size of small vehicles arrived on Francesca's doorstep. They were filled with cereal - specifically Post's new cereals, OREO® O’s, HONEY MAID® S’mores, NUTTER BUTTER®, and CHIPS AHOY!®, which I was taste-testing and photographing for a sponsored Instagram. (This post, despite all those legally-required ® symbols -  is not part of any campaign; it is organic content in the very purest of ways, as in I want to eat and look at and think about and roll around in these cereals every day, all of the time.)

Francesca was far less excited about the boxes than I was.

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I Just Ate One of the Best Meals of My Life…In Rural Ohio

OK, so over the years I've been a little obnoxious about Ohio. Mostly because it refuses to let me have my luggage and makes my family throw up, but also because it's freezing whenever I visit it. And flat. (And yes, it also has amazing antiquing and Quaker Steak 'n' Lube and all sorts of other things I love, but whatever: 10-hour journeys with children make me grumpy and trips to Ohio always involve 10-hour journeys with children, so I'm grumpy. Sue me.)

One unexpected byproduct of these trips: I've discovered that the rural and suburban areas around Cleveland have some seriously good food. (I discovered this because my father-in-law is deeply invested in the quest to cement his status as Awesomest Father-In-Law Ever Who Feeds His Daughter-In-Law Awesome Food.) Sure, I've had terrible, horrible garlic-pickled eggs and bologna-slab sandwiches at (the otherwise very cool) Lehman's Hardware Store, but I've also eaten artisanal pizza at Gervasi Vineyard, phenomenal seafood at the Main Street Grille in downtown North Canton, and perfect aged Swiss at Guggisberg Cheese. So I think it's safe to say that I'm respectably well-versed in how truly excellent the food around here can be.

I've also been lucky enough to have the chance to eat at some of the very best restaurants on the planet. Nobu; Blue Ribbon; Daniel; Blue Hill Farm. I may not really know what I'm talking about when it comes to *why* a restaurant is remarkable - I vastly prefer Burger King Whopper Juniors to Minetta Tavern's Black Label Burger, so it's safe my palate couldn't be called the "refined" sort - but what I can say is whether a restaurant's food is delicious. To me.

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How To Make Sauce With Tomatoes From Your Garden

Here is an annoying thing I do whenever people come over to visit: I drag them to my side yard so that I can show off my tomato plants and loudly exclaim "how wonderful it is to have tomatoes straight from your own garden!"

Isn't that SO ANNOYING?! I can't help it. Before we moved to California I'd never grown tomatoes, and for whatever reason having everything to do with luck and nothing whatsoever to do with my abilities, the tomato vines that I plant every summer grow into freaking trees within weeks. I mean it: they are massive, and so heavy that they can't be contained by ordinary tomato plant container-things, and end up spilling out into the path, and it's all very dramatic and smells AMAZING.

The thing is, I'm soooo good at tomato-growing that I always end up with way more tomatoes than we can reasonably eat. I send my kids out into the yard to gather them up every night, but still: the branches are practically been hanging to the ground from all the weight. So the other night, I decided it was time to do something that'd use up massive quantities of them in a way that would still let their flavor come through, and made marinara sauce using a combination of heirlooms and cherry tomatoes - basically, whatever was ripe.


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