Tales From A Hungry Life

July 23, 2018

Desperately Seeking Inspiration

Filed under: Family,Food,food, family, fun, laughter,Humor,nostalgia,pets,Teachers,Uncategorized,writing — talesfromahungrylife @ 7:43 am

by Maria Schulz

No, not her.

Over the past year, my regularly scheduled novel writing/memoir writing/blog post writing has been hobbled by writer’s block. Let’s just say that life’s slings and arrows knocked me off my pins. I’m starting to feel like I can write again…but first I have to combat the feeling that I’m just no good at it.

Writer’s block is even scarier than all of the things that I dread most: stairs that go bump in the night, turning on the TV to a station playing The Exorcist, and being stuck in a small room with an angry, yardstick-wielding nun. As a lifelong writer, I know that the best way to get through this is to keep writing, but for the first time in my life, the written word has failed me.

Where did you go?

That’s not to say that I’m not writing. I write every day for a living. My job requires me to come up with a new way to sell a book, a movie, or merchandise every single day. It’s always fun and since I don’t have the luxury of waiting for my Muse to show up, I just plow my way through and create.

Writing has been my most loyal friend ever since I turned a homework assignment about Alaska into a story about an Alaskan girl, her Siberian Huskey, and their quest for food. So, here are the things that I did to track down my loyal friend–and beat the block.

10 Ways to Find Creative Inspiration When It’s MIA

Don’t wait around for the Muse to show up before you start working. Sit yourself down in that chair and WRITE! Or if you’re an artist, PAINT. Photographer? PHOTOGRAPH. Your Muse is a sassy pain in the butt, and she probably enjoys making you sweat. You go out there and FIND HER RIGHT NOW.

Stop Living in the Past, Man. Let go of whatever trauma or heartbreak took you to the edge. Reel yourself in and get going. You can’t change the past, but you can change the present. If being creative is who you are, you’ve got no excuses not to create.

You’re living in the past, man

Give Yourself Time to Heal. If you’re dealing with an existential crisis, mental illness, debilitating grief, or physical infirmities, don’t force it. But don’t you dare embrace the idea that you’ll never do it again. Once you start to feel better, get cracking.


There’s no time like the present

Do What You Can with What You Have Where You Are Right Now. No one expects you to paint a masterpiece, write the great American novel, or complete a concerto on the first outing. Go slow. Do the best you can. But show up.

Look on the bright side

Don’t Beat Yourself Up for This. You have the right to say “I can’t do it today.” But when the day comes that you think you’re feeling up to it, dip your toes in the water. “Swim” for five minutes if that’s the best you can manage. Little by little, you’ll get there.

Life is Arbitrary and You May Never Get the Answers You Need. With that said, there’s no time like the present to create something beautiful. You might just help someone out there who is struggling.

Life is beautiful

If life seems devoid of inspiration, go find it. Everyone carries their phone in their pocket, which means you also have your camera. Take pictures. Don’t say there’s nothing worth immortalizing. The smallest things may inspire you the most. Plus, no one sees things quite the way you do. Share your vision and soon, you’ll reignite that missing creative flame.

Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White

Walk the dog. The great thing about having dogs is that there is never any excuse not to get outside and walk, feed, and play with them. You can’t tell your pet, “Not today.” You get up, feed them, walk them, throw sticks, run with them, and care for them. It’s a lifelong commitment. Being creative is just like that. You have to tend to your creative habits faithfully, even when you don’t feel like it. Your creativity requires care and feeding.

Walking with my bestie

Help others. When you’re down, it’s easy to turn inwards. Helping someone else takes the focus off of your broken heart and empowers you. Do something as simple as driving an elderly neighbor to the doctor or picking up groceries for a sick friend. Run a 5K for Alzheimers. Swim laps for Multiple Sclerosis. Make dinner for families at Ronald McDonald House. Do the Out of the Darkness Walk for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Kindness is a gift that everyone needs and everyone can afford.

Take care of yourself. While you’re fighting the good fight, don’t forget to be kind to yourself. Exercise often. Accept offers of help from family and friends. Ignore your worst critic (you, and the voice inside of you that says you aren’t any good at writing/painting/creating anyway). Eat good food. Don’t overeat or drink too much. Stay sharp, remain persistent, and eventually, you’ll stare down your creative block.


Check out this article from Buzz Feed for some wonderful recipes and learn how to swap out some of your old go-to items with healthier things (like zucchini noodles instead of pasta).

Comfort Food the Healthy Way

Healthy pot pie


Turkey, Feta, and Zucchini Meatloaf


Zucchini Noodles and Meatballs


Healthy Loaded Potato Skins

There’s nothing quite like eating food that tastes great and doesn’t make you gain a million pounds. Fuel your creativity with food that is comforting, tastes great, and is good for you. Your body and soul will thank you.

So…have you ever found yourself stuck and unable to create? What are your best tips for breaking the dreaded writer’s block? What’s your favorite healthy comfort food recipe? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks!

May 13, 2018

What Motherhood Taught Me

Filed under: Family,Food,food, family, fun, laughter,Humor,pets,Teachers,Uncategorized — talesfromahungrylife @ 10:11 am

by Maria Schulz

Motherhood is a tricky business. When you first start out on this road, you are certain you will do things differently from your own mother/grandmother/best friend/mortal enemy. You think you know better! Of course you do. Your intentions are good, and you think that your judgment will never be clouded by:

Get ready…

  • Lack of sleep
  • Illness
  • Impatience
  • Boredom
  • Desperation
  • Deprivation
  • Your basic humanity

You will rise above all of that because this little person/little people are so important, nothing else matters. You will never make a mistake! You will always put their needs ahead of yours. Blah, blah, blah. Like, I said, good intentions. Just remember that old saying: the road to hell is paved with good intentions. HA! Welcome to Motherhood.

