Meet The Author

Contributing Writer

Joli Heavin is a professional fundraiser and grant writer who works for Children's Bureau. In her spare time, Joli enjoys running, reading, and cooking. She is a lover of all things art and was once a classically trained singer and actress, but now primarily enjoys her roles as Clare's mom and Matt's wife.

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Homemade Granola: Recipe of the Week


Homemade Granola

A couple of years ago, I stopped buying processed foods. Since then I have often missed cereal. So, when I get a craving for something crunchy with a bit of milk, I make granola. It’s easy to make and has so many possibilities. This version was born of my daughter’s newest love from Costco – Kirkland brand Organic Nuts and Fruit mix. It has almonds, cashews, dried blueberries and cranberries, and pumpkin seeds. While I whipped up this batch on Saturday, my daughter did some experimenting of her own. Homemade Ritz crackers with cheese and peanut butter. I will not be blogging about that one, but she swore it was delicious.

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Butternut Squash Soup: Recipe of the Week


Butternut Squash Soup

I try to pack my lunches most days. In the summer, that usually means salad. In the winter, soup. It may not feel like winter, but I have definitely been on a soup kick. This is one of my all-time favorites. My husband refuses to eat any kind of soup, but thankfully my daughter will scarf it right down.

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A Social Experiment: No New Clothes


Remember this girl? Okay, so maybe I’ve never shopped high-end designers or driven a luxury car, but I can relate to Cher in so many ways. Trapped in a car while a supposed friend tries to shove his tongue down my throat? Yep. Fallen for a man who turned out to be gay? Oh, yes. (Too many times to count). Dated my stepbrother? Erm, no. Have one, but eww. 

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Spicy Black Bean Dip: Recipe of the Week


Spicy Black Bean Dip

My mother gave me a new cookbook for Christmas called Clean Start: 100 Recipes to Inspire You to Eat Clean and Live Well by Terry Walters. Technically, it wasn’t really new; she bought it for herself and then realized exactly what Terry meant by “Clean” and never used it. All of the recipes are vegan or close to it, and generally gluten-free. It’s organized by season in order to maximize use of in-season ingredients. I think it is a lovely cookbook, and I have used several recipes already. This recipe for Spicy Black Bean Dip is in the “Spring” section but could be used any time of year. As Terry says, it can be served with chips or veggies for dipping, or inside tacos, quesadillas, etc. 

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Sriracha Brussels Sprouts with Cashews and Garlic: Recipe of the Week


While many people approaching this time of year may be inclined to indulge, I have resolved to eat clean, drink less alcohol, and exercise even more. Mainly because I have overindulged in general for about 11 months, and I am starting to see and feel the impact on my waistline. If you are like me, you might enjoy this post. 

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Joli's Dream Thanksgiving: Recipe of the Week


I have always dreamed of having one of those big New England homes you see in movies, surrounded in snow and festooned in classy holiday decorations. I long for one of those dining room tables that seats an absurd number of people, so I can cook an elaborate meal for extended family. Alas, I have neither, and even if I did, my dream still would never happen. My own family is spread far and wide. My husband is the youngest of three, and his siblings have oodles of children, but they are a lost cause. Everyone lives in Indiana, so we do still sometimes get together for the holidays. We are, in fact, gathering for Thanksgiving tomorrow, if you can call 20+ people eating pizza in four different rooms gathering for Thanksgiving.

No one on my husband’s side can cook particularly well, so I guess I am thankful I won’t have to swallow dry turkey and bland mashed potatoes. On Thanksgiving Day, my RN husband has to work, so my daughter and I will be hanging out with a friend, and our menu isn’t set yet. So, this blog post is an ode to some of my favorite classic, holiday-worthy recipes. My husband hates turkey, so if I were cooking, it would probably be a ham, or maybe a standing rib roast, but I will save those for another blog. (You may quickly notice I once had a love affair with Epicurious).

