by Chrysa Smith

If you’ve read Thursday columns for any time, you know that I consider myself an amateur foodie. I love good food, love to cook and honestly, am a little snobbish when it comes to eating at mediocre restaurants. As a cook, I don’t completely understand those who slap down a pre-concocted meal on a table (although I fully realize, that I have the luxury of working at home.)

So, I’m shocked to admit that I actually tried a product line of pre-packaged, simple food products–perfect for those times (and they happen more often), when you want something good and quick, but don’t want that fatty, stomach-clogging fast food.

I’m probably the last one to know about it, but I tried Tastefully Simple—a home-based sales food company. It was purely by accident. I was at a book fair (for my children’s books) and as happens at most fairs, there were tables of non-book products: Mary Kay, Thirty-One (which I also just discovered for my hauling needs), Simply Said (another cute line of removable wall-words). It caught my eye because they looked nicely packaged, and of course, we were talking food here (not to mention that the consultant had the cutest baby in tote).

I tried the beer-based bread mix (no kneading) with a creamy mushroom soup mix. Part of the company’s philosophy, is for its consumers to need only two additional ingredients max– to make their products. For the bread, it was only beer or some other carbonated beverage. For the soup, it was warm water, but I added some cubed rotisserie chicken as well. Both were delicious, and I believe, great cupboard stockers for the upcoming cold, winter months.

There’s nothing like home-made bread. But I, for one, hate working with yeast and with recipes that call for multiple steps and many hours work. With a mix of a spoon, the bread was ready to pop in the oven for 45 minutes. The soup–same thing on the stovetop for 45 minutes.

My husband loved the results–a hearty meal that had virtually no clean-up. I may get use to this. Watch out Mark!

Check out their website at