Happy Birthday DALS!

When the girls were little, my idea of celebrating a birthday was an 8:00 dinner reservation and a babysitter booked by Andy. It didn’t matter what restaurant we were headed to, so long as I didn’t spend half the meal kneeling under the table looking for a Polly Pockets shoe. But in the past few years, as the girls have gotten older and wiser (though somehow no less clumsy in the small-parts dropping department) it’s a different story. I find it’s not nearly as fun to blow out the candles without the two of them inserting their “cha-cha-chas” in the birthday serenade, and begging for the slice with the flower.

My birthday is still a few weeks off, but I’m proud to announce that DALS turned one this week. (Can you believe??) And in the spirit of including the whole family in the celebration, I’m offering gifts to you guys, my faithful DALS readers, who on a daily basis make this space so much more rich and so much more fun. Anyone who leaves a comment below is eligible for his or her choice of various goodies I’ve been collecting from generous vendors, including Laurie David’s cookbook The Family Dinner and a pile of food-related notepads from the always entertaining Knock, Knock. (I’m just going to assume you all have the DALS signature “Make Dinner Not War” bumper sticker already, but if you don’t, you can select that for your prize as well.) As usual, the selection process will be highly scientific — Phoebe and Abby will be picking three winners at random. So keep the comments clean. (That means you 654!)

I’ve also included some fun year-in-review stats, gleaned from the all-powerful Google Analytics and then a few personal faves from Andy and me. Thought they might help as you head into the weekend.

Ten Most Clicked Posts of the Year (in order): Letter of Agreement, The Recipe Door, Instant Dinner Party, Salad Pizza, Lemon-Pepper Chicken, Picky Eater Taxonomy, Dinner: A Love Story, The Book, Time for Dinner The Cookbook, Green French Fries, Vegetable Hater Special.

Most Popular Category (no surprise): Chicken
Most Popular Pep Talk: My Real Food Movement
Most Popular Chicken Recipe: Baked Chicken with Tomatoes and Mascarpone
Most Popular Pasta Recipe: Rigatoni with Back-pocket Bolognese
Most Popular Beef Recipe: Belgian Beef Stew
Most Popular Seafood: Thai-spiced Salmon in Coconut Milk
Most Popular Vegetarian Recipe: Pappardelle with Butternut Squash
Most Popular Soup: White Bean and Tomato
Most Popular Baking Recipe: Rosa’s Mud Cake (below)

Jenny’s Most Favorite Posts by Andy: Pick a Country, Any Country, Have a Baby Win Some Books, Tony’s Steak, Jake, Great Grandma Turano’s Meatballs, The Family Part of Family Dinner, Pork in Milk
Andy’s Most Favorite Posts by Jenny: Absolute Value, Special (pictured below) On Anniversaries, Sorry, I Have to Catch My Train, Table Manners for Grown-Ups, Sunday Minestrone, You Can’t Mess This Up I’ve Tried.

Thanks for a great year — Here’s to many more!

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157 Comments

Shannon O'Connell

Happy Birthday! I don’t have kids (yet), but I read you religiously.
To many more years!!!

Reply
Catherine

Happy birthday to you! You live in a zoo!

That’s what my kids like to sing at birthdays in our house. :)

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KevinQ

Happy Birthday! You’ve inspired numerous dinners in our household.

Also, love the letters between the two of you!

Many more!

K

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elsewise

Congratulations! May last year’s most amazing bits be this year’s “Meh, that’s kinda good, but not as great as THIS.”

Looking forward to many, many more birthdays, recipes, and The DALS Cookbook. ;)

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mkhamilton

I discovered your website recently and now check daily! My favorite post has been the pork ragu – so good!
Happy birthday (:

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BeccaG

Happy Birthday DALS!

I love your easy, no-nonsense dinner ideas, but what keeps me coming back is the witty, honest writing style – love it!

I can’t wait to cook from DALS (hint hint).