Here’s what I’ve learned about being a mother (so far, anyway). I learned these things by watching my mother, grandmothers, sisters-in-law, friends, and from personal experience. Here we go.

15 Things I Learned About Motherhood

  1. Everyday is not a Hallmark moment. Yes, you will have times when you realize how lucky you are and what a joy motherhood is. However, when you’re up to your eyeballs in dirty laundry, screaming kids, and sleepless nights, you may just dream of running away to Tahiti and never coming back. That’s okay. You are human. Grin and bear it. This too shall pass.

    Calgon, take me away!

  2. There will never be a parade held in your honor. If you are expecting small children (or big children) to: throw confetti in your path or shower you with laurel leaves following a great dinner; or for finding those ruby red slippers that your daughter needs to complete her Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz costume; or because you brought your son’s cleats to school so he doesn’t miss practice…forget it. You are Mom! Motherhood is the worst job you will ever love. There are no parades for doing what Moms do!

    Thanks for the sandwich, Mom!

  3. The other mothers in your neighborhood may or may not be your lifelong friends. Made for TV movies show Moms immediately hitting it off and their children becoming best friends forever. If you are lucky enough to experience this, congratulations! You are truly blessed. The rest of us…not so much. Finding a compatible mother to befriend is a lot like dating. You have to kiss a lot of toads and most of the time, you get nothing.

    Is this the one?

  4. When you do find a mother you like, don’t expect your kids to love her kids. This is like finding a bag of gold at the end of the rainbow. Maybe you’ve seen leprechauns and know where to find them as they hide their gold, but the rest of us need to just chill. You can be friends with mom, but try not to force your kids into being friends with a kid they can’t stand. Better to grieve now than later.

    The only leprechaun I know

  5. Your momma was right…with some caveats. My mother-in-law once told me not to wish my kids’ lives away. Yes, those early days can be endless, but try to enjoy infancy (sleep when they sleep is the golden rule. Laundry can wait). Don’t lose your patience during the toddler years (you will laugh about this, believe me). Even the teen years have their high points. Enjoy the K-12 school years. You may think that those years will last forever…but they don’t.


  6. Your body is different now. You will sometimes look at yourself in the mirror and think: OH MY GOD WHY WHY WHY DO I LOOK JUST LIKE MY MOTHER/GRANDMOTHER? It’s because you’ve got kids. You don’t sleep, you are constantly on the run, and you share genes with your mother and grandmother. Be proud of how you look. Kids are a miracle, and you are a miracle maker. Plus your mother and grandmother were no slouches, either.

    Miracle maker

  7. Don’t fight with kids over vegetables, clothing, or imaginary play. Why are you getting into power struggles over that? So they hate broccoli. Do you love every vegetable? Keep offering it but don’t go mental if they continue to decline it. He wants to wear polka dots with stripes and he is determined to do it. Well then…go to it, fella. She wants to pretend she’s Superman but you’d rather she want to be Wonder Woman? Tomorrow she may want to be Scooby Doo. Will you insist she be Lassie? Just let them make the easy choices for themselves. Kids love that.
  8. Don’t forget your partner. If you’re lucky enough to have a partner, remember to make time for him/her too. My kids always loved being with their Dad, and they loved seeing us happy together. That’s a gift that they always enjoy getting (and it’s cheap). They will smile every time they see you two being affectionate until they become teenagers and decide that having parents who care about each other IS SO GROSS.


  9. Being a Class Mom or Committee Chairperson for the PTA does not make you God. Oh those heady, power-fueled years. You can take all of your friends on trips with you! You can say who gets to come to in-party classes! You get to tell Sally that she has to bring in those impossible to find gluten-free/nut-free/taste-free cookies that no one but your kid likes! Eh…get over yourself. Pull names from a hat and make sure every parent in the class gets a shot at those trips and special events (their kids want to see them, too). Pick up those cookies yourself. Don’t forget there are kids in the class other than your own and you will get through those years with your sense of humor and self-respect intact.

    Parents who never get to come to in-class events

  10. Your child is not only listening…he/she is watching you. If you want your children to be kind and help others…be kind and help others. If you don’t want your kids to curse, don’t curse. Yes, we all make mistakes and slip, but still. Walk the walk and talk the talk, Mom. Don’t be the “do as I say not as I do” creature that you promised yourself you would never become.

    Be the person your dog thinks you are

  11. When you do find other moms whose company you enjoy, get together with them. It’s easy to say “I don’t have time,” because none of us do. But when you make your own happiness a priority, you stop cancelling the things you enjoy. Start a book club with likeminded moms. Go to Zumba class. Walk around the neighborhood. Me time is not a sin. It shows your kids that you deserve a break and that you value your sanity. Let them miss you!

    Get moving

  12. Be a passionate advocate. Yes, I’ll admit it: the thought of someone mistreating my child makes me want to become Godzilla rampaging through Tokyo. However, I’ve reigned in most of that outrage and turned it into passionate advocacy. I will always talk to the teachers, guidance counselors, and principal if necessary so that my child’s needs are addressed. And when all else fails, I imagine Godzilla being my advocate.

    So I see you’ve met my child

  13. Embrace your child’s personality. Is your child funny? Talented? Smart? Naive? Clueless? Innocent? Mischievous? Will you always like their character traits? Will life always be a romp through the flower fields with your kids? Nah. But if you accept your child as they are–and don’t try to bend them into what you’d wished they would be–you may be surprised at just how awesome they really are. Plus, they may treat you with equal respect (maybe, someday. Perhaps).

