Last week, I shared two of my most-cherished Thanksgiving traditions: Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Whiskey Pecans and The Thankfulness List. In fourth grade, my wise teacher assigned us to write out 100 things for which we were thankful. I have repeated the exercise every year since.

100 Things for Which I am Thankful. Beautiful list!

In the spirit of sharing, I proudly present: The Thankfulness List 2013. One hundred things, silly and sweet, for which I am blessed and grateful.

The things that make me who I am

1. The family to whom I was born—two loving parents and two wonderful sisters

2. The family I never envisioned but now can’t imagine my life without—my step dad, step brothers, and step sister

3. This guy: My patient, loving husband, best friend, and partner-in-crime, Ben


4. The people who came with #3—My in-laws. I hit the jackpot.

5. My faith

6. My education

My upbringing

7. Growing up with all four of my grandparents (and having them alive today!)

8. Being a Midwest girl

9. Totally over-the-top holidays at home. Two full Thanksgivings? Why not.

10. Parents who raised me to strike out on my own without forgetting my roots

11. Etiquette. I didn’t appreciate my mom’s forcing it upon me at the time, but I’m glad I know it now.

12. Living in a country where I can think and act freely

Friends old and new

13. The ability to call my two sisters my two best friends

3 Es

14. New friends made in Madison

15. Twin Cities friends (thanks for letting me crash on your couch when I come visit)

16. High school pals. No one knows me like you do.

17. My Notre Dame friends. Still feel closer to you than ever.

18. My new brother-in-law (see #55 below)

19. My blogging buddies. I have met some amazing, talented people through this crazy hobby of mine.

20. The women in my prayer group who inspire me each time we meet

Stuff I love

21. Cheese curds, particularly when deep fried

22. Long runs along the lakes

23. Chubby baby cheeks

24. Strangers who help push your car out of the snow

25. The smell of cinnamon rolls baking


26. NPR

27. Hot chocolate on cold days

28. The person who lets you cut in the grocery line because you have fewer items

29. Cheesy Christmas movies

30. The first warm day in March

31. Free city concerts

32. Half price truffle fries at Tipsy Cow on Mondays

33. My small but mighty collection of cookbooks

34. Board games

35. Good grammar. I know; I’m a geek.

36. Kansas City BBQ

37. That moment when you turn on your car and the radio is playing your favorite song (or “Roar”)

38. Dance parties

39. Snail mail

40. Lazy weekend mornings

41. That moment when you pick up the phone to call a friend, and she calls you first

42. Stories about my parents growing up

43. Cherished family recipes like my Grammy’s perfect shortcake or my Grandma’s fluffy carrot cookies with orange butter icing


44. Laughing so hard my abs hurt

45. When people ask, “How are you?” and actually pause to listen to your response

46. The guy who pauses to let you make a left turn

47. My Kitchen Aid mixer. I love it, and I’m not ashamed.

48. My Dutch oven. Same reasoning as #47 above.

49. Watching The West Wing and eating ice cream with Ben

50. Yeasty loaves of bread

Fun happenings and bright futures

51. Friends coming to visit us in Madison

52. Decorating Christmas trees

53. Long chats with girlfriends over margaritas and/or wine

54. Potlucks and dinner parties

55. My sister is a married lady! Isn’t she a stunning bride?

Lizzy Wedding

56. Ben graduating next May. Whoo hoo!

57. Exciting travel plans ahead (France 2014 baby! Oops, I mean La France 2014 bébé!)

58. Returning home to Kansas again in a few weeks to celebrate Christmas

59. Road trips

Favorite places

60. The University of Wisconsin Union Terrace

61. Notre Dame on a football Saturday

62. My kitchen (tiny or not, it’s my haven)

63. The Madison Farmers Market


64. Our neighborhood cheese shop (in dangerous walking distance)

65. A comfy arm chair with a good book and glass of wine

66. Trader Joe’s

67. The dance floor at a good friend’s wedding

68. Real-deal bakeries

Beauty around me

69. A perfect first snowfall

70. The way the sky turns pink at sunset

71. The two big lakes around Madison

72. Watching the sun come up on a run and feeling like the only person in the world

73. The Madison lakes

74. Twinkly Christmas lights

75. The way a single candle can brighten our entire apartment

76. The crunch of fall leaves under my shoes

Good fortune

77. A solid day-job

78. Good health

79. A safe, warm home

80. Food on our table each evening

81. My sturdy winter coat (a true blessing in Wisconsin)

82. The opportunities I have had to travel

83. The feeling of making every green light on the way home

84. Access to affordable, healthy foods


85. EVERY SINGLE READER. Yes, that means YOU!

86. Every comment

87. Every Facebook like

88. Each Twitter follower

89. Every email subscriber

90. Every time one of my posts is shared

91. Every Pin

92. Each time a reader tries one of my recipes

93. Every answer to my silly Facebook questions

94. Each like on Instagram

95. Notes of encouragement from those who have survived grad school (directly or by marriage)

96. Emails along the lines of, “I think we would be friends in real life!”

97. Anytime anyone has said something nice about one of my photos

98. Anytime someone shares that they enjoy my writing

99. Every time the words, “I love your blog!” have been steered in my direction

100. Your support of Well Plated!


Happy Thanksgiving everyone! What are you thankful for today?

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. I think this is one of the best traditions to have!!! I could respond to so many but I will just say I am so glad I found your blog just a little while ago! Happy happy Thanksgiving!!

  2. This is one of my most favorite posts of yours (even more than the pumpkin pull apart bread:) Thank you for reminding me how blessed we really are and the little things mean a lot (mixers for example … and food processors!) Have a fantastic Thanksgiving Erin!

    1. Thank you so much Mary Frances. That really means a lot! Wishing you a warm, wonderful Thanksgiving with your family!

  3. Happy Thanksgiving Erin!! I’m thankful I met you!!! Wishing you a wonderful day… I know it will be filled with fabulous food!

    1. Thank you so much Kim! Sending big hugs and wishing you a day filled with the people you love…and pie of course :)

  4. This is such a lovely and thoughtful list. Thank you for sharing it with us! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  5. #83—John refers to this as “Surfing the green wave,” and is something that never happens without a word of appreciation :) Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and can’t wait to see you soon!

  6. What a sweet post, Erin! I really loved it! And ‘m so thankful for lots fof things in your list too so this made me smile so much ^^
    I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  7. Love this Erin. What a sweet and thoughtful tradition. So much to be grateful for this season. Hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  8. Beautiful post! I love your list!
    I am definitely thankful for my family and amazing long weekends in NY like this past one!

  9. Amen to all of it! Making a list like this is a great idea. There is so much to be Thankful for! Happy Thanksgiving! :)

  10. Erin, I’ve been following your blog for about a month now and had no idea you were an ND gal–I like you even more now ;) I’m a class of ’07 midwestern gal married to a recently graduated lawyer! What a good idea to reflect on this time of year

    1. Courtney, we sound like we should be BFFs! I’m so happy you said hi. Obligatory question: What dorm did you live in? I’m a Lyons girl!