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Maria Cheshire

I LOVE your blog–it’s on my bookmark bar and I check it every day! Your “beans and toast” recipe from the cookbook has become my favorite new “back-pocket recipe” and I love reading your funny family anecdotes. I know your girls avoid some foods and food combinations but they sound like pretty adventurous eaters to me (I did NOT grow up eating kale chips!). :)

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kim.

i can’t believe it’s ONLY been a year! i feel like i’ve learned so much that’s it’s hard to think it was all packed into 365 days! thanks for giving me a glimmer of hope about having and feeding my kids someday :)

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belle on heels

happy birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i have gleaned both awesome gifts {my sister proudly sports the make dinner not war bumper sticker on her volvo} and awesome recipes {the bolognese = heaven!} from you in the past year. here’s to many more!

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Trese

Happy Birthday! I have to admit, I have the Instant Dinner Party and Chicken with Tomatoes and Marscapone bookmarked. (And the vinegarette recipe – with the cute photo of your dearest playing tennis in her swimsuit.)

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Jamie T.

Happy Birthday! I love reading your site to get some great new recipies and family meal ideas. Thanks for writing!

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Sara in Montréal

Happy birthday! And thank you for giving me back that urge to cook. It had faded with time, but the day I first read your blog, it started to come back in this house.

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Allison

WoW, DALS happy birthday!! Little did I know that I had gotten in on this in your first year. I love this blog and I take home things to try every week from here…I know I know I need the cookbook! I hope you blog for years to come and many more cookbooks!

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Tara

Happy Birthday, DALS! Wishing you many more years of fast, fun, delicious meals that promote dinnertime harmony. I can’t really prove it, but I think the frequency with which I utter the words, “Well, that’s dinner. You can eat it or wait until breakfast,” has decreased dramatically since I stumbled upon this blog. It is the clever strategies? The kid friendly ingredients? Not sure, but I do know I feel more relaxed about dinner and for that I thank you. Oh, and I’m with Maria above: the “beans and toast” from the cookbook kick butt. Just had it last night, in fact, and I’m looking forward to the leftovers for lunch.

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AnneL

Happy Birthday! I find that I check this blog on an almost daily basis and I’ve gotten a ton of useful information but the thing I appreciated most was learning that someone else’s husband refuses to use the cute and environmentally friendly bento boxes when he packs the lunches.

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Christie

Happy Birthday! Every day I read your blog it’s as if you have a nanny cam into my life. Hard to decide what is the best part.Your birthday pancake ritual,Trader Joe’s visits (we can compare receipts), your husband’s “all guy” posts, or just the fact that you are every mom out there and make us feel all a little less crazed with dinner ideas, family ideas, and laughs!

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Amanda

Happy Birthday to my favorite blog! It is the first thing I check when I get to work and I always love every single post (often wishing I could have a Dark N Stormy at oh… about 9 AM ). Thanks for so many laughs, so many ideas, so much inspiration and for fostering such a lovely community. Keep on doing what you’re doing and don’t let the Val’s of the world rain on your parade.

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MemeGRL

Happy birthday to my dinner obsession. Thanks for so many good meals and ideas this year and we’re looking forward to many more!

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Reynaul

Happy Birthday! This is one of the few blogs that I check every day to see if there’s a new post! I love all of the ideas, recipes and great stories! I miss Cookie, but I am so happy that it lead you to this! Keep all of the great stuff coming and can’t wait for your second birthday!

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Whaletale

I don’t have children yet but visiting you daily (you are my homepage @ work and home) is like training for me!
Happy Birthday DALS! You have inspired me to cook lentils again!!( and feed them to the 500 children children I create Bfst, Lunch, Snack menus for!)

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Kate

Congrats! I think I wasn’t sure how old DALS was, but I think I’ve been following you since you were a wee baby!

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Carolyn

How nice to recognize an annual event for a blog that’s a part of my (nearly) daily life! Congrats on ONE! Here’s to many many more years!

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Essie

Happy birthday to DALS! My left hand is aching from all the ctrl-C ctrl-V I’ve been doing sending your blog addy on to people I know will love you as much as I do.

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Andrea

Wish I could recall how I ended up “finding” you, but I am so glad I did (and that’s an understantement)! Thanks for all the great posts and recipes. Love ‘em!

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JC

Congratulations!!
Love, love, love your philosophy and practicality (and stories about your girls’ quirks and that adorable pup of yours).
Andy’s Great Grandma Turano’s Meatballs are my absolute favorites…and my kids love to make them!

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Rachel L.

Happy Birthday!
Jenny, your site rocks! Thanks for the recipes, pep talks, posts by your hubby, and witty take on family life.
Cheers!