    All unique. All awesome

  14. Laugh…a lot (but mostly to yourself). Kids are hilarious. Talk to them. Listen to their music. Watch their shows. Engage their friends in conversations. When you drive them and their friends places, listen to their conversations. It’s like being an undercover agent. The kids forget they have a parent in the car and you discover lots of intriguing, funny, sometimes disturbing, but always important things about them.

    Sure, I’ll drive you and your friends. Forget I’m even there

  15. Enjoy the ride. Do you hate roller coasters? Well, then parenting may make you nauseous. However, you will learn to throw your hands up in the air and “ride the wave” eventually. Just strap yourself in and smile. There will be highs and lows but life will always be interesting. Don’t fight it. Scream if you must. But always be ready for the adventure!

    Makes everything better

10 Easy Brunch Recipes for Mother’s Day

You had me at Nutella! Find recipes for crepes, huevos rancheros, mimosas, and more. So, hungry lifers…what have you learned about motherhood–either from personal experience or by watching the moms in your life? What’s your favorite brunch recipe? Please post a comment below and let us all know. Thanks, and Happy Mother’s Day!

February 7, 2017

7 Things You Must Learn From Your Old Dog

by Maria Schulz

There are few things in life as wonderful as bringing a brand new puppy into your home. Puppies are adorable, funny, and curious. Even when they screw up royally by eating the kitchen cabinets or chewing a hole in your couch, you can’t stay mad at them forever.

All of that is true, but I’ll let you in on a little secret: puppies are great, but old dogs are fantastic too. It’s easy to understand why: they’ve gotten most of their bad habits out of their systems (let’s be honest: are all of your bad habits out of your system?) and over the years, you will have developed a mutual affection and understanding.

Where's the cheese?

Where’s the cheese?

As my dog has moved into her “golden years,” she has reminded me of all the ways she has been a blessing in my life. Here are some of the life lessons I’ve gleaned from watching her get through her days.

  1. When You Don’t Feel Good, Lie Down

This seems like a no brainer, but silly humans keep going sometimes instead of listening to their bodies. I am one of those humans. My dog, however, will curl up in a ball on her bed and stay there until she feels better. Who’s the smart one?

  1. When the Sun Shines and the Temperatures are Mild, Let’s Walk

Extremes are not for the old dog. High temperatures or brutal cold bother my dog, so it’s in and out in a flash. But a beautiful day demands participation. We walk for a while, taking in the sunrise or staring at the stars. It’s the best medicine in the world.

Hot, hot, hot

Hot, hot, hot

  1. Medicine goes down better when there’s cheese

Remember Mary Poppins? A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down. Or in my dog’s case, cheese does the trick. Don’t skip out on the very thing that will make you feel better. Find a way to tolerate it and even look forward to it.

  1. Express Joy When Your “Peeps” Come Through the Door

Maybe you can’t jump up and greet them, but you can always let them know how delighted you are to have them around. My dog wags her tail just because we’re sitting close by and watching TV. She’s never shy about letting us know that she’s happy.

You're here!

You’re here!

  1. Some Days Will Be Better Than Others

Every day won’t be a party. Arthritis, stomachaches, headaches, bad hips, or bad knees will sometimes make today a non-participatory day. But tomorrow may find that old dog bringing you her favorite hedgehog toy and playing hide and seek. Live in the moment. Be patient and understanding…just like your dog will be when your bad back leaves you stranded on the couch.

Let's play

Let’s play

  1. Greet Old Friends and Make New Ones

My dog is blessed with a bit of Marilyn Monroe beauty even now. People will stop us to say hello, pet her, and ask how she’s doing. My dog happily accepts all adoration and is delighted when there’s another dog on the other end of this admiration society. Thanks to her, I have met more people than I ever would have if I were walking alone. Sure, puppies bring scores of people to your side…but old dogs are also magnets for the very best people: those who are kind, compassionate, and want to give you and your dog a little support as you walk slowly towards home.

Let's walk

Let’s walk

  1. Every Day is The. Best. Day. Ever.

My old girl doesn’t spend her days worrying about what tomorrow may bring. She wakes up everyday and is ready to eat, walk, and head out on an adventure. She doesn’t dread the numerous vet visits; instead, she charges gleefully through the door. She is the only dog I have ever had that gets excited when I say, “want to go see Dr. D?” She still barks ferociously and protects the people and home that she loves. Every vet visit, car ride, sunrise or starry night is waiting for her, and it’s going to be AWESOME.

I’ve heard it said that people wish they could be half the person that their dog thinks they are. Well, I wish I could be half as optimistic as my old Lab. In the meantime, I’ll follow her lead and enjoy our life together right now.

Recipe: Grilled Cheese

Tomato soup and grilled cheese. A perfect marriage

Tomato soup and grilled cheese. A perfect marriage

50 of the Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Nothing makes my dog shimmy and shake quite as much as the sight, smells, and sound of a grilled cheese. These recipes all look delicious and include 50 versions of this time-honored favorite, including the classic grilled cheese, bacon and tomato, pesto, Mediterranean, Gruyere with Sauerkraut, and more.

So: what have you learned from your old dog? Leave a comment and share your thoughts. Thanks! I hope that today brings you your own great adventure.

October 11, 2016

Cooking On A Lazy Day

By Maria Schulz

Some people don’t like rainy weekend days, but I do. Especially a rainy day that comes after a really busy, fun-filled Saturday.

Look! A rainbow.

Look! A rainbow.

I love waking up to the sound of soft rain dancing against the windows and the wind rustling through the trees. Yes, my dog and I still walk in the rain, but not for long.

