Turning Meals into Memories


Have you ever heard another parent say something so simple but so powerful that you knew you’d hide it away in your heart forever? My friend Jessica was talking about being a mother to boys and the sweet love letter food can be. Jessica taught me how to turn meals into memories for our children.

When she grocery shops, she thinks of her children opening the pantry and finding their favorite snacks. She thinks of what her boys are celebrating or struggling with and plans for meals to be feasts of joy and comfort.

Making meals into memories

Our family’s meals become part of the story of our home. When we make it easy to sit at the table and just enjoy the food, those are the moments we make meals into memories. Conversations flow more freely and shoulders relax.

Making meals into memories

I am sending my second child off to college soon.

He is my oldest son. He was my best sleeper, my easy going, joyful buddy who I’ve had the privilege of raising. He is 18 and my days of guidance and suggestions and consequences are shifting into a new phase.

I have had my time to speak (although I’m sure I can think of thousands of times I should have done it differently) and now it is my turn to listen and show him what it will look like as he returns home as an adult. 

There will always be a smile and a hug. There will always be words telling him how glad I am that he is here. And there will always be his favorite food at the table.

Roast, mashed potatoes, and Pioneer gravy are always a hit. Did you know Pioneer is celebrating its 170th anniversary? 170 years of helping families turn meals into memories! 

(Bonus: you can start it in the morning in the crock pot and it will make your house smell amazing!)


  • 1 – Roast
  • 3 – Cans Dr. Pepper Zero
  • 4 – large russet potatoes
  • 1 – package of Pioneer gravy


  • One night before cooking, season the roast generously with salt and pepper. 
  • In the morning, sear the roast on every side until brown.
  • Set the crock pot to ‘low’ and add roast to the crock pot, fat side up. Add Dr. Pepper Zero until roast is just barely covered. 
  • Cook for at least 8 hours on low.
  • Gently remove the fat from the top and discard.
  • Turn crock pot off and allow meat to sit in the crock pot for at least 15 minutes.
Baked Potatoes
  • Wet and scrub the potato with a scrubber.
  • Dry the potato off.
  • Brush olive oil on potatoes.
  • Poke holes in the potatoes.
  • Cover with sea salt.
  • And this is the most important part. Ready? No foil! Wrapping the potato is foil actually steaming the potato. Place those potatoes directly on the oven rack at 350 degrees about one hour or until they gently given when squeezed with an oven mit.
  • Mash potatoes

Gravy (the simple part!)
  • Buy a package of delicious Pioneer Gravy Country Gravy Mix and follow the directions. Growing up in Texas, there was only one acceptable substitute for homemade gravy – and that was Pioneer Gravy. It just tastes like home to me, and my kids love it. (Find a Pioneer Product location near you!)

What are your kids’ favorite meals? If you need any recipe inspiration, take a peek at the incredible recipes our collaborators have shared. 


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