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Cheesy Beef and Pepper Pasta Bake

Cheesy Beef and Pepper Pasta Bake  Serves 8-10  Ingredients:  ¼ cup of butter ½ large onion, diced 2 bell peppers, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 tsp. salt 2 tsp. pepper

So, I actually made and photographed four different recipes, thinking each might serve as my blog post for this month. They were all tasty, but I wasn’t satisfied that the photographs made them look tasty enough. Plus our theme for the month is supposed to be tailgate food. I have never been tailgating, at least not for football. I don’t know if this qualifies as tailgating food, but it would be good for a game time potluck. 

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"Little Sandwiches": Recipe of the Week


"Little Sandwiches"

I think every mom has their signature “mom” meals. You know, recipes you do well and make so often your kids will forever remember you by them. One of my own mother’s “mom” meals has become a tradition for my own family and is a fall comfort food for me. 

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Blueberry Oatmeal Layer Bars: Recipe of the Week



Blueberry Oatmeal Layer Bars

I love blueberries. They might be my favorite fruit. So you can imagine my delight when I learned about Driving Wind Blueberry Farm which is located only 10 minutes from my house in the heart of Indianapolis. My daughter and I have stopped by to pick blueberries there each of the past two summers in early July. She’s three, so I end up doing most of the picking but she does love their blueberry graham ice cream from Lick and resident donkey.

This year I picked about ten pounds over two visits, and later bought another five pounds from Wildwood Market. That’s a lot of blueberries. We used a lot of them fresh and froze the rest. I spent a copious amount of time looking for new blueberry recipes. The one below is my own creation, inspired by many other bloggers, namely Hummusapien. I didn’t take detailed pictures while prepping, but they were so good I decided they had to serve as my next blog topic. Next time I make them I might try infusing a little rosemary or basil into the jam and crushed almonds into the crust just to be adventurous. These are not overly sweet, so we ate them as a special breakfast treat.


Makes 9 bars

Prep time: 15 minutes

Bake time: 30-35 minutes



Blueberry jam:

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup

Oatmeal layers:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup



  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Grease an 8x8in baking dish and line with parchment. Makes it much easier to lift out.
  2. Heat a small saucepan over medium and add blueberries, chia seeds and maple syrup. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Use a potato masher mash up the berries. Allow to cool.
  3. Mix the oats, flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda in a large bowl.
  4. Add applesauce, maple syrup and coconut oil.
  5. Set aside a rounded half cup or so of the base mixture and then spread the rest evenly into the pan. Top with blueberry mixture, spreading evenly with a spatula.
  6. Sprinkle the rest of the oat mixture on top.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before cutting into 9 bars.
  8. Eat within a few days or freeze for later.


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Short Rib Wrap & Asian Slaw: Recipe of the Week



My husband is an RN and works 12-hr night shifts. He works all weekend, has one night off, and is back at it for two nights. For me, this means a lot of meals for just me and my three year-old. On Friday night I felt inspired to take our leftovers and mix it up. I had made tortillas so my husband would have a bread product for packing dinners and leftover short ribs. When combined with random ingredients from the fridge, they became some pretty tasty Asian-inspired wraps.

This isn’t the first time I have made something like this, but I did try a few new ingredients since it wasn’t a part of my shopping plan. That’s the great thing about wraps – versatility. I encourage you to try a variety of proteins and veggies! I ended up using Brussels sprouts in the slaw and it was pretty good, although I must say I prefer, and recommend, green or purple cabbage. I also never need an excuse to eat hoisin sauce, one of the few processed foods I just can’t relinquish.

I served the slaw on the side for my daughter, and she didn’t touch it, but at least I tried!





Makes 2 servings

2 6 to 8-inch tortillas

1 cup of shredded short ribs (or chicken, pork, mini shrimp)

2 Tbsp hoisin sauce


For the slaw:

6 Brussels sprouts, shredded (or 1 cup of shredded cabbage)

2 radishes finely chopped

1 large carrot, shredded

2 tablespoons cilantro, minced


For the dressing:

¼ cup rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sesame oil

½ tablespoon soy sauce

1 small clove of garlic, mined

1 inch of ginger grated or a dash of dried

½ lime, juiced

Salt and pepper to taste



Assemble and toss your veggies. Whisk together dressing ingredients and toss with slaw. Mix beef with hoisin sauce. Spoon half into each tortilla and top with slaw. Garnish with chopped peanuts or cashews.

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