Short walks on rainy days

Short walks on rainy days

The best part of a cool, rainy Sunday is that I feel free to bake and cook. The last couple of weeks have been so warm that I’ve still been using my barbecue. Turning on the oven was a welcome change.

I baked muffins in the morning. The rich smell of cornflour, eggs, milk and butter made me think of weekend visits with Irene, my mother-in-law. She loved corn muffins.

Fresh from the oven

Fresh from the oven

Sundays are also the perfect time to make a batch of sauce that we can use later in the week. I love putting on a big pot of sauce to simmer on the stove. That smell immediately transports me back to Sundays with my parents. Mom made her sauce while Dad listened to Frank Sinatra on the radio or watched Meet the Press on television. I can still see my mom handing me a piece of bread as she stirred the sauce, asking me what I thought. img_0012

“Perfect!” I’d reply, because Mom’s sauce always was the best.

Later in the day, I made some memories for my own family by making a batch of Chicken Tetrazzini. My husband, girls, and dog always hover near the kitchen as I cook the chicken, stir the sauce, add the sherry, and make the pasta. When it all goes into the casserole dish and into the oven, I have to reassure them that it will be ready soon.

Giada's recipe

Giada’s recipe

My husband even made his mom’s baked apple recipe, filling the whole house with the smell of cinnamon, nutmeg, apples and maple syrup.

Makes the whole house smell great

Makes the whole house smell great

It was a day filled with comforting food, happy memories, and much-loved family.

As Martha Stewart would say, it was a very good thing.


Chicken Tetrazzini

Giada’s recipe is a lot more involved than mine, but it’s still delicious. I use a lot less butter, no bread crumbs (I put parmesan cheese on top of mine) and I add a quarter of a cup of sherry to my sauce, which gives it a wonderful flavor.

Baked Apples

This recipe includes things like cherries and nuts, which add an interesting texture and flavor to the baked apple. You can go a much simpler route by just cleaning and coring your apples and stuffing them with cinnamon, nutmeg, and maple syrup. Your call.


My corn muffin recipe is a little less fussy. I open two packages of Betty Crocker’s Corn bread & muffin mix, double the ingredients (except for the butter–I find that doubling the butter makes them too greasy. So I use 3 tablespoons of butter instead of 4) and bake. Yes, this is an indulgence and doubles the caloric hit but I like a jumbo muffin every once in a while. I have tried every type of corn muffin mix and have even made them from scratch, but this brand of corn muffins is by far my favorite. These are great in the mornings and also wonderful to make as a side dish to a big pot of chili. But that’s a recipe for another day.

So…what’s your favorite comfort food? What do you like doing on a lazy, rainy day? Please leave a comment with your thoughts or your favorite recipe. If you’re like me, you’re always looking for new ones to try. Thanks!

August 24, 2016

8 Great Ways to Pursue Happiness

They look happy

They look happy

I just read an article about happiness that got me thinking.

A Harvard psychologist says that too many people have got this happiness thing all wrong. Instead of sitting around thinking up ways to be happier, the researchers say that you should just go out and live your life. Stop thinking about it! It’s okay to be unhappy, just don’t sit around worrying about how to be happier. The key finding was: in order to find happiness, you have to be okay with being unhappy sometimes. Just accept it. Sometimes, you’re not going to be happy. Embrace it, man! It’s okay. Don’t sweep those bad feelings under the rug. Apparently, the key to a happier life is being emotionally agile and becoming your true, authentic self.


I am no psychologist. I don’t even play one on TV. But I have to ask…do we really need to research this kind of thing? I thought everyone was basically unhappy anyway. To paraphrase another Seinfeld episode (substituting the word happiness for humor) “happiness is like gossamer. One does not dissect gossamer.”

Ready? Here we go...

Ready? Here we go…

So, in the interests of helping the unhappy be more authentic and tap into their happier selves, I’m going to offer my:

8 Great Ways to Pursue Happiness…Or At Least My Version of It

  1. Laugh. A lot. Life can be frustrating, energy draining, infuriating, and disappointing. So what? If you can’t find something to laugh at in the idiocy all around you, you’re just not trying hard enough.
  2. Feed Your Soul. Whether you like to paint waterlilies or sing the entire soundtrack of Grease, do it. You don’t have to be perfect. Just do what you love and that happiness thing will come a’calling.

    Just have fun

    Just have fun

  3. Feed Your Face. Yeah, I’m going there. I’m not suggesting you bury your emotions in a gallon of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, but if you’ve had a rough day and all you want in the whole world is some Chunky Monkey, HAVE IT. Don’t make it bigger than it already is. And the key to not making yourself bigger than you already are is Portion Control. The key word here is control. You’re in charge.
  4. Remember: You’re In Charge. That’s right. No one else is responsible for your happiness. It’s all on you, baby. Own your mistakes. Own your disappointments. Only you can change what makes you unhappy, and only you can identify what you need in your life. So what are you waiting for?
  5. Don’t Ignore Your Inner Cynic. Listen to what he/she has to say, because you will probably learn what you really need from him or her. But by the same token, don’t always listen. Your Inner Cynic is a jerk sometimes.

    Hello, I'm your Inner Cynic

    Hello, I’m your Inner Cynic

  6. Get Out of Your House. And while you’re at it, get out of your head. Want to meet people? Tired of being lonely? Think everyone but you is having a good time? Leave the house! Unless you live in Grand Central Station, chances are all the fun stuff is going on elsewhere. Get out there and find it. Join a bicycle club, running club, baking club, whatever. Don’t go there with the thought: I have to meet my one true love! Go there thinking: I’m sick of watching The Bachelor. Que sera, sera. Just go with it.
  7. Volunteer. It’s true: doing things for others is a really great way to find happiness. Walk dogs at the local shelter (they’re always desperate for help); attend a Special Olympics event and cheer on people who are competing; help the local food pantry stock their shelves. There are a million ways to help other people. Go find one that is meaningful to you and reap the rewards.

