Erin Clarke in a Chambray Shirt Blowing Confetti

In another act of the unexpected that has become, well, expected these last weeks, my #quarantine34th turned out to be one of my most special, memorable birthdays to date (you can see a few photos on Instagram here).

I awoke to find our kitchen island covered with heartfelt cards and notes that Ben had collected from family and friends from all chapters of my life.

Friends stopped by with a “Happy Birthday Erin!” banner and a box of the best donuts in Milwaukee. Girlfriends sent the love of ice cream. We ordered take out for lunch (complete with a mimosa kit), and my phone glowed with calls and messages throughout the day.

There were flowers and wine and cupcakes. We cooked a great big dinner (the cover of this cookbook). Your kind wishes and messages meant so much to me too! At the end of the day, I felt like a little kid who didn’t want to go to sleep, because she wasn’t ready for her happy day to end.

If there is anything that a stay-at-home birthday taught me, it’s that what makes a birthday the best ever isn’t the “what” or “where” — it’s the who. I am immeasurably blessed by the “who”s in my life. Thank you for making me feel so loved.

Speaking of feeling the love, I have some stellar finds for you today!

The one I most want you to know about is Family Meal. It’s an e-cookbook with 50+ comforting recipes from cooks you know and love: Ina Garten, Bobby Flay, Samin Nosrat, Alison Roman, Ruth Reichl, Deb Perelman, many others, and…yours truly. I am so honored to be a part of it. The book costs just $5.99 and 100% of the proceeds go to the Restaurant Workers’ Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund. It comes out today, and you can order it here.

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Here are three recipes you might have everything you need to make tonight, plus a cocktail to wash them down:

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas:

Chambray Jumpsuit. My sisters gave me this flattering jumpsuit for my birthday, and I adore it. It’s breezy, comfy, and I know I’ll wear it everywhere just as soon as I can. (Fit is true to size.)

Fun Printed Scrunchies. The second half of my sister birthday present. Not only are these ridiculously cute, they hold my hair without slipping or giving me a headache.

Headbands! I wear this braided one multiple times a week—even when my hair is in a messy bun, it makes it look cute. Can’t wait to wear this one every day this summer. This one would give even the most basic outfit pizzazz.

Lightweight Summer Pants. I love that these look a little tailored but still seem so light and breezy.

The Sandals You’ll Wear All Summer. They’d instantly jazz up any outfit.

Sassy Nail Polish. The colors are gorgeous, and I’ve had good luck with this brand not chipping.

The Cutest Summer Clutch. This playful and functional bag is so fun and would actually fit my phone and other essentials.

BEST EVER TRAVEL SHOES. (On sale as this post went to press!) I’ve owned these in black for years. I’ve tromped through rain, walked miles on the streets of NYC and Paris, and they are truly waterproof and comfortable. I love that they go from day to night and save me from packing an extra pair.

The Sweatshirt I Want In Every Color. The bright neon is SO FUN.

The Softest Hoodie. I don’t usually consider myself a “hoodie person”, but this one looks SO SOFT.

The Lip Balm That Lived Up to the Hype. I got the “Bloom” color. It is so pretty, makes your lips feel super soft, and provides a touch of natural color. (This is still my favorite lip product of all time. OBSESSED.)

The Perfect White Shirt. The tie front!

Basic Tee Upgrade. I finally replaced my basic long-sleeve tees after years (and years) of wear. I got both the V-neck and the crew neck version. Total staples! I also have my eye on this more lounge-y one.

Mini Backpack. I’ve switched from traveling with a purse to traveling with a small backpack, and it’s been a game changer. It saves me back pain after a long day of walking. For a splurge, this black one is perfection. (So, whenever traveling opens up again, I am READY.)

Cookbook I’m Loving LatelyRun Fast Eat Slow. The recipes are simple, tasty, and nutritious.

The Pasta I Can’t Stop Making. I added sautéed chicken sausage, but you don’t even need it.

Instagram Accounts I’m Enjoying. Ralph Lauren has been posting some fun recipe content. The Modern Proper makes me drool. A Safe Place Inside Your Head for a daily dose of mental health.

Movies We Both Liked—a.k.a. movies that are well done but not too depressing. Knives Out; Brittany Runs a Marathon; Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri. (I am very much in the market for more. If you have suggestions, please share below.)

Games. To pass the time indoors. We just started playing Codenames based on rave reviews from friends; my sister and her husband recommend Ticket to Ride.

Reading. Untamed. I’ve been struggling to get into it but want to keep going based on the rave reviews. The Fiddler in the Subway. HIGHLY recommend this collection of short, specular essays. The writing is some of the best I’ve ever read, and each story is compelling.

Watching. The Last Dance. Even as a non-sports fan, I’m into it.

What are you loving lately? Leave your favorites in the comments section below!

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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’m glad you had a great birthday Erin! Love these posts! We have been loving the game Double Ditto while in this q, its a quick game we can play while waiting on dinner etc. Some games are a huge time commitment and this one is perfect!