Food · Lifestyle

The Food Train to Happy Town

I’m sure we all have them. Foods that just instantly put us in our happy place. For some people, it’s sweets, for some, a certain recipe that only Grandma or Ma could make the right way.

Feel-good Foods

Foods, like smells, have a way of instantly transporting us into a memory. Certain foods cause our systems to release feel-good chemicals into our bodies, causing our moods to improve. Food nourishes our bodies, our minds, and our souls. Cultures are defined by it, using it to communicate with the rest of the world in the language of flavor. Family bonding is done through the process of cooking together or teaching younger members how to make a certain thing that has been a tradition, time-honored by that group of people.  It’s amazing.

I bet you couldn’t tell. I frickin’ LOVE food.

I want to share my happy place foods with you, unassuming foods that will turn my frown upside down any day of the week. There’s nothing fancy here. No crazy recipes, just stuff that makes me happy when I put it in my mouth.


Cottage cheese

I have no idea what it is about cottage cheese that I love so much. Bonus points if there is home canned fruit with it.

Acorn Squash

My mother used to serve this all the time. Every time I eat it, I feel like I’m 10 again, and tonight is the only night that no one had to beg me to finish my vegetable. I like to oven roast it, with a little orange juice, butter, brown sugar and molasses inside it, then fill it with a scoop of rice to soak up all that sweetness.

Wheat Thins

My favorite cracker. I eat them plain, and when I get into a box, I can’t stop. I try to get myself to have some cheese or something with them, but it never works out, they are just too good out of the box. I especially love the ones that are a little over baked… every now and then there is one in the box that is darker around the edges. So good. I think my love for this cracker was born of the fact that it’s my father’s favorite. Eating them always reminds me of him.

Pear Salad (‘Green Stuff’)

I couldn’t even tell you what’s in it. I believe some of the ingredients are canned pears and green jello. My grandmother used to make it for holidays, as a child I would call her up before a big family gathering and say, “Grandma, you have to make the green stuff for me.” I can taste it as I type this, even though it’s been at least 10 years since I had it.


Being a Minnesota native, this was always a staple in our home. No matter where I have lived in this country, I take this food with me, and make it in my home, and love to feed it to people who have never had anything like it. My husband is hooked on a few variations of it. There are countless ways to make Hotdish, resulting in many different and unique recipes, but one thing remains the same. They are all hearty one-dish casseroles, that are served piping hot, most of them have potatoes, and they all use cream soup as a binder, flavoring, and sauce. This is a thing all over the Upper Midwest United States, but my home state even has an annual Congressional Hotdish Competition that was started in 2010 after the Midterm elections by a former Senator. Talk about a region taking pride in their food!

What are some of your happy foods? I’d love to know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!



24 thoughts on “The Food Train to Happy Town

  1. It was so interesting reading this because they’re not foods I’m familiar with living in the UK, a good roast dinner is my favourite, roast beef, gravy, potatoes and all the vegetables x

    Sinéad x | 🌷✨

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love roast beef veggies! If you are ever curious, I’m happy to share a recipe or two with you for foods from my corner of the world! There is actually a variation of Hotdish that is sorta-kinda-a tiny bit similar to Cottage Pie. While I would have to say, I technically prefer traditional Cottage Pie (love making one out of my left over pot roast when we have that), I really do have a soft spot for the Hotdish, and that is one of my favorite variations. Thank you for sharing with me!


      1. Thanks! I’m so fascinated with thanks giving in the states so if you did a post about all thanks giving type dishes, I’d definitely want recipes!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know what Jacket Potato is, but I am going to look it up. You can’t go wrong with potato, cheeses, and beans. There is just no combination of those things I could imagine not loving! Thank you for sharing!


    2. Oh, and I am planning to make some acorn squash this week. I’m pretty positive that I will just -have- to post about it, so keep an eye out, my recipe will most likely make it into the post.


  2. Wheat thins are bomb. I love the tomato basil ones. My comfort food is any cake or sweets. At all. It’s an awful habit. That and my moms tuscon kale and chorizo soup. Makes me feel like a kid even though she didn’t start making it until I was 23 lol

    Cheers xx

    Rachel |

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Funny how foods can do that when they are made by a parent. My mother can put a frozen pizza in the oven and I will swear it’s better than the next exactly similar pizza heated up by someone else. She can make something I have never had, and it feels like she’s been feeding it to me forever. That’s what this post is about! Thank you for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Skippy peanut butter. It’s my all-time comfort food. It goes great with saltines, Graham crackers, toast or straight out of the jar! I’ve never heard of hotdish (I’m from the South), so I’ll have to look that up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love peanut butter too! I eat it by the spoonful more often than I would like to admit! If after you look up hotdish, you would like some of the recipes for variations I grew up with, drop me a line, I would be more than happy to hook you up! They really are nice, easy hearty family meals. Kid friendly too!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I was wondering how long it would take for someone to say tacos!!! So good! I wanted to add them to my list, but I really had to just pick some and be firm about it, if I would have mentioned everything that falls into this category for me, this would be the world’s longest blog post.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hmm so many great food choices! I thoroughly enjoy mac n cheese HOWEVER I am one of those weird girls who add ketchup to almost everything. #weird

    I love cooking so I would love to see a few recipes up! xx
    Have a great week lovely

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I wish I had less happy foods! Honestly, though – sauerkraut is one of my favorites, especially my grandma’s homemade kraut! Other happy foods for me are stuffed grape-leaves & my dad’s kibbeh with garlic sauce and hot peppers, goat cheese & Rosemary crackers, and pistachio “salad” with whipped cream, pineapple & nuts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my! So many groovy happy foods! I am a sauerkraut lover as well. My favorite is made with fresh fall cabbage. I don’t know why, but sauerkraut made with spring cabbage is never -quite- as good to me, although, it’s never bad by a long shot! That pistachio salad sounds AMAZING. Thank you so much for sharing!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s