    Don't you want to walk me?

    Don’t you want to walk me?

  8. Change the World. Or at least your corner of it. Campaign for a worthy candidate. Raise funds for your school at the next bake sale. Go down the block and clear trash out of your local park. Don’t just sit there waiting for love, romance, happiness, and meaning to come to you. Go find it while you’re not looking for it.

If none of these suggestions work for you, that’s okay. I never said I was a Happiness Guru. It all goes back to #4 (see above). You need to figure out what you can do for YOURSELF. You don’t need to read about ways to make yourself happier. Get lost in pursuing your dreams or making life better for others and that happiness thing will naturally take care of itself.

So good!

So good!


Chunky Monkey Ice Cream

Banana and Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Get that monkey off your back and have some of this delicious ice cream! You can follow these recipes from allrecipes.com as is or make modifications based on reader comments–less sugar, more ripe bananas, etc. Follow your taste buds and I bet you’ll be happy!

So, Hungry Lifers…what’s your favorite way to be happy? Are you in touch with your authentic self? What comfort food makes you smile from ear to ear? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks!


August 6, 2016

This is My Idea of a Good Morning

by Maria Schulz

Everybody starts their day in a different way. Over at The Daily Post, they challenged bloggers to take a photo that says “morning” to us. Here’s one of mine.

The nearby pizzeria gets their morning delivery of Italian bread from the local bakery. You can smell the fresh bread from blocks away. There’s a coffee shop next door that’s another hot spot for the neighborhood. Freshly roasted coffee and egg sandwiches make it a delight to pass by.

My dog knows she’ll encounter some amazing smells in the morning, so she moves as fast as she can towards the stores. She is getting older now, so I know it’s a great day when she can walk all the way towards the sights, sounds, and people she’s always enjoyed seeing.

img_0010-1It’s a very good morning indeed!

Recipe: Eggs, Herbs, & Tomato Omelette

Make the morning even better with fresh organic eggs plus tomatoes and herbs picked fresh from the garden.


2 Eggs

1 tomato, chopped

Italian Parsley leaves, chopped

Basil leaves, chopped

Sage, chopped



2 tablespoons Olive oil (or Pam)

Cheese (Cheddar,mozzerella, or goat cheese, optional)

Spray Pam or add Olive Oil to heated pan. Beat the eggs and add them to the hot pan. When the eggs have begun to firm up, add the tomatoes, herbs, and cheese. After about two minutes, flip it and brown the other side. You can eat this as is or add it to a low carb wrap. You can also add broccoli or spinach if you like.

To read about how other bloggers spend their mornings (and see their photos), check out Morning at the Daily Post. Enjoy!

So, what’s your favorite way to spend the morning? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks, and have a great day.


October 5, 2015

In Good Times and In Bad

by Maria Schulz

Recently, my beautiful niece got married to her long-time boyfriend, and our family gathered to celebrate. The bride and groom wrote their own vows and promised to always be there for each other.



It reminded me of an article I read in The New York Times entitled “The Wedding Toast I’ll Never Give.” The author talked about how young couples set out hoping to never let each other down, only to discover that marriage is full of mistakes, pettiness, anger, and many dark nights of the soul. And yet…like life, marriage can be better than you ever imagined when you were that starry-eyed newlywed.

Even though my wedding day was decades ago, I remember reading my vows “with shaking hands” and promising to never let my husband down. So how did that work out for us? Well…


This is a movie. NOT REAL LIFE

Here’s the thing about being married. It looks easy in Hollywood movies and to people who have never done it, but it is hard work. There are lots of things you need to remember throughout your life as a married person if you want to hit the vaunted “til death do us part” point of it all.

Things Married Couples Should Remember

  • There will be days when you look at that person and you know you made the right choice. You love this person like he/she is a part of you, and always will.
  • There will also be days when you think: I could run away, and he/she will never find me
Words to live by

Words to live by

  • Don’t express every thought that enters your head. You may not even remember what you were mad about a week from now.
  • You don’t have to do everything together. Go play softball, sing karaoke, or ride your bike. Then come home and tell your spouse what a great time you had—and ask them about their great time too.
I like my bicycle

I like my bicycle

  • Eat dinner together on most nights. That’s your time together…make it sacred.
  • Once in awhile, have dinner with friends while he or she stays home and eats Cheerios (you hate cereal for dinner) or watches a horror movie (the kind you never want to watch)
Have a good time with your friend. See you later.

Have a good time with your friend. See you later.

  • Never underestimate the power of a good relationship with your in-laws. There is no greater ally than a beloved mother-in-law and/or father-in-law.

mother in law quote

  • A good relationship with your spouse’s siblings will help you understand your partner in so many ways…and it will always make your partner happy when he/she sees all of you laughing together.
  • If your spouse is quiet and your family is over-the-top, loud, and quirky, you can’t expect him or her to be leading the festivities at your family’s annual Christmas karaoke night.
We look just like the Kennedys

We look just like the Kennedys

  • Likewise, when your over the top, loud, and quirky spouse shows up at your family’s annual Thanksgiving party and manages to get your boring family to play a Kennedy-esque football game on the front lawn, just go with it.
  • When children arrive, you will not have time for each other, let alone yourself. Like marriage, parenthood is the kind of thing that non-parents think is easy. Just remind yourselves that this little baby will grow up fast. Plan to be there together once the dust settles and that infant is off at college.
What he said

