This summer I had an epiphany. Not joking! My aunt made me laugh so hard, I cried and then it changed my life! It will change yours too.

So there I am sitting between my 80 year-old mother and her sister, my aunt. And I’m teaching them about Instagram. Already we're starting to laugh at the entire situation–and the fact that both of them are speaking Low German, is in itself a killer.

My aunt pipes up, I'm sorry, we never learned anything growing up. Our schooling was a knock on the head from the teacher's clipboard, telling us to get back to our Catechism.

We die with laughter. We laugh so hard, we nearly fall off our chairs. You know that really good laugh when you just can’t stop. Through my laughter, I'm thinking, she's right they didn't really learn much of anything, thinking back to their simple upbringing as Mennonites in Mexico. Suddenly I feel more like crying.

The Instagram lesson ends but I can tell they don't want me to leave. Now my aunt wants me to taste her salsa. She just canned it this week. I try it and it's really good. Tomatoes, jalapeno, garlic and salt, she says. She takes me into her warehouse-sized pantry and it is filled with jars...jars and jars of homemade everything! Up to the ceiling! She explains about her tomatoes she planted, neatly tucked around her entire patio, for full sun. The plants are healthy and full, the tomatoes lush and red and beautiful.

I start thinking, maybe it’s I who didn't really learn anything. These women are pioneers, they are farmers, they are frugal and they don't waste. They have found their own way and they are smart. And the food is always ready. And it’s always on. It’s delicious.

One would think that as a food magazine publisher, my home kitchen would be stocked, but the truth is I would walk in at the end of the day, tired and hungry, without a plan, without food in my fridge–and what was in our fridge spoiled before it was used. We would order in or eat out, wander the grocery store aisle looking for last minute ideas, wasting precious time and money. 

Back at home, I vowed to change my ways. I started by canning salsa, then I canned soup. I cleared out my pantry and replaced all my storage containers. I created a meal plan for the week and ordered my groceries online. 

The entire process was grounding and meditative almost. I was so happy to walk into my very organized kitchen knowing my pantry was stocked, with groceries in the fridge and recipes ready.

It was what my readers had always asked for. We had published so many recipes but never a plan. We were missing the plan. The magic was in the plan.

I began to research how exactly we could create a meal plan for our readers. Suddenly all the pieces came together. A membership site with a dinner plan that comes into your inbox every Friday!

I’m so excited to announce that after months of hard work, our brand new membership called Dinner Plan is now live. You can register here.

I look forward to seeing you there!

xo Mari

ps. I would love to hear what you think of this story and our upcoming Dinner Plan Program. Please sign in at the bottom and let me know. I read every comment!