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Anne

Really only a year??? Holy cow there is a lot of information on here that I refrence constantly. I’m going to geek out a bit and admit I have a bumper sticker and the cook book…and check the site daily :) Congratulations and thanks so much for giving me new ideas every day :)

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Caroline

Love your site, recipes, humor and family bonding. Thank you for sharing with us!!

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Jen

Happy one-year birthday! We tried your Lahey pizza crust and LOVED it! Also, your vinaigrette is one of the best I’ve had. Thank you Jenny!

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Laura

Happy Birthday to my absolutely favorite blog! Here are my favorite things about DALS:
THE FOOD!!
Our shared love of Trader Joes!
Phoebe’s name (also my Boston Terrier’s name!!)
Your mouthwatering descriptions of food!
Your photos are awesome!
When I follow your recipes, they come out right!
Your cook book that I just got from Amazon!
Watching your kids love of food grow.
You blog almost every day, I love that!
Basically, I love everything about your blog! Please don’t stop!!!

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Alanna

happy, happy!! love to read the blog, cook the recipes, and shop from the Trader Joe’s faves list :-) thanks for it all!

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Mavi

Feliz cumpleaños! A year already! I make your recipes frequently, even tho I have no little one at home… love, love, love the recipes, the stories, the photos, the writing, and your darling daughters. Thank you for sharing!

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Valerie

Happy Birthday, DALS! We eat something from your blog at least once a week, and I am thinking of having a spy party for my up-coming 30th birthday!

Thanks for all the great ideas!

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Gillian H

happy birthday! Can’t wait to read in year two! I’m a fairly new reader and have been cooking from the blog! The Finger Food Chicken Wings are a new staple for us! Thank you!

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Vanessa

Happy birthday, DALS!! Love your website and love your book. Looking forward to another year of inspiration.

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Kari

I absolutely love your blog. My favorite post so far was when you and your husband did confessions. Thanks for letting us into your kitchen and your world.

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Chris

Happy Birthday to you.
Happy Birthday to you.
You look like a monkey,
and you smell like one too!

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Wylie

Happy, happy birthday to your blog, and soon to you as well!

Today is my birthday also!

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Jen

I just found you recently- but since I read through all the archives, feel like I’ve been here since the beginning!

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susan

Happy Birthday! I always love your blog – the recipes, ideas and the stories that sound like my home too. Congrats!!!!

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diane lambrinos

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I’ve a four year old Sebastian who likes his food deconstructed like your girls. Lovely to read recipes, stories & kid related ideas about making meal time interesting & fun.

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jackie

I may not have children and have it pretty easy when it comes to finding time for making meals and sitting down to dinner, but I love your site for all of the great recipes, entertaining dialogue, and thoughtful discussions about food. Happy Birthday!

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Kristie

Only one year? I love your recipes, your practical mom-ing advice and the fact that you make me feel even the slightest bit normal in my [often]frazzled state!
Thanks for opening up your lives for our purusal!

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Catherine

as a mom of two girls, 3.5 & 6.5 your blog has been a total WIN for me. loving the recipes, the polly pocket reference as well as… pretty much all of it. keep up the fine blogging :)

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Andrea

Happy Birthday! I have been following this site for a while and I have loved everything I tried. We lived off the yogurt marinated chicken for a while last summer!! Thanks for all that you do!

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kate

Happy 1st Birthday! Has it really only been a year??? I feel like I have been reading your blog for much longer than that!
You have made quite the impression in your relatively short time in the blogoshere :)
I am looking forward to many more! All the recipes I have tried of yours so far have been great!
Thanks!

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Pam

Happy Birthday!

Thank you for introducing me to the Dark and Stormy. (Not exactly family dinner, but every little bit helps!) It made last summer more…fuzzy. ;)

I love your introspective yet enthusiastic style; keep up the great work. Here’s to many more DALS years to come!

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Matt

Wow, hard to believe that you have only been here for 1 year! So many amazingly good ideas! Happy Birthday and thanks!

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Twyla

Congrats on a Year!!
I have only been here a short time, but I truly enjoy DALS.
Out of all the sites I read on my “Daily Roll”, yours is the most organic, and I don’t mean that in the food sense. I mean that in a delivery, content and photo sense. Just like my life!
Thank you, I’ll be returning again and again!