What he said

  • As your kids get older, you will discover that they know exactly how to play you against each other. Don’t fall for it! Be like the Allies in World War II—present a unified front and never, never, NEVER give up.
  • Once you’ve made it to the 15-year mark of your marriage, congratulate yourselves. And don’t let your teenagers turn you against each other.
  • At about 20 years, you will start to see lots of your peers ending their marriages. Don’t judge; nobody knows the real reasons behind anything except for that couple. Does that mean you need to do the same? As my parents used to say, if your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?

jump off a bridge

  • Along the way, you may meet someone that reignites a spark inside of you. This feeling is probably just boredom or gas. Let it pass. The real issue here is not your spouse or that other person…it’s you.
  • Sometimes you will feel so grateful that your spouse chose you. Don’t let that feeling go, even when you find his underwear on the floor for the millionth time or she invites her mother over for dinner again
  • The hardest moments in your life can be endured as long as you face them together. The death of parents, loss of a job, and pain of broken dreams all become a little easier to bear with this person by your side.

Remember: the vows say: in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, for better or for worse, til death do us part. The vows do NOT say: we will always be happy. We will never fight. For better or for even better! Til I get tired of you and get a newer model.

Barring abuse, infidelity, or extreme incompatibility, remember: love is a choice. Today you two might be ready to storm out the door and never look back. But if you stay, tomorrow you may see that young girl/boy who first caught your eye, and realize…this is where you wanted to be all along.

Wedding Chicken

Wedding Chicken

50 Favorite Dinner Recipes

Includes skirt steak with a velvety sauce, jasmine rice pilaf, and Wedding Chicken.

So Hungry Lifers: what would you say if you gave a wedding toast? Please leave a comment and let us all know. And one more thing: Happy Anniversary to my husband, who is still the best choice I ever made.

April 8, 2015

Happy 5th Anniversary to Me

by Maria Schulz

Five years ago this April, I hit “publish” on my very first blog post. This was no small feat, since I had always been afraid to share my writing with the world at large. My high school English teachers were the first to point out that I had a knack for writing, but I didn’t always believe them. I ranked it right up there with my mother telling me I was beautiful. Who believes that?

My dad, uncle, and their friends from "the Hill," Queensborough Hill.

A photo from my very first post. My dad, uncle, and their friends from “the Hill,” Queensborough Hill.


Mr. Reines once told me: “Maria, you’re a writer! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.” Mr. Brodsky was a bit more blunt:  “Damn it, Maria, you’re not Emily Dickinson. Stop putting your stuff under the bed. Get it out there!” It only took me a few decades to follow his advice, but I’m glad I finally did.

I’ll admit it, there have been times when the old fear creeps in and I feel paralyzed. What if no one likes it? What if no one (gasp) laughs? What if I send this blog post out there, and absolutely NOTHING HAPPENS? What if I expose myself as a MORON? What if no one buys my book? Will I be able to keep my sense of humor about it? Here are my answers to those burning and idiotic personal questions:

How long before I'm on the cover with you?

How long before I’m on the cover with you?

1. No one may like my blog post, but I’m probably sitting here laughing as I write it, so at least it helped bring down my blood pressure for a few minutes

2. Again, someone laughed–me! The rest is gravy

Maybe Super Grover could hold my book

Maybe Super Grover could hold my book

3. What exactly do I think is going to happen? I haven’t gotten my 5 minutes with Oprah yet (except in my imagination) and the Tales From A Hungry Life balloon hasn’t gone live at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade either, but I’ve gotten lots of fun comments from people that are always hilarious and inspiring. So it’s all good.

4. I’m a writer. It would be moronic NOT to have opinions, ideas, or thoughts that I wanted to share. Yes, people have sent me mean comments and said my writing made them want to drink. Those words stung…but then I realized, maybe those comments were more about them then they were about me.

Now available on amazon.com

Now available on amazon.com

5. My book has been more successful than I had ever imagined, and I have my “platform” to thank for that. Platform is the word writers use to describe their social media presence. It reminds me of when I was in London some years ago and crazy people stood up on platforms and shouted out their ideas on a whole range of subjects in the public square. Yes, that describes my blog pretty well.

6. My sense of humor is still intact, thank you. It’s kind of like a very good friend that I keep by my side to cheer me on when I’m afraid that I can’t continue. It’s also nourished by my real (and not imaginary) friends who drop off gifts of crumb cake after I’ve posted something (Yes, Paula, I mean you).

I never thought I would still be blogging 5 years later. It’s not that I didn’t have something to say…it’s just that I wasn’t sure anyone would respond. For once, I’m happy to be wrong about something. This blog has been the place that I could write about things that meant something to me, and discover that I was not alone.

This cover still cracks me up

This cover still cracks me up


This is the place where I can write about the past–beloved pets, teachers, friends, and family. I can share the hilarious stories about my brothers (who are the best comedians I’ve ever known) and my well-meaning but very human parents. I could write about celebrities that I admired and those that passed on–Joan Rivers, Robin Williams, and of course, James Garner.  I could also write about the present: movies I love, life as a Mom, PTA shenanigans, growing pains with my kids, love and laughter with my husband.

Always a great escape

Always a great escape

Over the past 5 years, I have experienced a kind of creative freedom that you can’t get just anywhere. When I post, I’m the boss: what I say goes. Of course, that doesn’t stop my boss from sometimes being critical and editing everything I do (what can I say, I’m a pain), but it’s made me a more committed and dedicated writer. I completed my first book, wrote a short story that was included in another book, and have started on my second book, and all of it happened because this blog gave me the confidence to work towards those dreams.

My story is in this book!

My story is in this book!