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Sal

i am not just posting for the freebies but I was JUST thinking, hasn’t it been almost a year since DALS debuted?!?!?
Congratulations and THANK YOU for a year of great recipes

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Melissa

Happy birthday! Here’s hoping that I’ll not only make one your recipes but that my kids will actually eat it before you turn 2!

P.S. There’s chocolate in it for the kids if I win. ; )

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Molly Spence

happy birthday! love, love the site. check
it (almost) daily. and I love that you have a daughter named Phoebe because we do too!

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Melissa

Happy birthday. love your recipes! actually i just made the pork ragu with egg noodles and vinaigrette salad for dinner. definitely a keeper!

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Darrian

Happy Birthday! I am a mom of 4 who reads your blog religiously and constantly forwards all of the delicious recipes.

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Amy from Virginia

Ccongratulations Jenny! Your blog is a pleasure to read, great to look at, and fun to cook from. Thanks for the wisdom, tips, recipes, and honesty. Cheers to year #2!

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Gina @cakeandcordial

Congrats on making it to the 1 year mark! A fabulous accomplishment! I have just started my own family and am inspired by your love of good food, yet focus on enjoying your loved ones instead of obsessing over gourmet details! I hope to learn to do this as well!

Thanks! And keep up the good work!

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Tanya R

As a new mom, your blog has been a life saver. Yummy, healthy food that is quick to make. And endless ways to enjoy kale! What’s not to love?

Happy Birthday!

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Michelle

I stumbled across your blog and I love it! Congratulations on your one year birthday. I’m looking forward to having children of my own and making them delicious meals from your website. Congratulations!

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Amy

I am so inspired by your adventures in the family kitchen every day! This blog has inspired me to keep a dinner journal in which to chronical my family’s meals (hits and flops :) and to have dinner together each and every night! I appreciate the banter between you and your husband so much, and the book recommendations from your children. My favorite post of all was Absolute Value, but the friend who came over to make pickles with your girls – so inspiring. Anyhow, thank you for your wonderful, amazing blog! Happy birthday!

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Sophia

Happy birthday! Your site was recommended to me by the leader of our new parents’ group last year. I didn’t have time to read it during the day. But now after my son falls asleep (and I need some reading to unwind my brain), I’ve been enjoying your site from my iPhone. (got sidetracked on the way down this page by a few recipe titles, though. :) ) and, in fact, I just made the Can’t Lose Tortilla Soup recipe that someone submitted for your contest. Thanks for the recipes and entertainment!!

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Emily Frost

Congratulations Jenny! The blog is wonderful and I’m so happy you believed in it — your upbeat, witty, and kind self shines on its pages daily.

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Nance

Happy B-day! Found some delicious stuff here, and enjoy your writing (though I usually lurk :) ) Great find.

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Michele

Congratulations! I love that your posts are not preachy and are very balanced. No claims that this is all so easy… just that it can be done. Thanks for the inspiration!!

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jodi

Happy Birthday DALS! You’ve made my adventures in toddlerhood so much more exciting. You are my favorite blog!

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Dana

Your posts are always fun to read. Here’s to hoping this is the first of many anniversaries.

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April

This is favorite place for food!! Thank you for being here:) salad pizza rocks our family table at least once/week!! And thanks to you, my picky eaters (3) love Brussels sprouts!

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Amy

Happy Birthday! Our family of six enjoyed your flank steak marinade last night- so yummy. Perfect dinner for the 80 degree weather we are having in NC. Thank you for your wonderful blog.

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robin

happy birthday to you! happy birthday to you! I smell dinner and it looks yummy too!
thanks for all of these wonderful recipes and sanity tips. i recommended this website to quite a few families! make dinner, not war hangs proudly in my kitchen.

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Claudine

Love, love, love this blog! So many giggles and so many fantastic recipes! Keep up the fantastic work and happy birthday!!!

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regiemino

I don’t remember which link I clicked through to find you, but now it feels like we’re (online) neighbours. I suppose it’s just demographic, but it’s nice to find someone who is in the same place as me (and on the same wavelenth too!) Keep up the great work!

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Gina

Happy Birthday! I don’t remember how I stumbled upon your site but I love it and all the great recipes I tried!!

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Kathleen

Love your blog–and I feel a little closer to Cookie when I check in. Happy birthday!

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bridgit

Happy Birthday… I didn’t realize the site is so young. I guess I’ve been reading since almost the beginning. Of all the sites on my reader, this is my favorite. We are already dedicated 7 night a week family dinner folks (though I must say we love it when family dinner is with the grand parents and not us), but the motivation, inspiration and humor you send along is lovely. Thanks for putting it all out there!

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maggie h.

Happy Birthday, DALS! This site has kept me sane many a nights as I would wonder how in the world I was going to tackle dinner…that is, think of something that doesn’t take over an hour, and was something my SUPER PICKY four year old AND my husband who gets home after bedtime would eat. Dinner is fun again (Ok, most nights it’s fun)! THANKS! Please keep it up!

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mielcars

a one year old that gives me gifts of yummy recipes *before* they are digested – now *that’s* wonderful!!! happy birthday DALS.

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Liz

Happy Birthday to DALS! I honestly found you a year ago after watching Food, Inc. and told myself I needed to step up my dinnertime fare. Thank the Lord for you and the great Andy (had to throw him props, as well). I love the ideas, encouragement and way you both love making good food. Thanks for keeping me on the straight and narrow as much as possible in doing right by my kids at dinnertime. I’d include my husband but he is a lost cause. ;) And thanks for reminding me that loving food, cooking, dinner, etc. can be fun and funny.

P.S. Long live Trader Joe’s!
P.P.S. I still miss Cookie Magazine. A lot. :)

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amelia

only one year old? i swear it seems like you’ve been posting long before then, for all the wonderful stuff there is.

this blog is inspiring on a whole bunch of levels. i’m so glad i discovered it!

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bugawa

Happy Birthday! Looking forward to many more fabulous posts filled with wonderful recipes, entertaining anecdotes, incredibly helpful tips, etc. Long live DALS!!

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Ceri@Sweet Potato Chronicles

Happy Birthday, DALS! And I really don’t believe it’s only been a year. I must have been one of the first readers in that case! Love, love, love the blog for being so smart, funny and useful. What else can a reader ask for? May there be many more birthdays!

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Jill

Happy Birthday! Thanks for inspiring me with all your great ideas. This past year I have made huge strides in planning out our meals for the week and putting (mostly) healthy and homeade dinner on the table (almost) every night. Keep inspiring others!

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Stephanie

Happy Birthday to you, DALS! I love the recipes and ideas you provide, but even more than that I love the little, ever hilarious glimpses you offer of married life, parenting life. I’m frequently left giggling at my computer screen. Kudos and long live DALS!

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Tracie B.

May the next years treat you as well as the last year. Congrats & Happy Birthday!

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Barb in Phx

Happy birthday and congratulations! You make dinner at our house a lot tastier.

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Sharon

I recently asked friends to suggest some food/crafty/lifestyle blogs that they love that I need to read. DALS has been my favorite of that group. So glad to know ya!

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Martha

happy birthday, dasl!

my question is when did polly pockets get shoes?!? when i was a kid polly pocket was a finger nail sized doll whose shoes were painted on. is she no longer pocket sized? :)

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Deidre

Happy Birthday DALS! It is hard to believe that you have packed so much yumminess (sp?) into just one year. Thank you (and my family thanks you too!)

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Amanda

I have never commented before, but I love your blog, have made many of your recipes with great success, and desperately want a bumper sticker. Happy birthday DALS!

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Amy

Wow! A year! Congratulations. I’ve received so much inspiration over the year and am so thankful for you!

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becky

Happy birthday DALS! I’m in love with your website and cookbook. I share all of the goodness with my friends. Keep it rolling!

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Kate

Happy Birthday, DALS! I feel as though I’ve received more than a year’s worth of valuable advice here, so thanks for all the recipes, inspiration, and encouragement!

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Kelly

Hello! Wow, a year already? I recently tried out your chicken “pizza” recipe, and it was excellent!
Pick me please!

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Linnea

only a year…seems like you’ve been inspiring me and my dinner table forever.

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Meghan

Happy Birthday! thank you for being such sane, realistic parents that demonstrate there is a place for dinner even if it isn’t always perfect.