I’ve nurtured my blog through the early days when I wasn’t sure what I was doing and I’ve grown in confidence. If my blog was a child, it would be ready to go off to Kindergarten right about now. There are lots of fun days ahead. I’ll try to enjoy them, because the teen years are right around the corner.

Thanks to everyone who reads, comments, and shares my blog. I’m looking forward to the next five years and all of the new challenges and adventures that blogging will bring. As my niece Katie says, “this is going to be fun!”

As for you, Mr. Brodsky: I still have plenty of stuff piled under that bed. Thanks for encouraging me to share it with the world.


buttery crumb cake

Crumb Cake

This recipe is outrageously buttery, but that’s what makes it good. Imagine my delight when my pal, Paula, dropped off a hunk of crumb cake for me one morning after she read that week’s blog post. If this is what fan mail is all about, I’m in.

100 Healthy Dessert Ideas

For those of you who need to satisfy your sweet tooth but want to go light, here are 100 healthy ideas from Cooking Light. These good-for-you treats include bourbon-glazed peaches with yogurt, blackberry merlot granita, carrot cake, and many more delicious options.

So, Hungry Lifers: have you ever done something outside of your comfort zone? Did it take you several decades to do it? What’s your favorite dessert recipe–either so bad it’s good or tastes great/good for you too? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks!

March 25, 2015

My Cartoon Heroes

by Maria Schulz

Beep, beep

Beep, beep

Nothing makes me teleport back to my childhood faster than a great cartoon. Bugs Bunny, Wile E. Coyote (Super Genius), The Road Runner, Tweety Bird, Sylvester, Yosemite Sam, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, The Tasmanian Devil, and lots of others helped me develop a sense of humor, a love of sarcasm, and the ability to see pratfalls as the funniest things on earth. This was a huge selling point for me, since I had so many brothers who enjoyed helping me fall…a lot!

Here are my Favorite Cartoons from Back in the Day:

bugs and Taz
1. Looney Tunes: who among us of a certain age has sat through an entire episode without laughing? Yes, there was violence. Yes, there were moments of sheer meanness. But look at their problem solving abilities! Bugs Bunny managed to not get eaten on any number of occasions. Porky Pig got through life despite his stutter. Tweety Bird became more confident thanks to her ability to see Puddy Tats (Pussy Cats, for the uninformed) when no one else did. Plus, Wile E. Coyote never gave up, despite multiple contusions and probably head traumas. If you can’t find the silver linings in these cartoons, you’re just not looking hard enough.

2. Magilla Gorilla: Come on, sing it with me: “We’ve got a gorilla for sale. Magilla Gorilla for sale. Won’t you buy him? Take him home and try him? Gorilla for Sale. He’s real, he’s a deal, and he’s awfully cute. He’s an ever livin’ doll in a monkey suit!” I wanted to adopt him then, and I still want to adopt him now.

3. Ricochet Rabbit: Bing, bing, bing! It’s Richochet Rabbit! Best sheriff ever, and you didn’t have to sit through a convoluted, hours-long mystery/Western show to get through it.

4. Josie and the Pussycats: This girl band rocked my world long before the Bangles or the Go Gos. Plus I loved their cat costumes! This cartoon is probably tied with Sabrina the Teenage Witch and The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, two more cartoons that celebrated smart, funny young women. Cool!

5. Underdog! My doggie hero. Always there when you need him and ready to save the day. Who needs Superman?

D'oh! Donuts!

D’oh! Donuts!

6. The Simpsons: I remember when this show first appeared as a weird little sketch on the Tracy Ullman show. When it became a series in its own right, I would watch it at my boyfriend’s house. We thought it was a hoot. Bart had to write on the blackboard! Lisa was a genius! Maggie never said anything! Marge’s hair was almost as high as mine (it was the 80s)! Homer liked Duff beer, playing hooky, and trying to strangle Bart. What an odd little anti-family. How I hoped that show would last.

Here are my Favorite Cartoons from My Childrens’ Childhood:

1. The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy: if you have never seen this one, go to Cartoon Network or find it on Netflix. It is super creative, filled with dark humor, and absolutely hilarious. Death (Grim, a.ka. the Grim Reaper) gets hoodwinked into being Billy & Mandy’s “forever friend” when he loses a bet…and the laughs never die!

2. Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends: This is probably one of the most imaginative, endearing cartoons ever, with hysterical story lines that keep it from being overly sentimental or sweet. Eight-year-old Mac is told by his mom that it’s time to get rid of his Imaginary Friend, so he brings his best bud, Bloo, to Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends. Madame Foster, the wacky owner, and her own beloved imaginary friend, Mr. Harriman, run the place, with the help of her teenage granddaughter, Frankie. This show features tons of hilarious imaginary friends and makes Christopher Robin (of Winnie the Pooh fame) seem like an absolute slacker in the imaginary friend department.

the powerpuff girls
3. The Powerpuff Girls: GIRL POWER! Brought to life by their Professor Dad, three radioactive girls save the day as often as needed, in between going to school and playing in the sandbox. Funny storylines, great villains, and three five-year-old heroines made this cartoon a riot.

4. Wallace & Gromit: HANG ON, LAD! The dog’s a genius, and he always saves his daffy, beloved inventor/owner. Thanks to Wallace’s penchant for inventions gone wrong, his love of cheese, and his inability to see trouble coming, Gromit must stay on his toes. Claymation has never been so much fun.

5. Kipper the Dog: This gentle-voiced pooch and his friends often went off on adorable adventures by the sea side…and sent my little ones off to Dreamland in the process. The sound of Kipper’s voice still makes me weep with joy. Franklin (the turtle) also had a calming effect that made my kids laugh, smile, and pass right out. How I loved that cartoon turtle!