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Nina

I’ve only been reading for a couple months and this is my first comment, but I’m in love with your site. I didn’t grow up having family dinners and it was something that I was determined to do when I had a family. I had to teach myself to cook, but five years in, we’re still doing it. It’s probably up there in the top five of most important things that define our family’s decision making. So, all that to say, I really appreciate what you’re doing here, I love your writing, and I love your recipes.

Thank you and happy birthday!

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Maria

Happy Birthday! You are one of the few blogs I check regularly for a smile and a great food idea. Yes, I’d also have to agree that Letter of Agreement is probably my favorite post, too! I’m looking forward to the day your Dinner, A Love Story book comes out (always prefer to read a “real” book over my computer screen!)

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Sarah

Happy happy birthday!

I don’t have kids yet, but I’m in the I-want-a-baby-so-bad-but-I’m-in-grad-school phase of life. I use your website as training/future idea generating/my weekly fix of kid centered glee. And the writing on your blog is just so fabulous! Hunting for a Polly Pocket shoe–I die!

Also, your pork ragu is a revelation. :D Thanks Abby, Phoebe, Andy (and Jenny too :) ) for sharing your life and food with me!

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jesser

Happy b’day to one of my favorite blogs … I’ve enjoyed you all year long and at least two new family faves come from these posts (butternut squash pasta and pork ragu). Cheers to you all!

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654Carroll

do i really use coarse language too often in my comments? Hmmph. Noted.

And, since Abby and Phoebe are voting:

Delicious
Insightful
Newsy
Never boring
Excellent
Riveting

And…

Light-hearted
Outstanding
Very…
…Entertaining

Simple Suppers
Thought-provoking
One year old
Ralphie (RIP) [is this called playing to the judges?]
Yea!

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KateB

Seriously, thank you.
You’ve really made me feel as though I’m not alone in this whole working mom who still likes to cook real meals experiment. As my kids are still a bit young (2 and 3) I cam’t wait until they become a bit more adventurous – though already they’ve grown leaps and bounds!
Happy Birthday!

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Bethany Zabrosky

I am a very new reader but have quickly enjoyed reading your posts and the posts I missed all this time…..Happy Birthday! I am glad you are a part of the world wide web!!

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Angie

Congratulations on your one year anniversary! i love your blog and have your bumper sticker on my fridge. Keep up the good work– I have an 8 yr. old and a 4 yr. old and will need your help for many years to come!!

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bernalgirl

Happy birthday! I can’t believe how much I love your blog. We were committed to family dinner well before I discovered Cookie, much less DALS. But your clever writing and delicious recipes really fill a niche.

There are days I look at my friends who put their kids to bed before adult dinner and I think “Couldn’t I? Shouldn’t I?” But now that my 6 yr old is game to at least try anything on her plate that isn’t stew, and we all make conversation about our day (in between asking her to use her napkin, sit up straight, take a break from talking to eat, etc.) and I know that family dinner is the best idea ever. Thank you for making it so much easier, *and* for acknowledging how hard it is.

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tara

Okay, so I LOVE your website – it’s so great to hear such an authentic voice. You have created a great place for me to check in for my ‘what am I going to make..arghhh’ moments. Congratulations!

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nicole

New to your blog but LOVE it!
happy birthday.
I had mine last week and we had the 8pm dinner reservation as my co-worker made sure my little man didn’t wake up!
Thanks for the inspiration – hope to be getting dinner on the table for the whole family soon.

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eryka

Happy Birthday DALS!
I have read regularly for >6 months and can’t wait for the next posts. We don’t have kids yet but I’m working on getting our dinner routine down now and I use some of your ideas on my dear hubbie.
Keep up the good work!

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jaime

happy birthday! i don’t remember how i stumbled upon your site, but i am ever so glad i did! i cook about 3-4 meals a week now, and most of them are DALS recipes. i haven’t come across a recipe of yours that isn’t a keeper. love love love you guys.

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michelle in Montana

I haven’t been a follower for long, but I love this blog! I love the name of the blog too!
Keep up the good work!!

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Cay

I love love love your blog and have a family-crush on yours. Thanks for putting it out there!

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Jen

I love this blog – it makes me feel good about cooking and being with my family and cooking for my family and eating together and eating out and being alone to cook. Thank you!

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30 and counting

You got me to buy, cook, and eat kale! I was never able to get myself to do it.
Thanks, and keep’em coming!

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