Now here's a race I would really enjoy

Now here’s a race I would really enjoy

6) The Simpsons: It’s a pretty amazing thing when a show that first premiered during my early days is still on and is now thoroughly enjoyed by my children. When my family and I saw The Simpsons Movie at the theater, no one was laughing harder (or louder, as my children remember it) than me. I still think the Simpsons are hilarious. It’s so wrong, it’s right sometimes. How could you not love Homer? By the way, my boyfriend still watches it with me…except now he’s my husband.



If they’re good enough for Homer, they’re good enough for me. Here are some better for you choices from Health.com, including Chocolate Hazelnut, Lemon Glaze, Cinnamon Sugar, and more. The secret to cutting the fat and calories? Bake ’em.

So, Hungry Lifers…what are  your all-time favorite cartoons? Who’s your favorite character? Which cartoons do your kids swear by? Do you have a healthy donut recipe? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks!

March 10, 2015

9 Great Reads for National Reading Month

by Maria Schulz

Go ahead...read!

Go ahead…read!

Read Across America kicked off National Reading Month with its annual celebration of all things Dr. Seuss (since the good Dr.’s birthday was March 2). This means that PARP (Parents Are Reading Partners), your local PTA, and teachers all across America are celebrating this month with classic tales like Green Eggs and Ham, Horton Hears a Who, The Cat in the Hat, Hop on Pop, The Lorax, and many more of Dr. Seuss’s wonderful books.

How the grinch stole Christmas

My favorite Suessian take on life is How The Grinch Stole Christmas. I totally relate to the Grinch and his thoughts on The Who’s in Whoville, loud and annoying little kids, and other assorted Christmas craziness…but that’s probably just because I worked in retail for so long.

But books aren’t just for kids. Reading has always been something that simultaneously relaxed me and excited me. As Dr. Seuss said in another one of his books, “oh, the places you’ll go!” I can see the four corners of the world without ever leaving my couch as long as I’ve got a great book in my hands.

Let's read. And talk. And eat.

Let’s read. And talk. And eat.

One of my friends (a dedicated PARP-ette, PTA mom and fellow book lover) uses reading to get her off the couch, out of the kitchen, and on the treadmill at the gym. She picks a great book and only gets to enjoy it while racking up the miles. I think this is so clever, although Dr. Seuss could have written a book about me reading on the treadmill called I Just Might Vomit on a Treadmill Named Comet.


For those of you who do not like green eggs and ham, but still love reading, I’ve decided to share some of my favorite reads. Here are a few to get you started.

Now available on amazon.com

Now available on amazon.com

by Maria Schulz: Here’s a review taken off of Amazon from one of my satisfied readers: “If you are looking for a story that will touch your heart and make you laugh out loud, this book is a winner. With each chapter you will feel as if you are right in the middle of the hysterical antics of this fun loving family and it will leave you wishing you could be an honorary member of the Lagalante clan. I sure did!.”

the alchemist

The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo: Here is the story of an Andalusian shepherd boy who seeks travel, treasure, and a life of adventure. What he finds is life-changing wisdom about learning to listen to your heart and following your dreams. It’s a beautiful story and a quick read. Win/win

the girl on the train

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins: this book made me forget that I was packed into the cattle car known as the friendly skies, or that my 40 minute flight lasted 2 ½ hours. Who can say what’s real about other people’s lives, what’s the truth—and which people you can really trust?
everything I never told you

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng: there are three children in the Lee family, but only one of them is truly cherished. When death strikes, the Lees must confront all the things they thought they knew, and the things they never even imagined.

the rosie effect

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion: here’s the sequel to the bestselling book, The Rosie Project. Don Tillman loves routines, stability, and the status quo…but he also loves Rosie, a wildcard if ever there was one. Now Don is in for a surprise he hasn’t planned for: he’s about to become a father! Funny, adorable, and entertaining.

So funny

So funny

Diary of a Mad Diva by Joan Rivers: this woman is still cracking me up with her irreverence, wit, and outrageous commentary on life, death, and everything in between. From the dedication page to the acknowledgements, Rivers keeps on serving up big laughs in this hilarious “diary.” I liked Diary of a Mad Diva so much I had to read it twice.

we were liars

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart: this quiet little book will pull you in and keep you riveted to your seats (or treadmills) until you get to the very last page. It’s about cousins and friends, greed and rivalry, joy and anger…and the lies we tell each other, and ourselves.


The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein: this one’s for all the dog lovers I’ve ever known. At times funny and sad, heart wrenching and uplifting, it’s told from the family dog, Enzo’s, point of view. Pet lovers and non-pet-lovers will get a lot out of this beautiful story of love, loss, and family that is beautifully written and absolutely absorbing.

a dog's purpose

A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron: from the author of 8 Simple Rules for Marrying My Daughter, here comes another great book that follows a dog’s journey through many lives as he contemplates what his true purpose may be. This funny, sweet book delves into topics like love, compassion, and the universal quest for meaning. It’s a quick read too, and well worth it.

Recipe: 9 Hot Drinks

When I curl up on the couch with a great book, imagining myself in the heads of kings or queens, Every Man or Every Woman, I love a hot drink. From Mulled Apple Cider to Mexican spiced hot chocolate and Easy Chai Tea, you’ll find lots of great choices that you can make as decadent or diet-friendly as you like. They’re perfect for sipping and savoring as you get lost in a great book. Enjoy!

Delicious anytime

Delicious anytime

So, Hungry Lifers…what’s your favorite Dr. Seuss book? Is there a great book you’d like to share? What’s your favorite hot drink? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks.

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